> Now I would like to have a shadow appear below it and fly in with the invite...<
I've read your post several times but I have no clear idea in my head what you're seeing in your head or on your monitor. You want the shadow for the candle to be cast on the invitation, the table, or both?
Put Shadow in to the AE help search and get ready for some study. You can also enter shadow into the text filed at the top of the Effects window to see a list of all effects that include the word shadow.
But, since the candle is not moving, can you not apply the shadow in Photoshop just as easily?
A more realsitic shadow can be applied using Radial Shadow but 2D shadows are simulations, they do not interact with layers separately without advanced manipulation.
Or you can take the adventure into 3D, lights, and projection surfaces. I do not recommend that path until you have more experience
Thanks for getting back on this. Let me try to clarify. The invitation floats in from the top left of the frame, the background shot is a church alter close up with a candle on the left side of the frame. As the wedding invitation floats in, it turns and tilts and comes down (using 3d in AE) and eventually rests in an upright position on the right side of the screen slightly tilting back.
What I was looking to do was to have a shadow appear on the table (as if there were a light above the shot not seen) that follows the wedding invitation to is resting spot. I uploaded the clip and will try to attach it to this posting. Please disregard the scaling and flow, they need to be tweeked. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
The first thing you need to do is set up a 3D scene that includes the table top. You can use Vanishing Point in Photoshop and import a .vpe file, but it would probably be easier to just create a 50% gray solid, make it 3D, then orient it so that it appears to be in the same plane as the table top. Now you have to use the mask tools to cut out the shape of the book so there's a hole in the 3D table top. Next you recreate the book with three layers. One for the top, one for the spine, and one for the visible end.
A camera is added with about a 50mm lens and adjusted so that the book and table top line up with the underlying photo. You then bring in your card and add a spot light that casts a soft shadow.
The magic comes when you select all of your 3D layers, press the A key twice to reveal material options, then turn off accepts lights. The blend mode of the layers is now changed to overlay. In overlay mode a 50% gray pixel has no effect on the underlying pixels so only the shadows show is visible. The opacity of each of the layers is adjusted to make the shadow appear to be realistic. In this case the table top was kept at 100% while the layers that made up the book were set to 50% opacity.
The top is the end result, the bottom shows the layers before Accepts lights was turned off and the blend mode was changed to overlay.
I hope this makes sense. The only real time consuming part of this project is setting up the 3D layers that make up the book and table top, then adjusting the camera position so that the 3D scene matches up with the background shot. This example isn't very accurate, only took me about 5 minutes, but it still looks fairly convincing.
As always, I bow to Gerard's ability to explain this stuff.
I assumed your "newbie" status applied to your experience with After Effects, not just the forum. My mistake. You're obviously much further along with AE that I presumed. Hope this works for you. Great photography.