I am trying to create a flat/modern looking icon. The visual style I am aiming for is
Here is what I got so far with my icon.
As you can see it is missing the fake shading and fake shadow. Is there some way I can achieve this?
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Using Blender Internal.
Why fake it with the power of 3d at your fingertips ;)? Although these icons have a flat style, there is still some depth to them for that realistic feel.
Add a sun lamp, adjust the angle (45+ degrees is good), set it to Ray Shadow, increase the soft size and samples, change the shadow color to a medium gray and enable ambient occlusion (use a small value). You would be surprised the control you have over the shadow. Also increase the height of the actual logo so it can cast a longer shadow. The base object needs to catch the shadow but in your example you have it set to Shadeless, if you still want that flat look, change the shader model to Fresnel. Finally set the camera to an orthographic type if you don't want the final render to be affected by perspective.
I created the shadow by using a Material Index pass on the white object (a Object index pass would work for this method too).
The nodes in the two frames are two different methods of creating the shadow. I left both in the image because they both work, but create different shadows.
First set up a Material Index pass of
1 (because it is set to one there is no need for a Id mask node) on the white object in the icon.
Onto the nodes. After the invert node, in both frames, I take the black and white Material Index pass and blur it to make a shadow. Next the Screen node acts like a mask, it cuts out the shadow on the white object, by using the un-inverted Material Index pass. Then the Multiply node adds the shadow over the icon.
Click for full size
this is a easy task if you use the compositor editor (nodes)
here the file with basic configuration to obtain this:
obviously you need to change basic configuration in order to improve some best shadows