Texture with Masks Tutorial

Welcome back to the second part of  the 3-D text tutorial. In this part, we will add a faded shadow to our 3-D text.

What You’ll Be Making:


  • Illustrator CS4/5
  • Text Tool
  • Brushes
  • Opacity Masks
  • Slight experience w/ Illustrator


1. A. Use the type tool to type anything you want.   B. For practice, let’s use brushes. Open up the brush window. If you don’t have it open, go to Window>Brushes or press F5.

2. A. Drag a brush/texture onto your workspace. B. Scale the brush/texture so it fits across the object you want to have textured. D. Delete the larger text since it wouldn’t make sense for a casted shadow.

3. A. Copy-drag (by clicking the object then holding option/alt then releasing) a clone of your object (text). B. If your working with text, it’s best to work with outlines so right-click your text and choose Create Outlines. C. Click Cmd+C or Ctrl+C to copy  your cloned object. This is an important step. D. Delete your selection, you’ll see why later. E. It would be wise to change the colors of your texture so that the fill will be the same as the color of your background. Usually brushes have some box around them so be sure to delete that.

4. A. Select your texture and open up the Transparency window by going to Window>Transparency. In the transparency window, double-click an empty gray area next your object. This will create an opacity mask which is already set to clip. B. Click Cmd+V or Ctrl+V to paste your copied object from the last step. C. Move the pasted object onto your original object (text) so they snap into place.

5. A. Click the little gray chain icon between the mask and object in the transparency window. This will prevent the pasted object from moving. B. Switch out from masking editing mode to your normal mode, switch to first box inside the transparency window. Then move your brush/texture over to your original object. C. You will now see your texture/brush going through each letter without crossing the edges of each letter.

6 A. Improve this blend by lower its opacity to around 50%.  B. Use the white arrow tool to move the text with 0% opacity closer to the solid-filled text. You will have achieved a 3-D effect as you see below.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and learned a new skill.


About Fadi G.

I am a digital artist and I hope to push the bounds of creativity. I will produce videos, illustrations, animations, and more interesting things.

Posted on February 18, 2011, in Brush, Effects, Layouts, T-Shirt, Tips, Tutorials, Updates. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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