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  1. Design & Illustration
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Design

How to Create a Colorful 3D Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

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

In the following steps, you will learn how to create a fully editable, colorful, 3D text effect in Adobe Illustrator. 

For starters, you will learn how to create a simple background and how to add some text. Taking full advantage of the Appearance panel and using a bunch of fills and effects, you will learn how to create your fully editable text effect. Finally, you'll learn how to easily save and use graphic styles.

For more inspiration on how to adjust or improve your final text effect, you can find plenty of resources at Envato Market.

1. Create the Background and Add the Text

Step 1

Hit Control-N to create a new document. Select Pixels from the Units drop-down menu, enter 850 in the width box and 1000 in the height box, and then click 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.

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and focus on your Toolbar. Remove the color from the stroke, and then select the fill and set its color to R=0 G=100 B=145. Move to your artboard and simply click on it to open the Rectangle window. Set the Width to 860 px and the Height to 1010 px and then click that OK button. Make sure that this newly made shape covers your entire artboard.

rectangle

Step 2

Return to your Toolbar and set the fill color to white (R=255 G=255 B=255). Pick the Type Tool (P) and open the Character panel (Window > Type > Character). Select the Milkshake font and set the Size to 170 pt. Simply click on your artboard and add the "Change" piece of text as shown below.

text

Step 3

Using the same tool and attributes, add the other three pieces of text as shown in the following images.

text

2. Add Color to Your Text

Step 1

Select your top piece of text. First, simply remove the existing fill color, which will make your text invisible.

Move to the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance) and hit the Add New Fill button to add a fill for your selected piece of text. Select it and set the color to R=255 G=200 B=0.

add new fill

Step 2

Make sure that your top piece of text remains selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel.

Using that same Add New Fill button, add a second fill for your text. Select it, set the color to white, and then click the "Opacity" piece of text that stands for this new fill to open the Transparency fly-out panel. Change the Blending Mode to Overlay and lower the Opacity to 50%.

second fill

Step 3

Make sure that your top piece of text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel.

Add a third fill and drag it above the existing ones. Select it, set the color to R=255 G=200 B=0, and then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Drag both Scale sliders to 99.7%, and don't forget to check the bottom left reference point.

transform

Step 4

Make sure that your top piece of text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel.

Add a fourth fill and drag it below the existing ones. Select it, set the color to R=255 G=200 B=0, and then go to Effect > 3D > Extrude & Bevel. Click the More Options button, enter all the attributes shown below, and then click the OK button.

3d extrude bevel

Step 5

Make sure that your top piece of text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel.

Select the bottom fill and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the attributes shown in the top left window (in the following image), click the OK button, and then add the other three Drop Shadow effects shown below.

drop shadow

Step 6

Make sure that your top piece of text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel.

Add a fifth fill and drag it below the existing ones. Select it, set the color to R=255 G=63 B=79, and then go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 15 px Offset and then click the OK button.

offset path

Step 7

Make sure that your top piece of text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel.

Reselect the bottom fill and go to Effect > 3D > Extrude & Bevel. Enter all the attributes shown below and then click the OK button.

red

Step 8

Make sure that your top piece of text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel.

Reselect the bottom fill and add the three Drop Shadow effects shown below.

drop shadow

3. Add Shading for Your Text

Step 1

Make sure that your top piece of text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel.

Add a new fill and drag it below the existing ones. Select it, set the color to black (R=0 G=0 B=0), and then go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 5 px Offset, click the OK button, and go to Effect > 3D > Extrude & Bevel. Enter the attributes shown below, click the OK button, and then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Drag both Move sliders to 15 px and then click the OK button.

black fill

Step 2

Make sure that your top piece of text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel.

Reselect that black fill, lower its Opacity to 60% and then go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Set the Radius to 15 px and then click that OK button.

gaussian blur

Step 3

Make sure that your top piece of text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel.

Reselect that black fill and duplicate it using the Duplicate Selected Item button. Focus on the bottom black fill and get rid of that Gaussian Blur effect. Also, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and lower the Opacity to 10%.

soft light

Step 4

Make sure that your top piece of text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel.

Add a new fill and drag it below the existing ones. Select it, set the color to black, and then go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 5 px Offset, click the OK button, and go to Effect > 3D > Extrude & Bevel. Enter the attributes shown below, click the OK button, and then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Drag both Move sliders to 40 px and then click the OK button.

black

Step 5

Make sure that your top piece of text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel.

Reselect that bottom black fill, lower its Opacity to 10%, and then go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Set the Radius to 20 px and then click that OK button.

gaussian blur

Step 6

Make sure that your top piece of text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel.

Reselect that bottom black fill and duplicate it using the same Duplicate Selected Item button. Focus on the bottom black fill and get rid of that Gaussian Blur effect. Also, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and lower the Opacity to 10%.

black fill

Step 7

Make sure that your top piece of text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel.

Add a new fill and drag it above the existing ones. Select it and replace the existing color with the linear gradient shown below. Keep in mind that the yellow zero from the Gradient image stands for Opacity percentage. With this new fill still selected, go to Effect > Pathfinder > Add and then go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -4 px Offset and hit the OK button.

linear gradient

Step 8

Make sure that your top piece of text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel.

Reselect the top fill, lower its Opacity to 30%, and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 5 px Radius and click the OK button.

duplicate selected item

Step 9

Make sure that your top piece of text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel.

Reselect the top fill and duplicate it using that same Duplicate Selected Item button. Select this newly added fill and replace the existing linear gradient with the one shown below. Remember that the yellow numbers stand for Opacity percentage while the blue ones stand for Location percentage. Once you're done, lower this fill's Opacity to 50% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light, and then click the existing Offset Path effect. Lower the Offset to -2 px and click the OK button.

linear gradient

Step 10

Make sure that your top piece of text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel.

Add a new fill and drag it above the existing ones. Lower its Opacity to 75%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light, and replace the existing color with the linear gradient shown below. Don't forget that the yellow zero from the Gradient image stands for Opacity percentage. With this new fill still selected, go to Effect > Pathfinder > Add and then go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -2 px Offset and hit the OK button.

linear gradient

4. Save and Use a Graphic Style

Step 1

Make sure that your top piece of text is still selected, open the Graphic Styles panel (Window > Graphic Styles), and simply click on that New Graphic Style button to save the attributes of your selected object.

new graphic style

Step 2

Select the rest of your text and simply apply your graphic style.

graphic style

5. Add Subtle Shading for the Overall Illustration

Step 1

Select your blue rectangle, make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F) and bring it to front (Shift-Control-]). Select this copy and replace the existing fill color with the radial gradient shown below. Again, remember that the yellow zero stands for Opacity percentage and use the Gradient Tool (G) to adjust your gradient as shown below.

radial gradient

Step 2

Make sure that the rectangle added in the previous step is still selected and change its Blending Mode to Soft Light.

shading

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.

Feel free to adjust the final design and make it your own. You might find some great sources of inspiration at Envato Market, with interesting solutions to improve your design.

final product
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