Shadows in After Effects are keys to show depth and dimension your layers, text and videos. Hopefully you have used already the common drop shadow effect but you might not be aware all the shadow style  you can create in After Effects. My objective in this tutorial is show multiple ways on how to create shadows directly into After Effects with simple steps. I will also provide free After Effects project source files so you don’t have the follow the whole process to start working on your masterpiece.

Below are 10 types of shadows you can create in After Effects.

Simply click on each links below to expand and read.

How to Create a Drop Shadow in After Effects

The Drop Shadow effect is one of the easiest and most used effects in After Effects, it basically allows you to project a shadow behind any object you have on your scene.

check below the first method to create it.

There are 2 ways to add a drop shadow to your layers, texts or video… just follow these steps below.


  • Create New composition
  • Click on and type a text in your composition
  • Open your Effects & Presets panel – Shortcut below
  • Type Drop Shadow on the search field (screenshot on the right)
  • Drag and drop the Drop Shadow effect on your layer on your timeline or your composition scene
  • You should now see a drop shadow behind your text 🙂

The drop shadow preset has pretty much all the regular properties you can change such as:

  • Shadow color
  • Opacity
  • Direction
  • Distance
  • Softness
  • Shadow Only

Check out the screenshot on drop Shadow properties on the right.

Dowload Drop Shadow Method 1 – AE Project here


The second way to create a drop shadow in After Effects is to use the layer styles options, this drop shadow has more properties than the regular drop shadow effect I mentioned above.

Follow the steps below

  • Create New composition
  • Click on and type a text in your composition
  • Click on Layer tab > Layer Styles > Drop Shadow
  • This is what you should see under your layer styles

As you can see the Drop Shadow from Layer Styles have more options such as below

  • Blend mode
  • Shadow Color
  • Opacity
  • Use Global Light
  • Angle
  • Distance
  • Spread
  • Size Shadow
  • Noise Shadow
  • Layer Knocks Out Drop Shadow

Dowload Drop Shadow Method 2 – AE Project here



Another After Effects shadow option you may not have tried yet is the Dimension+Bevel+Shadow presets located in the Effects and Presets panel

This preset basically add a regular drop shadow effect and add bevel alpha to emboss your layer here is a  preview below.


Download the Dimension+Bevel+Shadow example here