Create Long Shadow Effects in Inkscape

Inkscape is the most popular vector graphic software in Linux platform. It’s the best CorelDraw/Adobe Illustrator alternative in the FOSS environment. In this article, I would like to share a simple way to create a long shadow effect in Inkscape.

In a nutshell, the long shadow is created with Interpolate method. The concept is it creates linear interpolation between two or more selected path. To learn more about interpolation extension in Inkscape, this article gives a better explanation about it.

On the demo below we apply shadow effect in a text logo, here is the step. ➡

1. Create text or Path

Create an object that you would like to apply the long shadow effect. On this demo, we create a text object and use PT Sans font. If you create a non-path object like text or rectangle don’t forget to convert it into a path. To convert an object to path, click Path > Object to Path or use Ctrl + Shift + T shortcut. There is an extra step for text path, we have to merge it into a single path. Click the object and click Path > Union or Ctrl + +.

2. Copy the path into two parts

At least there is two way to accomplish it, the first, duplicate the path object and move the other one to whenever you want. Another way is by using the transform method.

3. Interpolate the two paths.

Here is the main process, interpolate the two paths. To accomplish it select two paths and click Extension > Generate from Path > Interpolate.

Fill the dialog parameter with values from the screenshot above. The most important is the interpolation steps value. It defines how many copies of path we need to fill the gap between first path and the second path. Click apply and you will see the shadow

4. Merge the “shadow” path into a single path (Optional)

Try to drag around your shadow path and you may feel a little bit lag. That’s because we dragging N-steps path / shadow objects. We need to merge it into a single path.

To do this, click your shadow path, ungroup it (Ctrl + Shift + U) and merge it with command ( Ctrl + +) or click Path > Union.

Here is the view when we ungroup the shadow paths.

5. Apply Styles and have fun

Now we have created shadow object and it’s the time to apply style into it. You can add gradients, change color, etc. Here is my final style modification.

That’s all folks, an alternative way to create a long shadow in Inkscape. Click attachment below to see the demo file.

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