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Tutorial: Mastering Shadows in After Effects

Mikey Borup

In this tutorial we look beyond the drop shadow and show you how to create dynamic shadow effects in your AE projects.

Adobe After Effects

Many After Effects users just default to using the standard drop shadow. While this is useful to add depth to your text and design elements, there’s actually several other easy options for applying shadows in AE.

In the After Effects video tutorial below, we’ll explore 5 different ways to apply shadows in AE and a few different configurations for each. See examples of each AE shadow further below!

Know a cool shadow technique that didn’t make the list?
Share your thoughts/suggestions in the comments below!

5 Types of Shadows in After Effects

Drop Shadow
Experiment with feather and adding blur to the drop shadow.

Drop Shadow After Effects

3D Shadow
Feather the fall off of a 3D shadow to mimic a realistic light effect.

3D Shadow AE

Light Shadow
Create an artificial light in After Effects and use it to cast a shadow across text in simulated 3D space.

Light Shadow After Effects

Shape Shadow
Quickly create a simple shadow using AE shape layers.

Shape Shadow

Blur Shadow
An easy blur + shadow effect. Experiment with the intensity of the blur for cool looks.

Blur Shadow