Conforming text to a 3D shape using Adobe Illustrator CS5

You must have seen text on a 3D object is conformed so well on the object that makes it look so real. In this tutorial, we will learn how to do that. Look at this image;

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1. Create a new document.

2. In the Symbols panel, from the drop down, choose ‘Open Symbol Library’ and then choose the first symbol – ‘Cube’.

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To place it on your document, just drag and drop over it.

3. I don’t like the blue, red and yellow colors in the cube, so I am going to change them. To be able to edit the symbol, we first need to unlink the symbol. Do either of the following,

– In the Symbols panel, from the drop down choose ‘Break link to Symbol’.

– Right click the symbol (in this case, the cube) and choose ‘Break link to Symbol’.

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Now your symbol is broken down into fully editable paths. You can modify the symbol any way you like. We will just change the color here. So open out the Swatches panel, choose a color (I choose a shade of dark gray). Here’s how our cube would look;

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4. Now we will create the text, that is to be placed on the cube. Go to the Type Tool (T) in the Tools panel (on the left of the window). Draw a Type box. Start entering text.

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I have added a tab in between the two sentences so that they are placed correctly on the cube.

5. Next we will use the pen tool to create an outline of the cube, where we want to place the text. Select the Pen tool (P), with Fill as None, and select the portion of cube where we want to place the text, as shown in the image below:

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6. Using the black arrow tool (Selection Tool (V)), carefully select and drag the outlined shape onto the text.

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7. We need to make sure the oulined shape is always on the top, so with the shape selected go to Object > Arrange > Bring to Front.

8. Now select the shape and the text box, then again go to Object > Envelope Distort > Make with Top Object.

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And see the text is now changed to conform to the shape we created.

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9. Now drag this text box, to the cube.

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Oh! the text is not visible since it is black in color and our cube too is of a darker shade. Do not worry, as our text is still editable. Just select the entire cube using the Selection tool and go to Object > Envelope Distort > Edit Contents. Choose the Type tool and click inside the text. Change the text color to white and I would also like to reduce the text to fewer lines to make it more visible. After making any modifications, click on the Selection tool and click somewhere else on the art board.

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Filed Under: Adobe Illustrator

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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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