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Text Effects

Create a 3D Grungy Text Effect in Illustrator

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In the following tutorial you will learn how to create a grungy, 3D text effect. Learn how to draw highlights and shadows on your text to give it that 3D punch. Then design grunge effects using blending modes and other Illustrator tools. This grungy text effect is relatively simple to create, though does require quite a bit of attention to detail. Jump into this Illustrator text effect tutorial.


Step 1

Create a 700 by 350px, RGB document. First, turn on the Grid (View > Grid) and the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Next, you'll need a grid every 10px. Go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid, enter 10 in the Gridline every box and 1 in the Subdivisions box.

You can also open the Info panel (Window > Info) for a live preview with the size and position of your shapes. Do not forget to replace the unit of measurement to pixels from Edit > Preferences > Unit > General. All these options will significantly increase your work speed.


Step 2

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create a shape the size of your artboard and fill it with the linear gradient shown below.


Step 3

For the following step you will need a nice, built-in pattern. Go to the Swatches panel, open the fly-out menu and go to Open Swatch Library > Patterns > Basic Graphics > Basic Graphics_Textures. This will open a new window with a nice set of built-in patterns. Select the shape created in the previous step and go to the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance).

Select the existing fill and click on the Duplicate Selected Item button from the bottom of the Appearance panel. Obviously, this will duplicate your selected fill. Select it, fill it with the Mezzotint Irregular pattern, and go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the data shown below and click OK. Do not close the Patterns window. You will need a new pattern for the next step.


Step 4

Reselect the shape created in the previous step and make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F). Select it and hit the D key from the keyboard. This will add the default properties (white fill and a 1pt, black stroke) for your shape.

Go to the Appearance panel, remove the stroke and replace the white fill with the USGS 7 Vineyard pattern. Lower its Opacity to 15%, change the blending mode to Multiply, then make a copy of the shape (Control + C > Control + F). You'll need it for the next step. Close the patterns window.


Step 5

Select the copy created at the end of the previous step. Raise its opacity to 100%, change the blending mode to Normal and fill it with the radial gradient shown in the first image. Now, select this shape along with the patterned shape created in the previous step and go to the Transparency panel.

Open the fly-out menu and click on Make Opacity Mask. In the end your artboard should look like the second image shown. Go to the Layers panel and lock the two shapes created so far.


Step 6

Pick the Type Tool (T), click on your artboad and draw some black text as shown in the following image. Try to add more than a row. Use the American Purpose font, set the size and the leading at 55pt, then go to the Paragraph panel (Window > Type > Character).

Make sure that your text is selected and click on the Align Center button. Now that your text is aligned, go to Object > Expand (or Type > Create Outlines). This will create a new group in your Layers panel. Open it and you will find a shape for every letter in your text.


Step 7

Next, you need to organize the shapes created in the previous step. First, select the entire group and ungroup it (Shift + Control + G). Next, focus on the "3D". Select both shapes and go to Object > Compound Path > Make. This will turn the two shape into only one shape. Select it and go to Object > Transform > Rotate. Enter a 15 degrees angle and click OK.

Now, move to the rest of the shapes. Select all the shapes that make up the first row in your text and go to Object > Compound Path > Make. Move to the second row, select all the shapes (except the "3D"), and turn them into a compound path. Repeat the same technique for the third row.


Step 8

Pick the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 610 by 250px shape, and place it as shown in the first image. Fill it with none and add a discrete, black stroke. Switch to the Type on a Path Tool and click on the edge of this ellipse. Again, add your your black text.

Use the same font with the size set at 60pt and the leading at 72pt. Expand this text and turn it into a compound path. Now, you should have five, black compound paths in your Layers panel.


Step 9

Go to Edit > Preferences > General and enter 1 in the Keyboard Increment box. Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid) and focus on the path created in the previous step. Select it and make a copy in back (Control + C > Control + B). Fill it with R=113, G=123, B=141.

Now hit the down arrow four times (to move it 4px down). Lower its Opacity to 20%, then make another copy in back. Select it, move it 4px down and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 2px radius and click OK.


Step 10

Reselect the black shape from the previous step and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -2px Offset and click OK. Select the resulting shape, make a copy in front and move it 1px down. Reselect these two, fresh paths and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. This will create a group with a bunch of thin shapes. Fill them all with white.


Step 11

Keep focusing on the top, black path. Select it and go to the Appearance panel. Replace the black with R=179, G=193, B=201. Now add a second fill. Select it from the Appearance panel, lower its Opacity to 20%, and fill it with the radial gradient shown below.

Have a closer look at the gradient image and you'll notice some yellow zeros. They stand for opacity percentage. This means that you need to select the gradient sliders and lower their Opacity to 0%. Be careful, there are two overlapping sliders at Location 50%. One has the opacity set at 0% and the other at 100%.


Step 12

Select the shape edited in the previous step, go to the Appearance panel and add a 2pt stroke. Align it to inside and set its color at R=229, G=229, B=229.

Now click on the Duplicate Selected Item button from the bottom of the Appearance panel. This will add a second stroke for your path. Make it 1pt wide and set its color at R=133, G=143, B=161. Reselect the entire path and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the data shown below and click OK.


Step 13

Move down and focus on the next compound path. Select it and make a copy in back (Control + C > Control + B). Fill it with R=113, G=123, B=141. Now move it 4px down. Lower its Opacity to 20% and make another copy in back. Select it, move it 4px down, and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 2px radius and click OK.


Step 14

Reselect the black shape from the previous step and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -2px Offset and click OK. Select the resulting shape, make a copy in front, and move it 1px down. Reselect these two, fresh paths and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting group of shapes with white.


Step 15

Stick to the same black path and go to the Appearance panel. Replace the black with R=179, G=193, B=201. Now add a second fill. Select it from the Appearance panel, lower its Opacity to 20%, and fill it with the linear gradient shown below.


Step 16

Select the shape edited in the previous step, go to the Appearance panel and add a 2pt stroke. Align it to inside, set its color at R=229, G=229, B=229, then duplicate it.

Select this new stroke, make it 1pt wide and set its color at R=133, G=143, B=161. Reselect the entire path and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the data shown below and click OK.


Step 17

Repeat the techniques shown in the last four steps for the remaining black paths. For the "3D" path the linear gradient must have the angle set at -75 degrees.


Step 18

Reselect the five main compound paths and make a copy in front. Bring these copies to front (Shift + Control + Right Bracket key), fill them only with R=81, G=80, B=79, and turn them into a single compound path.


Step 19

Reselect the path created in the previous step. Lower its Opacity to 10%, change the blending mode to Color Burn, and go to Effect > Brush Stroke > Sprayed Stroke. Enter the data shown below and click OK. Go to the Layers panel and lock all the shapes created so far.


Step 20

Re-enable the Snap to Grid. For the following step you will need a grid every 5px. Go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 5 in the Gridline every box. Pick the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 300 by 90px shape and place it as shown below. Fill it with R=241, G=90, B=41. Now lower its Opacity to 20%, change the blending mode to Color Burn and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 25px radius and click OK.

Reselect the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 580 by 150px shape and place it as shown in the following image. Fill it with R=255, G=222, B=23. Now lower its Opacity to 25%, change the blending mode to Overlay, and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 25px radius and click OK. Lock both shapes.


Step 21

Pick the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 525 by 205px shape and place it as shown in the first image. Fill it with the left linear gradient, lower its Opacity to 50%, change the blending mode to Color Burn and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 25px radius and click OK.

Make a copy in front of this shape and fill it with the right linear gradient. Reselect the first shape and go to the Appearance panel. Select the fill, go to the Swatches panel, and click on the New Swatch button. A new window will open. Enter "Gradient 1" in the Swatch Name box and click OK.

Have a fresh look at your Swatches panel and you'll notice that the gradient is saved. Move to the second shape and save the gradient. This time name it is "Gradient 2". You will need these gradients in the next steps. Reselect both shapes and group them (Control + G).


Step 22

Go the Layers panel, select one of the shapes created in the previous step, and make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F). Drag the copy outside the group and make the group invisible. Reselect the copy and replace the existing gradient with the one shown below. Raise the Opacity of this shape to 100%. Again, save this gradient in your Swatches panel. Name it "Gradient 3".


Step 23

Select the shape made in the previous step. First, make a copy in front, then make it invisible. Select this copy and replace the existing gradient with the one shown below.


Step 24

Pick the Ellipse Tool (L). Create six, 100 by 240px shapes and place them as shown in the first image. Fill them with Gradient 2, Gradient 3 and the linear gradients shown below.

Select all six shapes, change their blending mode to Color Burn, and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 25px radius, click OK, then group these shapes. Save the blue and the green gradients and name them "Gradient 4" and "Gradient 5".


Step 25

Go to the Layers panel, find the group created in the previous step and make it invisible. Pick the Ellipse Tool (L). Create six, 80px circles and place them as shown in the first image.

Fill them with the linear gradients saved so far, change their blending mode to Color Burn and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 15px radius, click OK then group all six shapes.


Conclusion

Now your work is done. Here is how it should look.

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