How to Create 3D Text in Adobe Illustrator

Have you ever needed to create 3D text, but didn’t want to use the built-in 3D Illustrator effect tool to do it? It can be done very easily.

3D Text create with a few steps in Adobe IllustratorHave you ever needed to create some basic 3D text to give your design a sense of depth, but didn’t want to use the built-in 3D Illustrator effect tool to do it?  3D text is actually very easy to create with a little knowledge of Illustrator’s Object Blend tool.

Just follow the steps below and your text will be popping off the screen or page in no time!

All instructions below are written from the perspective of someone using Adobe Illustrator CS5 on an Apple computer. You may need to adapt these steps slightly to fit the operating system and version of Adobe Illustrator you are using. 

Step 1 – Open a new, blank Illustrator document.

Step 2 – Type some text using the font of your choice and color it black.  Scale it up so that you can see and work with it easily.  I recommend a font that is bold in order to make the 3D effect more pronounced.  I used the Phosphate typeface in my examples.

Step 3 – Select the text and outline it using “Create Outlines” under the “Type” menu option.

Step 4 – After the text has been outlined, copy (⌘-C) and Paste in Front (⌘-F).

Step 5 – Take the text you just pasted and move it up and to the left of the original text.  The distance is up to you.  I prefer to have the two text objects overlapped.

Step 6 – Select the top text object and copy (⌘-C) it.  We’ll use this later, so don’t clear or overwrite your clipboard.

Step 7 – Select both outlined text objects.

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Step 8 – Go to the “Object” menu option and choose “Blend” and then “Blend Options”.

Step 9 – In the “Blend Options” window that appears, choose “Specified Steps” under “Spacing” section and enter “25” in the empty field next to it and click the “OK” button.  This is the number of transition objects that Illustrator will create between the two text objects.Blend Options window in Adobe Illustrator

Step 10 – Go back to to the “Object” menu option and choose “Blend” and then choose “Make”.

Step 11 – Use the Paste in Front (⌘-F) again to place a the copy of the 2nd text object that you copied in Step 6.

Step 12 – Change the color of the text you just pasted white with a black stroke.

You should now have some 3D text!

Click below to view a video which shows the basic steps needed to perform the technique described above.