Build an After Effects Shadow Rig that Can Bend

Looking for another shadow effect? Long shadows, drop shadows, and animated shadows can make type more legible and more interesting. Watch Mikey Borup add another type of shadow to the list by showing us how to create a shadow rig for one that can bend.

The effect is based on a single gradient, then using After Effects’ Displace effect to perform the bending operation. Then it’s a matter of getting the soft attenuation effect for the shadow that is farthest away from the source, much how a real light will work in real life. This can be easily done using a Compound Blur effect that also uses the gradient to define which areas will receive more blur.

The final shadow rig proves to be a much faster performing blur effect than actually creating a curved surface for the back ground in 3D and having lights cast shadows.