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Text Effects

Create a Lace Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

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Follow this tutorial and you will learn how to create a beautiful lace text effect. You will use many effects and you will define many personalized Art and Pattern Brushes that will help you create a Lace Pattern Brush that works with any color. Jump into creating this delicate text effect now.


Step 1

First type the text using TeamSpirit that you can find here. Go to the Object menu and select Expand, Ungroup, then Compound Path > Release. Delete the black line at the bottom and fill the inside shapes from the letters a and e with white for the moment.


Step 2

Next you need to align the letters, but first group the letter a with the inside white oval, then group the letter e with its inside shape. Select all the letters and click Vertical Align Bottom from the Pathfinder Panel. Now move the letter L a bit closer to a to fix the space issue between them.

The a, c and e letters look too small beside the letter L. To enlarge them go to Effect > Warp > Arc Upper and choose a 30% Horizontal Bend. When you are done choose Expand Appearance from the Object menu.


Step 3

Ungroup the letters a and e, then select the four black letters (without the two inside shapes), and click Add to shape area > Expand from the Pathfinder Panel to unite them as one path. To remove some of the anchor points, go to Object menu > Path > Simplify and choose a 70% Curve Precision.


Step 4

In order to apply the Lace Pattern Brush later you need a rounded text path. For this you can use the Round Any Corner script. After you install it, go to File > Scripts and run the script, while selecting 20 for the Radius value. Do the same for the inside shape of the letter e.


Step 5

Let's start to create the lace design. Use the Line Segment Tool (\) or the Pen Tool (P) to draw a straight path 82 px long. Go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Zig Zag and set the values as shown in the image.

Go to Effect > Warp Arc and select a -65% Horizontal Bend. Expand Appearance from the Object menu when you are done. Use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to select only the two top points on the sides and click on the Convert Selected Anchor Points to Corner button.


Step 6

Next you need to create a small brush like the one below. First draw with the Pen Tool (P) or the Line Segment Tool (\) a 50 px straight path and give it a 0.25 pt black Stroke. Expand it, then go to Object menu > Path > Add Anchor Points to add the two middle points.

Take the Direct Selection Tool (A) and select only the middle top one, and move it 1 px up by pressing the Up Arrow Key on your keyboard once. Make sure that the keyboard increment is set to 1 px in Edit > Preferences > General.

Drag this shape into the Brushes Panel, choose New Art Brush and make sure you check Proportional in the Art Brushes Options window. Stroke the path obtained in the previous step with this brush then, having the Rulers on, drag two guidelines on each side, as shown in the close up.


Step 7

Use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to select only the two indicated anchor points, then move them on the inside by pressing the Left and Right Arrow Keys on the keyboard once or twice. Otherwise, the sides will be cropped later, since they are a bit too curvy and they cross over the guidelines.

Next draw a straight path between the two top points. Now go to Effect > Warp > Arc and apply a -45% Horizontal Bend. Copy and Paste in front this path and move it up, as in the image, then from the Object menu choose Expand Appearance.


Step 8

Now you will create a pattern brush. Start by drawing using the Ellipse Tool (L) an oval shape with the dimensions shown. Copy and Paste it in front and move it up, like the red one in the image, then select them both and click Subtract from shape area > Expand from the Pathfinder Panel.

Draw one more oval above and the straight path between the top two points of the obtained shape, then select them both and click Divide from the Pathfinder Panel. Ungroup and delete the top part. Select these two shapes made and click Add to shape area > Expand, then drag the resulting compound path into the Brushes Panel and choose New Pattern Brush.


Step 9

Here is one more brush that you will need for the next step. Take the Ellipse Tool (L) and draw a very small black circle, then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform and set the values as shown in the image.

Go to the Object menu and Expand Appearance, then draw a rectangle using the Rectangle Tool (M) or the Pen Tool (P) between the top and bottom points of the first and last circle. Don't select any fill or stroke color for it, only send it behind the group of circles and then drag them both into the Brushes Panel to define a New Art Brush.


Step 10

Before you continue, select with the Direct Selection Tool (A) only the indicated end point and move it up to the guideline, then do the same for the left side. Now use the two brushes defined earlier to stroke the curvy paths.

Here are the settings used for each brush:


Step 11

Next draw with the Ellipse Tool (L) an oval with the dimensions shown. Now go to Effect > Warp > Shell Upper and apply a 60% Vertical Distortion. Expand Appearance, then duplicate the shape because you will need it again in the next step.

Now go to Object > Path > Offset Path and apply a -2 px offset value to obtain the smaller red shape inside. Move it a bit up, then select them both, and click Subtract from shape area > Expand from the Pathfinder Panel. Place this shape as in the image at the next step.


Step 12

Select the shape that I said earlier to duplicate and drag the top to obtain a shape similar to a petal. Also select and move (using the Direct Selection Tool (A) and the Arrow keys on the keyboard) only the left and right middle points to make it more bulging. Place two copies of this shape on the sides and rotate them, then select all three and click Vertical Align Top from the Align Panel. Before you go on, duplicate this shape because you will need it again for the next step.

After you place the three petal shapes like in the image, draw the straight path between the guidelines, right above the first and last circles. Copy and Paste in front of this path, then select the petal shapes and one of the paths, and click Divide from the Pathfinder Panel. Ungroup and delete the top parts because you don't need them. For the other path copied select a 0.5 pt black Stroke and Expand it.


Step 13

Take the copy of the petal shape, go to Object > Path > Offset Path and apply a -2.8 offset value to obtain the smaller shape inside. Move it a bit up, then select them both, and click Subtract from shape area > Expand.

Place a half circle above it and make sure they are centered. Now arrange the ones on the sides just like you did in the previous step. Group all the shapes, then place them on the right side and make sure the guideline intersects all the middle points. Do the same for the left side.


Step 14

At this step you need the shape made in step 8. Go to Object > Compound Path > Release and keep only the bigger shape. Delete the black fill and give it a 1 pt Stroke. Now go to Effect > Warp > Inflate and apply a -50% Vertical Distortion. Expand Appearance from the Object menu, then drag this shape into the Brushes Panel, and choose New Pattern Brush.


Step 15

Copy and Paste in front one of the curvy paths from step 10 and move it between them, in the middle. Stroke this path with the Pattern Brush defined earlier, then scale it 40%. Copy and Paste it in front, then open again the Stroke Options window, and check the Flip Across option.


Step 16

You are done with the lace design, and now you must select each path that has a brush stroke applied and apply Expand Appearance. After expanding, use the Layers Panel and find the empty paths that should be there in each of the groups, and delete them to clean up your work, but this is optional.


Step 17

Next you need to define the bounding area before you save it. Take the Pen Tool (P) and start drawing a square from the middle top point of the half circle placed in step 13. Go right above the black line, intersect again the top middle point of the half circle on the left, then follow the guidelines and close the path at the bottom. This square shouldn't have any stroke or fill color, and after you send it to back you can group all the shapes.


Step 18

Drag the lace group from the previous step into the Brushes Panel and select New Pattern Brush. If you choose Tints as the Colorization Method, you can easily change the lace color as you want depending on what Stroke color you select and use it in other projects.


Step 19

Let's go back to the text. Select the rounded text path obtained in step 4, delete the fill, and give it a 1 pt black Stroke. Before you continue, Copy and Paste it in front. Stroke the path (not the copy) using the Lace Pattern Brush, then open the Stroke Options window and scale it 17%.

Now select the text path that you copied, go to Object > Path > Offset Path, and apply a -5.5 px Offset value. The purpose is to obtain a smaller path that follows the inside edge of the lace, as shown in the close up. If you selected a different text size at the beginning of the tutorial, you should apply an offset value that fits for your case. You will probably obtain a compound path, but go to Object > Compound Path > Release and delete the bigger path because you don't need it.


Step 20

Fill the smaller path obtained in the previous step with black. Now you need to create the empty areas inside the letters a and e. First select the two oval shapes and Copy and Paste them in back because you will need them again. Now select the black text path and the two ovals, then click Subtract from shape area > Expand from the Pathfinder Panel.


Step 21

Select the copies of the two ovals and fill them with Diamond that you can find in the Swatch Libraries menu under Patterns > Basic Graphics > Basic Graphics_Textures. To scale it go to Object > Transform > Scale and make sure you check only the Patterns option.


Step 22

Here is how to create the last pattern brush that you need. Start with a 15 px by 15 px circle, then select (using the Direct Selection Tool) only the top anchor point and delete it. Close the path to obtain a half circle.

Draw a smaller circle inside it, then go to Effect > Warp > Arc, and apply a 35% Horizontal Bend. Expand Appearance from the Object menu, then select both shapes and click Subtract from shape area > Expand. Fill the compound path obtained with black, then drag it into the Brushes Panel to define it as a Pattern Brush.


Step 23

Now you need again the two oval shapes inside the letters a and e. Copy and Paste them in front, delete the pattern fill and give them a black Stroke. Go to Object > Path > Offset Path and apply a -1.5 pt Offset value. Now stroke the smaller oval shapes obtained with the Pattern Brush defined in the previous step. Change the Weight value to 0.5 pt.


Step 24

Select the black text path, go to Effect > Stylize and apply the Inner Glow effect with the settings shown.


Step 25

You are almost done, all that is left to do is to add some highlights. In the next image you can see how three of these shapes were made.

First draw the curvy paths like the red ones depending where and on which letter you want to place them. Stroke the paths using the Art Brush defined in step 6, and change the Weight value as needed depending how thin or thick you want the highlight shapes to be. Expand Appearance from the Object menu when you are done.


Step 26

Go to Effect > Stylize and apply the Feather effect choosing a Radius value between 4 px and 6 px, depending on how big or small each shape is.


Final Image

Here is the final image and let me know if you found this tutorial useful.

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