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Use Illustrator to Create a Fun, 3D, Character Logo

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Read Time: 7 min

In this tutorial we'll use illustrators 3D tool to create text with depth. We'll give the letters personality by placing them at angles and choosing a fun font. We'll add a crazy rabbit character and unify all the colors as we add simple shading. Lastly, we'll give this fun logo a sticker effect. We cover quite a bit of ground in this tutorial, so fire up Illustrator and let's begin!

Final Image Preview

Below is the final image we will be working towards. Want access to the full Vector Source files and downloadable copies of every tutorial, including this one? Join Vector Plus for just 9$ a month.

Tutorial Details

  • Program: Adobe illustrator CS4
  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Estimated Completion Time: 1.5 hours

Step 1

Let's open a new document in Illustrator (File > New) and select the size "Letter" (but you can choose any size you want). I used the RGB color mode for this one but if you want to use it for printing you should choose CMYK.

Step 2

We will start with the 3D looking font. First, find a nice font (In this tutorial I use Lamebrain BRK, then be sure to have enough space between each letter (I used 100 here), and go to Type > Create Outlines.

Step 3

Take the dot on the "i" away by using the Direct Selection Tool and add a stroke to the text. Be sure to select Round Cap and Round Join in the stroke box to get a smoother effect.

Step 4

Select the text and go to Path > Outline Stroke.

Step 5

Then go to Object > Ungroup. Select one of the letters and click Unite in the Pathfinder box. Do the same for each letter.

Step 6

To get a nice cartoon effect, you can select each letter and move, rotate, and scale a bit.

Step 7

It's time now to make the 3D effect. I changed the color of the text to red so it's will be easier to see the 3D effect on them. Select a letter and go to Effect > 3D > Extrude & Bevel.

Step 8

In the 3D Extrude & Bevel panel, check the Preview option and choose an Extrude Depth (I used the default). Then you can move the box to get the angle you want. You can also change the perspective. do the same for each letter and change the angle a bit for each one.

Step 9

For each letter done, select it and go to Object > Expand Appearance.

Step 10

You will see some white space between the shapes, but don't worry, we are going to take it away. Select a letter and hit Shift + Command + G (Object > Ungroup) twice. Then select only the front shape of the letter (ex. the light red "C") and make a copy (Command + C).

Select the whole letter, including the front shape, and add a small stroke (0,5) with the Round Cap and Round Join selected. Go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke, open the Pathfinder box, and click on Unite. When those steps are done, paste the front shape's copy back on top (Command + F). You need to do the same for each letter again.

Step 11

You now have your 3D effect! I changed the color of the shapes before the red made me crazy.

Step 12

Remember that we deleted the dot on the "i" previously? Let's create a nice red star using the Star Tool!

Step 13

Repeat Steps 7 to 10 to get it in 3D and then change the colors.

Step 14

Now add a black stroke to the text. Select everything, copy (Command + C) and paste it to the back (Command + B). Click on Unite in the Pathfinder box.

Step 15

Add a black 10 pt stroke!

Step 16

Go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke and click on Unite in the Pathfinder box.

Step 17

Double-click on the black shape to get into it and create a shape to cover every part left in white.

Step 18

Select the black shape and the new one and click on "Unite" in the Pathfinder box. Double-click outside of the shape, to get back to the text.

Step 19

To add some effect to the text, create some round shapes.

Step 20

Select the front letters in the text and click on Unite in the Pathfinder box. Make a copy of the shape in front (Command + C and Command + F). Select that shape and the round one (in green) and click on Intersect in the Pathfinder box, while holding Alt. Then click on Expand. Do the same with the star.

Step 21

Use some light colors to get a nice effect.

Step 22

For the rabbit part, I will go a bit faster. I think there are enough tutorials about drawing vectors around here. Some will start from a hand sketch, but I prefer to start straight in Illustrator. So let's trace the lines of the Character by using the Pen Tool, like I did here.

Step 23

An easy way to create shadows is to make a copy of your shape (an arm here), paste it in front (Command + F), and then trace a new shape over it, and by selecting the copy and the new shape, click on Intersect in the Pathfinder box.

Step 24

When the lines are done, choose the colors, and don't forget to add a nice black stroke in behind your character!

Step 25

When your character is done, create two round shapes in the back.

Step 26

Select the black stroke of your text, make a copy, and then paste it in front. Select one of the round shapes with the copy of the stroke and click on Intersect in the Pathfinder box. Do the same for the second shape.

Step 27

Use the Direct Selection Tool to delete the lowest part of each shape.

Step 28

Use the Pen Tool to draw some short lines around the shapes and choose a brush in the Brush Libraries (Window > Brush Libraries > Artistic > Artistic_ink). Change the stroke Weight to get the effect you want. Make some lines for the first round shape (brown) and some for the second one (black).

Select the lines you made and go to Object > Expand Appearance. Select all the lines in brown with the brown round shape and click Unify in the Pathfinder box. Do the same for the black lines with the black round shapes. Select both final shapes and send them to back (Object > Arrange > Send to Back).

Step 29

The Grunge effect is done, but we will now add a white stroke behind the whole logo to give it a sticker look. Select everything, make a copy and paste it to back (Command + B). Click on Unify in the Pathfinder palette. As you can see, the Pathfinder palette is one of my best friends! ;-)

Step 30

Change the color of this shape so you can see it, and add a stroke with a weight of 8 pt. As seen before, go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke and then click again on Unify.

Step 31

To look like a sticker, it needs to be ONE shape. So double-click on the shape to get in and draw shapes to hide the white parts and also to connect the smaller shapes to the big one. Select all your shapes and click on Unify.

Step 32

Now that you have one big shape, change the color to white, and then double-click outside it to get back to your main illustration.

Step 33

Select that white shape, copy it to back (Command + C and Command + B) and move it a bit to the right and to the bottom. Change the color to black. Go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur.

Step 34

I used a Radius of 7.2 pixels here.

Step 35

In the Transparency palette select Multiply and put the Opacity at 50%.


You can now add a nice background or color and it's done! I hope you enjoyed this tutorial!

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