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How to Create a Colorful, 3D Text Effect

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In the following tutorial you will learn how to create a colorful three-dimensional text effect. We'll use several Illustrator effects, built in patterns, a modern font, and more to bring this effect to fruition. Let's get started!


Step 1

Go to File > New. Enter 700 in the width box and 580 in the height box, then click on the Advanced button. Select RGB from the Color Mode drop down menu and click OK. Now that you created your document grab the Type Tool (T), click on your artboard and enter your text. Use the Gota font with a size of 120px. Select your text and go to Object > Expand.


Step 2

Select the shapes created in the previous step and ungroup them (Shift > Command > G). First, you need to simplify the numbers of shapes. Select every two letter shapes and go to Object > Compound Path > Make. If your word has an uneven number of letters (like "Vectors" does), then transform the middle three letters into a compound path. Next, fill these paths with R=141, G=198, B=63. If you're using "Vectors" for your word, now you should have three simple paths in your Layers panel.


Step 3

Let's focus on the first shape. Select it and select the fill from the Appearance panel, then go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow. Enter the data shown below and then click OK.


Step 4

Reselect the shape from the previous step, open the fly-out menu of the Appearance panel, and click on Add New Fill. This will add a second fill for the selected shape.

Select it and replace the existing color with R=215, G=223, B=35. Now lower its Opacity to 50% and change the blending mode to Overlay. With this new fill still selected go to Effect > Artistic > Sponge. Enter the data shown below and click OK.


Step 5

Add a third fill for the same shape. Make it black, lower its Opacity to 15%, and change the blending mode to Multiply. Select it and go to Effect > Artistic > Plastic Wrap. Enter the data shown below and then click OK.


Step 6

Add a fourth fill. Select it and use the linear gradient shown below. Lower its Opacity to 50% and change the blending mode to Overlay. The yellow text from the gradient image stands for Opacity.


Step 7

Add a thin green stroke for the same shape (R=141, G=198, B=63). Make it 0,5pt wide, align it to inside, and change its blending mode to Multiply.


Step 8

Add a new fill for the same shape. Select it and drag it above the stroke (in the Appearance panel). Now, you need a nice pattern. Open the fly-out menu of the Swatches panel and go to Open Swatch Library > Patterns > Decorative > Decorative_Geometric 1. Reselect the newest fill, lower its Opacity to 20%, change the blending mode to Overlay, and use the Diamond Squares Color pattern.


Step 9

Add one last fill for this shape and use the color shown below (R=241, G=242, B=242). Select it, lower its Opacity to 50%, change the blending mode to Color Burn, then go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow. Enter the data shown below and click OK.


Step 10

Select the shape edited in the last steps and make a copy in front (Command + C > Command + F). Select it, fill it only with white and open the Transparency panel. Select it along with the original shape, open the fly-out menu of the Transparency panel and go to Make Opacity Mask. Now your shape should look like the final image below.


Step 11

Now, you need to add the same effect for the other paths. Go to the Layers panel and focus on the round buttons located to the right. Click on the button that stands for the already edited shape, hold Alt and drag above the button that stands for the next shape. This will import the settings of the existing shape for the other shape.

Again, make a copy of this second shape (Command + C > Command + F). Fill it with white, select it along with the original shape, then open the fly-out menu of the Transparency panel and click on Make Opacity Mask. Finally, repeat the same techniques for the remaining shapes.


Step 12

Next, you need to add a discrete shadow effect. Select all the shapes created so far and duplicate them. Select these copies and go to Object > Compound Path > Make. Fill the resulting path with white and Send it to Back (Shift + Command + Left Bracket key), then go to to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the data shown below and click OK. Select all the shapes created so far and group them (Command + G).


Step 13

Duplicate the group made in the previous step (Command + C > Command + F). Select the copy and move it some pixels down. Focus on it and replace the existing colors. In the following image you can find all the changes that you have to make. Don't forget to select the top fill and raise its Opacity to 100%.


Step 14

Duplicate the group made in the previous step. Again, select the copy and move it a few pixels down. This time play with some blue. Take a look at the following image to find all the color information you need.


Step 15

Here is how your work should look so far. You can play with the existing colors by combining them as shown.


Step 16

Now, let's add the background. First, add a new layer in your Layers panel. Select it and drag it below the existing one. Make sure that the further shapes end up in this new layer. It will be the place to store the background shapes. Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create a shape the size of your artboard (700 by 580px), and fill it with R=241, G=242, B=242. Add a second fill for this rectangle and use the linear gradient shown in the following image.


Step 17

Keep focusing on the shape made in the previous step. Once again, you will need a nice pattern. Open the fly out menu of the Swatches panel and go to Open Swatch Library > Patterns > Basic Graphics > Basic Graphics_Textures. Reselect the background rectangle and add a third fill. Select it, lower its Opacity to 20%, change the blending mode to Multiply, and use the USGS 19 Land Inundation pattern.


Step 18

Reselect the background rectangle and add one last fill. Make it black, lower its Opacity to 4%, change the blending mode to Multiply, then go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the data shown below then click OK.


Step 19

Pick the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 700px by 580px shape and place it as shown in the following image. Fill it with the radial gradient, lower its Opacity to 25%, and change the blending mode to Color Burn.


Step 20

Now, let's add some brushes for the background. First, set the color to R=117, G=76, B=41, then open the fly-out menu of the Brushes panel, and go to Open Brush Library > Artistic > Artistic_Paintbrush. Pick the Brush Tool (B), select the Paintbrush Wide and draw some random paths as shown in the following image. Select them all, group them (Command + G), then select the group and lower its Opacity to 5%.


Step 21

Continue with the Brush Tool (B). Set the color to R=96, G=57, B=19, select Dry Brush 1 and draw the paths shown in the following image. Group them, select the group, lower its Opacity to 5%, then change the blending mode to Multiply.


Step 22

Set the color at R=196, G=154, B=108, then select the Splash brush and draw the paths shown in the following image. Group them, then select the group, lower its Opacity to 20%, and change the blending mode to Multiply.


Step 23

Finally, let's add the dividers. Pick the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 4px by 4px shape and place it as shown in the zoomed image. Fill it with R=217, G=202, B=173 and add a 0.3, aligned to outside stroke (R=155, G=133, B=121). Select the fill and add the Inner Glow effect, then select the entire path, and add the Drop Shadow effect.


Step 24

Select the shape made in the previous step and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter 22 in the copies box and drag the Move-Horizontal slider to 20px, then click OK. Go again to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter 4 in the copies box and 130 in the Move-Vertical box, then click OK, and you're done.


Conclusion

The final image is below.

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