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?
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:
2) Create a a third shape, whose color matches the background:
3) Select the blend tool:
4) Click your shadow shape and the background color shape:
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.