The Magic of Contour Shadow in PowerPoint

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In this article, you will learn a simple way to apply contour shadow in PowerPoint. This ensures that the shadow is applied to the contours of images instead of to the entire photos. It just takes a few steps to achieve this remarkable effect.

The usual issue with applying shadows to images:

Take a look at what happens when we apply a perspective shadow effect to the picture of a man running:

Wrong Shadow Preset in PowerPoint As you can see the shadow is applied to the rectangular shape of the picture instead of the shape of the man running.

What if we want to apply the shadow effect to the silhouette instead of applying to the entire photo? Is it possible?

Yes. Here are the steps to achieve it:

Step 1: Crop the photo closer to the contour

The first step is to isolate the area you want to crop. So, use the ‘Crop’ tool closer to the contour you want to apply the shadow effect to:

Crop the imageCrop image to contour

Step 2: Apply Set transparent color to the background

Open the ‘Color’ drop down menu in the Format tab. At the bottom of the menu, you will find an option called ‘Set transparent color’.

Apply Transparent color optionSet Background to Transparent

Click on the option to get a cursor that resembles a wand. Click on the white area of your photo to remove the background.

Apply Transparency ti image

Step 3: Apply perspective shadow preset

The last step is to apply ‘Perspective’ shadow preset as shown below:

Add Perpective ShadowAdd Perpective Shadow

Here is a ‘Before – After’ scenario:

Before and After adjustment for ShadowBefore and After Shadows

A query from a reader:

One of our readers had this query. She wanted to add a contour shadow to a vase of flowers with a complex background ( not a single color as in the example above). Using the Set Transparency option to remove background would not work in such a case.

Here is the solution if the background of the image is complex….

We have taken a random image of a vase of flowers with background:

mage with complex background We used the Remove Background option ( in PowerPoint 2010 / 2013) and adjusted the areas in the background to Keep and Remove.

Removing Image background for shadow We added a perspective shadow to the resulting image and the final image looks like this. The solution works like magic!

Vase with cotour shadow Wasn’t that simple? If you want to know when to use set transparency option and when to use the remove background option, you can refer to the video here.

Examples of using shadows in presentations:

Here are some examples of how we have used shadows for images and shapes to create realistic effects in presentations.

Shadow effect to a group with shape and image:

Editable book cover with shadow from CEO Pack 2

Source: Picture showcase section of PowerPoint CEO Pack 2

Perspective shadow to shape to create window effect

Window of Opportunity concept with shadow from CEO Pack 2 Creative postage stamp effect with shadow:

Postage Stamp frame effect with shadow As you can see, using proper shadow effects on your pictures is one way to make impressive slides.

Quick Note:
All of the example diagram templates showcased above are from the picture showcase section of PowerPoint Charts and Graphics CEO Pack 2.

The pack contains 815+high quality graphics and diagrams created by us from scratch.

All the templates in the collection are 100% editable. Just choose the template that matches your thought and replace the sample text with your own text. Your business slides get ready in no time. Creating professional quality business slides has never been easier. Go ahead browse and download the templates to create high-quality presentations quickly.

Browse PowerPoint CEO pack 2 If you liked this article, please leave us a comment below. You can find 200+ Advanced PowerPoint tutorials, free in this site.

Related: 3 Common mistakes in adding shadows

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