How to create unique typography with Illustrator’s 3D tools


Ever wondered how to make your typography pop… literally?

In this tutorial, we’ll look at some simple ways to utilize 3D tools in Illustrator to create unique typographic results. From distressed lettering to a slick, vintage style – here are the tools you need to use for wow-worthy letters.

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To begin a simple text box has been created. In the layers panel it has been duplicated, as with custom typography, it helps to preserve the original letterforms. This will become more apparent later.

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The 3D tool this tutorial explores is the Extrude & Bevel option which can be found under the effects drop down menu.

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Here, the tool is simply being used to create a subtle dimensional effect. The X axis is set to 3 degrees, the Y is set to 7 degrees and the Z is left alone. These can all be adjusted for various impacts.

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Here is where the original letterforms return. They have been placed on top and colored so they are visible. The following steps explore some simple variations that can open up many creative ideas.

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In the above screenshot the stroke (inset) of the original letterforms has been set to black and the fill has been set to white.

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Another interesting avenue is to use pattern fills! This example uses a default fill that comes with most versions of Illustrator.

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Where this example starts to get exciting is when the bottom 3D layer is expanded into fills and strokes, then filled with a simple line pattern.

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Finally the original letterforms are duplicated and offset using Effect>Path>Offset Path to create a thin center fill.

It should be easy to see that there are many areas within this tool set that can be explored to output an infinite amount of results and the 3D options offer even more capability.

It can be interesting to think about what happens when the letterforms are deeply extruded or twisted on different axis, or even ways that the 3D tools can been used subtly. Happy exploring!

How do you use 3D tools in Illustrator? Post below!

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