Let's say we have a ring on a transparent background:

My question is: how I put a drop shadow on this object's external borders only?

If I apply a plain Drop Shadow effect, I get the following, which is not what I want since the internal borders also have a drop shadow.:

2 Answers 2

  1. Apply a drop-shadow as in your second example.
  2. Go to the blending options for the drop-shadow effect.
  3. Tick the box which says: "Layer mask hides effects".

enter image description here

  1. You can now use selection tools to select the inner drop-shadow circle of your layer
  2. With this inner drop shadow selected, you can mask it out.

enter image description here

  1. Invert the mask, if necessary with Ctrl / Cmd+i

Your drop shadow is going to come from a separate object that shares the outside circumference minus the void in the middle.

or, you can use the quick select tool to only highlight the outside, include the inside, modify the edge to make it cleaner, etc etc..

  • I think mrmre is saying this… On a new layer below the object, create a selection the same size as the outer circle and apply a stroke to the inside (Edit > Stroke). Then apply the drop shadow to that object. The outer part of the drop shadow will show and the inner part of the drop shadow will be hidden behind the object.
    – ispaany
    Commented Oct 14, 2015 at 19:17

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