I gave a comp to my client that I did in Photoshop. I used an inner shadow but now have realized the in Illustrator CS5 I have no such "easy" filter. I have spent 2 days seaching the web, trying tutorials, etc. to no avail. Every tutorial seems to use text but I am not using text. Anyone that can answer I would forever been in debt... :)

This is the image with the inner shadow inside the stripes that I am needing to duplicate.

Inner Shadow Example



7 Answers 7


Effect -> Stylize -> Inner Glow. Change the mode to Multiply. Click on the little square next to the Mode dropdown and select a suitable black from the color picker. Fiddle with the other settings as needed.

  • lawndartcatcher's answer is the sollution to your issue for sure, but if you wanna go more in depth you can try the tehnique used in this video youtube.com/watch?v=cclgDo2aapU , You'll need to add some masks and other stuff to make it work for you in this scenario... good luck! Commented Nov 15, 2011 at 14:58
  • You could also use the mesh tool if you want to be super-exact...figured this was the simplest / fastest way. Commented Nov 15, 2011 at 15:37
  • Thanks for the reply lawndartcatcher. I actually tried that but the glow is even around the interior of my shape. What I need is that exact effect BUT only on the left and top for more of a pressed effect... Is there a way to mask part of the inner glow possibly (maybe turn it into a shape > mask)? So frustrated that this takes me 15 seconds to apply in PS and Illustrator seems to have left this out..
    – user2900
    Commented Nov 15, 2011 at 16:15
  • Unfortunately this get's converted to an embedded image when exported as SVG. Same with a gradient that runs across the path. It looks much nicer too.
    – m4heshd
    Commented Sep 21, 2021 at 0:49

This is actually achievable in Illustrator. You need 3 Objects for this:

  1. Top: Copy of your original ribbon
  2. Middle: Rectangle where you cropped out the original ribbon shape
  3. Bottom: Your original ribbon

Now if you apply a drop shadow to the rectangle, you get what looks like an inner shadow to the original shape (because the ribbon is cropped out, the side of the shadow gets reversed). All you have to do now is select the copy of your ribbon and the rectangle and create a clipping mask to get rid of the extra shadow around the rectangle.

how it looks before the clipping mask

  • This was a neat technique. (Probably more correct than the highest-voted answer, too!) Thanks for sharing it!
    – Brendan
    Commented Jun 4, 2013 at 15:23

Found a great tutorial.. thought of sharing it here.


  • 1
    That is in fact, a very neat trick. I will try it out and see what I can get out of it.
    – KMSTR
    Commented Nov 5, 2012 at 8:20
  • In case the link breaks, can you add some of its content to your answer?
    – Yisela
    Commented Nov 5, 2012 at 20:23

I found that the inner shadow effect is possible using SVG filters.

  1. Open the Appearance palette and go to fx > SVG Filters > Apply SVG Filter...
  2. In the Apply SVG Filter dialog click on the 'New SVG Filter' icon. You will see a text editor with something like this:

    <filter  id="NewFilter"></filter>
  3. Replace this code with the following:

    <filter  id="InnerShadowExample">
      <!-- Shadow Offset -->
      <!-- Shadow Blur -->
      <!-- Invert the drop shadow to create an inner shadow -->
      <!-- Color & Opacity -->
      <!-- Clip color inside shadow -->
      <!-- Put shadow over original object -->
  4. Click Ok and check the preview box to see the filter on your object.

  5. Click Ok if you like it - or you can click on the fx icon to open the text editor again to play around with some of the settings.

It may be worth reading up on some of the specifics to do with the SVG syntax - but there are some very helpful tools available. Whats more - you can save your illustration as an SVG to use as a vector graphic in a webpage! Awesomeness! I actually came across this post while trying to produce SVG for a website. I found the filter here.

Hope this helps someone :)

  • This is the best answer here! I actually prefer the plain text / code for manipulating the different inner shadows that I will need also.
    – ckaufman
    Commented Feb 24, 2014 at 14:58

It is how I do my inner shadow in Illustrator if it can help

  1. Create a shape in a layer and fill it with a colour but not fill the stroke
  2. Duplicate it on the same layer and hide it
  3. Duplicate it again and put it in a different layer UNDER the layer you will work with and hide it.
  4. Create another empty path in the same layer behind the shapes
  5. Create a grey rectangle which is including all the shape visible
  6. Select the shape visible and the grey rectangle together
  7. Go to the Pathfinder and click on “Minus front”
  8. Go to effect then stylize and “drop shadow” to create a shadow
  9. Make visible the shape you hid previously (2)
  10. Go to Clipping mask and click “make”
  11. Make visible the shape you hid on the layer under your clipping mask layer (3)



If you want a inner shadow from the top for example, copy and past (ctrl+f) your shape, them move down just a lil bit, paste again (ctrl+b) and crop the objects. You will see the form as the inner shadow, but now it's remaining the blur effect, them apply -> blur -> gaussian blur. Them copy the same shape from the begin again (ctrl+F), and create a vector mask with the shape who you've applied the gaussian blur. Done!


Try using InDesign. There's an inner shadow effect there and that way your image can be vector :) Not sure why they don't have the same options in Illustrator!

  • 1
    You could maybe go into more detail with your answer here. Except for suggesting different software I don't see anything wrong with Jonathan's answer. Downvoters maybe consider to comment when you downvote, so it becomes obvious why you think this answer is not good.
    – kontur
    Commented Dec 3, 2012 at 20:55

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