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How to Create a 3D Text Art Effect in Adobe Illustrator

Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

In the following steps, you will learn how to create a 3D text art effect in Adobe Illustrator.

For starters, you will learn how to create a simple background and how to add basic text. Using only your piece of text and a 3D Rotate text effect, you will learn how to create the main compound path. Moving on, you will learn how to use a 3D Extrude & Bevel effect and some masking and blending techniques to add the 3D hole effect for your text. Finally, you will learn how to add some shading and a subtle texture for the final design.

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 Create a New Document and 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 600 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.

Open the Info panel (Window > Info) for a live preview with the size and position of your shapes, and set the unit of measurement to pixels from Edit > Preferences > Units. These options will significantly increase your work speed.

new document

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=255 G=180 B=0.

Simply click on your artboard to open the Rectangle window. Set the Width to 870 px and the Height to 630 px, and then click OK. Make sure that your new shape covers the entire artboard as shown in the following image.

rectangle tool

2. How to Create the Main Text Shape

Step 1

Pick the Type Tool (T) and open the Character panel (Window > Type > Character). Select the Etna font, and set the size to 250 px and the tracking to 100.

Click on the artboard and add your text as shown below. Set the color to R=255 G=150 B=0. Make sure that your text is selected and simply copy it (Control-C). You’ll need this copy later.

type tool

Step 2

Make sure that your text is selected, and go to Effect > 3D > Rotate. Enter the attributes shown below and click OK.

3D rotate

Step 3

Make sure that your text is still selected, and go to Object > Expand Appearance. First, Ungroup (Shift-Control-G) the newly created group. Release the clipping mask (Alt-Control-7) and then Ungroup (Shift-Control-G) the resulting group.

Select the shape that surrounds your entire text and delete it. Select the shapes that make up your text and turn them into a compound path (Object > Compound Path > Make or Control-8).

expand appearance

Step 4

Make sure that your compound path is selected, and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the attributes shown below and click OK.

drop shadow

3. How to Create the 3D Text Art Effect

Step 1

Hit Control-F to add that text copy in the same place. Change its color to R=153 G=153 B=153.

copy text

Step 2

Select your grey text and go to Effect > 3D > Extrude & Bevel. Click the More Options button and enter all the attributes shown below. Don’t forget to check the Draw Hidden Faces box and click OK.

3D extrude bevel

Step 3

Make sure that your grey text is still selected, and go to Object > Expand Appearance. Pick the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the shapes that make up the front side of the text (highlighted in the first image), and simply delete them. In the end, things should look like in the second image.

ungroup

Step 4

Pick the Move Tool (V) and select your group of shapes along with that orange compound path. Click on the edge of the compound path to highlight it (as shown in the first image) and then click the Vertical Align Top button from the Align panel (Window > Align).

align

Step 5

Select your orange compound path, add a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F), and bring it to front (Shift-Control-]). Fill this new shape with white (R=255 G=255 B=255).

white shape

Step 6

Select your white compound path along with the group of shapes and click the Make Mask button from the Transparency panel (Window > Transparency).

make mask

Step 7

Make sure that your masked group is still selected and change its Blending Mode to Exclusion.

blend mode

4. How to Add a Subtle Texture

Step 1

Select your yellow rectangle, add a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F), and bring it to front (Shift-Control-]).

Make sure that this new shape stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance). Select the fill, change its Blending Mode to Overlay, and replace the flat color with the linear gradient shown below. Remember to select the right gradient slider and lower its Opacity to 0%.

linear gradient

Step 2

Make sure that the shape added in the previous step stays selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance).

Add a second fill using the Add New Fill button and select it. Set the color to black (R=0 G=0 B=0), lower its Opacity to 7%, change the Blending Mode to Overlay, and then go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the attributes shown below and click OK.

film grain

Congratulations! You’re Done!

Here is how your 3D text art effect 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.

3D text art effect

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