When creating a shadow, should I start with a smaller core one or a larger cast shadow?


When creating a shadow, start with a larger cast shadow behind the object. This sets the foundation by simulating the shadow's effect with a darker color and reduced opacity. Next, refine your design by adding a smaller, sharper core shadow closer to the object to enhance realism. Adjust the opacity and blur of both shadows to achieve the desired effect. Cast shadows are typically larger and softer, providing a sense of depth, while core shadows are darker and more defined, adding detail. This approach ensures your shadows look natural and visually appealing.

Detailed answer

The size of the outline shadow in your user interface is a flexible aspect that can be adjusted to achieve a specific aesthetic effect. 

By choosing a thin, subtle line for your shadow, you can subtly add a sense of depth to your components, enhancing the overall visual richness without drawing too much attention. On the other hand, employing a broader line for your outline shadow can produce a pronounced, bolder effect. This can be particularly useful when you want to create a dramatic impact or highlight certain elements within your interface. Ultimately, the decision to alter the size of the outline shadow hinges on the visual goals you wish to achieve in your design.

Here are some more detailed instructions on creating shadows in a user interface:

Identify a light source

Determine the direction and intensity of the light source in your design. This will influence the placement and angle of shadows.

Choose a shadow type

Decide whether the shadow will be a cast shadow (behind the object) or a drop shadow (beneath the object). Cast shadows are typically sharper and more defined, while drop shadows are softer and spread out.

Start with a cast shadow 

Begin by creating a larger cast shadow behind the object. Use a darker color with reduced opacity to simulate the shadow's effect.

Refine with a core shadow

Add a smaller core shadow closer to the object to enhance realism. This shadow is usually darker and sharper than the cast shadow.

Adjust opacity and blur

Fine-tune the opacity and blur of both the cast and core shadows to achieve the desired effect. Shadows should be softer and less opaque the further they are from the object.

By following these instructions and paying attention to detail, you can create realistic and visually appealing shadows in your user interface design.

🤝 Credits

Our content combines the knowledge of Cieden’s designers with insights from industry influencers. Big thanks to all the influencers for sharing awesome content!

5 Shadow Techniques Spice up Your UI Designs by Purnendra Tripathi

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