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Tip of the Week: Creating Cast Shadows

This InDesign tip on creating cast shadows was sent to Tip of the Week email subscribers on July 5, 2018.

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Here’s a method of making simple cast shadows for native InDesign objects.

Copy and paste the object in place. Set the fill (and stroke, if any) to Paper. Set the blending mode to Multiply. This makes the object fully transparent. Now add a drop shadow, and in the Effects dialog box, set the distance to zero (so the shadow is in the exact same location as the object). Select the option Shadow Honors Other Effects, and deselect the option Object Knocks Out Shadow.

Now you can see the shadow of the copied object but not the object itself. Use the Control panel to scale and skew the shadow as desired to make a cast effect. Finally, press Shift+G to get the Gradient Feather tool, and drag over the shadow so it fades out as it gets farther away from the original object.

Mike Rankin

Mike Rankin

Editor in Chief of, InDesign Magazine, and Author of LinkedIn Learning courses on InDesign, Illustrator, GIMP, Inkscape, and Adobe Dimension.
Mike Rankin

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One Comment on “Tip of the Week: Creating Cast Shadows

  1. The result is not very convincing when I try it: I still can see the white transparent star when I make the shadow, as a vague edge inside the shadow. As if the star is not totally transparent. And it also shows in the high res pdf I made. Did I do something wrong? (I exactly followed the instructions.)

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