Create a long shadow in Adobe Illustrator

Create a long shadow in Adobe Illustrator

Long shadows are all the rage these days. In this tutorial we'll create a long shadow effect using the Blend Tool in Adobe Illustrator.

To begin, open an icon in Illustrator. Select the object make a copy.

Next, Paste In Front (Control / Command + F).

Hide this object Object > Hide > Selection (Control / Command + 3).

Long Shadow Effect

Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the object remaining on the art board.

Holding down the Alt + Control + Shift keys, drag the object to make a copy. (Option + Command + Shift on Mac).


With both objects selected, select Make from the Object > Blend Menu (Object > Blend > Make). We'll use this shape to cast your shadow.

In Preview mode (Control / Command + Yyour blend should look similar to this:


In Outline mode (Control / Command + Y) your blend will look similar to this:

Outline Mode

Next, expand the blend: Object > Blend > Expand


Select the objects (Control / Command + Aand click on Unite from the Pathfinder Window.



Back in Preview Mode, zoom in and inspect the object:

Zoom In

Delete any unwanted points:

Cut Line Segments

Join the open paths:


Clean up the other edges of your shadow. Zoom in to inspect: 


From the Object Menu, select Show All (Alt / Option + Control / Command + 4).
Choose a new color for this foreground object.

Show All

Select the drop shadow. From the Transparency Window, select Multiply from the drop down menu. Set the Opacity to 10.

Change Opacity

Draw a shape and place it behind the object. Recolor both shapes:


Select the background shape and the drop shadow.
From the Pathfinder Window, select Divide.


Then delete the unwanted shape:

Cut Remnant

Select all and group: Object Menu > Group (Control/Command + G). 

Now you've got a nice looking drop shadow! 

Final Render


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