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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Text Effects
Design

How to Create a Quick Minecraft 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 Minecraft text effect in Adobe Illustrator. For starters you will learn how to set up a simple grid and how to create the main shapes that will make up your text using the 3D Extrude & Bevel effect and some basic vector shape building techniques. Moving on, you will learn how to create a simple art brush and how to use it to add the cracks in your text. Finally, you will learn how to add subtle shading and highlights using several effects.

1. Create a New Document and Set Up 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 400 in the height box, and 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.

Enable the Grid (View > Show Grid) and the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). You will need a grid every 1 px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides > Grid, and enter 1 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 should also open the Info panel (Window > Info) for a live preview with the size and position of your shapes. Do not forget to set the unit of measurement to pixels from Edit > Preferences > Units > General. All these options will significantly increase your work speed.

setup grid

2. Create an Art Brush

Step 1

Pick the Ellipse Tool (L) and focus on your Toolbar. Remove the color from the stroke, and then select the fill and set its color to black (R=0 G=0 B=0). Move to your artboard and simply create a 2 x 10 px shape. The grid and the Snap to Grid feature will ease your work.

Switch to the Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C) and simply click on the top anchor point that makes up your squeezed circle. Next, pick the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the left and right anchor points that make up your shape (highlighted in the second image) and simply drag them 2 px down. Once again, the grid and the Snap to Grid feature will come in handy. In the end your black shape should look like in the third image.

art brush shape

Step 2

Make sure that your shape is still selected, open the Brushes panel (Window > Brushes) and click the New Brush button. Check the Art Brush box and click the OK button. Pick a name for your brush, enter all the attributes shown in the following image, make sure that you select Tints from that Method drop-down menu, and then click the OK button. Now you should be able to see your new art brush inside the Brushes panel.

Once you're done, you can remove that tiny black shape from your artboard.

save art brush

3. Create the Main Shapes That Make Up Your 3D Text

Step 1

Disable the Grid (Control-') and the Snap to Grid (Shift-Control-').

Pick the Type Tool (T) and open the Character panel (Window > Type > Character). Select the Minercraftory Regular font, set the size to 70 px, and then simply click on your artboard. Add the "MINEBOY" piece of text and set its color to R=209 G=211 B=212.

text

Step 2

Make sure that your piece of text is still selected and go to Effect > 3D > Extrude & Bevel. Click the More Options button, enter all the attributes shown in the following image, and then click the OK button.

3d extrude bevel

Step 3

Reselect your piece of text and go to Object > Expand Appearance. Make sure that the resulting group of shapes is selected and simply hit the Shift-Control-G keyboard shortcut three times to easily Ungroup all those groups and subgroups.

Now select the seven shapes that make up the front side of your text (highlighted in the second image) and simply hit Control-8 to turn them into a compound path. Make sure that this new compound path stays selected, move to the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance) and replace the existing fill color with R=173 G=163 B=161.

first compound path

Step 4

Select the shapes that make up the bottom, lateral sides of your text (highlighted in the first image) and open the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder). Click the Unite button and then turn the resulting shapes into a new compound path using that same Control-8 keyboard shortcut. Make sure that it stays selected, return to the Appearance panel, and replace the existing fill color with R=40 G=39 B=42.

second compound path

Step 5

Select the rest of the shapes that make up the lateral sides of your text (highlighted in the first image), click that same Unite button from the Pathfinder panel, and then turn the resulting shapes into a new compound path (Control-8). Make sure that this new compound path stays selected, send it to back using the Shift-Control-[ keyboard shortcut, and then move to the Appearance panel and replace the existing fill color with a simple black (R=0 G=0 B=0).

third compound path

4. Add a Wavy Stroke and a Subtle Highlight

Step 1

Reselect all the shapes made so far and duplicate them using the Control-C > Control-F keyboard shortcut. Select only these fresh copies, click the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel, and then turn the resulting shapes into a new compound path (Control-8).

Make sure that this new compound path stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Remove the color from the fill and select the stroke. Make it black and then click that "Stroke" piece of text to open the Stroke fly-out panel. Simply increase the Weight to 2 px and check that Align Stroke to Outside button.

black stroke

Step 2

Reselect that compound path with the black stroke, and return to the Appearance panel. Make sure that the existing stroke is selected, and duplicate it using the Duplicate Selected Item button. Select the newly added stroke and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Roughen. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click the OK button.

black stroke roughen

Step 3

Go to Edit > Preferences > General and make sure that the Keyboard Increment is set to 1 px.

Reselect the compound path that makes up the front side of your text and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and hit the up arrow button from your keyboard twice, which will move your shape 2 px up. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting group of shapes is selected and turn it into a compound path using that same Control-8 keyboard shortcut.

Make sure that this new compound path stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with R=223 G=219 B=215 and then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Roughen. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click the OK button.

highlight

5. Add the Cracks in Your Text

Step 1

Pick the Brush Tool (B), select your art brush from the Brushes panel, and draw some random paths roughly as shown in the following image. Select all these new paths, make sure that the color is set to black, and then simply Group them using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

black cracks

Step 2

Reselect that compound path with the two black strokes, make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F) and bring it to front using the Shift-Control-] keyboard shortcut. Make sure that this copy stays selected and simply hit the D button from your keyboard to replace the existing Appearance attributes with the default ones (white fill and black stroke). Focus for a moment on the Appearance panel and simply get rid of that black stroke.

Now, select the remaining white compound path along with the group of paths made in the previous step, open the Transparency panel (Window > Transparency), and click the Make Mask button. In the end your masked group should look like in the third image.

black cracks masked

Step 3

Reselect the Brush Tool (B), select your art brush from the Brushes panel, and draw several paths near some of the existing paths, roughly as shown in the following image. Select all these new paths, make sure that the brush color is set to R=223 G=219 B=215 and then Group them (Control-G).

black cracks highlights

Step 4

Reselect the compound path with the two black strokes, make a new copy in front (Control-C > Control-F), and bring it to front using that same Shift-Control-] keyboard shortcut. Make sure that this copy stays selected, remove the black strokes, and add a white fill.

Now select this white compound path, along with the group of paths made in the previous step, go to the Transparency panel, and click the Make Mask button. In the end your masked group should look like in the third image.

black cracks highlights masked

Step 5

Reselect the Brush Tool (B), select your art brush from the Brushes panel, and draw several paths near some of your bottom paths roughly as shown in the following image. Select all these new paths, make sure that the brush color is set to R=100 G=99 B=102 and then Group them (Control-G).

bottom crack highlights

Step 6

Reselect the compound path with the two black strokes, make a new copy in front (Control-C > Control-F) and bring it to front (Shift-Control-]). Make sure that this copy stays selected, remove the black strokes and add a white fill.

Now select this white compound path, along with the group of paths made in the previous step, go to the Transparency panel, and click the Make Mask button. In the end your masked group should look like in the third image.

bottom cracks highlights masked

6. Add a Simple Shadow

Reselect your compound path with the two black strokes, make a new copy in front (Control-C > Control-F), and send it to back using that same Shift-Control-[ keyboard shortcut.

Make sure that this copy stays selected, remove the black strokes, add a black fill and then go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the attributes shown in the left window (in the following image), click the OK button and then add the other two Drop Shadow effects shown below.

drop shadows

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.

final product
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