Long shadows are three things: Visually interesting, used quite a bit, and not so easy to create efficiently in After Effects. Over the years there has been more than a few tutorials on the subject. Tutorials seemed to blossom into presets. There are plenty of presets for creating long shadows in After Effects. The thing is, the methods are not very efficient. Replicating layers, or using heavy native AE plugs to do the job. Looks great, but can bog down your projects.
Finally long shadow presets have evolved into a full fledged plugin. A GPU accelerated one at that. Created by RGBA Entertainment, who has brought us the famed looks of the Retro Dither plugin, and Lettermapper both full-on GPU fast plugins.
The latest offering, LongShadow is a plugin that allows you to create various shadow and silhouette effects. With the plugin you can create long directional shadows, or more stylized radial and reversed shadows. The Long Shadow plugin also allows for attributes such as an edge color tracing feature, several masking and coloration modes and a lot more.
The LongShadow plugin for After Effects is available for $39.00 through aescripts + aeplugins. You can get 25% off and pick it up for $29.00 until Jan 13.