I'm working with Illustrator CS6.

When I apply a single drop shadow to an object everything is peachy, like with this red stroke drop shadow, with no blurring:

enter image description here

This green drop shadow with 0.4 mm blurring is OK as well:

enter image description here

But when I apply both drop shadows to the letter's stroke things get weird. First, the red drop shadow not only is applied to the letter, but also to the green drop shadow. Next, despite the red drop shadow having no blurring, it adds width to its rendering of the green drop shadow, but the blur is lost:

enter image description here

So, instead of having 2 (independent) drop shadows, I have 3. If you create 3 drop shadows the artwork will show 7. For 4 drop shadows you get 15, and an awful mess.

Now, was this behavior (drop shadows also being applied to other drop shadows) intentional, or is this a bug? If it is a bug, was it fixed in CC? And regardless, how can I have 2 drop shadows in CS6?

1 Answer 1


Effects (all effects, not only drop shadows) are cumulative, they aren't only applied to the base object but the output of all styles and effects applied before—so this is working as intended.

The way to get around this is to apply your drop shadow to something different.

The easiest option is probably to use the appearance panel to duplicate the stroke or fill your drop shadow is applied to. As you can see here I have two strokes, each with a single drop shadow. Each shadow only affects the stroke it is applied to and doesn't interfere with the other shadow:

enter image description here

  • Thanks. One minor issue: after I add a new stroke attribute, Illustrator won't let me drag and drop one of the drop shadows onto it. Is that normal? (It's not that bad, I can simply add it using the "add new effect".)
    – stevenvh
    Oct 14, 2016 at 8:19
  • You can drag and drop the effects, it's sometimes a bit awkward though as it only lets you drop it on certain part of the bar. Not sure, but it does work :)
    – Cai
    Oct 14, 2016 at 8:23

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