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  1. Design & Illustration
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Design

How to Create a Quick Repetitive Text Effect Illusion in Adobe Illustrator

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

In this tutorial, you will learn how to use the Offset Path option in illustrator and the difference between using it through the Appearance panel method and the menu bar method. 

What You Will Need to Create the Poster

  • Access to Adobe Photoshop. If you don't have the software, you can download a trial from the Adobe website.

1. How to Create an Illustrator Document

Step 1

In Illustrator, go to File > New. Name the document Infinity. Set the Width to 1080 px and Height to 1080 px. Set the Color Mode to RGB and the Resolution to 72 Pixels/Inch. Click OK.

Create a new Illustrator Document

Step 2

On the toolbar, select the Type Tool (T), click on the artboard, and type Infinity. I am using Bergen Sans Regular set at 200 pt

Using the Type Tool type Infinity on the artboard

Step 3

Head over to Window > Align to bring up the Align panel. Click on the dropdown menu and select  Align to: Align to Artboard and select the Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center buttons. This will align the text to the center of the artboard. 

Centre the text vertically and horizontally on the artboard

Step 4

While selecting the text box, press Shift-Command-O to create outlines on the text. 

Convert the text into outlines

2. How to Use the Offset Path Tool

The Offset Path tool can be accessed in two ways: 

  1. Go to the Appearance panel and click on Fx > Path > Offset Path.
  2. In the menu, go to Object Path > Offset Path

The main difference when using these two is that when using Option 1, the object will have only the appearance of having an offset path. With Option 2, the object will be automatically duplicated, and the path will be applied to its duplicate while maintaining the look of the main object.

While both yield the same visual result, I prefer working with Option 2 as it allows me to have each layer as an expanded object. 

Within the Offset Path option window are a few more options:

  • Offset: You can set the value as positive or negative; this will either make the shape larger or smaller within the object. 
  • Joins: There are three different types of ways the end angles of the object can be joined. Miter is for pointed corners, round for round corners, and bevel for squared corners.
  • Miter Limit: This is usually always set at 4, but you can set any value depending on how far you want the points to extrude from the angles on the shape you are working with. For an acute angle, you might want a higher miter limit.

Below, I will show you how to do this tutorial in the two ways I just mentioned.

Option A

Step 1

For this tutorial, we will create an Offset Path using the Appearance panel. We need to copy and paste in place the object. Press Command-C followed by Shift-Command-V to paste in place. Visually, nothing will happen yet, but it will make a difference in a few steps.

Copy the text and paste in place

Step 2

On the toolbar, double click on the Fill color and change it to white. I will be changing for this one step to light blue so you can see the effect on the screen. Remember that we will be alternating the colors. 

Change the fill color to white in this case I will change it to blue so the change is visible to you

Step 3

Head over to Object > Appearance for the Appearance panel to open. Click on Fx > Path > Offset Path. This will open the Offset Path options window. Click on the box next to Preview. Set the Offset value to 10 px, Joins to Miter, and Miter Limit to 4. Click OK. 

Press Shift-Command-{ to send the object to the back.

Using the Appearance panel apply the offset path tool

Step 4

In order to create the illusion of this object expanding, you need to follow these steps until you've filled the whole artboard:

Press Command-C followed by Shift-Command-V to paste in place. Change the Fill to black. Head over to the Appearance panel, and double click on the Offset Path effect that is already applied to edit the settings. Increment the Offset path value by 10 px for each step. Click OK. Press Shift-Command-{ to send the object to the back.

Repeat these steps, alternating the colors in between and adding in 10 px increments to the Offset path value.

Repeat the steps until the artboard is filled

Option B

Step 1

Press Command-C followed by Shift-Command-V to paste the object Infinity in place. Visually, nothing will happen yet, but it will make a difference in a few steps.

Copy the text and paste in place

Step 2

On the toolbar, double click on the Fill color and change to white. Alternatively, you can head over Window > Color to open the Color panel and change the color directly from there. I will be changing for this one step to light blue so you can see the effect on the screen.

Change the fill to white I will be changing it to blue so you can see the changes on screen

Step 3

Head over to Menu > Object Path > Offset Path, which will open the Offset Path options window. Click on the box next to Preview. Set the Offset value to 10 px, Joins to Miter, and Miter Limit to 4. Click OK.

Apply the offset path tool by going to the menu bar

Step 4

You will notice that compared to Option A, this option duplicates the object with outlines while maintaining the points of the main object. Let’s simplify this and use the Pathfinder panel and select Unite under Shape Mode. This will merge the second object we just duplicated.

Press Shift-Command-{ to send the object to the back.

Use the Path finder tool to unite the the paths

Step 5

In order to create the illusion of this object expanding, you need to follow these steps until you've filled the whole artboard:

Select the last object and change the Fill to black. Head over to Menu > Object Path > Offset Path, which will open the Offset Path options window. Click on the box next to Preview. Set the Offset value to 10 px, Joins to Miter, and Miter Limit to 4. Click OK. 

Use the Pathfinder panel and select Unite under Shape Mode.

Press Shift-Command-{ to send the object to the back.

Repeat these steps, alternating the colors in between. For this option, you don’t need to add 10 px increments to the Offset value because you would be working directly from the duplicated object. 

Repeat the steps until the artboard is filled

3. How to Add a Drop Shadow

Step 1

To add depth to the artwork, select the offset paths. On the Appearance panel, select Fx > Stylize > Drop Shadow, which will open the Drop Shadow options window. Set the Mode to Multiply, Opacity to 40%, X and Y Offset to 7 px, and Blur to 5 px. You can check the Preview box to see the changes instantly. Click OK.

Select all of the paths and apply a drop shadow

Step 2

On the toolbar, select the Rectangle Tool (M) and draw an even square by pressing Shift and dragging on the board to create a square.

Using the rectangle tool create a square over the artboard

Step 3

For the Fill color, select None. Select the square and all of the offset paths we created. Press Command-7 to create a clipping mask around the paths we created.

Select the square and the paths and create a clipping mask

4. How to Save an Illustrator File and Jpeg

To save the file, head over to File > Save As … to save the file as an Adobe Illustrator file. If you wish to save as a JPEG, head over to File > Export, choose the format, and feel free to check Use Artboards if you have placed elements outside of your artboard on the document. Click Export.

Save the file

Congratulations! You’ve Finished This Tutorial!

In this tutorial, you've learned the different ways we can use the Offset Path effect. Today you’ve learned:

  • The differences between the two ways we can achieve an Offset Path look.
  • The options within the Offset Path window: Offset Value, Joins, and Miter Limit.
  • How to add shadow to create a sense of dimension in the artwork.

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