Is it possible to apply a drop shadow effect to an object and then somehow make the object itself invisible while the drop shadow remains visible?

2 Answers 2


If I'm understanding your question correctly, then the effect that you are looking for can be achieved by creating a white object with a drop shadow and then setting the whole thing to MULTIPLY / DARKEN / OVERPRINT.

The result would look something like this: enter image description here

  • 1
    Or if the design is simple, make the object the same colour as the background e.g. white star / white background you would only see the shadow. You would need Chris's method for an export with transparency though. Nov 28, 2016 at 13:02
  • I'm looking for something a little different. My goal is to have the object be completely transparent while the entire dropshadow is totally visible. Ideally I'd like to do this without having to separate the dropshadow from the item as I'd like to be able to update the path as needed. Note: I was able to achieve a similar effect with a path with weight 5px and feather 20px Sep 16, 2022 at 20:52

Yes you can, this is explained in an adobe forum, there's a workaround by: 1 - create object with dropshadow 2 - group that single object & add another drop shadow 3 - go to appearnace panel and double click the contents of the group & change the fill opacity to 0%. 4 - also in Appearance set drop shadow of first one to 0


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