We all know the default Photoshop drop shadow:
I know that ideal is subjective, but I have a hard time producing anything that doesn’t seem nearly as crude as this does.
A drop shadow that is more “ideal” is one like this:
I love how the drop shadow is sharp and defined (almost black) up close to the object, but has a large spread. I suspect it might be achievable with contours, but I don’t know well how to utilize them.
This is a quick effort:
And these settings don’t work well at all on text.
Anyone have any better advice? How do I produce a drop shadow that isn’t as crude-looking as the default? Using what techniques can I achieve drop shadows like in the example image?
Scott is right. To reproduce the effect I had to use 3 sets of drop shadows. One for the buttons, one for the text, and one that is slightly in-between the two. Here is the result:
(The right half of each icon is the original; the left half is the reproduction.)
There are some kerning differences, and I didn’t bother to reproduce the background noise, but it’s fairly close for a quick mockup.
Here are the settings for the two main shadows: