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About this lesson
After experimenting with the Offset Paths feature we can use the Blend Tool to give the illusion of 3D extruded text by adding depth.
When to use
If you want to create a long shadow effect or an extruded effect you can use the Blend Tool in Illustrator.
- Begin by opening the Extruded Text - Exercise.ai file
- We will start off by deleting the black and orange 'Bulls' text from the previous section leaving our live type and the orange, expanded version
- Select both of the live fonts with your Selection Tool (V) and then cut them
- Add a New Layer and paste both of the live fonts before renaming the layer to 'Live Type'
- Select the 'Ragin' text from the Live Type layer and press Command/Ctrl+C to copy it
- Lock the Live Type layer and poke the eye out to turn the visibility of the layer off
- Select the 'Fonts' layer below that contains our merged, expanded Bulls text
- Paste the 'Ragin' type onto this layer
- Convert the 'Ragin' type to outlines using the Type menu and choosing 'Create Outlines'
- Open your Pathfinder Tool and merge the outlined shape together
- Go to the Object Menu and choose Path > Offset Path and enter a value of 8px
- Press Command/Ctrl+X to cut the offset copy
- Select the original text and lock it by pressing Command/Ctrl+2 or by going to the Object Menu and choosing Lock > Selection
- Paste the copy of your offset text in front by pressing Command/Ctrl+F
- Merge this copy of the outlined text that has the offset applied and send it to the back by going to the Object Menu and choosing Arrange > Send to Back
- You can now select the offset shape all the way in the back and use the Eyedropper Tool (I) to sample the dark red shadow color
- Go to the Object Menu and choose 'Unlock All'
- Select the front copy of the outlined 'Ragin' text and change the fill color to white
- Zoom into the shape and use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to click and delete the white fills inside of the counters on the letters so you can see the orange color through them
- Select the back orange copy of your offset text and copy it by pressing Command/Ctrl+C
- Then, select both copies of your 'Ragin' text and lock them
- Press Command/Ctrl+F to paste your dark orange text in front
- Merge it together using the Pathfinder Tool to make it one solid shape
- Next, copy this shape again and then paste it in front so you now have two copies on top of each other
- With your top copy selected, tap it down and to the right while holding the Shift Key
- Continue to hold the Shift Key and select the second copy of your dark orange text
- Go to the Object Menu and choose Arrange > Send to Back
- With both copies still selected and behind everything else, go to the Object Menu and choose Blend > Blend Options
- Make sure that the Spacing is set to Specified Steps and enter a higher value somewhere around 140-150 and hit OK
- Return to the Object Menu and choose Blend > Make
- You will now have 140 instances of your text that are blended together, resulting in what looks like one solid extruded shape
Hints & tips
- The Blend Tool is very useful for creating 3D text or producing long shadow effects
- Remember to set the spacing to Specified Steps and use a relatively high number in your Blend Options
- The keyboard shortcut for making a blend is Command/Ctrl+Alt/Option+B on the keyboard
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