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Design

How to Create a Half-Blurred Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

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Difficulty:IntermediateLength:MediumLanguages:
This post is part of a series called German Week.
How to Create an Ink Cloud Typography Text Effect Using Adobe Photoshop
How to Create a Still Life Illustration of German Food in Adobe Illustrator
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

We're honouring the German language and culture this week in celebration of the launch of the German version of Envato Elements

In the following steps, you will learn how to create a half-blurred text effect in Adobe Illustrator. 

For starters, you will learn how to set up a simple grid and how to create the background. Next, you will learn how to create the main piece of text and how to easily align it. 

Taking full advantage of the Appearance panel, you will learn how to keep your text editable, but stylize and mask it. Finally, using thin rectangles along with some more masking and blending techniques, you will learn how to add subtle shading and highlights.

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

What You Will Need

You will need the following resource in order to complete this project:

1. How to Set Up a Grid and Create the Background

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 500 in the height box, and then click that More Settings button. Select RGB for the Color Mode, set the Raster Effects to Screen (72 ppi), and then click Create Document.

Enable the Grid (View > Show Grid) and Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). You will need a grid every 10 px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid, enter 10 in the Gridline every box and 1 in the Subdivisions box. Try not to get discouraged by all that grid—it will make your work easier, and keep in mind that you can easily enable or disable it using the Control-" keyboard shortcut.

You can learn more about Illustrator's grid system in this short tutorial from Andrei Stefan: Understanding Adobe Illustrator's Grid System.

You should also open the Info panel (Window > Info) for a live preview with the size and position of your shapes. Don't forget to set the unit of measurement to pixels from Edit > Preferences > Units. All these options will significantly increase your work speed.

set up grid

Step 2

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=242 G=242 B=242.

Move to your artboard, create an 870 x 520 px shape, and place it as shown below—the grid and Snap to Grid will make it easier.

rectangle

Step 3

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create an 870 x 260 px shape and place it as shown below. Fill this new rectangle with the radial gradient shown below, lower its Opacity to 75%, and change the Blending Mode to Overlay. Use the Gradient Tool (G) to stretch your gradient as shown in the following image.

radial gradient

2. How to Create the Main Text

Step 1

Focus on your toolbar and set the fill color to black (R=0 G=0 B=0). Open the Character panel (Window > Type > Character), select the Robinson Regular font, and set the size to 250 px. Pick the Type Tool (T), click on your artboard, and add the "UNSCHARF" piece of text.

Make sure that your piece of text stays selected and 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) and then click the Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center buttons. This should move your text to the center of the artboard.

type tool

Step 2

Select your text, focus on the Swatches panel (Window > Swatches), and click that [None] swatch to remove the black text color.

Open the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance) and add a new fill using the Add New Fill button. Select that new fill and set the color to R=41 G=171 B=226. Make sure that your text is selected and hit Control-C to copy it. You'll need a few copies of this text in the following steps.

blue text

3. How to Create the Blurred Half of the Text

Step 1

Make sure that your text stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the fill, lower its Opacity to 50%, and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Set the Radius to 10 px and click OK.

gaussian blur

Step 2

Make sure that your text stays selected, keep focusing on the Appearance panel, and add a second fill using the Add New Fill button.

Select this new fill and set the color to black. Lower its Opacity to 25% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light, and then go to Effect > Distort > Glass. Enter the attributes shown below, click OK, and go to Effect > Stylize > Feather. Set the Radius to 15 px and click OK.

glass effect

Step 3

Make sure that your text stays selected, keep focusing on the Appearance panel, and add a third fill using that same Add New Fill button.

Select this new fill, drag it below the other two fills, and apply the linear gradient shown below (the yellow zero from the Gradient image stands for the Opacity of that slider). Lower its Opacity to 30% and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the attributes shown below, click OK, and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Free Distort. Drag the bottom points as shown in the following image, click OK, and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Set the Radius to 10 px and click OK.

transform effect

Step 4

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create an 870 x 260 px, fill it with white, and place it as shown in the first image. Select this new rectangle along with your blurred text, open the Transparency panel (Window > Transparency), and click the Make Mask button.

mask

4. How to Create the Other Half of the Text

Step 1

Hit Control-F to easily add a copy of your blue text in the same place. Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create an 870 x 260 px, fill it with white, and place it as shown in the first image.

add copy

Step 2

Select your white rectangle along with the blue text, go to the Transparency panel, and click the Make Mask button.

mask

5. How to Create the Sleek Highlights

Step 1

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and simply click on your artboard to open the Rectangle window. Set the Width to 870 px and the Height to 1 px, and then click OK to create your thin rectangle.

Place this new shape exactly as shown below, set the fill color to white (R=255 G=255 B=255), and then lower its Opacity to 75% and change the Blending Mode to Overlay.

thin rectangle

Step 2

Hit Control-F to add a new copy of your blue text as shown in the first image. Select it, replace that blue with white, and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Set the Radius to 10 px and click OK.

gaussian blur

Step 3

Select your blurred white text along with the thin white rectangle, go to the Transparency panel, and click the Make Mask button.

mask

Step 4

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and click again on your artboard to open the Rectangle window. Set the Width to 870 px and the Height to 1 px, and then click OK to create your thin rectangle.

Place this new shape exactly as shown below, set the fill color to black, and then lower its Opacity to 50% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

black rectangle

Step 5

Hit Control-F to add a new copy of your blue text as shown in the first image. Select it and just replace that blue with white.

Select this white text along with the thin black rectangle, go to the Transparency panel, and click the Make Mask button.

mask

6. How to Add Overall Shading

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create an 870 x 520 px shape, and place it as shown below. Fill it with the radial gradient shown below, and don't forget to lower its Opacity to 30%.

radial gradient

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. Don't hesitate to share your final result in the comments section.

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

final product
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