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Stylish Shadow Tutorial

A short and simple way to make shadows like this as shown below.

What You’ll Be Making:


  • Illustrator
  • Clipping Masks
  • Gaussian Blur


1. First create an ellipse that is very thin and long. Make it black.


2. Make sure that this object is selected and go to Effect>Blur>Gaussian Blur.


3. A window should pop up. Enter 20 pixels for the Radius and click OK.

4. It should look this. Now we will stray away from this for a second.

5. Draw a rectangle over half of this shadow. Make sure goes farther than the edge of the show.

6. Make sure both the shadow and rectangle are selected. Also make sure that the rectangle is on top. Right-click and choose Make Clipping Mask.

7. Double-click the clipping mask to edit its insides. Scale the shadow down if needed but it is not recommended to scale it up.


8. It should look like this. Adjust the opacity if needed.


I hoped you enjoyed this tutorial and learned something new.


Engraving Tutorial

First of all, I’m finally glad people are asking me to make a specific tutorial so they can put to use/know for their work.

In this tutorial, I’ll guide you into making highlights and shadows for any types of objects simple (square) and otherwise ( irregular). This will achieve an engrave effect.

What You’ll Be Making:


  • Illustrator
  • Pathfinder/ShapeBuilder
  • Gaussian Blur
  • Slight experience w/ Illustrator


1. A. Make a background with a vibrant color. Then draw any object that you want to make highlights/shadows for. B. Alt+Drag or Opt-Drag the objects(s) to make a copy of them.

2. A. Change the color of the “bottom” copy into a light color than the background (I chose a nice light blue color). B. Then add a Gaussian Blur of 20 to the copy.

3. A. Move the copy over the original. B. Right click the object and select Arrange>Send Backward ( Ctrl+[ or Cmd+[ ). C. Now you have the highlight portion of your object.

4. A. Copy-drag your original object (not the highlight). B. Copy-drag that new copy as well and give it a different color (I made mine orange). Make sure the space between these copies is similar to the space between the highlight and your original object.

5. Make lines through “gaps” if your object is irregular (like my 2). You’ll see why we add the lines.

6. A. Select your 2 copies with the lines. Now click the shortcut Shift+M (or use pathfinder but this will save time) to bring the ShapeBuilder tool. You will now see a plus shape for the cursor, holding option or alt will give you a negative shape cursor. Use the ShapeBuilder tool to add the “shadow” pieces together and then hold option/alt to cut away pieces you don’t need or that won’t be the shadow portion. That’s why we had the lines so we cut the shapes we needed. B. Keep cutting/adding till you have the shapes that will form the shadow. See pictures for reference and help.

7. Make sure to group your shadow pieces if there is a lot of pieces.

8. Give our original shapes a color darker than the highlight or background but lighter than the shadow. I chose a simple dark-blue color. But you could also use a gradient if you want.

9. Let’s give our shadow(s) a Gaussian Blur of 20.

10. Copy-drag our original object so that the top portion of the shadow(s) meets with the top portion of the original object. Also make sure the copy is in front of the shadow. See picture for help.

11. A. Select the copy and the shadow and right-click and choose Create Clipping Mask. B. The clipping mask helped to crop away the blurred pixels that would ruin the shadow effect as you will see.

12. The final step is to moved our clipped shadow over to the original shape. This gave us the shadow portion that we needed. With the shadow, original, and highlights shape, you have achieved the engrave effect.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and that it will beneficial to you in some way.

Vector Orb Tutorial Part 2

Here is Part 2, which will finish up with the Orb’s shadows (using clipping masks) and the orb’s reflection (using opacity masks).

You’ve probably seen these types of orbs around the web and now you have the chance to make your own stylish vector orb.


8. A. Draw a gray oval and make sure to give this oval an opacity of 50 %. B. Add a Gaussian Blur of 5 to it by going to Effect>Blur>Gaussian Blur. C. Draw an object on top of everything and make it obstruct the orb and the “shadow’s” intersection (see picture). Then right-click this object and choose Make Clipping Mask.

9. A. Make a circle a same size of the orb and copy the M as well. Make the M black and the new circle gray. B. Make the M into outlines by right-clicking the text and choosing Create Outlines. C. Now group these objects. D. Now scale it down so it’s on the same level as our original shadow.

9-I E. Give this object a blur of 20. F. Give this object and opacity of 50%. G. Now move this object back onto our orb. H. Draw a circle of the orb’s size and make sure it’s above our dark object.

10. Option-Drag a copy  of everything besides the 2 bottom shadows.

11. A. Open a Transparency window if one is not open already. B. Double click the area to the right of our orb’s thumbnail (see picture) and uncheck the Clip check box. B-I. Now draw a circular mask about the same size as our orb (see picture). C. Now add a linear gradient to our mask. Be sure to make it fade to black downward where black of an opacity of 100% goes to black of an opacity of 0%. D. Now check the check boxes for Clip and Invert Mask.

11-I. A. Adjust the linear gradient by pushing the side with 0% black more to the 100% side so there is more of the fade showing.

12. A. Double click the thumbnail instead of the mask to exit out the Masking Mode. B. Move the reflection under our orb.

13. A. With the reflection still selected, go to the Transparency window/tab and click the chain so it vanishes. B. Now use the Reflect Tool (O) and flip our reflection horizontally. This way, our mask won’t be effected when flipping. C. Give the reflection an opacity of 75%. D. Apply a Gaussian Blur of 10 onto the reflection.

14. Now you should have made something as close as mine.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and will look forward to the next one.

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