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Deke's Techniques is a collection of short Photoshop and Illustrator projects and creative effects that can be completed in ten minutes or less. The series is taught by computer graphics guru Deke McClelland, and presented in his signature step-by-step style. The intent is to reveal how various Photoshop and Illustrator features can be combined and leveraged in real-world examples so that they can be applied to creative projects right away.
Hey gang, this is Deke McClelland. Welcome to Deke's Techniques! This week we will be in Illustrator and I am going to show you how to create 3D punched letter type. So the idea is this, we are going to take the word good, which I believe you can see right here, and we are going to project it into 3D space. This is an orthogonal style projection, meaning that there's no perspective involved. And it is real 3D, Illustrator offers 3D to everybody by the way. And then we will bring back our spirographs and we will put them inside the letters and we will multiply the whole darn design against the background. It's going to look so great.
Here, let me show you exactly how it works. Here is the sculptural text effect on screen so you can see it. I am going to switch over to this starter file here, and it's got some editable type, we are going to go ahead and convert this type to path outlines. But I recommend before you do that you go ahead and copy the text by pressing Ctrl+C or Command+C on the Mac, and then you press Ctrl+F or Command+F on the Mac in order to paste the text in front. Then go ahead and twirl open the design layer here inside the Layers panel and turn off the bottommost of the two good layers, which is the original text layer, that way you keep it safe.
Then go up to Type menu and choose Create Outlines, or you can press Ctrl+Shift+O or Command+Shift+O on the Mac. Now let's create a copy of the outlines by pressing Ctrl+C or Command+C on the Mac, and then press Ctrl+F or Command+F on the Mac to paste those outlines and turn off the original outlines so that they are safe. Now we want to get rid of the Fill, so go up to the first swatch up here in the Control panel and change it to None. And then change the Stroke from None to White. We want the Stroke to be 4 points thick, so I'll go ahead and enter 4 pt for the Line Weight.
Click on the word Stroke up here in the Control panel and switch the Align Stroke option to Align Stroke to Outside, so that we end up with this effect here. Now go up to the Object menu, choose Path, and choose Outline Stroke in order to convert the Stroke into outlined Fills. The next step is to go up to be Effect menu, choose 3D, and choose Extrude & Bevel. Whatever you're looking for here, you want the Z value to be set to 0; however, you probably also want to adjust the other values.
I am going to change the X value to 4 degrees and change the Y value to 4 degrees as well. And then I will turn on the Preview check box in order to see what we have come up with. The rest of the options are just fine as is. You may want to modify the Extrude Depth value in order to change the depth of those edges. You are not going to want to change the Perspective value, leave that set to 0. The Lightning isn't really worth messing with. There's better ways to fix that. So I will go and click OK in order to apply that effect.
The next step is to go up to the Object menu and convert this into static path outlines by choosing Expand Appearance. Now at this point you need to work pretty carefully otherwise you are going to get yourself into a whole world of trouble. What I recommend you do is press the A key to switch to the White Arrow tool, then go ahead and click off the path outlines to deselect them, and Alt+Click or Option+Click on the ring around one of the Os a couple of times, like so. So the first time you Alt+Click or Option+ Click you will select the outside of that ring, the next time you will select the inside of the ring.
Don't Alt+Click or Option+Click anymore than that, just twice. And then you want to go up to the Control panel and locate the Select Similar Objects icon, click to the right of it, and make sure All is selected. Assuming that it is, then go ahead and click on the icon to select all of those grayish rings. Then press Ctrl+X or Command+X on the Mac in order to cut those Strokes out from this group. And then press Ctrl+F or Command+F on the Mac in order to paste them into place independently. Now notice over here in the Layers panel we have a bunch of groups. That's not really going to do us any good.
So go up to the Object menu and choose the Ungroup command, and that goes ahead and ungroups all those path outlines. Now we want to combine them together into a Compound Path by going up to the Object menu, choosing Compound Path, and choosing Make, or you can just press Ctrl+8 or Command+8 on the Mac. Now we've got a single Compound Path as you can see here in the Layers panel that represents all of those stroked letters. Now let's change the Fill, because they are actually Fill path outlines, by clicking on this first color swatch and selecting White from the Swatches panel.
Now you want to press the V key in order to switch to the Black Arrow tool, and click on any of these grayish extruded edges. Again, we've got this massive complicated group, so press Ctrl+Shift+G or Command+Shift+G on the Mac in order to Ungroup the path outlines, and then do it a couple of more times. Press Ctrl+Shift+G or Command+Shift+G on the Mac and then press that keyboard shortcut again in order to make sure that all you have selected now are path outlines. We want those paths to be filled with a shade of red here that I have created in advance.
So click on the Fill swatch up here in Control panel and select this swatch, which is R=150, G=50, and B=0, and that will go ahead and fill those extruded edges. Now we need to combine them all together. So go up to the Window menu and choose the Pathfinder command in order to bring up the Pathfinder panel, and then click on that very first icon, Unite, in order to unite all those paths together. This ends up creating yet another group and these groups are not really well-suited for our purpose.
So press Ctrl+Shift+G or Command+Shift+G on the Mac in order to Ungroup the path outlines. Then go up to the Object menu, choose Compound Path, and choose Make in order to combine them all into a single Compound Path. Now you can click off the path outlines to deselect them. Assuming you have been working along with me here, scroll down your Paths panel and turn on the one and only item that should be called Group, which is those original letters that were converted to path outlines. And then you can click on any one of them to select them all.
Again, we don't want these path outlines to be grouped together, so press Ctrl+Shift+G or Command+Shift+G on the Mac in order to break them apart. Then scroll down the list and you should see the word good spelled upside down. Click on the g, Shift+Click on the d here inside the Layers panel, and then go up to the flyout menu and choose Reverse Order. And this is just a bit of housekeeping. I am just trying to ensure that we can see the letters in the proper order here inside the panel. Now we have got a little bit of mismatch in terms of the alignment, so you are going to need to press Ctrl+Y or Command+Y on the Mac to switch to the Outline mode, and then go ahead and zoom in on your letters, and notice that things aren't aligned quite properly here.
Go ahead and click on the outlines, which are these paths right there, and then Shift+Click on the extruded edges in order to select them both. And the easiest thing to do to mostly get the alignment right, this isn't going to totally take care of our problem, but you want to drag this little corner that's at the bottom of the d and go ahead and drag that corner until it snaps into alignment right there, with the path outlines in the background. And so it's going to look like you are a little off because of this horizontal line, but this is exactly the effect we are looking for.
All right, I am going to press Ctrl+0 or Command+0 on the Mac to zoom back out here. Now I will press Ctrl+Y or Command+Y on the Mac to return to the Preview mode. And I will switch back over to the Layers panel here and you can see that I've got the spirograph path that's turned off, go ahead and turn it back on, and then select it to make it active. And I want to change the color of the Stroke from black to white. And then I need to duplicate this spirograph for each and every one of the letters. So I will go ahead and drag its center point while pressing the Shift and Alt keys or the Shift and Option keys on the Mac, that way when I release I will go ahead and create a copy of that spirograph, as well as constraining the angle of my drag to exactly horizontal.
And I will press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac to repeat that transformation. And it looks like it got the spirograph pretty well aligned with the o there. I am shooting for putting the center of that spirograph inside the center of the holes for each one of the letters. So this looks to be pretty good as well. And note that I am again pressing the Shift and Alt keys or the Shift and Option keys on the Mac as I drag that spirograph. Now we want to take these guys and put them in back of the letters.
So Shift+Click on each one of the spirographs to select all four, press Ctrl+X or Command+X on the Mac in order to cut those paths. Click inside the letter d, because it's the rearmost of the letters to select it, and press Ctrl+B or Command+B on the Mac to paste those spirographs in back. Now we have to combine each one of the spirographs with its letter as a clipping mask. So you want to click off the path outlines to deselect them, click on the first spirograph here, and then Shift+Click on the g, the black g that is, in order to select it.
Then go up to the Object menu, choose Clipping Mask, and choose Make. And definitely note the keyboard shortcut, because we are going to want to use it here, Ctrl+7 or Command+7 on the Mac. Now select the next spirograph, Shift+Click inside of the first o and press Ctrl+7 or Command+7 again. And we have to do each one of these independently by the way, like so. So finally, I will select this spirograph, Shift+Click inside the letter d and press Ctrl+7 or Command+7 on the Mac to combine those paths into a clipping mask.
Now comes the real tedious chore in my opinion, we need to restore the Fills associated with each one of the letters, and the easiest way to do that is to find the topmost clipping mask, twirl it open here inside the Layers panel. You should see an outline of the letter g, go ahead and meatball that g by clicking on this little circular target, and that will select that path outline. We want all the letters, so go back up to the Select Similar Objects icon and click on it, and that will select all four of the letters independently of the spirograph patterns.
Now go up to the first color swatch on the left side of the Control panel, click on it and change the Fill to that shade of red. And we also want a little bit of Stroke, so click on the Stroke swatch and change it to white, and that should automatically in state a Line Weight value of 1 pt. Now we have got some additional adjustments to make to the placement of the various letters. So you are going to need to zoom in, and basically what happens is when you apply a 3D effect to the letters, that ended up distorting them slightly. I will press Ctrl+Y or Command+Y on the Mac in order to switch to the Outline mode, and you can see that we've got a disconnect here in the second o.
So I am going to click off the path outline to deselect it, click on it again, and then drag it to this location. And you may very well say, well, how in the world do you know what's what at this point? I will show you. I will go ahead and scroll over to the second o, and it actually looks terrible, it's got problems. All right, what we need to do here is locate that letter inside the Layers panel, that's the easiest way to work. And you can see that the second o is currently selected. I'll meatball of the first o to make it active and we need to drag this guy over and down a little bit until it snaps into alignment, which may be a little precarious. You may have to experiment a little bit with this.
And then finally, we need to meatball the g here in the Layers panel, and notice that it's off kilter, so I will go ahead and drag it until it snaps into alignment as well. And it's not going to be perfectly in alignment by the way. You are going to have some misregistration here and there. I will go ahead and press Ctrl+0 or Command+0 once again to zoom out and then I will press Ctrl+Y or Command+Y on the Mac in order to switch to the Preview mode. Couple of more things I want to do here. I want to assign drop shadows to each one of the letters.
So I am going to click on the d and Shift+ Click on the other letters, inside of the letters by the way, in order to select them. Then I will go up to the Effect menu, choose Stylize, and choose Drop Shadow. And I will turn on the Preview check box. These default settings here are just fine, with one exception. I am going to click inside the Color Swatch and then I am going to click on Color Swatches here inside the Color Picker and I will go ahead and select that swatch that I created in advance, and I will click OK. And you can see that I've now got this red drop shadow.
If that's not enough for you by the way, you can take the Opacity up to a 100%, but I kind of like 75%. You definitely want the mode to be set to Multiply. Then I will click OK in order to apply that effect. I'm going to click on one of these white strokes to select all of them, and I want to add a stroke around those strokes; those strokes are actually Fills, so I will just go ahead and click on the Stroke swatch up here in Control panel and change it to that red. A Line Weight value of 1 pt is just fine. And then finally, I'm going to target this entire layer.
I will twirl it closed, just to eliminate some of the clutter. And I will click the meatball for the layer to target the entire layer. And then I will go to the Transparency panel and change the blend mode from Normal to Multiply. And that takes care of it folks. We have now managed to create a highly graphic sculptural effect using real 3D, here inside Adobe Illustrator.
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