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Shadows and Highlights for Text in Illustrator

Posted on 4th May 2018
For this tutorial, we will use Kadisoka Script Demo Regular Free Font.

1 - In Illustrator, create a “New Document”.

2 - Select the “Type Tool” (T), choose your font and type your text.

3 - Right-click on top of your text and choose “Create Outlines”.

4 - Go to the “Pathfinder Panel” and choose “Unite”.

5 - Fill your text with one of the default gradients from the “Swatches Panel” and change the “Angle” to -90° to get the lighter color on top and the darker at the bottom. Go to Object > Lock > Selection (Command/Control + 2) to lock your text.

6 - Select the “Pen Tool” (P), change the “Fill” to a “Black to Transparent Gradient” and start drawing some Paths in the parts of the letters that should be shaded if the text overlapped. To make a Curved Path, click on one spot, then click on a second one and drag your cursor while holding to create the Curve. If you want to make a Straight Line after a Curve, just move your cursor on top of the last Point (a small arrow or triangle icon will appear next to it) and click on top of it. Then keep adding Points until you are back at the start one to close your Path. You can use the “Direct Selection Tool” (A) to select a “Point” and fix it if needed.

7 - Select the “Gradient Tool” (G) to make the shaded parts more realistic. You can change the “Angle” and the “Position” of the “Gradient”, just use the “Selection Tool” (V) to select your path and then press (G) to manipulate the Gradient. To choose another Path press (V) again.

8 - Select all your “Gradient Paths” and “Group” them together (Command/Control + G). Unlock your text (Shift + Command/Control + 2), “Copy” it (Command/Control + C) and “Paste it if Front” (Command/Control + F), making sure that it is on “Top” of everything.

9 - Change the “Fill” color of the copied text to White. Keep it selected and while holding the “Shift” key select your Group of Gradients too, then go to the “Transparency Panel” and click the “Make Mask” button. The white text should disappear together with the parts of the gradients that where outside of the letters. You can fix details with the Gradients and/or Paths if needed.

10 - Create a “New Layer” by clicking on the small button at the bottom of the “Layers Panel”. Select the “Pen Tool” (P), use White as “Fill” color and draw some Blobs of Light on top of each letter. Group them together and lower the “Opacity” to 75% on the “Transparency Panel”.

11 - Create another “Layer”, select the “Ellipse Tool” (E), use a “Radial Gradient” from Black to Transparent as “Fill” to draw an “Oval” shape. Change the “Aspect Ratio” of the Gradient to fit the Oval. Copy and Paste the “Oval” under every letter, then Group all of them together and lower the “Opacity” to 35%.

12 - Check it out.

by @lornacane

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