Long Shadow effects look stunning, but it can be challenging to create from scratch. Fortunately, Motion Array’s Long Shadow plugin allows you to create this fun style in just five minutes. Use this effect to create bold and fun titles and typography videos, or add to graphics and footage for an eye-catching look.
A long shadow effect does precisely what you think it does; it adds a long shadow to elements in your video. The effect doesn’t give you a realistic-looking shadow, but a chunky, bold, almost cartoon looking piece. This style can be used to powerful effect in promos, showreels, opening credits, and event videos.
How to Use the Long Shadow Plugin
Check your effects list to make sure you have the Long Shadow plugin installed. If you don’t see it, check out this tutorial on how to install Motion Array plugins.
Step 1: Add the Effect to Your Text/Graphic
The long shadow effect works best with text or graphics with a transparent background, such as a PNG.
- With your text element ready in the sequence, go to the Effects panel, and find the Motion Array folder.
- Find the Long Shadow Effect and drag and drop it to your text layer.
- If the text layer displays with a red cross through it, go to the Effects Control panel and log in to your Motion Array account. An active, paid Motion Array subscription will remove the red demo X.
Step 2: Customize Your Effect
To begin, select the text layer in the sequence and go the Effects Control panel. Here you will see the variety of parameters that you can customize to create your own unique titles: Amount, Angle, Opacity, and Color.
- Adjust the Amount setting to increase or decrease the length of your shadow.
- Change the Angle setting set the direction in which the shadow is cast.
- The Opacity control lets you change the transparency of the shadow so that you can see the background through it.
- To change the color of your shadow, select the Color box. You can use a hex code or the color picker if you want to get super accurate.
Step 3: Keyframe the Settings
One of the most significant customizable elements of this plugin is the ability to keyframe the effect and add animation to your shadow. You can keyframe all four parameters: Shadow Amount, Angle, Opacity, and Color.
- In your sequence, place the player head at the point you want to start the shadow animation.
- In the Effects Control panel, select the stopwatch alongside the parameter(s) you want to keyframe, and customize the setting.
- Move the player head to the point you want the animation to stop, and add a new keyframe.
- Change the parameter to the new setting. The shadow will now animate between the two settings you have created.
Step 4: Stacking the Effect
The best thing about this plugin is that you can stack it to create multiple shadows in different colors. That’s right, a shadow on a shadow!
- Once you have finished creating your first shadow, go to the Effects panel, grab another Long Shadow, and drop it on your clip. The effect will be added to the first shadow.
- Adjust the color to create a whole new look. If you change any of the other settings, all the shadows will change. This means you only need to add keyframes to the first one!
- Add another shadow and change the color, and as many as you want!
Step 5: Add a Long Shadow to Footage
But we said that this worked best on text and graphics, right? Well, yes, the Long Shadow effect works brilliantly with elements that have a transparent background.
If you add the effect to a regular clip, it won’t appear to do anything. Long shadows can look amazing with footage, but you need to prep it a little first.
- Select the clip and identify the object in the footage you want to add the shadow to.
- Duplicate the clip by clicking Alt or Option, and dragging it directly above the original on a new track.
- With the top one selected, go to the Effects Control panel and select the Mask tool.
- Draw around the object in the footage, so it’s isolated on its own layer, and set the Mask Feather to 0.
- Right-click the clip, and select Nest Sequence.
- Add the Long Shadow effect to the nested sequence and customize the parameters. Cool, right!
We hope you enjoyed this tutorial on how to use Motion Array’s Long Shadow plugin, an easy to use solution for an awesome and complicated looking effect. Have fun with this plugin; we can’t wait to see what you create. Go on, add another shadow, now you know how to add as many as you’d like!