Photoshop Text Effect Tutorial {Long Shadow}

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Creating a Long Shadow text effect in Photoshop is an excellent skill to learn. But, check this out; not only are you going to learn how to create a long shadow for your text, but I’m going to teach you two versions!

Yep, this is a 2-for-1 Photoshop tutorial! Ready to master creating long shadows for your text? Fantastic, let’s do it!

Table of Contents

Note: the (above) video tutorial was created with Photoshop beginners in mind. The following step-by-step instructions are for more experienced users.

Step 1: Create a New Document

create new document

As always, our first step is creating a new document in Photoshop; 1920×1080 @300ppi. Let’s use a nice retro beige color for the background; #d9d0bb.

Step 2: Add Your Text + Align

add text

Our Long Shadow is going to require some text! With your Text Tool (T), type out the word, in all caps, LONG. If you’d like to use the same font, it’s called Oswald. For the size, let’s set it to 100pt and white for the color.

For the position, use your Move Tool (V) to place it up and to the left of the center.

Step 3: Long Shadow Version 1

duplicate 250 times

Our first Long Shadow is a bit old school. But, don’t let that stop you from learning this method.

The first thing you’ll need to do is duplicate the text layer. Use Command or Ctrl + J to copy the layer. Rename the layer “Shadow Solid Color” and move it below the original text layer.

Grab your Text Tool (T) again, and change the color to; #333333. Next, activate your Free Transform Tool (Command or Ctrl + T) and rotate at a 45-degree angle.

Pro Tip:

Hold down your Shift key as you rotate with the Free Transform tool. This will allow you to rotate your content in 15-degree increments.

To the right of the blue outline, you’ll see a small box that displays the angle you’re currently at.

250 Duplicate Layers!

The secret to creating a Long Shadow, from this point, is duplicating the rotated layer 250 times. Oh, and move each new layer down 1 pixel and to the right 1 pixel.

That sounds like a lot of work! No worries. I’m going to share a shortcut with you to speed up this step.

Now that you have this part down, we have to rotate the long shadow with the Free Transform tool. Rotate to minus 45-degrees. You’ll need to align the left side of the shadow with the left side of the first letter.

Boom! You now have a long shadow!

duplicate 250 times

Extend the Shadow To Be Longer

I’d like the shadow to extend to the bottom edge of the canvas. Let’s duplicate our shadow layer and move it down and over with the free transform tool. Make sure it aligns with the original shadow.

If it’s still not quite at the edge, you can cheat by selecting all three layers and moving it down accordingly. Or repeat the previous steps (by duplicating one layer and moving).

BONUS: Style Your Shadow

Sometimes gray can be boring. Spice up the color of your shadow by adding a color overlay. First, select each shadow layer, right-click on one, and select Merge Layers.

Double click on this new layer to bring up the Layers Style window. In the left panel, choose Color Overlay. Pick your color, and voila!

Step 4: Long Shadow Version 2

long shadow version 2

Our second long shadow is a bit more modern. However, I prefer a vintage look. So, in the end, we’ll style everything with a retro texture.

Step Numero uno (one) is hiding the long shadow created in the first version. Click to the left of the shadow layer to hide it. The key to creating a different color for each shadow is shapes.

We’re going to create a custom shape with our Pen Tool (P). First, let’s add a couple of guides to, well, guide the angle of our shape. With your Shape Tool (Shift + U), navigate to the Line tool.

Set the stroke color to black and the fill to none. Also, set the stroke width to 5. Click on the top right of the first letter (“L” in this case) and drag it down past your canvas. Set the angle to 45-degrees.

Duplicate this guide layer and move it to the bottom right of the letter. Rename each guide to; Guide 1 and Guide 2.

Shapes With the Pen Tool

Grab your Pen Tool (T), and click at the top right of the first letter. This creates your first anchor point. Create another one at the bottom right (outside of the canvas).

Make sure to align your path with the guide. If it isn’t aligned, hold down your Command or Ctrl key and click on the anchor. Then, move it to match the angle of the guide.

Continue adding anchor points to align it to the other guide. Then, close out your path by clicking on the first anchor created.

Color Your Path

Next, we need to fill in this path with color. Which is going to be the color of your long shadow! For this letter, I’m using the following hexadecimal number that represents the brown color I’ve chosen; #885f1d.

Create a new layer named Long Shadow Brown. Then, right-click on your canvas and select Fill; Contents = Foreground Color. Repeat these steps for the remaining letters and change the color for each.

Retro Texture

I’ve included this photo to be used as our texture. Drag the file over your Photoshop interface to add it as a new layer. Make sure this image layer is at the top of the others.

Grab a side of the Free Transform tools blue outline, hold down the Command or Ctrl key (to resize from the center), and click and drag out. Make the image a wee bit larger than your canvas.

Next, let’s style this image layer by changing the Blending Mode to Multiply. Followed by lowering the Opacity to around 50%.

Now What?

Congratulations on finishing mastering long shadows for your text!

Now it’s time to show off your new Photoshop skills by sharing your text effect in our private Facebook Group. How? Join our community by clicking here to share your artwork. It’s a fantastic place to share, learn, and improve your Photoshop skills.

Ready to up your Photoshop skills even further? If so, discover all my premium Photoshop tutorials and or my free Photoshop tutorials.

Discover many more Photoshop text effect tutorials via this playlist that includes over 20 more designs you can master today!

Oh, and you might want to look into 17 free alternatives to Photoshop!

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