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  • Illustrator drop shadow query

  • Ewan Stevenson

    August 12, 2010 at 12:12 pm


    I’m trying to recreate the effect in this vector icon:

    The blue part is not the issue, it’s how to get the drop-shadow effect inside the white shapes.

    I’ve got a series of compound shapes I created that I want to use for holiday property facilities icons on a website.

    I’ve shaded the icon background using a gradient mesh but then can’t use pathfinder to cutout the compound shape from it, which is what I’d do with a plain background.

    I could recreate the shadow with a gradient mesh but, with 30-odd compound shapes, this would take far too long.

    Is there a more practical solution?

  • les nemeth

    August 12, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    1. Create the silhouette of your shape (no holes, no compound shape). Just the outline of it.
    2. Create your compound shape. This will obviously be the same as step 1 except this will have the holes and what not.
    3. Copy your compound shape.
    4. Select your compound shape on the artboard, assign a light gray color (whatever you want for your shadow color) use Effect > Blur Gaussian Blur. Adjust blur size as you see fit.
    5. Paste in Front your compound shape that you’ve copied in step3.
    6. Offset your blurred shape (shadow) as you see fit.
    7. Take the silhouette of your shape you created in step 1, and use this as a clipping mask for the shadow.

    Pat yourself on the back. Good job!

  • les nemeth

    August 12, 2010 at 5:55 pm


  • Ewan Stevenson

    August 12, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    Thanks very much for your reply but I’m still a little confused about how to implement your workflow. Could you perhaps explain it with reference to these parts of the icon:

    The background is a rounded square with the shading applied using the mask tool:

    This is overlaid with one of the symbols I want to use; here, a phone:

    I’m wanting the phone to have similar shading to the lettering in the sample I originally referred to (hadn’t realised before that I could have embedded it!):

    Sorry if I’m being a bit slow in picking it up but my current long hours are taking their toll; one of the ‘perks’ of being self-employed 😉

    Thanks again,

  • Ewan Stevenson

    August 12, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    Thanks for your illustrations – I’d posted my reply before realising you’d added to your original. I’ll give it a go tomorrow.


  • Ewan Stevenson

    August 13, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    I’ve just had a go with your suggestion but it doesn’t address my original problem – when the icon background (the black area in your example) has a gradient mesh, it won’t work.

    Is there a way around this?

  • les nemeth

    August 14, 2010 at 6:29 am

    It does work regardless of what the coloring method is.

  • les nemeth

    August 14, 2010 at 6:36 am

  • Ewan Stevenson

    August 14, 2010 at 5:17 pm


    The penny drops! Got it now.

    I’d thought that the white part of the compound shape in your first diagram was cut out from the black bit when it was just, well, white!

    Thanks again and sorry you had to draw more things for my meagre brain 😉


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