In this tutorial I am going to show you how to create a squished 3D text effect in Adobe Illustrator.  We are going to first squish our type, then apply a 3D effect to it and finally add some elements to give it more detail.

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Step 1:  To begin, open up a new document and set up your artboard.  For this tutorial, my artboard is 788x694px and I start by drawing out a dark gray background #1E1D1D.

3D text effect Illustrator

Step 2: Decide on a word and type it on a new layer above your background layer. In our example, the font I am using is called Antonio, set to bold.  You can download this font on fontsquirrel:  https://www.fontsquirrel.com/fonts/antonio

3D text effect Illustrator

Step 3: Once you are done, go ahead and expand the text (Type > Create Outlines). With the text selected go to Effect > Warp > Bulge. The settings will depend on how long your word is, but you will want to select Horizontal and set the bend to a negative number. You can view the effect as you adjust by clicking the Preview button on. For our word a bend of -21% looks good. Click OK when you are happy with the effect.

3D text effect Illustrator

Step 4: Expand the effect. Object > Expand Appearance. Ungroup the letters (ctrl + shift  + G).  Click on the letter that is all the way to the right and go to Effect > 3D > Extrude & Bevel.  I have set all of the axis to 0 except for the Y axis I set to 10 degrees.  I also increased the extrude depth to 115.  Click OK.

3D text effect Illustrator

Step 5:  Select your first letter, then Effect > Extrude & Bevel…  (it should be the second option in the menu). If you pull up the extrude & bevel this way, the settings you entered for the last letter should still be in there.  All we are going to do is change the Y-axis number to a negative.  This will turn the letter in the opposite direction.  Click OK.

3D text effect Illustrator

Step 6:  Select your second letter, pull up the extrude & bevel again.  Decrease the amount of the Y-axis turn by a few degrees.  In this example, I changed it from -10 to -7. Click OK.

3D text effect Illustrator

Step 7: Select the second to last letter and, like in step 5, we are going to flip the direction (7 degrees in our example).

3D text effect Illustrator

Step 8: Keep going along these same lines until you have adjusted all of your letters, working from outside to inside.  Our final middle letters are set at 4 and -4 degrees.  If you have a longer word, then you would adjust your settings accordingly.  Once you get to 0 degrees, simply just don’t apply anything to the middle letters.

3D text effect Illustrator

Step 9: Make sure you are happy with the effects.  Once you are satisfied, go ahead and select all of your letters and expand the 3D effect (Object > Expand Appearance).  With the direct select tool (A), select the front of each letter and change the fill color to the same as the background and the stroke to white (or any color you want).  I set the stroke to 2 pt.

3D text effect Illustrator

Step 10: With the fronts of the letters still selected, go to Select > Inverse to select everything but the fronts. Change the fill and stroke color to white with the stroke set to the same weight at the front of the letters (2pt in our case).

3D text effect Illustrator

Step 11:  Now to add some lines inside the text.  Select the face of one of the letters.  Go to Object > Path > Offset Path.  You will want to put in a negative number for the offset. The amount of offset will depend on the size of your letter, but if you hit Preview you can see the changes.  Keep lowering the number until the line inside your text is almost touching itself.  In our example, -11pt looks good.

3D text effect Illustrator

Step 12: Do the same offset for the other letters.  Adjust the offset amount as needed.

3D text effect Illustrator

Step 13:  To grunge it up a little bit, I applied one of our Light Grunge Graphic Styles (click button below for more info) to a layer above the letters.  I also lightened the background to a lighter gray (#3F403F) and lowered the opacity of the extruded white areas to 75%.

featuredimg-o

 

3D text effect Illustrator

For the featured image of this tutorial I added in some extra text and lined it up with the main word. The word “Learn” is a font called Florabella Script, the words “how to” is a font called Breathe, both of which I purchased from Creative Market (see “sponsored products” slider below).

“Text Effect” is also Florabella script, with an Arch Warp of 14%.

3D text effect Illustrator

 

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