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Photoshop Reference Guide

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Create a Cast Shadow

Last updated Mar 14, 2003.

Unless you’re Peter Pan, you can’t escape your shadow—it’s always with you.

In order to create graphics that look realistic, you need to give them shadows, just as they’d have in real life.

Photoshop’s Layer Style dialog offers a Drop Shadow option that will automatically add a shadow behind any image you apply it to. The problem is that the tool assumes the image you’re working on is lying right on top of a flat surface. But, what about when it’s not? What do you do if you’re creating a graphic with a different perspective?

That’s where knowing how to create a cast shadow comes in handy. In the short video tutorial below, I’ll show you how to add a realistic shadow in Photoshop that can work for any type of graphic.

CastShadow.mov