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How to Create a Molten Metal Text Effect in Illustrator

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Read Time: 6 min

Follow this tutorial and learn how to create a molten metal text effect in Adobe Illustrator. We will use effects like: Stained Glass, Torn Edges, Chrome and Inner Glow to obtain the melted, wrinkly look and play with gradients and Blending Modes to create a metal and a golden version of this effect. Let's begin!

Step 1

First open a new web document. Take the Type Tool (T) and type "Metal" using a font called "Gohan", size of 200pt. Do not expand it yet.

Step 2

Pick up a color from the Swatches panel and stroke your text with it. Increase the Stroke Weight to 6pt. We need the letters to be thicker.

Step 3

Now, select the text and from the Object menu, choose Expand two times. The first time, the text will turn into shapes (the letters) and the second time, the green strokes will turn into green fills. Ungroup until you get each letter individually.

At this point we have the original letters filled with black and five compound paths filled with green (the borders).

Step 4

Select the two shapes that make up the letter "M" (black and green) and from the Pathfinder panel choose Add to shape area > Expand. This will unite them into a single shape, the thicker letter that we need. Do the same thing for the other letters.

Step 5

Select all the black letters, go to Object menu > Path > Offset Path and apply a minus 2px Offset. As a result you will get five new smaller letters, filled with green in this case.

Before you continue, make a few copies in front (Ctrl + C, Ctrl + F) of the green letters because you will need them later. Hide them for the moment.

Step 6

From the Swatches panel open the Swatch Libraries Menu and go to Gradients > Neutrals. Find Neutral 7 and use it to fill the black letters in back. With these letters still selected, go to Effect menu > Stylize > Drop Shadow and apply this effect using the settings shown.

Step 7

Now, focus on the letter "a". Select the green "a" and change the fill color to white. Go to Effect menu > Texture > Stained Glass and apply this effect using the values shown. Do the same thing for the other green letters.

Step 8

We will continue to work with the same shape and apply other effects. Go to Effect menu > Sketch > Torn Edges and use the values from below. Continue with the rest of the letters or you can do this for all of them at once.

Step 9

The next effect is Chrome and this one will give us the appearance of melted. With the letters selected, go to Effect menu > Sketch > Chrome and use the settings shown. You can play with these values to get more or fewer wrinkles, depending on how you like it.

Step 10

Finally, go to Effect menu > Stylize and apply the Inner Glow effect. At this point make sure the effects applied so far are in the correct order in the Appearance panel, as shown in the image.

Step 11

In order to obtain sharp edges we will use the Clipping Masks and for this you need the copies of the green letters made at step 5. Let's take as example the letter "a". Bring the green "a" in front of everything then delete the fill color. The shapes used for masks should have no stroke and no fill. Now, select this shape and also the letter "a" with all the effects applied and go to Object menu > Clipping Mask > Make. Do the same thing for the rest of the letters using the other green copies.

Step 12

For the coloring part you need another set of copies of the green letters. Bring them in front of everything. Fill these shapes with a linear gradient called "Tin" which can be found in the Swatch Libraries Menu under Gradients > Metals. Set the Blending mode to Overlay for this fill attribute.

Step 13

Having the same shape selected, open the fly-out menu from the upper right corner of the Appearance panel and choose Add New Fill. As a result you will get a second fill attribute above the first. Use a gradient called "Opal" that you can find in the Swatch Libraries Menu under Gradients > Gems and Jewels. Set the Blending Mode to Color Burn for this second fill.   

Step 14

The last thing is to add a 1pt gray Stroke. Now, drag the thumbnail from the Appearance panel into the Graphic Styles panel (Window menu > Graphic Styles) to save it. Apply the same style for the rest of the green copies (M, e, t and l) by simply selecting the style saved from the Graphic Styles panel. This way you will finish faster. 

Step 15

Before we move on, go to Edit menu > Preferences > General. There, set the Keyboard Increment to 0.5px and hit OK.

Step 16

At this step you need again the copies of the smaller letters (step 5). Copy (Ctrl + C) and Paste in Front (Ctrl + F) the red letters and select green as the fill color so you can differentiate them. Move all the green letters a little by hitting the Left Arrow Key on your keyboard two times and the Up Arrow Key once. Next, select the red "M" and the green "M" and click the Subtract from shape area > Expand from the Pathfinder panel. As a result you will get the thin red shapes. Do the same thing for the other letters. 

Step 17

Fill the thin shapes obtained at the previous step with white then group them (Ctrl + G).

Step 18

Here are other copies of the smaller letters made at step 5 (red shapes). Copy (Ctrl + C) and Paste them in front (Ctrl + F) and change the fill color. This time move the blue letters by hitting the Right Arrow key two times and the Down Arrow Key once. Now, select the red "M" and the blue "M" and click Subtract from shape area > Expand from the Pathfinder panel. Repeat this step for the other letters to obtain the thin red shapes. 

Step 19

Fill all the thin shapes obtained at the previous step with a radial gradient from white to black then group them (Ctrl + G). With this, the text effect is ready.

Step 20

You can also create a golden version of this effect by simply changing a few things. First, make a copy of the text effect created so far. Select all the bigger letters in the back (step 6) and replace the white stops of the "Neutral 7" gradient with light yellow.

Step 21

Next, select the smaller letters from the front responsible for the coloring part (step 12) and take a look at the Appearance panel. For the first fill select a gradient called "White Gold" that you can find in the Swatch Libraries Menu under Gradients > Metals. For the second fill, replace the existing gradient with the one shown below. Also change the stroke color. Everything else that is not mentioned in these last two steps remains the same.  

Step 22

This is the golden version of this effect. You can also create other variations.


And here is the final image of the molten metal text effect that we have created. Try it yourself, mixing gradients and effects to create your own stylized metallic text.

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