I have the following image that is displayed in along similar images. Each image links to a tourism brochure. I've been tasked into adding a new brochure with its own image.

enter image description here

Each image features some drop shadow effect that I need to reproduce on the new image, but I do not know what drop shadow settings has been used to create the original drop shadow.

enter image description here

What steps are required to obtain the data needed to reproduce the drop shadow? I need to know the original color, radius and blur.

Is it possible or should I just try trial and error?

2 Answers 2


I believe you're stuck with trial and error. Depending on the complexity of the shadow, it might not be so bad.

Here's how I usually do it (in Photoshop, but the steps should be similar for other programs)...

  1. Duplicate the layer with the shadow that needs to be reproduced.
  2. Mask the upper layer so that you are looking at an image comprised of both layers.
  3. On the lower layer, remove the shadow so you just have your base image.
  4. Fiddle with shadows on the lower layer until you can't tell where the upper layer ends and the lower layer begins.

It tends to look something like the following:

enter image description here
enter image description here
enter image description here

  • Was half way of writing nearly identical answer. :)
    – Joonas
    Apr 3, 2012 at 15:30
  • @Lollero Old-timer gets one once in a while. ;)
    – Farray
    Apr 3, 2012 at 15:31
  • 2
    If you have Photoshop Extended the color sampler tool can help with this a lot. It's like the eye dropper, but for multiple points and it keeps sampling as you adjust. It means you can place the dropper on the other shadow and keep tweaking until it matches perfectly. Apr 5, 2012 at 11:44
  • @MarcEdwards: Surely you don't need Extended for color samplers? They are certainly in CS2.
    – e100
    Apr 10, 2012 at 12:26
  • @e100 & MarcEdwards - Thanks! I had never noticed that little guy hiding behind the eyedropper... very useful tool.
    – Farray
    Apr 10, 2012 at 14:29

Unless you can get a source file which contains this information, or get the original designer to give you the parameters, then you'll need to use trial and error.

However I'm not sure Paint.NET is the tool for the job, as it doesn't seem to support drop-shadows out of the box.

Also, the effects it does have are static rather than dynamic, i.e. you generate them anew each time rather than manipulate their parameters, as you would in Photoshop.

  • oh I must have had a drop shadow plugin installed from a long time ago, since it allow me to do drop shadow. I am currently trying trial and error. I found something very similar, only the grey tint is not exactly the same. Apr 3, 2012 at 15:11

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