True Shadows

Select "true shadows" below and drag windows around. Scroll down for explanations.

Naive vs. true shadows

Window managers use naive shadow effects where shadows are rendered independently from what lies underneath. This produces physically impossible shadows that look unnatural.

The left image illustrates this: the active window is closer to window a than window b, yet it casts the same shadow on both windows. The right image shows how a physically more accurate rendering better conveys depth and window stacking order. The applet above further illustrates this. Also pay attention to the mouse cursor's shadow.

If you are experiencing problems with the applet, try downloading the JAR file (1MB). There are some applet bugs like memory issues as well as shadow display issues with the native L&F on Mac OS for Java v1.5 or less.


Pierre Dragicevic (www)

License infoCreative Commons License