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Design

How to Create a Dripping Blood Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

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Difficulty:IntermediateLength:LongLanguages:
This post is part of a series called Halloween and Day of the Dead Vector Design.
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In the following steps you will learn how to create a bloody text effect in Adobe Illustrator. For starters you will learn how to create a textured background using a simple rectangle and the Appearance panel. Next, using a nice font, several built-in brushes and some basic vector shape building technique you will create the main text shapes. Moving on, taking full advantage of the Appearance panel, you will learn how to create the blood effect. Finally, using basic blending and masking techniques you will learn how to add some subtle highlights.


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 490 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.

Blood Text Effect

2. Create the Background

Step 1

Focus on your Toolbar, remove the color from the stroke then select the fill and set its color at R=236 G=222 B=207. Grab the Rectangle Tool (M) and simply click on your Artboard to open the Rectangle window. Enter 600 in the Width box and 490 in the Height box then click OK. This should create a 600 x 490px rectangle.

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), make sure that your rectangle is selected then simply click the Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center buttons. In the end your rectangle should cover the entire Artboard.

Blood Text Effect

Step 2

Make sure that your rectangle 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, open the Gradient panel (Window > Gradient) and simply click on the gradient thumbnail to add the default black to white linear gradient.

Keep focusing on your Gradient panel, open the Type drop down menu and select Radial then move to the gradient colors. Select the right slider and set the color at R=186 G=172 B=157 then select the left slider, set the color at R=236 G=222 B=207 and lower its Opacity to 0%. Make sure that this second fill stays selected, grad the Gradient Tool (G), focus on your Artboard and stretch that gradient as shown in the following image.

Blood Text Effect

Step 3

Make sure that your rectangle is still selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add a third fill using that same Add New Fill button. Select it, change the Blending Mode to Overlay and add the radial gradient shown in the following image. Remember that the yellow zero from the Gradient image stands for Opacity percentage.

Blood Text Effect

Step 4

Make sure that your rectangle is still selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add a fourth fill. Select it, set the color at black, lower its Opacity to 15%, change the Blending Mode to Multiply and go to Effect > Sketch > Note Paper. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

Blood Text Effect

Step 5

Reselect your rectangle, focus on the Appearance panel and add a fifth fill. You will need a built-in pattern for this final fill, so go to the Swatches panel (Window > Swatches), open the fly-out menu and go to Open Swatch Library > Patterns > Basic Graphics > Basic Graphics_Textures. A new window with a set of built-in patterns should open.

Make sure that your rectangle is still selected, get back to the Appearance panel, select that fifth fill, add the "Diamond" pattern, lower its Opacity to 10%, change the Blending Mode to Multiply and go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the properties shown below and click OK. Move to the Layers panel (Window > Layers) and click on that little arrow icon to open your only layer. Inside you will find your rectangle. Double-click on this shape and simply name it "bg". Finally, lock this rectangle to make sure that you won't accidentally select/move it.

Blood Text Effect

3. Create the Text Compound Paths

Step 1

Grab the Type Tool (T), add the white "HAVE A GORY HALLOWEEN" piece of text, spread it on three rows and add three spaces between the "A" and the "GORY". Use the Bloody font with the size set at 75pt then open the Paragraph panel (Window > Type > Paragraph) and click the Align Center button. Make sure that your piece of text is still selected and center it using the Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center buttons from the Align panel.

Blood Text Effect

Step 2

Reselect your piece of text and hit Shift-Control-O (or go to Type > Create Outlines). Move to the Layers panel, select the resulting group of shapes and hit Shift-Control-G to Ungroup it.

Blood Text Effect

Step 3

Focus on your Toolbar, remove the color from the fill and set the stroke color at white (R=255 G=255 B=255). Open the Brushes panel (Window > Brushes) and grab the Paintbrush Tool (B) . Select the "7pt. Round Calligraphic" brush from your Brushes panel and simply draw some paths around your text as shown in the following image. These little paths will make the blood drops.

Blood Text Effect

Step 4

Continue with the Paintbrush Tool (B), select the "3pt. Round Calligraphic" brush from your Brushes panel and a draw some new paths as shown in the following image.

Blood Text Effect

Step 5

Select all those white brushes and go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke. Select the resulting group of shapes, open the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder) and click the Unite button.

Blood Text Effect

Step 6

Using the Type Tool (T), add a white "ABC" piece of text as shown in the following image. Again, use the Bloody font with the size set at 75pt then go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke. Select the resulting group of shapes and Ungroup it (Shift-Control-G).

Blood Text Effect

Step 7

Focus on the "A" shape, pick the Knife tool and simply draw a selection around the bottom, right drip. This should separate that drip from the rest of the letter. Select the tiny paths that make up the drip and turn them into a Compound Path (Control-8 or Object > Compound Path > Make) then select the rest of the shapes that make the "A" letter and simply delete them. Move to the Layers panel, double-click on the compound path made in this step and name it "dripA".

Blood Text Effect

Step 8

Move to the "B" and "C' shapes and cut the bottom drips using that same Knife tool. Don't forget to turn those drips into simple Compound Paths (if needed). Also, name them "dripB" and "dripC".

Blood Text Effect

Step 9

Multiply (Control-C > Control-F) your "dripA", "dripB" and "dripC" shapes and spread the copies as shown in the following image.

Blood Text Effect

Step 10

Select the letter shapes along with the drips and drops that make up the first row from your text, click the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel then hit Control-8. Move to the Layers panel and simply name this new compound path "firstRow". Select the letter shapes along with the drips and drops that make up the second row from your text, click the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel then hit Control-8.

Move to the Layers panel and simply name this new compound path "secondRow". Select the letter shapes along with the drips and drops that make up the third row from your text, click the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel then hit Control-8. Move to the Layers panel and simply name this new compound path "thirdRow".

Blood Text Effect

Step 11

Reselect all three white compound paths and duplicate them (Control-C > Control+ F). Select these copies and turn them into a single Compound Path (Control-8). Send this new compound path to back (Shift-Control-[ ), move to the Layers panel and simply name it "white".

Blood Text Effect

4. Add Color for Your Compound Paths

Step 1

Focus on your "firstRow" compound path. Select it and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Move to the Layers panel and turn off the visibility for the top copy. Select the other copy and replace the white with black (R=0 G=0 B=0).

Blood Text Effect

Step 2

Focus on the Layers panel, select the visible, white "firstRow" compound path and move to the Appearance panel. Select the existing fill, replace the white with R=175 G=0 B=0, lower its Opacity to 7% and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 3px Radius, click OK and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 5px Offset and click OK.

Return to the Appearance panel and add a second fill for your shape. Select it, make sure that the color is set at R=175 G=0 B=0, lower its Opacity to 10% and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 3px radius, click OK and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 3px Offset and click OK.

Get back to the Appearance panel and add a third fill for your shape. Select it, make sure that the color is set at R=175 G=0 B=0, lower its Opacity to 20% and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 3px radius, click OK and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 1px Offset and click OK. Make sure that the shape edited in this step is still selected, open the Graphic Styles panel (Window > Graphic Styles) and simply click the New Graphic Style button (pointed by the little, blue arrow in the following image). Keep focusing on the Graphic Styles panel, double-click on your new graphic style and simply name it "shading".

Blood Text Effect

Step 3

Open the Transparency panel (Window > Transparency). Select both visible "firstRow" compound paths, open the fly-out menu of the Transparency panel and go to Make Opacity Mask. Check the Clip box from the Transparency panel and in the end things should look like in the second image.

Blood Text Effect

Step 4

Focus on the Layers panel and turn on the visibility for that third "firstRow" copy. Select it and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the existing fill, lower its Opacity to 50% and replace the white with R=125 G=0 B=0.

Blood Text Effect

Step 5

Make sure that your "firstRow" copy stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add a second fill. Select it, set the color at white, lower its Opacity to 10%, change the Blending Mode to Overlay and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1px Offset and click OK.

Return to the Appearance panel and add a third fill for your shape. Select it, make sure that the color is set at white, lower its Opacity to 5% and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -2px Offset and click OK.

Get back to the Appearance panel and add a fourth fill for this compound path. Select it, add the linear gradient shown below, lower its Opacity to 50% and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -2px Offset, click OK and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

Blood Text Effect

Step 6

Make sure that your "firstRow" copy is still selected, 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 Overlay and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -2px Offset, click OK and go to Effect > Sketch > Plaster. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

Blood Text Effect

Step 7

Make sure that your "firstRow" copy is still selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add a sixth fill. Select it, add the linear gradient shown below (don't forget to lower the Opacity of the right gradient slider to 0%) and change its Blending Mode to Overlay.

Blood Text Effect

Step 8

Make sure that your "firstRow" copy is still selected, focus on the Appearance panel, select the entire path (simply click on the "Compound Path" piece of text from the top of the Appearance panel) and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the properties shown in the top, left window (in the following image), click OK then add the other four Drop Shadow effects shown below.

Reselect the shape edited in this step, focus the Graphics Styles panel (Window > Graphic Styles) and save a new graphic style using that same New Graphic Style button. Double click on this new graphic style and simply name it "blood".

Blood Text Effect

Step 9

Focus on your "secondRow" compound path. Select it and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Move to the Layers panel and turn off the visibility for the top copy. Select the other copy and replace the white with black (R=0 G=0 B=0).

Blood Text Effect

Step 10

Focus on the Layers panel, select the visible, white "secondRow" compound path and simply add the "shading" graphic style from your Graphic Styles panel. Reselect this compound path along with the black one, open the fly-out menu of the Transparency panel and go to Make Opacity Mask. Don't forget to also check the Clip box from the Transparency panel. In the end things should look like in the third image.

Blood Text Effect

Step 11

Focus on the Layers panel and turn on the visibility for the white "secondRow" compound path. Select it and simply add the "blood" graphic style from your Graphic Styles panel.

Blood Text Effect

Step 12

Focus on your "thirdRow" compound path and simply repeat the techniques used for the "secondRow" compound path. In the end things should look like in the following image.

Blood Text Effect

5. Add Subtle Shading and Highlights

Step 1

Focus on your Toolbar, remove the color from the fill and set the stroke color at white (R=255 G=255 B=255). Grab the Paintbrush Tool (B), reselect that "7pt. Round Calligraphic" brush from your Brushes panel and draw some paths roughly as shown in the following image. Select one of these paths and go to Select > Same > Appearance. In the end all the white paths made in this step should be selected. Now Group them (Control-G).

Blood Text Effect

Step 2

Focus on the Layers panel, select that "white" compound path and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -2px Offset and click OK. Select the resulting compound path and bring it to front (Shift-Control-] ).

Blood Text Effect

Step 3

Reselect the front, white compound path along with the group of white brushes, open the fly-out menu of the Transparency panel and go to Make Opacity Mask. Make sure that this masked group is selected and lower its Opacity to 30%.

Blood Text Effect

Step 4

Set the stroke color at black (R=0 G=0 B=0) and grab the Paintbrush Tool (B) . Reselect that "7pt. Round Calligraphic" brush from your Brushes panel and draw some paths roughly as shown in the following image. Select all these paths (Select > Same > Appearance) then Group them (Control-G).

Blood Text Effect

Step 5

Focus on the Layers panel, select that "white" compound path and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1px Offset and click OK. Select the resulting compound path and bring it to front (Shift-Control-] ).

Blood Text Effect

Step 6

Reselect the front, white compound path along with the group of black brushes, open the fly-out menu of the Transparency panel and go to Make Opacity Mask. Make sure that this masked group is selected, lower its Opacity to 80% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Blood Text Effect

Step 7

Focus on the Layers panel, reselect your "white" 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 focus on the Appearance panel.

Select the existing fill, replace the white with black, lower its Opacity to 80%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and go to Effect > Artistic > Plastic Wrap. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK. Take closer look at this shape and you'll notice that the edges are a bit pixelated. It's not a big deal, but we'll take care of this issue in the next step.

Blood Text Effect

Step 8

Focus on the Layers panel, reselect that "white" compound path and bring it to front (Shift-Control-] ). Select it along with the compound path with the Plastic Wrap effect, open the fly-out menu of the Transparency panel and go to Make Opacity Mask. This should fix the pixelated edges issue.

Blood Text Effect

6. Add Some Final Details in the Background

Step 1

Set the stroke color at R=125 G=0 B=0 and grab the Paintbrush Tool (B) . Select the "15pt. Round Calligraphic" brush from your Brushes panel and draw some paths roughly as shown in the first image. Continue with the Paintbrush Tool (B) and add three new paths roughly as shown in the following images.

Blood Text Effect

Step 2

Reselect the four paths made in the previous step. Lower their Opacity to 5%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light then Group them (Control-G).

Move to the Layers panel and drag this new group in the bottom of the Layers panel, right above the "bg" rectangle.

Blood Text Effect

Step 3

Set the stroke color at black (R=0 G=0 B=0) and grab the Paintbrush Tool (B) . Reselect the "15pt. Round Calligraphic" brush from your Brushes panel and draw some paths roughly as shown in the first image. Continue with the Paintbrush Tool (B) and add three new paths roughly as shown in the following images.

Blood Text Effect

Step 4

Reselect the four paths made in the previous step. Lower their Opacity to 5%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light then Group them (Control-G). Move to the Layers panel and drag this new group in the bottom of the Layers panel, right above the "bg" rectangle.

Blood 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.

Blood Text Effect
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