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Adding drop shadows

From: After Effects Apprentice 16: Creating a Medical Opening Title

Video: Adding drop shadows

Next, I'd like to work on the appearance and timing of these various video frames earlier in this composition. One, I notice it's a little bit hard to distinguish between them as they overlap. I'm going to turn off my Action/Title Safe Areas because I've already arranged my layers just to give myself a clear view of my composition. I think a bit of drop shadow would help me make these stand out against each other. There are a couple of approaches I could take. One approach would be just applying a drop shadow inside this Final Comp, so I'm going to select one of my extra videos, such as this Stress Test video here and apply Effect>Perspective>Drop Shadow.

Adding drop shadows

Next, I'd like to work on the appearance and timing of these various video frames earlier in this composition. One, I notice it's a little bit hard to distinguish between them as they overlap. I'm going to turn off my Action/Title Safe Areas because I've already arranged my layers just to give myself a clear view of my composition. I think a bit of drop shadow would help me make these stand out against each other. There are a couple of approaches I could take. One approach would be just applying a drop shadow inside this Final Comp, so I'm going to select one of my extra videos, such as this Stress Test video here and apply Effect>Perspective>Drop Shadow.

Just like I did with the text, I'm going to set the distance down to 0 to center the blur and increase the softness, until I get a little bit of overlap on the layers behind. It's bit on the weak side, so I'm going to increase the darkness just to help make it stand out a little bit better and then my differences in size will become a little bit more apparent. That's one approach I could apply to the whole layer here. Another idea would be to cut it from here, go back to my Extra Video Frame Master and apply the drop shadow to the master here.

That way it will also cast a shadow on top of the inset video. The problem is that the drop shadow will extend beyond the edges of these frames. So I would have to increase my comp size to do this, maybe to the order of say 420 to 340, so that my alpha channel is not clipped off by the edge of my comp, and then the drop shadow for that frame would overlap the video as well. But I'm not sure that's a necessary step. I'm going to cut it from here, go back to my Final Comp, select all of my videos and paste my drop shadow effect under them, just to get this little bit of distinction to help them stand out against each other.

Now the reason that I'm using the drop shadow effect here instead of Layer>Layer Styles>Drop Shadow, is that Layer Styles don't play nicely with 3D space, they cause the rendering order to break, and layers don't interact as well. I'll go ahead and use Layer Styles in a 2D comp, such as when I was building the main title. But in 3D space, I'll fall back on After Effect's Normal Effects. Okay, there's our drop shadows.

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