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Create a Detailed Tomato Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

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Follow this tutorial and have fun creating a vector tomato text effect in Adobe Illustrator.

We will start with the letters and prepare them for the realistic tomato look that includes: the outer pulp, the seed pockets, the inner pulp and the seeds. We'll create all of these starting from simple shapes and using a few manipulation techniques along with the Pathfinder panel and the Appearance panel. Next, you will learn how to add details on the pulp of the tomato using a build-in Art Brush plus the Roughen and Zig Zag effects. At the end you'll make things more glossy by adding highlights and shades using Blend Art Brushes and also the Blend Tool.

Tutorial Assets

To complete the tutorial you will need the following assets:

1. Start a New Project

Launch Illustrator and go to File > New to open a blank document. Type a name and set up the dimensions then select Pixels as Units and RGB as Color Mode. Next, go to Edit > Preferences > General and set the Keyboard Increment to 1px then go to Units & Display Performance and set the Units as in the image. I usually work with these settings and they will help you throughout the drawing process.

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2. Type and Prepare the Letters

Step 1

Grab the Type Tool (T) and type "ECTOR" using the fonts listed at the beginning. Set the font sizes as indicated below and your letters will have the same height.

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Step 2

If you noticed the letter "V" is missing. To create it, start by taking the Star Tool and drawing a triangle having the dimensions shown. Next, grab the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-) and remove the points 1 and 2. Using the Direct Selection Tool (A) select the point 3, go to Object > Transform > Move and type -12px in the Horizontal field then hit OK. Repeat the same thing for the point 4 but type 12px in the Horizontal field.

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Step 3

With the Direct Selection Tool (A) select only the top middle point, go to Object > Transform > Move and type 22px in the Vertical field then hit OK. Now, take the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C) and click on the same point then drag to generate the handles.

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Step 4

Having the shape from the previous step selected, go to Effect > Warp and apply the Arch effect. After that, choose Expand Appearance and Ungroup (Shift-Control-G) from the Object menu.

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Step 5

Select all the letters except for "V" then choose Expand and Ungroup (Shift-Control-G) from the Object menu. As a result your text will turn into shapes.

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Step 6

Let's make the final adjustments. Zoom on the letter "E" and using the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-) remove all the points that create the circle at the end. Simply click on each one until the circle is gone.

Next, select the letter "R" and go to Object > Compound Path > Release. You will get two shapes, the black letter and the small circle. Delete the small circle.

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3. Create the Tomato Look

Step 1

The letters are ready and now you can fill them with the radial gradient shown. I will name them: "letterV", "letterE", "letterC", "letterT" and "letterR". For "letterO" we'll create a different look later.

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Step 2

Select all the letters except for "letterO" and in the Appearance panel select the existing Fill. Go to Effect > Stylize and apply the Inner Glow effect using the settings from below.

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Step 3

Still having these letters selected, add a second Fill from the fly-out menu of the Appearance panel then drag it under the first. Use the linear gradient shown and set the angle to 70 degrees.

Next, go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform, type -1px in the Move Horizontal field and hit OK. As a result you will get a highlight in the left side of each letter.

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Step 4

Still having these letters selected, add a third Fill at the bottom. Use the color indicated then go to Effect > Distort & Transform and apply the Transform effect again. This time, type 1px in the Move Horizontal field and hit OK. As a result you will get a dark edge in the right side of each letter.

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4. Create the Seed Pockets

Step 1

Grab the Star Tool and draw a triangle having the dimensions shown. From the fly-out menu of the Transform panel choose Flip Vertical then go to Effect > Stylize > Round Corners and apply a Radius of 10px.

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Step 2

Still having the triangle selected, go to Effect > Warp > Arc Lower and apply a 28% Horizontal Bend.

Next, go to Effect > Warp > Bulge and apply a 52% Vertical Bend.

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Step 3

While the triangle is selected (1), choose Expand Appearance and Ungroup (Shift-Control-G). This will expand the three effects applied (2).

Next, grab the Ellipse Tool (L) and draw an ellipse over the purple shape like in the image. Before you continue, Copy and Paste in Front (Control-F) the purple shape then select this copy and also the ellipse and press Intersect in the Pathfinder panel.

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Step 4

Fill the two shapes from the previous step with the colors indicated then select both of them and go to Object > Blend > Blend Options. Choose 15 Specified Steps and hit OK then go back to Object > Blend > Make (Alt-Control-B). I will name the resulting blend-group "seed pocket".

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Step 5

Select the "seed pocket" then Copy and Paste it in Front (Control-F). Now, having the copy of the pocket selected, go to the Transform panel and from the fly-out menu choose Flip Vertical. Next, go to Object > Transform > Move, type 33px in the Vertical field and hit OK. As a result of these actions you will get the second pocket above the first.

Select the two pockets and go to Object > Transform > Rotate. Choose a 90 degrees Angle and hit Copy. You will get the other two pockets.

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Step 6

Select all four pockets and go to Object > Transform > Rotate. Choose a 45 degrees Angle and hit Copy. As a result you will get another group of pockets.

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Step 7

Select parts of the two groups of pockets that you have created and move them on top of the letters. In the image below you can see the letters "E", "C" and "R". For the last letter, you need to rotate the three seed pockets -70 degrees.

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Step 8

Continue with the letter "T". Grab the two pockets indicated and move them on top of the letter. Since the available area is bigger in this case you can increase the pockets a little. While they are selected, go to Object > Transform > Scale, type 110% in the Uniform Scale field and hit OK.

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Step 9

Focus on the letter "V". Move the two pockets over the letter then scale them 110% as you did earlier (1). Before you continue lock "letterV". Now, take the Direct Selection Tool (A) and drag a selection over the two inner points indicated and move them downwards. Also move the two outer points but much less then adjust the handles if needed (2). The new pockets should look like below (3).

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Step 10

At this point your text should look like in the next image:

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5. Add Details in the Seed Pockets

Step 1

Grab the Pen Tool (P) or the Pencil Tool (N) and draw an arched path in each of the pockets. The green paths are slightly longer because the pockets are bigger. Stroke all these paths with an Art Brush called "Tapered Stroke" that you can find in Brush Libraries Menu > Artistic > Artistic_Ink. Set the Stroke Weight at 0.4 pt.

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Step 2

While all these paths are selected, go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Zig Zag and apply the settings shown.

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Step 3

Still having these paths selected, go to Object menu and choose Expand Appearance then Ungroup (Shift-Control-G) twice. Now, you can fill the resulting shapes with the color indicated.

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6. Create the Inner Pulp of the Tomato

Step 1

Use the Ellipse Tool (L) to draw a 34 x 60px ellipse. With the Direct Selection Tool (A) select only the bottom point and press the Delete Key on your keyboard. Also using the Direct Selection Tool (A) select the two end points and press Control-J which is the shortcut for Join.

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Step 2

Next, take the Add Anchor Point Tool (+) and add a lot of points on the arched portion of this shape. Once done switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A), grab some of the points and move them outwards. Also adjust the handles while you move these points. At the end you should get a lot of spikes of different lengths.

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Step 3

Fill the shape obtained at the previous step with the color of your choice then make some copies. Rotate and arrange one in each seed pocket like in the image.

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Step 4

Now, zoom on "letterC". You need to draw a shape that covers the empty area between the three spiky shapes. Take the Pen Tool (P) and start to draw this shape using as reference the corner points indicated (1).

It's important to have curved portions between the spiky shapes (as indicated by the little arrows) but straight in the rest (2).

Use the Add Anchor Point Tool (+) to add an extra point in the middle of the two curved portions from the left side then two pairs of points in the right side (3).

With the Direct Selection Tool (A) select four of these points and move them outwards like in the image (4).

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Step 5

Make a few copies of the shape that you have obtained at the previous step. Rotate and move them on top of the other letters between the spiky shapes and make subtle adjustments if needed.

Next, select the four shapes that make up the inner pulp of the letter "E" and press Add in the Pathfinder panel to unite them into a single shape. Repeat the same thing for the letters "C" and "R".

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Step 6

Let's continue with the letter "T" and arrange a spiky shape in each seed pocket. This time you need a more complex shape between the two. First, use the Pen Tool (P) to draw the green shape (1) then add an extra point at the top and bottom and move them downwards, respectively upwards a little in order to create the rounded ends (2). As you did before, add a lot of points on the sides and move them individually using the Direct Selection Tool (A) to create the spiky look. While moving these points adjust the handles also (3).

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Step 7

Before you continue, make a copy of the shape that you have obtained at the previous step and move it on top of the letter "V". Now, select the three shapes that make up the inner pulp of the letter "T" and press Add in the Pathfinder panel. Repeat the same thing for the letter "V".

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Step 8

At this point your text should look like in the next image. Fill the inner pulp-shapes of the letters "E", "C" and "R" with the radial gradient shown.

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Step 9

Focus on the remaining letters, "V" and "T". First, fill the inner pulp-shapes with the radial gradient shown (1). Still having these two shapes selected, add a new Fill above the first then go to Object > Path > Offset Path and apply a -2.5px Offset. For this Fill use the second gradient shown (2).

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Step 10

Copy and Paste in Front (Control-F) the two inner pulp-shapes and remove all existing appearances then fill them with a white to black radial gradient (1). For the letter "V", select the original inner pulp-shape and also the copy in front and choose Make Opacity Mask from the fly-out menu of the Transparency panel. As a result, the top and bottom ends of the inner pulp will blend better into the outer pulp (2). Repeat the same thing for the letter "T".

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Step 11

In the next image you can see what we've done so far.

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7. Add Details on the Outer Pulp of the Tomato

Step 1

Select "letterV" then go to Object > Path > Offset Path and apply a -5px Offset. You will get a smaller shape in front. Remove all existing appearances and give it a simple stroke. Repeat the same thing for the rest of the letters.

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Step 2

Stroke the smaller shapes that you have obtained at the previous step with the Tapered Stroke Art Brush and set the Stroke Weight at 0.5 pt.

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Step 3

Still having all these shapes selected, go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Roughen and apply the settings shown.

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Step 4

In order to expand all the brush strokes, select Expand Appearance then Ungroup (Shift-Control-G) twice. Now, you can fill the resulting shapes with the color indicated then set to Blending Mode Color Dodge and 20% Opacity.

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8. Create the Seeds

Step 1

Grab the Pen Tool (P) and draw a shape like below then go to Object > Transform > Scale, type 65% in the Uniform Scale field and hit Copy. You will get a smaller shape in front. Copy and Paste in Back (Control-B) this shape then move it a little up and to the left. Group (Control-G) these three shapes and this will be "seed1".

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Step 2

Make a copy of "seed1" then replace the fill color for the bigger shape with the one indicated. This will be "seed2".

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Step 3

Make more copies of the two seeds. Scale, rotate and arrange them inside the top pocket of the letter "C", one for each spike. Once done, Group (Control-G) all the seeds that you have arranged (1). Having this group selected, make a copy in front then choose Flip Vertical from the fly-out menu of the Transform panel. As a result you will get the group of seeds for the pocket at the bottom (2). Select again the first group of seeds, make another copy in front then rotate 90 degrees using the Transform panel (3). You can see the final result below (4).

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Step 4

Following the method explained above, arrange a group of seeds in the rest of the pockets. For the letters "V" and "T", since the pockets are slightly bigger you may need a few extra seeds.

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9. Make the Seeds More Glossy

Step 1

Zoom on the right pocket of the letter "T" as much as you need. Grab the Pen Tool (P) or even the Pencil Tool (N) and draw a few small paths following the shape of the seeds, only for the big ones and not for all. Stroke them with the White Blend Art Brush, size of 100 x 3px from the Set of Multi-Use Blend Art Brushes. Set the Stroke Weight at 0.15pt. After you are done, repeat the same thing for the seeds on the left pocket.

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Step 2

Basically you need to do the same thing for the other letters. In the next image you can see close-ups for the letters "V" and "E".

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Step 3

Here are the letters "C" and "R":

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10. Add Highlights and Shades

Step 1

Take the Pen Tool (P) and draw a few paths following the edges of the seed pockets, mainly in the upper left side of the letters. Stroke them with the same White Blend Art Brush then set the Stroke Weight at 0.5pt. Reduce the Opacity to 50-55% for all of them.

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Step 2

Use again the Pen Tool (P) to draw a few paths following the edges of the pockets but this time in the bottom right side of the letters. Stroke these paths with the Black Blend Art Brush, size of 100 x 3px from the Set of Multi-Use Blend Art Brushes and set the Stroke Weight at 0.5 pt. Reduce the Opacity to 20-25% for all of them.

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11. Create the Whole Tomato Look for the Letter "O"

Step 1

First, replace the existing fill color of the letter "O" with the radial gradient shown.

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Step 2

Select "letterO" then go to Object > Path > Offset Path and apply a -5px Offset. You will get a smaller circle in front. Remove the gradient fill and select black as the stroke color. Also stroke this circle with the Tapered Stroke Art Brush and reduce the Weight to 0.5pt.

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Step 3

Still having the smaller circle selected, go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Roughen and apply the settings shown below. After that, reduce the Opacity to 5%.

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12. Add Highlights on the Whole Tomato

Step 1

Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw a shape like below then a smaller version in the middle. Fill both shapes with white but set the Opacity for the bigger shape to 0%. With both shapes selected, go to Object > Blend > Blend Options then choose 35 Specified Steps and click OK.

Next, go back to Object > Blend > Make (Alt-Control-B). Set the resulting blend-group to 30% Opacity.

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Step 2

Use the Pencil Tool (N) to draw two round shapes like below. Fill both shapes with white but set the Opacity for the bigger shape to 0%.

Having both shapes selected, go to Object > Blend > Blend Options and choose 15 Specified Steps. Go back to Object > Blend > Make (Alt-Control-B) then reduce the Opacity for the resulting blend-group to 50%. Finally, draw another small white circle on top and set the Opacity to 50%.

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Step 3

The same thing goes for these two shapes at the bottom of the tomato.

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13. Create the Stem of the Tomato

Step 1

Use the Star Tool or the Pen Tool (P) to draw a simple five-pointed star and fill it with the radial gradient shown.

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Step 2

Copy and Paste in Back (Control-B) the star then use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to move some of the inner points a little further from the original star. Make another copy of the star in front but much smaller. Fill both copies with black but set the Opacity for the bigger one to 0%. Blend them using 35 Specified Steps and you will get the shadow under the stem.

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Step 3

In the middle of the star, draw two small circles as shown in the close-up (1). Select both circles and blend them but this time use the Smooth Color option (2).

Next, draw a small shape behind the stem, on the right side and fill it with the linear gradient shown. This will be the shadow of the little stem (3).

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Step 4

The last thing to do is to draw a 35 x 35px circle and to fill it with a black to white radial gradient. Send this circle between the stem and the tomato then set to Blending Mode Multiply and 50% Opacity.

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Step 5

The letter "O" is ready and at this point the tomato text effect looks like below:

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14. Create the Background and Add the Shadows

Step 1

At the beginning of the tutorial you have set the size of the document at 600 x 300px therefore draw a rectangle having the same dimensions in a new layer behind the text. Fill it with the radial gradient shown.

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Step 2

Now, select "letterV", "letterE", "letterC", "letterT" and "letterR" and under the existing appearances add three new Fills. Each one has black as the fill color and a Drop Shadow effect applied.

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These are the settings that I've used for the three Drop Shadow effects:

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Step 3

Select "letterO" and add a new black Fill under the first. Go to Effect > Stylize and apply the Drop Shadow effect using the settings from below.

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Congratulations, You're Done!

I hope that you have enjoyed this us much as I did and if you decide to give it a try, please share your end result with us.

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