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Design

Create a Multicolored Splashed Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

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Difficulty:BeginnerLength:MediumLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial you will learn how to create a multicolored splashed text effect in Adobe Illustrator. In the beginning you will manipulate the text a little and once ready, you will add some dimension to it with the help of the Bas Relief effect. 

Next, you will create the multicolored splashes using the Appearance panel and by playing with two built-in Scatter Brushes and their settings. 

Towards the end of the tutorial you will add highlights and shading to the text and also to the splashes, and that’s it! Sounds easy? Let’s find out. 

1. Start a New Project

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

Create new illustrator file

2. Type and Prepare the Text

Step 1

Grab the Type Tool (T) and type Paint me on your artboard. The font that I've used is LeckerliOne, Regular, size of 117 pt and is created by Gesine Todt. Select Expand from the Object menu. 

Type the text on artboard

Step 2

Next, take the Direct Selection Tool (A) and drag a selection over the top half of the letter “t” as shown below. This allows you to select all the points in that area and move them upwards in a single movement. After this, the letter “t” should be about the same size as the letter “i”.  

Manipulate the text 1

Step 3

Use the Direct Selection Tool (A) again to drag a selection over the letter “t” as shown in the following image. Move the selected points towards the letter “m”. 

Manipulate the text 2

Step 4

Now, select all the letters and press Add in the Pathfinder panel to unite them into a single shape. 

Create compound path

3. Add Dimension to the Text

Step 1

Select the compound path that you created in the previous step and set the fill color to black. Next, go to Effect > Sketch and apply the Bas Relief effect. Reduce the Opacity to 40% for a less dramatic look. I will name this the “bas relief shape”. 

Apply Bas Relief effect

Apply these settings for the Bas Relief effect and set the Light to Top

Bas Relief effect settings

Step 2

Copy and Paste in Back (Control-B) the “bas relief shape” and remove all existing appearances by pressing the Clear Appearance icon at the bottom of the Appearance panel. 

Use the color indicated as the fill color, and then go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow and apply this effect four times. I will name this the “shadow shape”. 

Add shadow to text

These are the settings for the four Drop Shadow effects:

Drop Shadow effect settings

Step 3

If you zoom in on the letters, you will notice they have pixelated edges. To fix this problem, you will use a mask. Copy and Paste in Front (Control-F) the “bas relief shape” and remove all existing appearances. Now, select this new copy along with the “bas relief shape” and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7)

You can name the resulting group “Bas Relief” if you want, and at this point in the Layers panel you should have this group and the “shadow shape” under it.  

Mask the Bas Relief effect

Step 4

Copy and Paste in Front (Control-F) the “shadow shape”, and then bring it in front of everything by going to Object > Arrange > Bring to Front (Shift-Control-]). Remove all existing appearances, select white as the fill color, and set the Blending Mode to Soft Light. As a result, your text will be whiter, and we want this because the multicolored splashes will stand out more. I will name this the “white shape”. 

Create white text effect

4. Create the Multicolored Splashes 

Step 1 

Grab the Pencil Tool (N) and draw a path over the letters as in the next image. Try to follow the shape of the letters as accurately as possible because you want most of the splashes to be on the letters, not around them on the background. If needed, you can make additional adjustments with the Direct Selection Tool (A)

Stroke this path with the Ink Splats Scatter Brush that you can find in Brush Libraries Menu > Artistic > Artistic_Ink. Since the Colorization Method is set to Tints, by changing the stroke color to light blue, your splashes will turn light blue as well.

Keep the Stroke weight at 1 pt, but go to the Appearance panel and double-click on the brush stroke to open the Stroke Options window and change the settings. I've only changed the settings for Size and Spacing and left the others as they were.

Add splashes on text 1

Step 2

With the path still selected, choose Add New Stroke from the fly-out menu of the Appearance panel. As a result you will get a second Stroke attribute above the first. Change the color to red and use the Ink Splats Scatter Brush again. Open the Stroke Options window and change the settings as shown. We want bigger splashes at the beginning and smaller splashes later. 

Add splashes on text 2

Step 3

With the path still selected, add the third Stroke attribute above the others. Set the color to orange and this time use the Ink Spatter 1 Scatter Brush from the library. Open the Stroke Options window and change only the settings for Size and Spacing as shown. 

Add splashes on text 3

Step 4

Add a new Stroke attribute and use the color indicated. Select the Ink Splats Scatter Brush again, and then change the settings. Obviously, you won’t get a result identical to mine, but it should be pretty similar. 

Add splashes on text 4

Step 5

Add a new Stroke attribute, set the color to green, and use the Ink Splats Scatter Brush again. Use smaller values for Size in order to get smaller splashes. 

Add splashes on text 5

Step 6

Add another Stroke attribute above the others and set the color to brown. This time use the Ink Spatter 1 Scatter Brush and change the settings for Size and Spacing in the Stroke Options window. You want to get really small brown splashes this time.

Add splashes on text 6

Step 7

Add the last Stroke attribute and set the color to purple. Use the Ink Spatter 1 Scatter Brush again, with the settings shown below. The purple splashes should be pretty small as well. 

Add splashes on text 7

Step 8

It’s time to mask the splashes around the letters, but before you continue, make a copy of the stroked path for later use. Now, Copy and Paste in Front (Control-F) the “white shape” and remove all existing appearances. 

Bring this copy in front of everything by going to Object > Arrange > Bring to Front (Shift-Control-]). Select the newly made shape along with the stroked path and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7)

Mask the splashes

Step 9

Next, we will add more splashes around the text, on the background, because at this point the text looks quite strange. Select the copy of the stroked path that you made earlier and move it in a new layer under the text. Select Expand Appearance in order to turn the strokes into fills. 

At this point, in the Layers panel you should have a group that contains seven other groups (each Stroke attribute will turn into a group of splashes). In each of these groups you will find the path that you have used (stroke-none, fill-none). Therefore open each group, scroll to the end of it and delete them. It’s important to delete all seven paths before you continue. 

When you are done, select the big group of splashes and Ungroup (Shift‑Control‑G) two or three times until you are able to select individual splashes or smaller groups of splashes. 

Add more splashes

Step 10

Start to delete some of the splashes from around the text because at this point it is much too crowded. In the next image you can see the areas that I've cleaned up, so you can follow my example or create your own unique design. 

The important thing here is to keep the bigger splashes located right at the edge of the text (indicated by the arrows), otherwise the overall look is going to be weird. You are free to delete a large part of the splashes that are further from the text. 

Clean up the splashes

5. Add Highlights/Shading to the Text 

Step 1 

First, create a new layer above the one with the text. Grab the Pen Tool (P) or the Pencil Tool (N) and draw a path over the left side of the letters “P”, “a”, “n”, “t”, “m”, and “e”, as in the next image (1). 

Stroke these six paths with a brush from the Set of Multi-Use Blend Brushes called Black Angled Art Brush, which we created a while ago. Increase the Stroke weight to 2 pt (2) and set all of them to Blending Mode Overlay and 75% Opacity (3).

Add shading to text

Step 2

Next, draw the paths shown in the following image over the letters (1). Stroke these paths with the White Angled Art Brush from the Set of Multi-Use Blend Brushes, which is just the white version of the previously used brush. Set the Stroke weight to 1–1.5 pt depending on the letter (2), and then set all of them to Blending Mode Overlay (3). 

Add highlights to text

Step 3

Here is a before and after image. At the beginning the text looked pretty flat, but after the highlights/shading the text looks shiny and more defined. 

Highlights and shading on text

6. Add Dimension to the Outer Splashes 

Step 1

Before you continue, lock the layer with the text and the layer with the highlights/shading. Now select all the splashes around the letters and Copy and Paste in Front (Control-F) all of them (1). Keeping them selected, fill all the copies with a radial gradient from white to black (2) and set them to Blending Mode Color Dodge and 50% Opacity (3). 

Add dimension to splashes 1

Step 2

Select all the splashes around the text again, and Copy and Paste in Front (Control-F) all of them. Keeping them selected, press Add in the Pathfinder panel to unite them into a single shape. Remove any existing appearances of the newly created compound path, and select white as the fill color. 

Add dimension to splashes 2

Step 3

With the white compound path from the previous step still selected, go to Effect > Stylize and apply the Drop Shadow effect twice. After that, reduce the Opacity to 0% but only for the white Fill attribute, otherwise we won't be able to see the color of the splashes. We are interested in only the shadow. Set the shape to Blending Mode Color Burn

Add dimension to splashes 3

These are the settings for the two Drop Shadow effects. Notice that the first one uses the color black and the other one uses white. 

Add dimension to splashes 4

Step 4

In the last step let's add even more shine to the outer splashes. Grab the Pen Tool (P) or the Pencil Tool (N) and draw a few small paths over the bigger splashes (1). 

Stroke these paths with the White Blend Art Brush, size of 100 x 3 px, from the Set of Multi-Use Blend Brushes. Set the Stroke weight at 1–2 pt depending on the size of the splashes, and reduce the Opacity to 40-75% depending how shiny you want them to be (2). And with this you've just finished! 

Add dimension to splashes 5

Congratulations! You're Done

I hope you learned something new from this tutorial. If you decide to create this splashed text effect, please share it with us. It would be lovely to see other color combinations, or maybe a unique design.

Splashed text effect
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