Create 3D Text using Adobe Illustrator CS5

In this tutorial we will learn how to create 3D text in Illustrator CS5. Look at the text below:


Saffron Stroke

These are simple 3D text effects, but using the techniques from this tutorial, you will be able to create realistic and cool text effects.

Let us begin with creating a simple 3D effect as I have created to the words ‘Saffron’ and ‘Stroke’. Follow these steps:

1. Create a new document and using the ‘Type Tool (T)’, type in the text. Make sure there is sufficient space between each letter, so that the angles and effects are clearly visible. In this example type ‘SAFFRON’. I have used the font called ‘Myriad Pro’ but you can use any other font you like.

2. Fill the text with a light color, so that the 3D effect is clearly visible.

Character Palette

3. Select the entire word with the ‘Selection Tool (V)’ and go to Effect > 3D > Extrude & Bevel…

Effect menu

4. In the 3D Extrude & Bevel Options dialog box, turn on the ‘Preview’ (check the box). This will show you how your text would look as you change the options in the dialog box.

The ‘Position’ drop down has few preset options, that create a 3D effect for you. You can explore each one of them. The best part is, that after choosing any one of these preset effects, in the same dialog box, you can edit other options to get the desired effect.

For this example, choose ‘Custom Rotation’. Then with your mouse, you can change the position of the text, in the small 3D box depiction in the dialog box. Another way is to enter the variables for rotation around X, Y and Z axes, in three respective boxes. I have reduced the ‘Extrude Depth’ to ‘30pt’ and left other options to their default values.


5. Click OK to close the dialog box. Here you have created a basic 3D text. Select the text and fill it with another color (from the Swatches Palette) if you want, like this;


6. To add a drop shadow to the text, go to Effects > Stylize > Drop Shadow… and experiment with the options. Do not forget to switch on the ‘Preview’ as you try out the shadow options.



I created the word ‘Stroke’ using the same technique.


Using the 3D and Shadow effects, you can create interesting text like this:


In this piece of text, I have treated each letter differently. So with the type tool, type the first letter, in this case ‘S’. Fill it with a color (or you can do that later using the Swatches Palette) and then using the options in the ‘3D Extrude and Bevel’ dialog box, achieve the desired result. Use the same technique on other letters and fill them with different colors from the Swatches Palette.

I hope you liked the tutorial and found it useful.

Filed Under: Adobe Illustrator


About the Author: Minal is a freelance web and graphics designer. She specializes in designing Logos, Stationery, Graphics and Icons as well as website templates using graphical tools like Photoshop, Illustrator and Expression Web. Twitter @saffronstroke

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