You are currently viewing The quickest way to add shadow in Procreate | Step by step + video

The quickest way to add shadow in Procreate | Step by step + video

In Procreate you add shadow by duplicating the subject you want to add a shadow to, then turn that layer into a dark color, drag it below your subject and offset your shadow layer. Adding shadows can be done in just a few seconds.

Keep reading to find to follow each step you need to take to create a shadow for any object in Procreate. Let’s start!

1. Duplicate the layer you want to add shadow to

First, duplicate the layer you want to add shadow to by sliding the layer to the left. Next, hit duplicate.

how to add shadow in procreate

2. Lower the value to create a shadow shade

Shadows are dark. To turn your newly created layer into a dark color, tap the magic wand icon. Then, go to Hue, Saturation, Brightness.

Tap the layer panel to adjust the entire layer.

how to add shadow in procreate

Now slide the brightness and saturation all the way to the left until your subject becomes black.

how to make shadow in procreate

3. Drag the layer beneath your subject and gaussian blur it

Let’s place our shadow below our subject. We do this by dragging the shadow layer beneath our subject layer.

how to make shadow in procreate

Next, we offset the shadow layer to actually see it. Go to the transform icon (arrow) and tap or drag the shadow slightly to the left or right (depending on where you want your shadow to be).

how to add shadow in procreate easy

Now we soften the edge by going to the adjustment settings (magic wand icon). Click on the gaussian blur option, and hit layer.

how to create shadow in procreate

Drag your finger to the right to increase the gaussian blur. Increase or decrease the blur to your liking.

how to create shadow in procreate

4. Adjust the opacity of the shadow for a realistic effect

Tap your shadow layer and decrease the opacity to your liking.

how to easily create shadow in procreate

That’s it! Now you’re done.

To increase realism with your shadows there are a few extra steps to consider, such as:

  • Color of the shadow
  • Edge hardness of the shadow
  • Placement of the shadow

But first, you need to know which kind of shadow you need.

Which kind of shadows are there?

There are a few shadows to consider:

  • Cast shadow
    • This is the shadow that an object casts onto other surfaces
  • Drop shadow
    • This shadow mimics the shape of the object and gives the illusion that the object is raised
  • Occlusion shadow
    • Darkest part of shadow
    • Appears where two surfaces make contact

Cast shadow

The cast shadow is, as the name suggests, a shadow that is cast by the object itself. The form of this shadow is determined by the shape of the object and the shape of the surface it is cast on.

The cast shadow is a term that is used for every type of shadow that casts a shadow, including occlusion and drop shadow. It’s easiest represented in a 3D view where the shadow noticeably reacts with its environment.

To create a cast shadow in Procreate, you:

  1. Make a duplicate of the object
    • Drag the layer to the left > hit duplicate
  2. Go to adjustments (wand icon) > hue saturation brightness > layer
  3. Drag brightness to 0%
  4. Offset shadow correctly
  5. Include any shadows that may be hit by the shadow
    • Use warp transform to wrap around the object
  6. Go to adjustments > gaussian blur > blur edges

Drop shadow

The name drop shadow is commonly used in graphic design and illustration. This shadow is simply a duplicate and is offset from the object. The name drop shadow often gets interchangeably used with cast shadows.

A drop shadow creates the illusion of a levitating object.

drop shadow

Occlusion shadow

Occlusion shadow is also known as contact shadow. This type of shadow only appears when two objects, or surfaces are close to each other, creating a dark value. Occlusion shadow is great for when you want to increase contrast. It makes objects stand out from each other.

occlusion shadow

Shadow placement

To know where exactly to place your shadows, you need to know where your light source is coming from. The shadow placement is always opposite of where the light is coming from.

The intensity of a light source determines how diffused the shadow is. A light source creates a harsh shadow when the light is very bright like on a sunny day.

Also, shadow is sharpest near the object and fades out further away from the object. Keep this in mind when creating them.

When it’s overcast outside the shadows will be very subtle with a soft edge. This is because the light is diffused because of the clouds.

Use references if you are not sure where and how to apply your shadows. Pixabay is a website that allows you to use their pictures for free.

Duplicate shadows

Sometimes there are multiple cast shadows. This is when there are multiple light sources One shadow is often stronger than the other, creating two shadows with different intensities.

This often happened at night, when multiple indoor lights are being used.

How to know which colors to use for shadows

The color of a shadow is determined by its environment. If you an outdoor scene, the cast shadow may reflect the blue of the sky. You can read more about reflective colors in How to shade an object in Procreate.

Here’s a tip: take the color of the object the shadow is cast on, and darken it. I usually desaturate the color as well. This looks better than just using a dark grey.

When working in graphic design and illustration, a fun artistic choice is to use a darker and slightly less saturated color of any hue as a shadow.

How to add a shadow to text in Procreate

In order to create a shadow for a text layer, you must rasterize it first or it won’t work.

Here are 5 steps to add shadows to text in Procreate :

  1. Select your text layer
  2. Tap your text layer
  3. Click rasterize
  4. Duplicate text layer
  5. Darken the newly created layer
    • Adjustments > Hue, saturation, brightness > layer > set brightness to 0%
  6. Drag the layer beneath your text layer and offset
  7. Blur by going to adjustments > gaussian blur > drag to increase blur

I hope you learnt all about creating shadows in Procreate! Post your questions in the comment section if you have any.

See you next week,

♡  Laura

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