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How to Create Long Shadows in Affinity Designer
  • By Design Bundles
  • 12 Jul 2021
  • 10 Mins
  • Affinity Tutorials

How to Create Long Shadows in Affinity Designer

In this tutorial, learn how to easily create a Long Shadow in Affinity Designer.

The Long Shadow effect is as the name implies. It adds a long shadow to give dynamic impact to text or logo. The process involves multiple duplicates aligned in a specific way. The duplicates are then combined with a Boolean action and edited with the Node Tool. We will show you how to create a Long Shadow in Affinity Designer.

In this tutorial we are using the modern sans serif font, Cedric.

Begin by opening Affinity Designer and click New Document. Adjust your page settings if needed and click Create.

Step 1 - Type out text and quickly create duplicates

We will be applying the Long Shadow to text. On the left hand side click on the Artistic Text Tool (letter A).

If the tool is not visible, click the little white arrow next to the Frame Text Tool to open the selection.

We have an awesome tutorial on using the Artistic and Frame Text tools if you need some help. Type out your text, change the font and reposition the text top left of the document. This will provide space for the long shadow.

Type out text Affinity Designer

We will use 30 duplicate layers to better deal with stepping issues. Stepping is where one layer is placed slightly further away.

When combined, the placement creates 'steps' along the edge with multiple nodes. This gives a jagged appearance which we will correct in a later step.

With the text selected, press Ctrl+J / Cmd+J to duplicate. Do this another 8 times so you have 10 layers.

We can make quick work of duplicates by selecting all 10 layers and pressing Ctrl+J / Cmd+J two more times. You should have a total of 30 layers.

Step 2 - Align duplicate layers horizontally and vertically

The duplicate layers needs to be aligned to make the Long Shadow. Click on the top layer then press Shift and Click + drag down to the right.

A yellow guide will appear and constrain the text at an angle. You can also Click + drag manually and position where you want.

Duplicate layers Affinity

Select all of the layers and click the Layer menu at the top. Select Alignment then click Distribute Horizontally. Once again click Layer, Alignment then click Distribute Vertically.

Duplicate layers aligned Affinity

Step 3 - Use Boolean operation to combine duplicate layers

The duplicate layers need to be combined as a single curve in order to add a gradient. To do this we will use the Add Tool from the Boolean operations. The last layer is the one that is positioned at the top. So we will make a duplicate of this layer.

Under the Layers panel on the right scroll down to the last layer. Right click and select Duplicate. With the duplicate selected, go to the top of the screen and click on Move to Front.

Duplicate layer move to front

In the Layers Panel, click on the second layer from the top. Scroll down to the last layer, hold Shift + click on the last layer. All but the top most layer will now be selected. At the top of the screen are the Boolean Operations. Click on the Add Tool. A single curve layer has been created beneath the top layer.

Boolean Operations Add tool Affinity

Step 4 - Use the Node tool to smooth out edges

As mentioned earlier, the stepping method of placement causes rough looking edges. To smooth out the edges we will use the Node Tool. On the left side panel click the Node Tool.

Zoom in on the long shadow curve. Drag a selection box around the nodes you want to delete. The nodes will highlight in blue once selected. Next, press Delete.

Use the Node Tool Affinity

Repeat this for the rest of the long shadow curve.

Delete nodes on path Affinity

Step 5 - Add a gradient and adjust the shadow

To give the text more impact we changed the fill color to a Fuchsia. Change the color by going to the Color Panel on the right hand side. The Long Shadow method looks best with a text fill but no stroke color.

Adjust color of text Affinity

We will add a gradient fill to the shadow. We have a more in depth guide on creating gradients in Affinity if needed. Click on the Fill Tool and click on the curve layer to add the gradient. Adjust as needed and change the transparency if the gradient is too strong.

Add gradient Affinity Designer

A solid fill can also be added by clicking on the Type at the top and choosing Solid. Use the Color Panel to change the color.

Change solid fill Affinity

Crop the shadow by clicking on the Vector Crop Tool on the left side panel. Click and drag the bottom up until the shadow is cropped as you want.

Crop long shadow Affinity

Congratulations on creating a retro look for your text. Experiment further by adding a long shadow to a shape. If you're interested in learning more about creating long shadows in various programs check out our guides on making along shadow in Photoshop, and making a long shadow in Illustrator.


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