Making Non-Destructive Shadows in Photoshop

September 7, 2011

Photoshop, Tutorials

When we make shadows for our shapes  in photoshop we usually do it by using the layer styles, although that could work most of the time, sometimes we still find the need to make better looking shadows. In this post we will be making our own cool shadows which can really put style on our boring shapes but making them non-destructive also so even if we scale our document the shadows will still have good quality.(Let’s use a simple box.)

Here’s a simple shadow effect  the we will be creating.

Open up photoshop and create a simple  rectangle and name this layer “Box”

(*if you are planning to upscale your document be sure to use shape layers)

Now duplicate that same layer shape and change its color to black and tweak its height and width to be smaller than our “box layer” then put it below it . Name the layer “shadow“.(This will be our non-destructive shadow)

With our shadow layer selected go to Edit>Transform>Warp or Ctrl + T then right click warp. Now our shadow layer has handles which can help you warp the layer shape but not loosing quality. Now you can drag each of the lower left and right corner handles down to give your shadow shape.

Now we can use Filter>Gaussian Blur for this but it will rasterize the shape layer which is bad for upsizing. So instead go to Window>Mask  then click the shadow layers vectors mask, then just adjust the feathering via mask panel.Also set the opacity lower for subtlety.

And there you have it, our own non-destructive shadow. Easy eh? 

Now you can experiment on more custom shapes and create more awesome shadows.Here are just some.

Now you know how to make your own shadows and have them non-destructive too. Cheers (Share if you like^^)

, , , , ,

About flamedidea

A freelance graphics artist,who loves retro,has a passion for good iPhone UI design, digital artist enthusiast and likes reading blogs on the net for design inspiration and knowledge

View all posts by flamedidea


Subscribe to our RSS feed and social profiles to receive updates.


  1. Freebie Box Shadows PSD | FlamingPixels: One hot pixel at a time - September 13, 2011

    […] my last post about creating non-destructive shadows here, I’ve find some time to create 9, yes 9 *I like odd numbers* variations of shadows perfect […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: