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ProShow Producer Tip: Create Realistic Lighting When Tilting Images


The Tilt feature in ProShow Producer can be a great tool to add some 3D effects to your images. But to create a more professional 3D look, you’ll want to make sure that your image reflects light in a realistic way. Today I’m going to show a creative technique that can help enhance your custom effects.

The Basic Concept

When you use the tilt feature, envision a source of light in relation to the image. It may help to hold a glossy photo in your hand and see how it responds to light as you tilt it. In my example, I’m going to have a source of light that is directly in front of the image (or more realistically, somewhere behind the viewer).  As I tilt to the left, the light’s reflection will move toward the right of the photo; as I tilt to the right, the reflection will move to the left.

To recreate a light source, my preferred method is to use an Adjustment Layer. The adjustment layer will be configured to increase the brightness and contrast of the image. I’m using a gradient for my adjustment layer so there is a smooth transition from the white (affected) and black (unaffected) parts of the layer. From there, it’s a matter of using pans to position the adjustment layer – and more specifically the white parts of the adjustment layer – over the image in tandem with the tilt behavior of the image.

Note that the following steps will allow you to create a very specific example of this effect, but hopefully with a decent understanding of the concepts, you should be able to apply it in any custom scenario you want to create.

Setting Up the Slide

  1. Insert an image into your show to create a slide; I’ll be using one with a 3×2 aspect ratio.
  2. To better visualize the effect at the beginning and ending of the slide while I’m working on it, I’m going to use zero-second transitions and a 5-second slide time.
  3. Open slide options, then in the Layer Settings tab, change the Zoom of the layer to 85%.
  4. Next, click the [+] above the layers list and choose Add Adjustment Layer > Add Gradient.
  5. In the Gradient window, set your gradient up like what’s shown below. Note that the type is set to Linear, there are 3 color stops (black on the left and right, white in the middle), and that the angle is set to 0. Click OK when finished.
  6. Once the gradient adjustment layer has been created, make sure it’s selected in the Layers list, then go to the Adjustments tab. Here we’re going to change the brightness to 75% and the contrast to 25%.  By doing this, the lighter areas of the gradient will increase the brightness and contrast of the image below it.

Creating the Motion

Now that the slide has been set up, you will have a gradient adjustment layer (the light source) and an image underneath it. The next step is to apply your motion. In my example, I’m going to do a simple left-to-right tilt.

  1. Go to the Effects tab and select layer 2 (your image).
  2. Add a keyframe in the middle of the timeline (2.5 seconds for a 5-second slide time).
  3. On keyframe 1 of the image layer, change the Horizontal Tilt to 20. On keyframe 2, change the horizontal tilt to -20, then on keyframe 3 change the horizontal tilt to 20.
  4. Next, let’s select the gradient adjustment layer (layer 1), and add a keyframe in the middle of the timeline (2.5 seconds).
  5. On keyframe 1 of the gradient layer, change the Pan values to [75, 0]. On keyframe 2 change the Pan to [-75, 0]. Then on keyframe 3, change it to [75, 0] again.
  6. Preview the effect to make sure it works well for your images. If you have a wider image, you may want to increase the pan values (e.g. 90 and -90 for the Pan values); for narrow images, you may want to decrease them (e.g. 60 and -60).
  7. Lastly, to make the effect fit in with the other slides in your show, change the transition times around the slide from zero to something larger like 1 or 2 seconds.

Your slide should be complete now, and it should appear as if light is reflecting against your image as it tilts. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below.


  • If you’re not familiar with the Tilt feature in ProShow Producer or you just want to get more hands-on experience with it, check out this tutorial on Creating a 3D Tilt Keyframe Effect.
  • When using adjustment layers that are set to the default ‘grayscale’ mode, remember that the white areas of your layer will apply the adjustment values to the images below it, and the black areas will not. Gray areas will apply the adjustment to a limited degree.
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Alex is the Product Technology Manager at Photodex. He is an avid music fan and spends his free time going to concerts, perusing record stores, and archiving his ever-growing collection of music videos.