In this article, I’ll be showing you how to add a drop shadow to text, objects, layers, etc. using Affinity Photo. You can watch the video version below, or skip over it to the full help article version. Let’s get into it!
Create a New Document
For starters, create a new composition by hitting ctrl+n (cmd+n on a MAC) on your keyboard to bring up the “New Document” dialogue (outlined in green in the image above). I’ll go with the default settings (1920×1080 px composition – yellow arrow) and click “Create” (red arrow).
Add and Style Your Text
Next, I’ll grab the “Artistic Text Tool” from the toolbox (red arrow) as I’ll be adding the drop shadow effect to text for this example. You can also use the “T” shortcut key to select this tool.
Click on your canvas with the Artistic Text Tool and begin typing your text (red arrow in the image above – text may be tiny by default like in my case). I simply used “Drop Shadow” as my text, hitting the enter key after “Drop” to put “Shadow” on a second line.
Hit ctrl+a to select all your text (or go to Select>Select All), then choose a size for your text in the Context Toolbar (outlined in blue in the photo above). Select a font from the dropdown in the Context Toolbar to change the font of your text (outlined in green), and click the justify center icon to center your text in the textbox (gold arrow in the image). Finally, use the Alignment icons in the Toolbar (red arrow) to align your text to the center of the image (purple arrows).
Add Drop Shadow Effect
With your text styled and in place, navigate over to the “Effects” tab (blue arrow in the image above) and check the box labeled “Outer Shadow” (red arrow).
Scroll down to get a better view of all the settings for this effect (the settings should automatically drop down when you check the Outer Shadow box). Here you’ll see your options for adding a drop shadow to your layer. The easiest way to setup your drop shadow is to click the “Offset Tool” button (red arrow in the image above). This tool, when enabled, allows you to reposition the drop shadow on your layer by clicking and dragging your mouse on your canvas. You’ll know it’s enabled because your mouse pointer will display an icon of two overlapping squares.
With the Offset Tool enabled, click and drag your mouse in the direction you want the drop shadow to appear (in my case I dragged it down and to the right slightly, demonstrated by the mouse cursor in the photo above following the direction of the purple arrow). You’ll notice two of our settings for the Outer Shadow effect will update as we drag our mouse – the “Offset” slider (green arrow) and the “Angle” setting (blue arrow).
Offset is the distance our shadow is from its original location. The angle is the direction of our drop shadow. In this case, my offset value was 28.9 px and the angle value was 319 degrees.
If I drag the drop shadow to the left and even further away from our text (again, follow the mouse cursor and purple arrow in the image above), you’ll see the “Offset” value will update to 34.5 pixels (green arrow) and the “Angle” value will update to 231 degress (blue arrow – the small line inside the little Angle wheel is pointing down and to the left now).
Now that the drop shadow is in position, let’s go over the other settings for this effect.
The “Color” box shows the color of the actual drop shadow. Right now, it is set to black. We can change this to any color we want by clicking inside the color box (red arrow) and selecting a new color. I can choose from a variety of color types from the dropdown (green arrow), use the color picker tool (blue arrow), or simply drag my mouse around the color area to select a color I’d like to use.
Since I went with the “RGB Sliders” option for selecting my color, I can adjust the R (Red), G (Green) or B (Blue) sliders to create a new color (outlined in gold in the above image). Or, I can simply drag my mouse around the color area (red arrow) to manually pick a color. In my case, I went with a green color – and you can see the new selected color in the Color box (blue arrow). Click the color box or somewhere outside the color dialogue to collapse it.
The next setting is the “Opacity” setting (red arrow). This allows you to choose how opaque (100%) or transparent (0%) your drop shadow is. For example, if I drag the value of this slider up from 50% to 65% (as I did in the photo), the drop shadow will now be slightly more visible because it’s more opaque.
The final setting for the Outer Shadow effect to create our drop shadow is the “Radius” slider (red arrow). This slider adds or removes blur to the drop shadow, giving it a harder or softer look. If I increase the radius value (as I did in the photo), it will blur our drop shadow and thus make it softer.
We already covered the “Offset” and “Angle” settings, but know that you can manually adjust these settings using the slider (for Offset) or by clicking and dragging the circle (for Angle).
You can also click the numerical value for the Angle to more precisely set an angle using your keyboard (red arrow in the image above).
If you want to disable the drop shadow at any time, you can scroll up to reveal the “Outer Shadow” effect title and uncheck the checkbox.
That’s it for this article! If you enjoyed it, you can check out my other Affinity tutorials on my homepage!