If you have read some of my other type tutorials, you know I love the Appearance panel. This tutorial is no different. Using the Appearance panel, some gradients, and transforms, you can create a polished lifted type treatment. Using the Appearance panel makes it super easy to apply the treatment to other fonts and vector elements.
Below is the final type treatment we will be working towards.
- Program : Adobe Illustrator CS5
- Difficulty: Intermediate
- Topics Covered: Appearance Panel
- Estimated Completion Time: 15-20 minutes
In a new document, use the Rectangle tool (M) to create a rectangle the size of your document and fill it with a gray color. Having a background color from the beginning will make it easier to see the changes we will be making to the text.
With the Type tool (T), type out some text. Mine is around 100pt for big header text, but you can adjust the text to fit your needs. Next, remove any fill and stroke from the text, we will be directly adjusting these in the Appearance panel.
With the text selected, choose Add New Fill from the pop-up menu of the Appearance panel. Change the new fill to a linear gradient with the first color stop white and the second a light gray. From the Gradient panel change the Location of the first white color stop to 40 and change the Angle to -90.
From the Appearance panel, create a new fill like in the previous step, fill it with white, and make sure the white fill is below the first gradient in the Appearance panel. Select the white fill in the list and go Effect > Path > Offset Path. In the Offset Path dialog change the Offset to 1 px. With the white fill still selected in the Appearance panel list, go Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. In the Transform Effect dialog, change the Vertical Move to 1 px.
From the Appearance panel, select the white fill, and press the Duplicate Selected Item button at the bottom of the panel. Select the bottom copy and fill it black. Expand the attributes on the fill by pressing the small arrow to the left of the fill thumbnail if it is not expanded already. Click on Transform to open the Transform Effect dialog and change the Vertical Move to 2 px.
Duplicate the black fill like in the previous step and change the fill to a linear gradient. Add two more color stops to the linear gradient and change the first to black, the second to a dark gray, the second to a slightly lighter gray than the second, and the fourth to a gray slightly darker than the second. Next, change the Angle to -90.
Expand the attributes of the new linear gradient in the Appearance panel, and click on the Transform Effect. With the Transform Effect dialog open, change the number of Copies to 10 and the Vertical Move to 1 px.
With the four color stop gradient fill still selected in the Appearance panel, go Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. In the Drop Shadow dialog, change the Opacity to 100, the X Offset to 0, the Y Offset to 2, and the Blur to 2. That is pretty much it!
You can save the treatment as a Graphic Style to easily apply to other type and vector objects. Simply select your text and press the New Graphic Style button in the Graphic Style panel. Now press the new graphic style with any object to apply the style. Pretty cool!
At this point you can make the treatment better by jazzing up the background with some grain textures and simple offsets to other text.