How to create the shadow effect like the URL/image below? Specifically, the rounded/curved shadow at the bottom:


  • I don't think that shadow is actually curved. However, curving a shadow like so to make something look like it bumps up in the center is a common effect. It's achieved by sepparating the shadow effect into its own layer, via duplicating the layer, and reducing the fill to 0, and leaving only the shadow effect active before rasterizing the layer via merging it with a blank layer. Now suddenly you have a drop shadow rasterized, in its own sepparate layer, ready for you to go at it with your eraser tool, or marqueee, or whatever you choose.
    – Eric
    Aug 15, 2013 at 15:02

6 Answers 6


I suspect that the curve on that shadow might be an optical illusion of sorts. As @lawndartcatcher explains in his answer, the curved look can be achieved by making the intensity (or opacity) of the shadow fall off towards either end.

Here is a step-by-step look at that process.

Here is my top layer: Top Layer

Below that I add a basic soft shadow (I used a feathered selection to make it): Basic Shadow

Now here's the part that gives the curved look. I screen this gradient over the shadow layer: Reflected Gradient

And I get this result: Curved Shadow

Putting it all together gives something that I think matches closely with your reference: Final Result

Here is a look at my final layers in Photoshop CS3:


[Download the PSD file]

NOTE: I used a gradient with its blending mode set to screen to create the intensity falloff of the shadow. While this makes for a good visual demonstration, it really only works when you are dealing with a white background. To apply the same tenique to cases with different background colors, you would want to apply the gradient as a layer mask to the shadow layer.

  • @Sean... would you mind putting up the PSD file for download?
    – Hristo
    Apr 19, 2011 at 13:59
  • @Hristo - file download link added
    – Sean
    Apr 20, 2011 at 0:26
  • This is exactly the shadow displayed in the image in question. Not best shadow but seems quite fine. Apr 20, 2011 at 9:09

It looks like an extremely stretched circle with a 2 or 3px feather to me... not a gradient or true drop shadow at all.

layer 1 layer 1

layer2 (circle marquee with 2px feather and anti-alias on filled w/ black. Layer opacity set to 25%) enter image description here

Both layers combined. enter image description here

My example only took 3 minutes to build. You could def elaborate by using a large 10% opacity eraser with a soft edge to help fade the outer edges more (for example) on the layer 2. Or using a warm gray to fill the circle as opposed to black - that's all up to you.

  • To make shadow even more realistic, you should create an alpha channel with a gradient black on sides and white on centre and then rather use Lens Blur. This will make shadow more realistic ba visually blurring more at the middle (because as it seem the object is rased more at centre than sides) and almost no blur on edges (object lays down) Apr 20, 2011 at 9:08

1) Create a gradient that has the areas that are "shallower" (not as much of a drop shadow) with lower opacity values.
2) Apply that to either a rectangular mask or selected area on a floating layer (use a rectangular marquee to select a portion). Make sure there's some "empty" space below it for the drop shadow.
3) Double-click the floating layer that contains your gradient to bring up the Styles menu. Apply a drop shadow to the layer (you'll have to fiddle with it a bit to get it where you want it).
4) You can create another layer above the original layer, bring up your original gradient, and make all of the color points 100% opaque. Re-apply this to the new layer to overlay the original gradient. That way you'll have a 100% opaque gradient (on top) with a variable opacity layer / drop shadow below it.

Play around with the settings a little; eventually you'll get something you like.


If we examine shadows of objects lifted in the middle we can see that their shadow blur progresses the more it's lifted and is more sharp the more the object touches its ground.

So the most realistic shadow of an object that seems to be lifted in the middle should be done this way:

  1. copy your layer with the square that needs a shadow
  2. fill it with black (or any other appropriate shadow colour
  3. create an Alpha filter that had a gradient (black on sides, white in the middle)
  4. go back to your shadow layer and select Filter > Blur > Lens Blur
  5. a dialog will open where you can select your alpha channel
  6. select appropriate blur level and confirm

Note: additional tweaking can be done to make it even better by distorting the square (stop #2) so the middle part extends below original layer.

This will create the most realistic shadow effect that can be seen below on this image (click for a 100% preview). Shadow with different strengths is applied three times

  • upper band and
  • middle ribbon-like object that also seems to have curved/flipped lower edge.

Most realistic shadow

  • hi, this may sound dumb but can you post screenshotson those steps you're saying? thanks!
    – CheeseCake
    Feb 9, 2014 at 21:11

What about a simple: Filters → Light and Shadow → Xach-Effect?

Or a fancy Filters → Decor → Add Bevel ?


check this tutorial and follow the same and u"ll get your effect for sure..


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.