Today I’m going to show you how to quickly create a long shadow text effect in Illustrator.
First I’ll show you how to do this in what I consider the more traditional method: using the Appearance Panel. Then we’ll look at an alternate method using the Blend Tool. Finally, we’ll wrap this tutorial up with some tips on making your long shadow effect extra special.
Let’s get started!
Long Shadow Effect with the Appearance Panel
Let’s start by creating a new canvas in Illustrator. As always, it can be any size you like.
Next, type out some text you’d like to apply your long shadow effect to, and then open the Appearance Panel by going to Window > Appearance.
Making sure your text is selected, click the New Fill icon in the bottom left of the Appearance Panel and fill your text with the desired color. This is going to be the color that’s on top, not the color of your shadow.
After you’ve chosen your new top fill color, select the original fill layer again. You can change the color if you desire, then click the “fx” icon at the bottom of the appearance panel and choose Distort & Transform > Transform.
The Transform Options Pop-up appears. You can copy my settings from the image below or mess around with your own.
What we’re doing here is making 250 copies of our text. With each copy, we’re stepping one pixel to the right (move horizontal) and one pixel down (move vertical). You can choose a stepping point loss than 1 pixel or make more/fewer copies as you desire.
Here are the results:
The best part of using the Appearance Panel to create this long shadow effect is that it keeps both our text and our effects completely editable.
So if you don’t like the red long shadow, go ahead and change it. Need to change your phrase? Not a problem.
And there’s more good news: you can save this effect in Graphic Styles so you’ll have a long shadow effect anytime you need it. Go to Window > Graphic Styles to bring up that panel.
Then, with your text selected, click the icon in the bottom to Create a New
Graphic Style based on your effects. Your new style icon is added instantly.
Before we move on to the next part of this Illustrator tutorial, I want to mention that you don’t have to apply this only to text. It works on shapes as well.
For example, I created this starburst shape and then chose my style from the Graphic Styles Panel. Voila!
If you decide you want to make changes, you can still go into your appearance panel and make edits without affecting the saved style in the graphics panel.
Check it out! This time I filled my long shadow with a gradient.
Long Shadow Effect with the Blend Tool
As I mentioned, I want to show you an alternative method for creating a long shadow effect. It’s a little less traditional, but I think it’s pretty cool.
This time we’re going to use Illustrator’s Blend Tool to create a long shadow effect.
Go ahead and type out some text, then duplicate it. Drag the copy down & away, and then fill each with a different color.
Next, grab your Blend Tool from the toolbar. You’ll want to hold down Option on your keyboard and click once on the canvas to bring up the Blend Options.
From the spacing drop-down menu, I’ve selected Specified Steps, but as always- I encourage you to play around with the other options as well. I’ve entered 100 steps. Here are the results:
Hopefully you know this about me by now, but I always like to show a little something extra in my tutorials. An idea to get your thinking about ways to spice up your designs or think outside the box as a graphic designer.
So I typed out my phrase again, filled it white, and positioned it on top of my new gradient.
Then, I added some additional effects. I love to use the Effects > Warp options to test out different looks. What do you think?
That wraps up this Illustrator long shadow effect tutorial. I hope you enjoyed it! Want to keep learning graphic design skills? Check out some of my other popular tutorials:
- Free Adobe Illustrator Course for Beginners
- Chevron in Illustrator
- Watermelon Vector Art
- Photoshop Actions & Batch Processing
- Photoshop RGB Split Photo Effect
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