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Text Effects

Create a Marker Text Effect in Illustrator

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In the following tutorial I will show you how to create a marker illustration. This tutorial involves intermediate vector shape building skills in Illustrator to create the markers, along with some layering and script usage to create the text effects. Let's get started.

Step 1

Create a 700px by 630px, 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 2px. Go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid, enter 2 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

Let's start with the marker. Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a 64px by 172px shape. Switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A) and focus on the bottom anchor points. Select the left anchor point and move it 8px to the right and then select the right anchor point and move it 8px to the left. The Snap to Grid should ease your work. In the end your shape should look like the second image shown. Select it, duplicate it and make this copy invisible. You will need it a few steps later.

Step 3

Select the remaining, visible shape and go to Effect > Warp > Fisheye. Enter the data shown below, click OK and then go to Object > Expand Appearance. Reselect the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a shape like the gray one shown in the second image. Select it along with the expanded shape and click on the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel.

Step 4

Turn back to visible the shape made in the second step. Select it and go to Effect > Warp > Fisheye. Enter the data shown below, click OK and then go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 5px radius, click OK and then go to Object > Expand Appearance. Select the resulting shape along with the shape made in the previous step and click on the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel.

Step 5

Now you should have only one shape on your artboard and it should look like the first image below. Let's make a small adjustment for this path. Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid) and then grab the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-). Remove the two anchor points highlighted in the first image and then fill the resulting shape with R=152, G=220, and B=98.

Step 6

Now let's add some new fills for this green shape. Select it and go to the Appearance panel. Open the fly-out menu and click on Add New Fill. Obviously this will add a second fill for your shape. Select it from the Appearance panel and fill it with the top left linear gradient shown below. The yellow zero from the gradient image stands for Opacity percentage.

Use the same technique to add a third fill for this shape and use the top, right linear gradient shown below. Now, let's add a fourth fill for this shape using a different technique. Reselect this shape, go to the Appearance panel, select the top fill and click on the Duplicate Selected Item button from the Appearance panel. Obviously, this will add a copy of the selected fill.

Select this new fill. First, lower its Opacity to 80% and then replace the existing linear gradient with the bottom, left gradient shown below. The white numbers from the gradient image stand for location percentage. That means you need to select that little diamond icon and drag it to the left at 30%. Finally, add a fifth fill for your shape and use the bottom, right linear gradient shown below. Don't forget to select it from the Appearance panel and lower its Opacity to 80%.

Step 7

Turn back on the Snap to Grid. Grab the Rectangle Tool (M) and focus on the top area. Create a 64px by 6px shape, fill it with the linear gradient shown below, then place it as shown in the first image. Next, you need to add a discrete roundness effect for the top anchor points of this shape. The Round Any Corner Script will come in handy for this.

Save it to your hard drive. Now grab the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select the top anchor points (highlighted in the first image) and go to File > Scripts > Other Script. Open the Round Any Corner Script, enter a 3px Radius and click OK. In the end your shape should look like the second image shown.

Step 8

Keep focusing on the top area and pick the Rectangle Tool (M). Create a 56px by 4px shape, fill it with the linear gradient shown below, and place it as shown in the first image.

Step 9

Again, use the Rectangle Tool (M) to create a 56px by 44px shape. Place it as shown in the first image then grab the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select the left anchor point and move it 20px to the right, and then select the right anchor point and move it 20px to the left. Now, your shape should look like a trapezoid. Select it and go to Effect > Warp > Squeeze. Enter the data shown below, click OK, then go to Object > Expand Appearance.

Step 10

Now, let's edit the shape made in the previous step. Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and create two black shapes shown in the first image. Select them along with the shape made in the previous step and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. The resulting shape should look like the second image shown.

Step 11

Reselect the shape made in the previous step, fill it with R=32, G=31, and B=35. Now pick the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select the top anchor points and go to File > Scripts > Other Script. Again, open the Round Any Corner Script, enter a 2px Radius and click OK. In the end your shape should look like the second image shown.

Step 12

Disable the Snap to Grid, then go to Edit > Preferences > General, and enter 0.5 in the Keyboard Increment box. Select the shape edited in the previous step and make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F). Select this copy, hit the left arrow five times, then duplicate it. Again, select this new copy and hit the left arrow five times. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=147, G=149, and B=152.

Step 13

Select the shape edited in the eleventh step and make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F). Select this copy, hit the right arrow six times and then duplicate it. Again, select this new copy and hit the right arrow four times. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=109, G=110, and B=113.

Step 14

Select the shape made in the twelfth step, go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur, then enter a 3px radius and click OK. Select the shape made in the previous step, go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur, then enter a 2.5px radius and click OK. Reselect these blurred shapes and group them (Control + G).

Step 15

Select the shape edited in the eleventh step, make a copy in front and fill it with white. Select it, along with the group made in the previous step, and go to the Transparency panel. Open the fly-out menu and click on Make Opacity Mask.

Step 16

Enable the Snap to Grid. Again, select the shape edited in the eleventh step and make a copy in front. Now pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a shape like the one shown in the second step. Select this new shape along with the fresh copy and click on the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with the linear gradient shown in the third image and bring it to front (Shift + Control + Right Bracket key).

Step 17

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 12px by 20px shape, place it as shown in the first image then grab the Direct Selection Tool. Select the top, left anchor point and move it 6px down. The resulting shape should look like the second image below.

Select it and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 2px radius, click OK, then go to Object > Expand Appearance. Fill the resulting shape with the linear gradient show below, send it to back (Shift + Control + Left Bracket key), then duplicate it.

Step 18

Pick the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 12px by 22px shape, and place it as shown in the first image. Grab the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the left anchor point, and move it 6px down. Now your shape should look like the second image shown. Select it along with the copy made in the previous step and click on the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with the linear gradient shown in the fourth image.

Step 19

Disable the Snap to Grid. Select the shape made in the previous step and make two copies in front (Control + C > Control + F > Control + F). Select the bottom copy, then hit the right arrow once and the down arrow twice. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with the linear gradient shown in the third image and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 0.5px radius and click OK.

Step 20

Duplicate the shapes made in the seventeenth and eighteenth steps. Select these copies and click on the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with white and bring it to front (Shift + Control + Right Bracket key). Select it along with the blurred shape made in the previous step, open the fly-out menu of the Transparency panel and click on Make Opacity Mask.

Step 21

Duplicate all the shapes created so far, except the masked ones. Select all these copies and click on the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with none and add a 1pt, black, aligned to outside stroke. Select it and go to Object > Expand, then fill the resulting path with the linear gradient shown in the following image.

Step 22

Again, duplicate all the shapes created so far, expect the masked ones. Select these copies and click on the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel. Send the resulting shape to back (Shift + Control + Left Bracket key), fill it with white, then go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the data shown below and click OK. Now your maker is complete. Select all the shapes created so far and group them (Control + G).

Step 23

Select the marker group, duplicate it, and move it to the left. Let's make it pink. Select the body of the marker and go to the Appearance panel. First, replace the flat green with the flat pink shown below, then replace the existing gradients with the ones shown in the following image.

Step 24

Now, let's move to the top of the marker. Use the first, two linear gradients for the top shapes, the third gradient for the blurred shape and the fourth gradient for the expanded stroke.

Step 25

Make a copy of the pink marker and replace the exiting colors with the ones shown in the following images.

Step 26

Let's continue with the rest of the illustration. Start with the background. Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create a shape the size of your artboard and fill it with white. Next, grab the Rectangular Grid Tool, click on your artboard, enter the data shown below then click OK. A large grid should appear on your artboard. Add a 0.5pt stroke (R=28, G=117, and B=188), lower its Opacity to 20%, then place it above the white rectangle. Finally, lock this grid and the white rectangle. That way you won't select or move the shape accidentally.

Step 27

Pick the Type Tool (T), add your text and try to use a handwritten font. We will use this text as a model, it won't be a part of the final illustration. Next, you need a simple Calligraphic brush. Go to the Brushes panel (Window > Brushes), open the fly-out menu and click on New Brush. Check calligraphic brush, click OK, enter the data shown in the final image, and click OK.

Now, use this fresh brush along with the Brush Tool (B) to draw the paths along your text, with the colors shown below. Most certainly, it won't look perfect. You will have to use the Direct Selection Tool and some of the anchor point tools (Add Anchor Point Tool, Delete Anchor Point Tool and Convert Selection Tool) to edit these paths.

Step 28

Rotate the green and the pink markers and place them as shown in the first image. Now, select the green paths made in the previous step and go to Object > Expand Appearance. Select the resulting group of shapes and click on the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel, then go to Object > Compound Path > Make.

Step 29

Reselect the path made in the previous step and add a second fill. Make it black, lower its Opacity to 3%, change the blending mode to Multiply, then go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the data shown below, click OK, then reselect the entire path and change its blending mode to Multiply.

Step 30

Reselect the path edited in the previous step and make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F). Select this copy and hit the the D button. This will add the default properties (white fill and 1pt, black stroke) for your shape. Remove the stroke, then select the remaining white shape, along with the shape edited in the previous step, and go to the Transparency panel. Open the fly-out menu and click on Make Opacity Mask.

Step 31

Move to the pink paths. Expand them, unite the resulting paths, turn them into a compound path, then add the same effects and techniques used for the green path.

Step 32

Reselect the green path and make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F). Select this copy, replace the green with R=107, G=208, and B=255. Now hit the right arrow and the up arrow five times. Also, rotate the blue marker and place it as shown in the second image.

Step 33

Grab the Brush Tool (B) and use the same calligraphic brush to add the paths shown in the first image. Expand them and turn them into compound paths, then add the techniques and effect used for the text paths.

Conclusion

The final image is below.

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