How to Add a Drop Shadow in Paint.NET

Drop shadow adds a shadow effect to text and selected objects. The freeware Paint.NET image editor doesn’t include a default Drop Shadow option, but you can add it to that software with a plug-in pack. In this article, we’ll discuss how you can add a drop shadow to text and selected image objects in Paint.NET.

How to Add a Drop Shadow in Paint.NET

How to Add a Drop Shadow in Paint.Net

First, open this page and press ‘Download now‘ to save the plug-in pack’s Zip. Then open the Zip folder in File Explorer and click ‘Extract all‘ to unzip it.

Open the folder you extracted it to, and click Install to open the plug-in’s installer window. Press the Install button to add the selected options to Paint.NET.

Open Paint.NET and click Layers > Add New Layer to set up a new layer.

Select Tools > Text and enter some text into the new layer.

Click Effects, Objects, and Drop Shadow to open the window shown directly below.

drop shadow

Now you can apply a drop shadow effect to the text. First, select a color from the color palette circle. Then drag the Offset X and Y bars to move the shadow left or right and up or down.

You can further adjust the shadow effect by dragging the Widening Radius bar. Drag that bar right to expand the radius of the shadow.

The Blur Radius bar increases or decreases the amount of blur, and Shadow Opacity adjusts the shadow effect’s transparency. Click ‘OK‘ to apply the effect, and then you might have output comparable to that shown below.

drop shadow2

You can also add this effect to new objects added to layers. Trace out an object from an image by removing the picture background as outlined in this Tech Junkie guide. Click Layers > Import From File and open the image you removed the background from. Then you can click Effects > Drop Shadow to add a shadow effect to the foreground object as shown directly below.

drop shadow3

Or you can add the drop shadow effect to shapes on new layers. You can click Tool > Shapes to add shapes to layers. Select Shape draw/fill mode and Draw Filled Shape to fill the shape with a color. Click Tool > Rectangle Select to select the shape, and then you can click Effects > Drop Shadow to add a shadow to it as below.

drop shadow4

Drop Shadow Isn’t Working

Over the past few years, it seems that Paint.Net has been problematic when it comes to making drop shadows. Even with the right plug-ins installed, you may run into problems.

This may seem obvious, but check the color of your shadow. Many users have reported that the shadow was simply the same color as the background of their image. Try different color variations and see if the shadow appears.

Next, we’d like to mention is that the effect can sometimes take a long time to process. So, when you follow the steps above to input the feature and nothing happens, wait it out. This is the most common issue. Some users have stated they have to wait well over a minute depending on the age of their computer or how much RAM they actually have.

Paint.Net can be quite taxing on your computer’s RAM, so if you’re having issues with the features or plug-ins, you may want to check your RAM speed.

Next, make sure that you’re running the latest version of Paint.Net. Over time, the developers release updates to patch issues and security vulnerabilities. If Paint.Net isn’t cooperating with you, check the newest version compared to the one that you’re running. Worst case scenario, uninstall the program and then reinstall it.

Overall, drop shadow is a great effect to add to text and shapes. It applies an almost 3D effect with an offset shadow that adds some extra depth to the picture.

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