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I know how to make a drop shadow from the effects panel but it is not useful for what i am trying to do. so i was wondering if anybody knew of an alternative to making drop shadows like this?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Fact is, it's difficult to create something that's that smooth and isn't a vector. At least, as far as I know. But here's a neat method that may create similar results without the rendering/rerendering times:

(Excuse my poor handwriting)

1) Create your shadow:

enter image description here

2) Create a a third shape, whose color matches the background:

enter image description here

3) Select the blend tool:

enter image description here

4) Click your shadow shape and the background color shape:

enter image description here

Of course, the downside is that this only works with solid color backgrounds. But hopefully this sends you in the right direction and gives you a few ideas.

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Nicely done! The non-solid background issue can be handled with a blend mode and playing with opacity, I would think. (I have problems with my handwriting too, but it's getting the ink off the screen that's hardest.) :-) –  Alan Gilbertson Jun 6 '11 at 6:24
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