Creating Colorful, Smart Shadows

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Chris Coyier on

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A bona fide CSS trick from Kirupa Chinnathambi here. To match a colored shadow with the colors in the background-image of an element, you inherit the background in a pseudo-element, kick it behind the original, then blur and filter it.

.colorfulShadow {
  position: relative;
}

.colorfulShadow::after {
  content: "";
  width: 100%;
  height: 100%;
  position: absolute;
  background: inherit;
  background-position: center center;
  filter: drop-shadow(0px 0px 10px rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.50)) blur(20px);
  z-index: -1;
}

Negative z-index is always a yellow flag for me as that only works if there are no intermediary backgrounds. But the trick holds. There would always be some other way to layer the backgrounds (like a <span> or whatever).

For some reason this made me think of a demo I saw (I can’t remember who to credit!). Emojis had text-shadow on them, which really made them pop. And those shadows could also be colorized to a similar effect.

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