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In this tutorial, I am going to show you how to set up a 3D text effect and add some lightning bolts around it.

 

To begin, we will be using some of Transfuchsian’s Light Brushes, if you haven’t already, you can purchase and download the Premium set by clicking the button below:

light effect brushes

 

Step 1:  Open up a new document and draw out a background set to 94% C,M, Y and 80% K.   My artboard size is 800 x 704 px.  Create a new layer above your background and add in your type.  The font I am using here is called “Distant Galaxy” and can be found on Font Squirrel (CLICK HERE).

Lightning Text Effect

 

Step 2: With your text selected, go to Effect > 3D > Extrude and Bevel. I have created a custom rotation (X-axis: -7, Y-axis: -8, Z-axis: 3). Increase the perspective to 151 degrees, lower the extrude depth to 19pt. You can also click on the Preview and play around with the settings until you are happy with them. Click OK.

Lightning Text Effect

Step 3: Expand everything by going to Object > Expand Appearance. I have already changed the colors of my letters to make it easier to show what we are going to do with them. With the Direct Select Tool (A), hold down Shift and select only the Letter Faces (white areas).

Lightning Text Effect

Step 4: With the faces still selected, change the color to #5DAFD0 and lower the Opacity to around 70%. Then select the remainder of the letterforms by going to Select > Inverse.

Lightning Text Effect

Step 5: This should select only the extruded (pink) portions of the letters. Remove any fill color and set the stroke to #1D99B0 and lower the opacity to 65%.

Lightning Text Effect

Step 6: Finally, select the letter faces again and make a copy (Ctrl +C) and Paste in front (Ctrl + F) remove the fill color and then apply a stroke color of #E1F4FD. Set the Transparency mode to Overlay.

Lightning Text Effect

Step 7: Now, we are going to set up our lightning bolts. If you haven’t already, load up our light effect brushes by going to Window > Brush Libraries > Other Library. Navigate to where you save the brushes and open the set titled “commetbrushes”.

Lightning Text Effect

Step 8: Your lightning bolt placement will depend on your design, so I am going to break down the construction of a single bolt. To start, we want to use the bright blue (brush10) brush. Draw a rough line coming from a part of your text. Increase the brush stroke size to 2pt and set the Transparency to Screen.

Lightning Text Effect

Step 9: Using the same settings, draw another line connecting the top of your design to the text. Remember as you draw that the thickest part of the line is going to be where your path starts.

Lightning Text Effect

Step 10: Draw another line that goes from top to bottom. Draw this new line loosely around the larger stroke line. Lower the stroke size of this new line to .75pt. Change the Transparency mode to Overlay.

Lightning Text Effect

Step 11: Using the same settings, draw another .75pt stroke line going upward starting from the letter, but end the stroke about halfway up the full line.

Lightning Text Effect

Step 12: Now I draw out a few more shaky lines loosely around where our main bolt shape has built up. Change the brush to the basic brush. Change the stroke color to #DAEBF4 and set the stroke to 1pt with the Transparency set to Overlay at 50%.

Lightning Text Effect

Step 13: To add more impact to the area where the bolts are coming from, we are going to make some blends. I am going to draw out three circles. The largest, bottom circle is set to #004F65 with the transparency set to 0%. The middle circle is #77CCEE set to 52% Opacity. The smallest, top circle is #F5F5F5 set at 100%.

Lightning Text Effect

Step 14: With all three circles select, go to Object > Blend > Blend Options. Set the spacing to “Specified Steps” and the number to 30. Click OK. With the circles still select go to Object > Blend > Make or Ctrl + Alt + B.

Lightning Text Effect

Step 15: Move your blend up to the start of the page. I also elongated the circle into a more oval shape.

Lightning Text Effect

Step 16: Make a copy of your blend and lower the size a little. Change the Transparency mode to Overlay.

Lightning Text Effect

Step 17: I made another copy of the Overlay blend and moved it down to where the lightning bolt hits the letters to give the impact point a little more glow.

Lightning Text Effect

Step 18: Before I build up the lightning more, I am going to add some more interest to the lettering. Create a new layer on top of your text layer, and below your lightning layer. Using the same blend method as we did in Step 13, I am going to draw out some loose shapes. This will give our text a cloudy look. The colors and Opacity are the same for this shape as we used in Step #13, the only difference is the outer, bottom shape is the same color as your background. Your blend settings should still be the same, so select your shapes and hit Ctrl + Alt + B to make it a blend.

Lightning Text Effect

Step 19: After you have made the blend, set the Transparency mode to Overlay. Make a couple copies of the blend. Adjust the size of each one so that it fits over you text. Keep building with copies of this blend until you are happy.

Lightning Text Effect

Step 20: Now that our text is a little more interesting, we are going to use the same steps we did for the first lightning bolt to add some more. Or, you can stop here if you like having just the one bolt.

Lightning Text Effect

Step 21: Using steps 8-12 I drew out another bolt. I also made a few smaller lines coming from the main lines using a .75 stroke with the light brush applied to it.

Lightning Text Effect

Step 22: Keep building the lightning up as much as you want. You can also cut and paste your existing bolts and adjust them so the look different. I took a few copies of the main bolts, right clicked on them and clicked on Transform > Reflect. Choose vertical to flip the bolts.

Lightning Text Effect

Step 23: I also copied one of the blends we used over top of the letters and moved it up top to connect to the two main bolts. I also pasted a copy of the circular blends from step 13.

Lightning Text Effect

Keep adding more, or you can stop at whatever point you want.

Congratulations, you are done!

 

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