Join Nigel French for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating an extruded shadow in Illustrator, part of Type Tips Weekly.
- [Nigel] Hi, I'm Nigel French. In this week's Type Tip, I'm gonna show you how we can add extruded shadows to type in Illustrator and, at the same type, maintain that type as editable type. There are three techniques that I can think of. One would be to use the 3D Extrude and Bevel. A second would be to use the Blend tool. But the easiest way and the most flexible way and the way I'm going to show you is to use the Appearance Panel in combination with a transformation effect.
So I'm going to move now to my second artboard, where I have just the type. Select the type, come to my Appearance panel, and from the bottom left of the Appearance panel, I'm going to add a new fill. I'll change the color of this fill, and then I'll come back and add a second new fill. I'll select the fill that is below and change its color to black. It's this fill that will become the shadow.
With this fill selected, come to the Effect menu, Distort and Transform, Transform. Make sure the Preview checkbox is checked. And now we determine the angle of the extrusion with the horizontal and vertical move. We need to make sure that we are using very small distances so that when we create copies, we don't see any jaggies from one copy to the next. I would like to move my shadow down and to the left.
So horizontally, I'm gonna make that a minus value, minus .5 of a millimeter. And vertically, .5 of a millimeter. Now I'll come to the Copies field and just tap my up arrow to add copies, determining how far we extrude the shadow. I'll zoom in just to make sure we don't see jaggies from one copy to the next.
Now if I need to edit my type, I could do that. Or if I need to come and change the angle of the extrusion, then I return to the Appearance panel and click on the transformation effect, and I can just change the horizontal and the vertical distance. So if I want to go down and to the right, I can make that .5 rather than negative .5. If I wanted to create the same sort of effect in Photoshop, let me now switch to Photoshop, this would be possible using the layer styles, the FX dropdown at the bottom left of the Layers panel.
But really I think the easiest approach is to place the Illustrator artwork. So I'm just going to come back to Illustrator, make sure that is saved, then to Photoshop and to the File menu, where I will choose Place Linked. I'll choose my second artboard, press Return to commit to that. I can now add in any blending options that I want.
And if I decide that I need to edit the type, I can double-click on the layer thumbnail, and that will return me to Illustrator. And I'm just going to change the color. Save it, back to Photoshop, and you can see that it will update in place. So that's how we can easily and flexibly create an extruded shadow for our type in Adobe Illustrator.