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Prevent drop shadows from "adding" up

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Oliver Nalbach
Prevent drop shadows from "adding" up
on Oct 24, 2016 at 9:40:45 am

Hi all,
I am facing the following problem: I have several objects/layers that I want to cast a shadow. Initially, some are hidden behind others but later on I am revealing them, e.g., by sliding them to a new position or fading the layer on top to transparent. Now, when I apply drop shadows to all of the objects those shadows will add up (or rather multiply for the default blend mode) and make the overall shadow darker while the objects are still positioned in the same spot.

What I want, though, is a constant apparent shadow strength, i.e. what you would get when casting the drop shadows onto the background and then combining them by taking the minimum per pixel. I had hoped that the "Darker Color" blend mode would achieve this but it seems to interfere with the opacity of the shadows.

I assume that I could work around this by either using 3D shadows (never used this feature before) or by carefully animating the opacity of hidden objects but I would prefer a more efficient solution. So, is there a way to achieve this differently?

Thank you for your time.

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Michael Szalapski
Re: Prevent drop shadows from "adding" up
on Oct 25, 2016 at 4:13:08 pm

The easiest solution would be to just make the layers 3d and position a light or two to make real shadows.

That being said, if you precompose the moving layers and apply a drop shadow to the precomp, that'd work too.

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.

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Oliver Nalbach
Re: Prevent drop shadows from "adding" up
on Oct 26, 2016 at 11:53:31 am

Thanks, the precomposition approach sounds fine.

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