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I would like to draw a box like this:

enter image description here

I'm especially interested in both

  1. how to draw a shadow that comes out from the sides only (not also top or bottom) and
  2. how to draw two shadows, the bigger left-right shadow and the smaller outline border one.

I've tried many approaches but it seems I'm completely off track here since I can't even draw the left-right bigger shadow, so I would appreciate if someone could explain me where to start here.

Clarifications. I think the picture is compose by 4 parts:

1) the background (uninteresting here)

2) the white rectangle

3) the rectangle borders-edges (what I previously referred as the smaller shadow) with a ridge like effect

4) the left and right shadows

I'm trying to draw parts 3 and 4.

share|improve this question
The smaller outline border shadow? Where? (Do you mean the slightly darker edges on the rectangle?) I can only see the one at the left and right. – Qrrbrbirlbel Oct 27 '13 at 16:07
@Qrrbrbirlbel I added a small clarification, BTW it's like you said, I was referring to the edges. – knut Oct 27 '13 at 16:42

3 Answers 3

Some ideas, lots of hardcoded magic numbers (found by trial and error):


\usetikzlibrary{backgrounds, calc, shadows, shadows.blur}

    % #1: Optional aditional tikz options
    % #2: Name of the node to "decorate"
           rounded corners=1pt,
           blur shadow={shadow xshift=0pt,
           shadow yshift=-0.3pt,
           shadow blur steps=6,
           shadow blur radius=.6pt}, #1]
            ($(#2.north west)+( 0.3pt,0)$) --
            ($(#2.south west)+( 0.3pt,0)$) --
            ($(#2.south east)+(-0.3pt,0)$) --
            ($(#2.north east)+(-0.3pt,0)$) --
        \path[rounded corners,
           blur shadow={shadow xshift=0pt,
           shadow yshift=0pt,
           shadow blur steps=8,
           shadow blur radius=2pt}, #1]
            ($(#2.north west)+(-1pt,-2pt)$) --
            ($(#2.south west)+(-1pt, 2pt)$) --
            ($(#2.south east)+( 1pt, 2pt)$) --
            ($(#2.north east)+( 1pt,-2pt)$) --

    \fill[black!20] (-3,-1) rectangle (3,1);
    \node[fill=white, rectangle, minimum width=3cm, minimum height=1cm]
       (example) {Test};



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An idea that needs xscale around and yscale around. Better results can probably achieved with a custom fading that works similar to circle with fuzzy edge XX percent (see circular shadow and circular glow) but for rectangles.


\documentclass[tikz,border={3pt 0pt 3pt 0pt}]{standalone}
  xscale around/.code=%
  yscale around/.code=%
  shadow xscale/.initial=1, shadow yscale/.initial=1,
  shadow scale/.style={shadow xscale={#1}, shadow yscale={#1}},
  general shadow/.style={
      transform canvas={
        xscale around=%
          \pgfkeysvalueof{/tikz/shadow xscale}:(current path bounding,
        yscale around=%
          \pgfkeysvalueof{/tikz/shadow yscale}:(current path bounding,
          {(\pgfkeysvalueof{/tikz/shadow xshift},\pgfkeysvalueof{/tikz/shadow yshift})}
  my shadow/.style={general shadow={
      shadow xscale=1.1, shadow yscale=.9, opacity=.75, top color=gray!10,
      bottom color=gray!10, middle color=gray!50, every shadow, #1}}}
\begin{tikzpicture}[start chain=ch0 going below, node distance=.2cm,
                    nodes={draw, fill=white, my shadow, on chain=ch0}]
\node                     {Effect 8};
\node[minimum height=+2cm]{Effect 9};
\node[minimum width =+2cm]{Effect 10};


enter image description here

share|improve this answer
this works "in principle", but the result is very far from the original picture. I was looking to fully reproduce it. – knut Oct 29 '13 at 12:51

Still far away from expected results but here it is another approximation with tcolorbox



\tcbset{width=.5\linewidth, height=3cm, valign=center, center upper, sharp corners, enhanced, frame hidden, fontupper=\sffamily\Huge,colback=white,
fuzzy halo=.1pt with black!35,
overlay unbroken={
\shade[left color=black!30] ([yshift=-3mm]frame.north east) 
sin +(1mm,-1.5mm) cos +(1mm,-1.5mm)--
([xshift=2mm,yshift=6mm]frame.south east)
sin +(-1mm,-1.5mm)  cos +(-1mm,-1.5mm);
\shade[right color=black!30, left color=white] ([yshift=-3mm]frame.north west) 
sin +(-1mm,-1.5mm) cos +(-1mm,-1.5mm)--
([xshift=-2mm,yshift=6mm]frame.south west)
sin +(1mm,-1.5mm)  cos +(1mm,-1.5mm);

Effect 8


enter image description here

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