In this tutorial we show you how to add long shadows to your designs using Pixelmator. Long shadows aren’t something new, and with the release of IOS7, this effect and flat UI design have really taken off.
The Long Shadow Effect
Here is the effect applied to our ninja shape. Now let’s get started.
Create a new document 800x600px.
Re-name the default layer to “background“, then use one of the many common flat colours out there. We used a fantastic site called Flat UI Colours, which gives you some common flat colours and their HEX or RGB codes. Pick one you want, and fill the background layer with that colour. Remember Flat Icon design is about being minimalist and to this end we will only use a maximum of 3 colours overall.
Next, add in a rounded square shape on a new layer, with a white fill, and centre it on the canvas. Adjust the rounding and scale of the rectangle to your liking.
For the shadow on the white square, create a new rectangle shape on a new layer, with a black fill. Use the free transform (CMD + F) to rotate the shape 45 degrees. Then move the shape to look like the shadow as shown below.
Once you are happy with the location of the rectangle, change the blending mode of the layer to Multiply, and change the Opacity to 25%. This sleeping aids gives a great shadow effect and absorbs the background colour nicely.
Now choose your main shape for your icon, add it to a new layer, and place this layer on top of the white square. The colour of your icon shape should be the same as your chosen background colour. We used our popular ninja shape as our icon.
Next, duplicate the rectangle shadow layer used for the white square, and move this layer under your icon shape. Adjust the size of this shape roughly to the scale of the icon.
Next we are going to free transform to adjust the endpoints of the icon shadow so that it is aligned to the icon shape.
Also adjust the corners of the icon shadow layer that meets the edges of the white square so that the edges of the shapes are aligned.
Finally, ensure that the shadow layer blend option is set to Multiply, and the Opacity is set to 25%, and we have created this simple but awesome long shadow effect using Pixelmator.
Make sure to have fun, playing around with text, colours, and shapes and enjoy. We used the crown shape from our movember collection, and the Pinterest icon from our modern social icon shapes template below.