Adobe Illustrator CC - Advanced Training

How to make long shadows in Adobe Illustrator CC

Daniel Walter Scott

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Hey there, it's Shadow time. We are going to do three kinds of shadows. We are going to do Lane Drop shadows, we're going to do Flat shadows, then we're going to do some Fady shadows. All very technical names. Let's go learn how to do those now in Adobe Illustrator. 

You can use, obviously, any object if you want to play along. Open up '' from the 'Exercise Files'. There's three kinds of shadows, right? There is this, just typical Drop shadow, so I've selected it all. Over here, under 'Effects', there's one under 'Stylize'. There's one called 'Drop Shadow'. If you're using an older version of Illustrator it's under 'Effects', 'Stylize'. Turn Preview 'on', and you get amazing Drop shadow. It's not amazing. Often I turn it right down when I'm using it. Kind of something really small and low, just to give it a bit of depth. 

Let's say we want a Long shadow. We'll just do a long hard shadow, then we'll do a soft shadow. I'm going to make a duplicate down here, so I can come back to him. What I'd like to do is, I'm going to pick a background color. Actually I'm going to use the 'Eye Dropper Tool' and pick the background, so use the same color. Then we go to 'Fill', and just darken it down a bit. You can see, I'm using the 'HSB'. I find them easier to use, just going to make it a little darker. 

Next thing we're going to do is move it down a little bit. So we're going to go to 'Object', 'Transform', 'Transform Each'. This means I can move it down 1 pixel, across 1 pixel. This means it's going to go to the right, and down. You can go negative 1, '-1', and negative up, and it will go up and left. So do that, click on 'Copy'. We got two versions of it now. I'm in Wireframe Mode. 'Command Y' on a Mac, 'Control Y' on a PC. I'm going to go back up, 'Command Y'. I'm just going to repeat that. The shortcut is 'Command D'. The long way is somewhere, there it is, 'Transform Again'. So just do that thing I just did again, you can see, it just slipped it out. 

You'll see that there's a little bit of an edge on it. So if you want there to be less edge there's just no way around other than drawing it to get an edge. Now what you can do is, we did 'Transform Each'. We did 1pt, you can do 0.1. The only trouble is that it's going to take a while. I'll show you what I mean. 'Command D' is repeat, remember, 'Control D' on a PC. I'm holding that key down, and it's even taking a while. I'll get the editor to speed it up. 

All right, didn't take that long, but long enough. So that's our shadow, right? I'm going to grab this. I'll show you how to fix it up, but this is basically what we do. You do them in small increments if you've got the time and you're more worried about the edge. I'm probably worried about it enough to maybe turn it down to half a point. 

Next thing we want to do is probably trim it all up because at the moment it's-- if I go to 'Command Y' it's a bit of a mess in terms of its vector. So what I'll do is, grab this, undo him, you go back to where you were, just join this all up. We've been using the Shape Builder Tool throughout this course. If you click on the Shape Builder Tool now, it's going to have a seizure. It just doesn't like so many shapes. So we're going to use the more traditional Path Finder. If you can't see it over here, you got to select all of this with the 'Black Arrow', you go to 'Window', 'Path Finder'. I'm going to click on this first option, 'Unite'. It's still going to take a while. Not as long as Path Finder. And if you've got more, say you've done 0.1 to get it really nice and smooth on the edge, it's going to take forever. Go get a coffee. Oh yes, let's speed this up. Need to speed that up. 

Other thing I might do is, I'm going to grab this, grab my 'Rectangle Tool'. Drag it out so it matches the Place Board. And I'm going to now-- because this is all united, now I can work with my Shape Builder Tool. 'Shift M', remember? And I'm going to delete that chunk, that chunk, and that chunk, and just kind of make it look a little nicer. I drew a bad rectangle, but you get the idea, right? Send him to the back. That one was with the hard shadow, let's do a soft shadow. We'll look at Blending Modes. We're going to kind of just touch on Blending Modes now. We're going to look at Blending Modes in its full entirety in another section in this course, but for the moment let's do it for the shadows. 

I'm going to make a copy of this guy down the bottom here. Copy, even. Holding 'Alt' while I'm dragging it. There's a couple of things I need to do. I need to change the color of both of these, then group them before I start moving on. So first of all I want to grab my Eye Dropper Tool. The background color, I want it to be a slightly darker version, right? I'm going to now hold down 'Alt' key on a PC, or 'Option' key on a Mac, and drag this second version. But I want him to actually be the exact background color. So it's not going to really fade out with opacity, that doesn't work. We need to just match the background color. 

So next step is-- I got them the right colors, but they need to be groups. So they're all separate, so I need to go, you my friend, is a group. 'Command G' on a Mac, or 'Control G' on a PC to group them. The other thing is that this guy needs to be at the front because it's going to be heading backwards. At the moment he's the second guy that got made. So he's at the front, and it looks a bit weird. So, you my friend, 'Arrange', 'Bring to Front'. So they're grouped, the right colors, and they're in the right order. Now we just blend them. 

So under 'Object', we go to 'Blend', we say 'Make'. By default, you're just getting one guy in the middle. You need to increase that blend. So we're going to go to 'Object', 'Blend', and we're going to go to 'Blending Options'. In here, I'm going to go to 'Specified Steps'. How many steps in between? At the moment we got one. And the higher it is, the kind of nicer the edge, but they're more stressed out, you're computer's going to bleed. So play around, this will really depend on your Artboard size, and how far apart things are. Turn 'on' Preview, and let's test '100'. You can see, it's quite jagged at the edge, like we did here. How high? 300's looking pretty smooth. Let's click 'OK', let's click off in the background. And there's our Shadow. Let's add this guy back on. Move him to the front. And yes, that's it. 

Couple of things you might want to do. At the moment this is like an active Blending Mode, which means I can do things like this. I can double click it to go inside. I'm in Isolation Mode. Click on this one guy, the bottom one, I can just move him around depending on how I want this thing to look. And to get back out, I just double click the background. 

Next thing I might do is expand it, because this is like an active effect. I can go to 'Object', 'Expand'. Well, 'Object', 'Blend', and say 'Expand'. They just kind of turn into all those shapes. We can't swoosh it down like we did this other one because they're all different transparency, so it's a little bit problematic that way. But let's say I want to trim it now. You could trim it using Blending Modes or expanding like we did here. I'm going to select you, grab you. I'm just going to hold 'Command 7' on a Mac, 'Control 7' on a PC, and just send it to the back. There we go. So it's all trimmed up, and nice, and ready to be exported for whale stuff. Let's move on to the next video. That's it for Shadows.