IntroductionIn this tutorial, we’re going to learn how to create this retro lettering, an effect influenced by styles like the retro wave, synthwave and vaporwave, and closely related to the eighties culture. Join me and learn to apply a 3D effect to a text without using any 3D filter. Cool, right? Before starting, choose the text and the font you like the most, although you can download the font I used for this tutorial here. Shall we start?
Document SetupBefore starting off a project, it’s very important to be clear about the format it’s intended for. In this case, I’m going to share my image on my portfolio and social media, that’s why I’m going to use RGB mode. The software we’re going to work with is Adobe Illustrator because this is a vector file. Therefore, I won’t be paying too much attention to the resolution right now as I’ll be able to change it later. So, first of all, open up Adobe Illustrator and create a new document using the settings I just mentioned.
The PathTo create a path, we need to convert our type into outlines. If you are already familiar with lettering, you could skip this step and directly turn your text into a path without using the font as a reference. For this course, I have selected a calligraphic font as a base, so that those who don’t know how to face their own lettering projects can learn to do this and even apply it to other projects.
Step 1When creating a path in Illustrator, make sure you generate as few nodes as possible. This way, the vector file will be lighter and, most importantly, we’ll get accurate curves. First, create a text box with the Text tool (T) and type the word or words you want for creating the effect. I’ve chosen the word “Tutpad” and used the font “Tale of Hawks”.
Step 2Now, we’re going to create outlines form type in order to change the type’s appearance and get the desired result. After that, we’ll lock the layer and keep it as a template. This is the layer where we’ll be creating the path afterward. To convert type to outlines, right-click on the text and click on Create Outlines (Shift +Ctrl+O).
Step 3Once done, lock the layer and rename it as “Template”. Create a new layer and bring it above the old one so that we can start creating the path.
Step 4Select the Pen tool (P) and stroke a path. Remember that you can use the Direct Selection tool (A) to modify the strokes. Throughout the process, I’ll try to link as many strokes as possible and, this way, the path will seem to be intertwined after applying the effect.
The GradientThe key to getting this 3D effect is to create a gradient. Therefore, choosing the right colors is decisive to get a 1980s style. In this step, we’ll be working with the Gradient panel and the Blend tool (W). Let’s get the ball rolling! Ready?
Step 1First, create a circle. Make sure the circle’s size corresponds to the stroke’s width we want to get. Select the Ellipse Tool (L) and click on the artboard. Then, in the Ellipse properties panel, insert the same value for both width and height.
Step 2Clone the circle by dragging and holding Alt and Shift in order to move it along the X axis and keep the same height.
Step 3Go to the Gradient panel and select the black and white gradient to change the colors of the ends. We’re going to replace white with a blue tone (#00DBDE) and black with a purplish tone (#FC00FF).
Step 4By double-clicking on the Blend Tool (W) icon, we’ll open the Blend Options panel. Now, select the option Specified Steps from the Spacing pop-up menu and give it a value of 1000. Then, hit OK.
Step 5You won’t notice any effect, but don’t worry. With the Blend tool selected (make sure the Blend Options panel is closed), click on the first circle and then, in the second one. You’ll get an effect similar to this one.
Step 6Before going any further, what we’ll do now is clone the gradient about ten times. Then, we’ll be spending each of these copies on each stroke, but make sure to keep a copy in order to preserve the parameters we’ve configured (and create more copies, if necessary). Clone and copy the first “pill” as we did with the circle in Step 2. For the remaining clones, just press Ctrl / Cmd + D in order to generate more copies with the same characteristics and at the same distance.
Blending the Gradient and PathLet’s begin by blending the gradient pills with the strokes we made before. Make the necessary adjustments to get the result you expect.
Step 1Select the “T” letter’s path and select a pill while holding Shift.
Step 2Click on Object → Blend → Replace Spine.
Step 3Repeat the same with each stroke. The result should be similar to this.
Step 4The lettering looks great, although I’m going to reverse the gradient of the “t” crossbar. Make sure the crossbar’s stroke is selected and then, click on the Object menu → Blend → Reverse Spine.
Step 5Select the “a” stroke and double-click on the selected object to activate the isolation mode. This mode lets us change the shape of the “a” by bringing forward or sending backward the ends of the stroke.
Finalizing the DesignOur 1980s lettering is ready! But there’s something else we can do: what about adding a background to our lettering? Select a retro image to create an awesome 80s style text effect.
Step 1In this case, I’m not going to use a background designed by me but I’ll use a downloaded background from Freepik that suits my needs.
Step 2This image below is the background I chose for my lettering, although I think it will look even better after adding some palm trees from another image. You’ll find the two images in the Attachments tab on Tutpad.
Step 3After generating the background, insert it behind the lettering and adjust it. Now we can say that we’ve finished our project!
The End!I hope you enjoyed this fascinating journey back to the eighties and that you could follow the steps easily. As always, leave your comments and doubts on the forum. In fact, I would love you to share your final result with me and the entire Tutpad community so that we all can see how you applied this effect. See you in the next tutorial 🙂
Content retrieved from: https://www.tutpad.com/tutorials/lettering-design-a-retro-3d-lettering.