How to make this shadow more realistic?

I’m trying to show that the red part of this shape is much further above the blue part I tried adding a drop shadow, but it still looks like both blue and red are on the same plane. How do I make this look visually correct? enter image description here

Here is the reference image:
enter image description here
I would just trace the shadow in the image but it’s too difficult because it’s obscured in a few places.



  1. Your shadow paths should show differences in depth for the two different path heights, and also where the shadow of the upper path falls over the lower path (right hand ascending loop) there should be a jump in that shadow, so you can “read” the difference in height of the path relative to the white groundplane.
  2. Where the two shadows overlap under the intersections of your paths, these should not multiply one another and end up darker – this isn’t how actual shadows work; therefore cut the shadow of the upper path and/or pathfinder intersect it with the other shadow if that will work.


  1. The original illustration had shadows which were both higher density (darker and less transparent) and more hard-edged (less diffuse – less feather) and so read as though both the light source were far away (like the sun) and the arrows relatively close to the groundplane as compared with the distance from the lightsource, which lends believability. Your shadows are far less dense, more transparent, and have diffuse, feathered edges, leading one to think the light source is closer or less potent, or that the groundplane is soft or rough textured. Further, with shadows that diffuse, I’m not sure that the gaps between the arrow sections read well.

Hope this helps some.

Source : Link , Question Author : Emily , Answer Author : GerardFalla

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