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“3-D” Shadow Tip

Just an easy way to make “3-D” shadows unlike regular drop shadows that don’t connect the vertices of the letters/objects.

Materials: Illustrator CS3/4/5 Blend-Tool

Steps: Follow instructions and click the pictures for reference.

1. Create some text using the Text-tool. Write anything you want, I used FaDesigns.

2. Click the text and hold (PC: Shift+Alt,Mac: Option+Alt) to drag a copy. Set it down anywhere, I prefer at the bottom of it. Also, let’s change it’s color to black.

3. Right click the copied-text and choose Create Outlines.

4. Drag another copy, preferably, diagonally to it.

5. Get the Blend-Tool(W) and click one of the black text then the other.

6. Double click the Blend-Tool in the Tool-box. Now a window should pop out. Set the spacing to specified steps.  Then set the steps to about 20. The larger the number, the smoother the blend, the more work for the computer to process. So 20 is about good enough for blends like these.

7. We’re not done yet. Right click the blended text(“3-D shadow) and choose Arrange>Send to Back (PC: Shift+Ctrl+[ , Mac: Cmd + Shft + [ ).

8. Now drag the shadow over(under) the original text and you got yourself a cool effect. Try this fun experiment yourself!


Blend Tool and Envelope/Distort Combination Tutorial Bonanza

Ok so I have you expected to see a tutorial and that’s precisely what’s on the platter. First thing I’ll mention is, this is the longest tutorial I made so far and I hope you can still managed to understand and complete these long series of steps. Second,  this tutorial will be hard if you don’t pay attention to the steps and the pictures(check the bottom) will help big time.

Requirements: Adobe Illustrator CS3/4       Knowledge of Blend Tool+Envelope/Distort+working on layers      Tutorial File(download via BOX if you want to work on it)


  1. Let’s start out with drawing a simple gradient background.
  2. Draw a small white circle in the corner and make sure it’s small.
  3. Option Drag(Alt Drag) the circle so a small gap is formed between the original circle and the other circle. Use the shortcuts Cmd+D(Ctrl+D) to duplicate the transformation again and again so more and more circles form at equal alignment. After first pushing Cmd+D, you only need to click D again and again. Make sure you’re going down or in the right direction.
  4. Now draw a square between one of the gaps between two circles and copy to its right side if your made your circles go down a line (see picture 2 ). This square will help you so you can get the same gap going into the other direction when your option dragging your circle to that direction.
  5. Now keep copying your circles so all of the square is filled. Now group all of the circles.
  6. Copy and Paste in Front (Cmd+F/Ctrl+F) the circles, then resize one while holding (option/alt) so you resize from the center. Also make the circle group black so you can distinguish it from the other circle group.
  7. Send the black circle group to the back.
  8. Now click the blend tool and blend the white circle group to the black circle group.
  9. Draw a circle from the center and add a radial gradient(the center of gradient should touch a point on the circle while the other end of the gradient touches another point on the other end of the circle)…see picture 9. Note: It is advised you work on layers so you can tell what’s what.
  10. Copy and Paste in Front the gradient circle you made. Then select both the blend and the gradient circle(make sure this one is on top of everything else).
  11. Now go to Object>Envelope Distort>Make with Top Object(Opt+Cmd+C/Alt+Ctrl+C). Now increase the size of this envelope by holding Opt/Alt to resize from the circle. Note: This should be the top most layer.
  12. Now copy this envelope and resize it so it’s smaller than the original circle. Now release the envelope by going to Object>Envelope Distort>Release.
  13. Double one of the smaller circles so you can only select that group (see picture 13) and make its opacity zero. Then drag it to the corner making sure the two corner circles(big and small one)touch…see picture 14.
  14. Now make the big outside circles-of the blend-black so it’ll have a shadow effect (see picture 15).
  15. Now select the blend and the big white circle and use envelope/distort (Opt+Cmd+C/Alt+Ctrl+C). Note: It is advised you set the whole envelope’s opacity to zero.
  16. Now make a new layer, send this envelope to that layer, and place the layer so it’s under the other envelope that has white circles. Also make sure to resize it so the shadows touch the bottom circles of white circle blend(see picture 18).
  17. Now you should get something as close as you see in picture 18.

I hope you followed this tutorial well and I will make a suggestion page so you guys can tell me what you’d like to see on my websites or whatever kinds of tutorial you guys want(please keep it about Illustrator as of now).

Pictures: 1st Picture=Picture 1, 2nd picture=Picture 2, etc.

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