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Build a Better Drop Shadow

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Add Interest and Dimension With Drop Shadows
Drop shadows make text and objects seem to float above the background.

Drop shadows make text and objects seem to float above the background.

Jacci Howard Bear; llicensed to About.com
Drop shadows add interest to elements on the page. Both page layout and word processing programs have options for adding basic drop shadows to photos or boxes of data. Graphics software provides even more options for drop shadows.

Beyond adding interest, a drop shadow is a simple way to add dimension to an otherwise flat object on the page. Drop shadows make objects — boxes, text, or complex graphics — seem to float above or in front of the background.

You might dismiss drop shadows as contrived or overused. Or you might settle for the default black box shadow of your favorite software. But it only takes a few extra minutes (usually) to make a more realistic drop shadow that preserves the 3D illusion they were originally intended to create.

In This Tutorial:

  1. Add Interest With Drop Shadows (this page)
  2. Base Fake Shadows on Reality
  3. Avoid Uniform Shadows
  4. Use Size and Color to Vary Illusion of Depth
  5. Use Size, Color, and Direction
  6. Complex Shadows for Complex Arrangements
  1. About.com
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  3. Desktop Publishing
  4. Graphics Tutorials
  5. Create Graphics
  6. Drop Shadows - How to Create and Preserve an Illusion of Depth with Drop Shadows

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