Excavations at Palo Alto and Cupertino have
confirmed that the practice of creating drop shadows was
widespread, and scientists believe that every mouse-clicking
Neanderthal was genetically compelled to make type leap
off the page using this digitally induced optical illusion.
Today the Neanderthal have all gone, but
like the cockroach and the crocodile, the drop shadow remains
with us in a virtually unaltered state. It's amazing that
all of the technical and application-based evolution has
not diminished the popularity of the drop shadow, in fact
it's used more than ever. The checkerboards, floating chrome
spheres, and gradient fills have all gone, but the drop
shadow is still an effective tool.
One reason for this is that the drop-shadow
adds a dynamic effect without forcing the designer to rework
too many things on the page. You could spruce up just about
any design with the simple addition of a drop shadow, without
making any other revisions.
In this article we will look at how to create a simple drop
shadow, as well as ones that are more realistic. I'll also
lay out some ideas for design components that are ripe for
drop-shadowing, including photographs and background tiles.
I'll be working it in Adobe Photoshop, although the same
principles and ideas could be used from Corel 8, Painter
5, Live Picture, or any other image editing application.