Magic Drop Shadows

Drop Shadows. Ho-hum. But what about using white ones to make radiant text, or THX-like glows emanating from behind a panel? Like this:

Magic Drop Shadows

Recently, I needed to design a logo and business card for a company whose name screamed out for radiance: “Luminosity”.

After choosing Valentina JF, a font designed by Jason Anthony Walcott and available at MyFonts.com, I went to work on making it glow. The trick was using three stacked text boxes with white drop shadows that use varying amounts of blur and opacity. I placed each text box on its own layer to make it easier to access them and to see how they affect each other:

Magic Drop Shadows

The first drop shadow adds a little glow behind the text. Notice its 100% opacity and .05” blur.

Magic Drop Shadows

The second drop shadow adds more glow and increases its spread. Notice its 80% opacity and .06” blur.

Magic Drop Shadows

The third drop shadow increases the glow and its spread even further. Notice its 80% opacity and .07” blur.

The final result is lots of glow near the letters, decreasing as it fades with distance.

With the logo handled, I wanted to create a dramatic “glow from behind the movie theater screen” look. That required some experimentation, but in the end was achieved with just one red drop shadow and a .5 pt red frame:

Magic Drop Shadows

That’s it: three drop shadows for glowing text and one drop shadow for a glowing rectangle.

Power User Tip: If you want to be able to easily edit the text after you create the glow effect, just use the Synchronized Text feature: Window> Shared Content. Then, when you change the text in any of the three text boxes, it will change in all three text boxes.