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Quick Tip: How to Create Folded Text with Adobe Illustrator


Today we will learn how to create text that is located in different planes. One very interesting trick with the Bounding box will let us do it without using 3D modeling. Find out more at the jump!

Step 1

Take the Type Tool (T) and create an inscription.

I used the Impact font. Also you can choose one of the Sans serif fonts. There is a good selection of such fonts here. Align the text to the left by pressing the appropriate button in the Control panel. It is better to use the Character panel (Window > Type > Character) to control the text parameters.

Step 2

Keep the text selected, go to the Object > Transform > Shear. Set the angle and choose the axis in the dialog box.

Reduce the leading in the Character panel.

Step 3

Turn the text into the group of the regular vector objects (Type > Create Outlines)

Create three horizontal lines with the Line Segment Tool (backslash) or the Pen Tool (P). Turn them at different angles of -45, 25 and 100 degrees. To do so, select the first segment and go to the Object > Transform > Rotate and set a necessary angle in the dialog box.

Turn the other segments at the indicated degree in the same way as we just did. Place the lines as it is shown on the picture below.

Step 4

Select all the created objects, then press the Divide button in the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder).

Go to the Object > Path > Clean up and press the OK button in the dialog box.

So in this way we cleaned the artwork from the unnecessary objects.

Step 5

For the convenience of our further work select the parts of the text with the Lasso Tool (Q) and color them into different colors.

The coloring won't let us miss the important small details of the composition.

Step 6

Select one of the color objects and go to the Select > Same > Fill Color, then group up the elements of the same color (Command + G). Use this technique to group up the other elements of different color. As the result of our actions we got four groups of objects.

Step 7

For the perspective distortion of the parts of the inscription we will use the Free Transform Tool (E). We will use one trick to make the transformation in one plane. Select the group of objects in red color. Note: the position of the bounding box on the picture below, its location determines the plane of the transformation.

Take the Rotate Tool (R) and while holding the Option key set the center of rotation to the A point. Set the rotation angle into the dialog box. The angle of rotation should be so, that the cut of the text took the horizontal position. In this part, the text was cut at the 25 degrees, which means that the rotation angle is 180-25=155 degrees accordingly.

Step 8

Keep this group selected go to the Object > Transform > Reset Bounding box.

Now we need to put group back into its place. Take the Rotate Tool (R) and while holding the Option key, set the rotation center into the A point. Set the rotation angle into the dialog box. This time the angle should have the opposite sign to the one that we had earlier, i.e. -155 degrees.

Note how the location of the Bounding box changed.

Step 9

Using this technique, change the location of the Bounding Box in the other groups. Remember, all the groups should be rotated at different degrees. In my case, the rotation angle of the green group is 180-100=80 degrees, and of the violet group 180-(-45) = 225 degrees. The rotation centers were placed at the B and C points accordingly.

Step 10

Now that we set the plane of the transformation right, we can start to distort the text. Take the free Transform Tool (E), press the side handle and, keeping the mouse button pressed, press and keep the Command key pressed. Now move the side handle while controlling the process of the distortion.

Using this technique distort other parts of the text as it is shown on the picture below.

Step 11

Now we will fill the text which is located in different planes with linear gradients, which consist of dark grey and black colors. That will enhance the volume illusion of our work and give it the completed form.

Final Image

I think that an inscription made in such style suits logos and t-shirt designs perfectly. Play around with images and text to see what you can come up with. I hope you've enjoyed this tut.