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Creating 3D Punched Letters In Illustrator - Video Tutorial And Step-by-Step
In this video Deke McClelland shows you how to transform plain text into punched-out 3D letters in Adobe Illustrator (free trial).
In order to keep the original type intact, Deke begins by making a copy of the type layer to work on. After converting that copy to outlines, he also makes a copy of the outlines layer to work on. This way, the original type isn’t destroyed in the design process. Safety observed, Deke then removes the black fill and adds a 4-point white stroke, setting the stroke to align to the outside of the letters.
After converting the stroke to outlined fills, the type is ready for 3D extrusion. From the Effects menu, choose 3D > Extrude & Bevel, and set the Z value to 0 degrees, and the X and Y values to 4 degrees.
The next step involves some careful expansion, selection, grouping, and the creation of a compound path to prepare the edges of the letters for a white fill and the extruded edges for a red fill. And by careful, I mean follow Deke’s instructions carefully here and you won’t go wrong. Cavalierly ignore certain aspects of the instruction in this section, as I may have done, and you may go astray—as I may have done.
After some housekeeping in the Layers panel (using the Reverse Order command to put the letters g-o-o-d in the right order), it’s time to do a little straightening of the letters themselves. The application of the 3D effect tends to misalign the letters and their edges a bit, so switching to the Outline mode (Command/Ctrl+Y) allows you to drag the paths back into alignment.
The next step is to take a hypotrochoid pattern and duplicate it over each letter. (Check out this episode of Deke’s Techniques for more on how to create the hypotrochoid pattern.)
After pasting the pattern in back of the letters, Deke creates a clipping mask for each letter/pattern combination, eventually filling the inside of each letter with the pattern.
After refilling the letters with red and adding a narrow stroke, it’s time for another round of alignment, which again is best done in Outline mode.
Lastly, a drop shadow, another stroke around the letter edges, and the application of the Multiply blend mode provide the final touches to this sculptural letter effect:
Of course, this rich graphical 3D effect would not be the same without its fancy intertwined border, so next week, Deke will show you how to create that design using a pattern brush in Illustrator.
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