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Create an Alphabetti Spaghetti Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

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In the following steps you will learn how to create an alphabetti spaghetti text effect in Adobe Illustrator. For starters you will learn how to create a simple rectangle and a piece of text and how to easily place them in the center of your artboard. Next, using basic vector shape building techniques you will learn how to create the main compound paths. Moving on you will add subtle shading and highlights using the Appearance panel, basic blending techniques and a bunch of raster effects. Finally, using a radial gradient and a simple blending techniques you will learn how to increase the contrast for the overall illustration.


1. Create a New Document and Setup a Grid

Hit Control-N to create a new document. Select Pixels from the Units drop-down menu, enter 600 in the width box and 800 in the height box then click on the Advanced button. Select RGB, Screen (72ppi) and make sure that the Align New Objects to Pixel Grid box is unchecked before you click OK.

Alphabetti Spaghetti Text Effect

2. Create the Background and the Main Shapes

Step 1

Focus on your Toolbar, remove the color from the stroke then select the fill and set its color at R=180 G=13 B=7. Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and simply click on your artboard to open the Rectangle window. Enter a 610 in the Width box and 810 in the Height box then click OK. Next, you need to center this rectangle, so open the Align panel (Window > Align). Set the aligning to Artboard (open the fly out menu and go to Show Options if you can't see the Align To section as shown in the following image) then simply click the Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center buttons. In the end your rectangle should cover the entire artboard. Move to the Layers panel, open the existing layer, double click on that <Path> and simply rename it "bg".

Alphabetti Spaghetti Text Effect

Step 2

Set the fill color at R=246 G=169 B=81, pick the Type Tool (T) and simply click on your artboard. Add the "STOP PLAYING WITH YOUR FOOD" piece of text then open the Character panel (Window > Type > Character). Use Porky's font, set the size at 75pt and the tracking at 120. Make sure that your piece of text stays selected, open the Paragraph panel (Window > Type > Paragraph) and simply check the Align center button. Also, center this piece of text using the Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center buttons from the Align panel.

Alphabetti Spaghetti Text Effect

Step 3

Make sure that your piece of text is still selected and hit Shift-Control-O (or go to Type > Create Outlines). Ungroup (Shift-Control-G) the resulting group of shapes then simply hit Control-8 (or go to Object > Compound Path > Make) to turn those yellow shapes into a simple Compound Path. Move to the Layers panel (Window > Layers), double-click on the compound path made in this step and simply name it "paragraph".

Alphabetti Spaghetti Text Effect

Step 4

Focus on the Layers panel and turn off the visibility for your "paragraph" compound path. Grab the Type Tool (T), click on your artboard and simply type the letters of the alphabet and the 0 to 9 numbers. Make sure that this new piece of text stays selected and focus on the Character panel. Use that same Porky's font, set the size at 75pt and the tracking at 120.

Alphabetti Spaghetti Text Effect

Step 5

Make sure that the piece of text made in the previous step is still selected, hit Shift-Control-O then Ungroup (Shift-Control-G) the resulting group of shapes.

Alphabetti Spaghetti Text Effect

Step 6

Focus on the Layers panel and turn on the visibility for your "paragraph" compound path. Return to your artboard, multiply the letter shapes made in the previous step then spread them around your "paragraph" as shown in the following image. Hold the Alt key from your keyboard, make sure that the Selection Tool (V) (or the Direct Selection Tool (A)) is active then simply click and drag the shape that you wish to duplicate.

Alphabetti Spaghetti Text Effect

Step 7

Select some of the letter shapes and hit Alt-Shift-Control-D (or go to Object > Transform > Transform Each). Simply check the Reflect X box then click OK.

Alphabetti Spaghetti Text Effect

Step 8

Reselect all those letter shapes, open the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder), click the Unite button then hit Control-8. Move to the Layers panel, double-click on this new compound path and name it "letters".

Alphabetti Spaghetti Text Effect

Step 9

Select both compound path made so far and duplicate them (Control-C > Control-F). Make sure that only the copies are selected and turn them into a single Compound Path (Control-8). Reselect your "bg" shape and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Select this copy along with the compound path made in the beginning of the step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting group of shapes stays selected, bring it to front (Shift-Control-] ) and replace the existing fill color with R=102 G=45 B=145.

Alphabetti Spaghetti Text Effect

Step 10

Make sure that your group of purple shapes is still selected and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Select only the group copy, turn it into a Compound Path (Control-8) and set the fill color at white. Move to the Layers panel, name this new compound path "all" then make it invisible. You'll need it later.

Alphabetti Spaghetti Text Effect

Step 11

Reselect your group of purple shapes and simply hit Shift-Control-G to Ungroup it. Select the main purple shape along with the tinier purple shapes from the center of the artboard and turn them into a compound path. Make sure that this new compound path is selected and replace the existing fill color with R=0 G=104 B=56. Move to the Layers panel, double-click on this green compound path and name it "center".

Alphabetti Spaghetti Text Effect

Step 12

Select the remaining purple shapes (simply select one of those shapes then go to Select > Same > Appearance) and turn them into a Compound Path (Control-8). Make sure that this new compound path is selected and replace the existing fill color with R=28 G=117 B=188. Move to the Layers panel, double-click on this blue compound path and name it "edges".

Alphabetti Spaghetti Text Effect

3. Add Details for the Compound Paths Surrounding Your Letter Shapes

Step 1

Focus on the Layers panel, turn off the visibility for your "center" and "edges" compound paths then turn on the visibility for your "all" compound path. Make sure that the "all" compound path stays selected and open the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance). Select the existing fill, replace the white with R=206 G=55 B=0 and go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow. Enter a the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

Alphabetti Spaghetti Text Effect

Step 2

Make sure that your "all" compound path is still selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add a second fill using the Add New Fill button (pointed by the little, blue arrow in the following image). Select this new fill, set the color at black, lower its Opacity to 35%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -20px Offset, click OK and go to Effect > Blur > Radial Blur. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

Alphabetti Spaghetti Text Effect

Step 3

Make sure that your "all" compound path stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add a 2pt stroke. Select it, set the color at black, align it to inside, lower its Opacity to 20% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light. Keep focusing on the Appearance panel and add a second stroke using the Add New Stroke button (pointed by the little, blue arrow in the following image). Select this new stroke, make sure that the color is set at black, set the size at 4pt, align it to inside, lower its Opacity to 15% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light. Return to the Appearance panel and add a third stroke for your shape. Select it, make sure that the color is set at black, set the size at 6pt, align it to inside, lower its Opacity to 15% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Alphabetti Spaghetti Text Effect

Step 4

Focus on the Layers panel and turn on the visibility for your "edges" compound path. Make sure that it stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the existing fill, replace the blue with black, lower its Opacity to 50%, change the Blending Mode to Overlay and go to Effect > Artistic > Plastic Wrap. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK, return to the Appearance panel and add a second fill using that same Add New Fill button. Select this new fill, set the color at white, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and go to Effect > Artistic > Sponge. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

Alphabetti Spaghetti Text Effect

Step 5

Focus on the Layers panel and turn on the visibility for your "center" compound path. Make sure that it stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the existing fill, replace the green with black, lower its Opacity to 60%, change the Blending Mode to Overlay and go to Effect > Artistic > Plastic Wrap. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK, return to the Appearance panel and add a second fill. Select this new fill, set the color at white, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and go to Effect > Artistic > Sponge. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

Alphabetti Spaghetti Text Effect

Step 6

Focus on the Layers panel, reselect your "all" compound path, make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F) and bring it to front (Shift-Control-] ). Make sure that this copy stays selected and simply hit the D key from your keyboard to replace the existing Appearance attributes with the default ones (white fill and 1pt, black stroke). Focus on the Appearance panel, remove the black stoke and select the fill. Replace the existing color with R=246 G=169 B=81, lower its Opacity to 50%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and go to Effect > Sketch > Chrome. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

Alphabetti Spaghetti Text Effect

4. Add Details for the Letter Shapes

Step 1

Go to Edit > Preferences > General and make sure that the Keyboard Increment is set at 1px. Select your "paragraph" compound path, bring it to front (Shift-Control-] ) and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and hit the up arrow once to move it 1px up. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Turn the resulting group of shapes into a Compound Path (Control-8), set the fill color at R=180 G=13 B=7, lower its Opacity to 25% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Alphabetti Spaghetti Text Effect

Step 2

Select your "paragraph" compound path and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and hit the up arrow twice to move it 2px up. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Turn the resulting group of shapes into a Compound Path (Control-8), set the fill color at R=180 G=13 B=7, lower its Opacity to 25% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Alphabetti Spaghetti Text Effect

Step 3

Select your "paragraph" compound path and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and hit the up arrow three times to move it 3px up. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Turn the resulting group of shapes into a Compound Path (Control-8), set the fill color at R=180 G=13 B=7, lower its Opacity to 25% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Alphabetti Spaghetti Text Effect

Step 4

Reselect your "paragraph" compound path and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -2px offset and click OK. Select the resulting shape and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Select this copy and move it 1px down using the down arrow from your keyboard. Reselect both shapes made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Turn the resulting group of shapes into a Compound Path (Control-8), set the fill color at white (R=255 G=255 B=255) and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Alphabetti Spaghetti Text Effect

Step 5

Reselect your "paragraph" compound path, focus on the Appearance panel, select the existing fill and duplicate it using the Duplicate Selected Item button (pointed by the little, blue arrow in the following image). Select the newly added fill and go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Effect > Stylize > Outer Glow. Enter the attributes shown below and click OK.

Alphabetti Spaghetti Text Effect

Step 6

Reselect your "paragraph" compound path, focus on the Appearance panel and add a third fill. Select it, set the color at white, lower its Opacity to 30%, change the Blending Mode to Overlay and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -6.5px Offset, click OK and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

Alphabetti Spaghetti Text Effect

Step 7

Reselect your "paragraph" compound path, focus on the Appearance panel and add a fourth fill. Select it, set the color at black, lower its Opacity to 35%, change the Blending Mode to Color Dodge and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -6.5px Offset, click OK and go to Effect > Distort > Glass. Enter the attributes shown below, click OK and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

Alphabetti Spaghetti Text Effect

Step 8

Reselect your "paragraph" compound path, focus on the Appearance panel and add a fifth fill. Select it, set the color at black, lower its Opacity to 10%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1px Offset, click OK and go to Effect > Brush Stroke > Spatter. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

Alphabetti Spaghetti Text Effect

Step 9

Make sure that your "paragraph" compound path is still selected, focus on the Appearance panel, select the bottom fill and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the properties shown in the top, left window (in the following image), click OK and go again to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the properties shown in the top, middle window (in the following image), click OK and go once again to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the properties shown in the top, right window (in the following image), click OK and go one more time to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the properties shown in the bottom, left window (in the following image), click OK and go one last time to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the properties shown in the bottom, right window (in the following image) and click OK.

Alphabetti Spaghetti Text Effect

Step 10

Select your "letters" compound path, bring it to front (Shift-Control-] ) and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 1px up. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Turn the resulting group of shapes into a Compound Path (Control-8), set the fill color at R=180 G=13 B=7, lower its Opacity to 25% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Alphabetti Spaghetti Text Effect

Step 11

Reselect your "letters" compound path and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 2px up. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Turn the resulting group of shapes into a Compound Path (Control-8), set the fill color at R=180 G=13 B=7, lower its Opacity to 25% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Alphabetti Spaghetti Text Effect

Step 12

Reselect your "letters" compound path and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 3px up. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Turn the resulting group of shapes into a Compound Path (Control-8), set the fill color at R=180 G=13 B=7, lower its Opacity to 25% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Alphabetti Spaghetti Text Effect

Step 13

Reselect your "letters" compound path and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1px Offset and click OK. Select the resulting shape and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Select this copy and move it 1px down using the down arrow from your keyboard. Reselect both shapes made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Turn the resulting group of shapes into a Compound Path (Control-8), set the fill color at white (R=255 G=255 B=255) and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Alphabetti Spaghetti Text Effect

Step 14

Reselect your "letters" compound path and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -3px Offset and click OK. Select the resulting shape and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Select this copy and move it 1px up using the up arrow from your keyboard. Reselect both shapes made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Turn the resulting group of shapes into a Compound Path (Control-8), set the fill color at R=180 G=13 B=7, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 1px Radius and click OK.

Alphabetti Spaghetti Text Effect

Step 15

Next, you need to copy the properties used for the "paragraph" compound path and paste them onto the "letters" compound path. Here is how you can easily do it. Go to the Layers panel, focus on the right side and you'll notice that every shape comes with a little circle icon. It's called a target icon. Hold the Alt key from your keyboard, click on the target icon that stands for your "paragraph" compound path and drag onto the target icon that stands for your "letters" compound path.

Next, you need to make some small changes. Make sure that your "letters" compound path stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. First, open the five Drop Shadow effects used for the bottom fill and replace the existing color (used for the effect) with R=50 G=0 B=0. Move to the white fill, open the existing Offset Path effect and lower the Offset to -8px. Keep focusing on the white fill, make sure that it's selected and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 2px Radius and click OK.

Alphabetti Spaghetti Text Effect

5. Add the Final Touches

Step 1

Reselect your "bg" rectangle, make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F) and bring it to front (Shift-Control-] ). Make sure that this copy stays selected, lower its Opacity to 50%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and replace the existing flat color with the radial gradient shown in the following image. The yellow zero from the Gradient image stands for Opacity percentage.

Alphabetti Spaghetti Text Effect

Congratulations! You're Done!

Here is how it should look. I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and can apply these techniques in your future projects.

Alphabetti Spaghetti Text Effect
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