Drop Shadow 

Adding shadows works for bold, blocky letters as well as some thinner scripts. Go ahead and experiment with adding shadows and dimensions to more lettering styles. 

Start off the same way you did for the drop line: duplicate the layer that contains the letters, send it behind the main one and move it to a 45* angle. 

Instead of dragging the opacity down though, this time you want to recolor it. Staying on the same layer, start connecting the edges of the two layers. 

Wasn’t so hard, right? 

Now that you’re more confident, let’s spice things up by using different angles for the different words. 

This look will make your piece more dynamic. 

Similar to the previous technique, duplicate, recolor, drag to a 45* angle and connect the edges. 

In the meantime, you can also start experimenting with different shadow sizes. 

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can take it one step further by experimenting with the vanishing point. 

You can achieve this look in two ways: 

  • Duplicate, resize and move the layer, then connect all the corresponding edges; or 
  • Define a point, connect all edges of the letters to it and trace the letters again on the shadow. 

There is no right or wrong way to do this, you simply have to try all options and see what works best for you. 

Alright, now that you have mastered adding the drop shadow, go ahead and add some shading to it. 

First thing you need to do is define a light source and stick to it. At first you’ll get lost a bit but that’s okay. 

An easy way to figure this out is by imagining that your letter is an actual object on a table. Look at different objects in your room, both rounded and rectangular, to get a feel of how light and shadow play on it. 

Once you get the hang of it, you can mix things up and add different light sources to your angled drop shadows. Get creative and weird, don’t be afraid to mess things upm you most certainly will, that’s how we all learn! 

Just be sure to follow the drop shadow’s direction with the shading! 

If you want to make your words look even more 3-dimensional, go the extra mile and add a new layer of shadow. 

For this you’ll need to duplicate your main layer, send it all the way to the back and position it at the base of the drop shadow. 

Then, slightly move it to a 45* angle, but this time to the opposite direction to the drop shadow. 

Finally, connect the edges of the shadow and drop shadow, paying extra attention to the directions and light sources. 

Mix it up! 

You can now start to mix up all these techniques and get to some really interesting 3D lettering results! 


If you are making nice invitation card, you can use the methods mentioned in this article.

With each little doodle you’re getting one step closer to mastering the art of dimensional lettering. Don’t worry, you’ll start seeing the results of your practice sooner than you might expect. 

Just remember to start small, with some easy drop lines and as you get comfortable with the different styles, slowly work your way up to more complex dimensions. Take it easy and allow yourself to make mistakes. 

Practice makes perfect, nobody manages to do intricate dimensions on the first attempt. Try to have fun with it and enjoy the process!