Create an Outline Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator | Spencer Martin | Skillshare

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Create an Outline Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

teacher avatar Spencer Martin, Graphic Designer & Content Creator

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

4 Lessons (16m)
    • 1. Welcome!

    • 2. Adding Text

    • 3. Outline Effect

    • 4. Graphic Styles

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About This Class


Hey guys!

I'm excited to share with you a brand new class on Text Effects in Adobe Illustrator. We'll be creating an editable outlined effect that you can add to any text or font you choose.

Lesson 1 - Adding Text

In the first lesson I'm covering the basics of adding text to your Illustrator document. There's a lot to learn here for beginners, and one peculiar trick in particular that you'll want to know in order to achieve this effect.

Lesson 2 - Outline Effect

In the second lesson we're going to explore the Appearance panel and how you can add Fills and Strokes to your editable text. From there we go even deeper, adding different effects and taking a look at Stroke Options.

Lesson 3 - Graphic Styles

What good is an effect that you have to create every single time you want to use it? In the final lesson, I show you Graphic Styles and how we can create and use them to quickly apply your effects to other shapes and text.

Can't wait to see what you come up with in this class! If you're looking for more tutorials from me, you can find me over on YouTube.

Meet Your Teacher

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Spencer Martin

Graphic Designer & Content Creator


My name is Spencer Martin and I'm a designer from Indianapolis, Indiana. I also run a YouTube channel called Pixel & Bracket where I share tutorials, livestream my process, and educate other creatives.

Skillshare is a place that I can build and develop structured courses and I'm excited to share those with you! I hope that you'll gather little nuggets of information from my lessons, whether you're a beginner or a seasoned designer.

Take a look at my courses below, or check out my YouTube channel here!

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1. Welcome!: Hey guys, my name is Spencer Martin and welcome to my next skill share class, which is creating an offset path outline texts effect. Here in Adobe Illustrator, pretty unique texts effects give me a quick class. We'll try to keep it short and simple for you. By the way, I create other tutorials on my YouTube channel, pixel N bracket, and also my tutorial channels like pixel in bracket, Illustrator Photoshop, InDesign tutorials and more. So if you want to go check those out after the class, go ahead in this one, we'll learn a little bit more about the appearance panel. Learn how to create text in Illustrator and what you can do to create a non-destructive, cool text effect in your design. 2. Adding Text: Welcome to Lesson One. This is going to be about adding text to your document. So I'm assuming you're a beginner and we're going to just dive right in to all the basics. I'm gonna make sure that no matter how much you know about Adobe Illustrator, you can actually complete this course and the class project which will be creating your own outlined version of this text effect or so hopping. And this is kinda what I created here, and it's actually completely editable, which is really, really nice. So I'm just going to create a new document up here. If you're starting your Illustrator document, you just go up to new and will create a 19 by 1080 pixels art board. I haven't an RGB color mode if you're printing this out or sending us somewhere, CMYK is what you want and we'll just create it. The reason is 1920 by 1080 is just to get this nice long rectangle. Alright, so first things, first we need to add some text to our art board. T is the Type Tool and T is the shortcut key for the Type Tool. And there's two ways you can add text. First, you can create an what is called an area type, which is like creating a text box. So if we click and drag, we now have a textbox that probably automatically fills with a bunch of text. This is a great one if you're doing like paragraph text or you want your text to rap on the bounds of the text box. In this case, I'm not actually going to use this version, but I wanted you to know how you can do it. So with that being said, I'm going to Command or Control Z to undo that. And I'm just going to click on my document to create what's called point type, which means just type that I can just type forever and I don't have to be bound by the textbox. Now, I'm going to write just the word outline in all caps. And I'm gonna go to my selection tool. That shortcut key for that is VI. And we're going to scale this out by grabbing a corner. But notice how it skews, right? I need to hold shift to scale that up without skewing. So once I get that about to the size that I want it here on my art board. I'm going to take a look at my character panel over here. And it's going to be at this moment in the tutorial or this class that I am going to switch over to the essentials workspace. My workspace is kind of a mess here on the right. The workspace is where all the tools and the panels are outside of where your actual work area is. So let's go to the essentials workspace. You can come with me to make sure we're working on the exact same workspaces each other. I'm going to go up to window, down to workspace, and we're going to find essentials. Click on that and it's going to completely rearrange your workspace. Now one thing I want to look at here is I'm going to reset Essentials just to make sure it's actually the new workspace. There you go. That's what it is. So if it's still look different, now we should actually look the same. Go to workspace essentials and make sure your reset essentials if you've edited before, which it looks like I actually had. So now we have the same workspace as each other. The reason I wanted to do that was so that we could talk the same language. And if you're not seeing a panel that I'm Stan, I don't want to work that way. I want you to be able to follow along step-by-step. So we've got outline over here. I've got a Properties panel. In that properties panel, it actually pulls up the character panel. If you have your text selected, you can always find any of these windows up in the window drop-down, for instance, down here to type is the Character panel and you could pop that out. We don't need to do that though. Here in properties. We're just going to select a font. I'm gonna go with, Well, I think trade Gothic pros, a pretty nice font will select heavy, condensed. You can select any sort of font that you want. This is kind of up to you and the project, we're starting the project now. So by the end of the step-by-step class, you're gonna be able to have whatever your effect is on your text. Now I'm going to end up changing the color of this text. However, I'm not going to change it in the spot that you normally change text color. So when you're looking at this and you have it selected over here in the appearance panel is a fill and a stroke. And that fill and stroke actually applied to the text itself. So I'm going to click on this filter and click on the red slash. So 0 fill and 0 stroke, we now have invisible text, but we're going to remedy that in the next lesson. This is what we want our text to be like before we add in our actual text effect, we're gonna do coming right up. 3. Outline Effect: So we left off in the last lesson with nothing on our board because we haven't invisible texts. So let's add in the actual text effect and the colors that we want to do that we're going to actually open up the appearance panel itself because I don't want it disappearing over here and I want to make sure I know exactly what I'm working with. Go up to window, down to appearance and it's going to pop out the appearance panel. You can make this panel larger or smaller just by clicking and dragging when you see the double-headed arrows at the bottom of it, what we want is to add a fill first. So we're going to add a new fill. And that actually also adds a stroke with it, which is totally fine with us on this bill. We're going to add any color that we want. Personally. I think it should be more of a lighter tone and then you should use the darker color for the actual outline. So when we double-click on this fill over here, we can grab a nice light pink color or any other color that you want and hit OK. So now we've got this sort of pinkish color. This the fill of our texts. We have a stroke up here. This stroke color can be anything we want as well. I'm gonna go ahead and give it a color just so we can see it. And then I can do the same thing over here. This is my favorite spot to edit colors just because I can double-click on the swatch. And then I can select what I want that color to be. I'm gonna go with like a really dark purpley hue and hit OK. Now a couple of things we can do with the stroke. We can actually adjust the stroke weight just by clicking that up and down. And I think something around five is probably where I'm going to leave this one for now. So we have a stroke and we have a fill to our text. The stroke is kinda like the outline of our texts. So anywhere that our text is, we just added a line to the outside of it or the inside of it. That stroke is going to be our outline effect. But we need to move it away from the text. So what you can do is you can actually add effects to the fill and the stroke, in this case the stroke. So if we have the stroke highlighted and of course we still have our text highlighted down here. We can click on this fx panel and add a new effect. The effect we're going to add is in the distort and transform we're gonna find transform. Now with this transform effect panel open, we do a lot of different things with it. Specifically. We're going to move it and I'm not sure which direction, but I'm going to just add ten pixels one-way and ten pixels, vertical. So vertical and horizontal ten pixels. You can click or uncheck this Preview option to see what you're doing. And then here's where you can just kinda define how far out you want that outline to go. I think I might try 15 just to accentuate the effect a little bit. We can hit OK. And now we actually have that effect applied here to our text. And once again, if we double-click on our text, it is still very, very editable. So you can write whatever you want with this text. Another thing you can do if you're familiar with the stroke options, this stroke is kind of like little hyperlink to the Stroke panel. So we can open that up and we actually have a lot of different options we can use here. So we can change the weight, we can change the corners to make them a little bit more round. We can even add a dashed line effect. So you can add lots of different effects to your text here and keep it editable. Even your stroke, you can make it a dashed stroke. You can add different transform options. You can look at those effects and maybe add something else to the stroke. You can even add multiple strokes and then transform them differently. So you could do like three different strokes that kinda go down at an angle that looks like you have this cool drop shadow effect and you could bring the fill on top of the stroke. So let me show you how to do that right now, we have this dashed line. I can unclick that. So we just have the regular, this fill option. This right here. The appearance panel is kinda like a Layers panel. And the layers panel of course works like this. Whatever's on top you see first and then you see what's on bottom. Just like if you were laying sheets of paper over top of each other and they're kind of transparent. But you can kinda see through them. You see the first one the best and the furthest one back, you'd probably the worst dependent on what the transparency is and how those layers affect each other. Same thing with layers and also the appearance panel here. If we bring the fill on top of the stroke, now we see the fill first and the stroke underneath. So there's cool things that you can do with that. So I wanted you to know so that you guys, when you're creating your own texts, can create the different effects that you want here in the appearance panel. Lots of different stuff you can do there. You can play around with the different effects. You can play around with the different stroke options. You can move around the different fills and strokes here. And the reason that we just to go back a little bit, the reason we made our text transparent in the very beginning was because there's two different ways that the text colors kinda come into play here in Adobe Illustrator. One is the text, color or fill and stroke of the characters themselves. So it's kind of like changing the font color versus letting illustrator add a fill and a stroke to what it sees is the text if that makes any sense. So what happens is if you were to just have kept your text as a black color and then you follow it along in the appearance panel and added that really light pink. Unfortunately, those don't really overlap perfectly. So you see a little bit of black fringing around the edges of the pink color. To get rid of that, we made it transparent. That's why we did that in the beginning. Now, whatever you come up with here for your text effective and if it's the same exact effect that I have, you can add that as a graphic style. And these graphic styles are really cool ways to quickly apply to other sets of text. So you don't have to redo all of this. Again. You can actually just reapply it to any other piece of text in your document or in another document. In the next lesson, I'll show you how to create a graphic style and apply it to other text. 4. Graphic Styles: Let's look at one of these really cool time-saver features called graphic styles, where you can create graphic styles and then apply them to other texts or get this. I didn't tell you this and last one. Shapes to, doesn't just have to be Text. Alright, so we have this text effect, right? We're going to click and grab it here. Just click and drag and select it. And go up to window. Down to should be graphic styles. Yep, there it is. It's going to pull open that panel somewhere. You already have some default graphic styles. What we can do with that selected is actually just add a new graphic style. So there we go, that's our graphic style right there. So if we type out some new text and we're going to scale this up really quick, just like so, come on, there we go. This new text, I don't have to go through this whole, you know, appearance panel adding that line transform, all this kinda stuff. I can just click on that new text, click on that graphic style and applies it immediately. Here's the other cool thing. Scale that down is if we just create any sort of shape like an ellipse, we can do the exact same thing. Click on that graphic style. And now we have a little circle with that same graphic style added must create a triangle with the polygon tool. Quick tip here, just click on your canvas with the polygon tool, select three sides and you've got a triangle. And this triangle boom, graphic style added that simple, that quick graphic styles are really neat. One more thing I want to show you here scaling these styles because we used a stroke. You do wanna scale strokes and effects, or not scale strokes and effects. In this case, probably scale them. So if you're looking at your whole document here and you have nothing selected, look over in the Properties panel at the very bottom, you have skill strokes and affects. Let me show you what happens when that's off. So we have new texts right when we scale that up holding shift, it just scales right up, just like normal, right? Everything scales with each other. Well, new texts will make you smile again. Uncheck scale strokes and affects skill that up, what happens? Look at that stroke. It's not nearly the same as this one anymore. That's because scale strokes was unchecked. It didn't scale the stroke. So whatever the stroke was when it was that small, which was probably like 5 or 2 or something. When we scaled it up, it stayed at 2 instead of scaling up to 10 or something. So that's the difference. So if you're finding yourself scaling your artwork and some weird things are happening where it doesn't look the same at different sizes. That's probably the culprit over there. So scale strokes and affects. Most people think you want it on all the time. And yeah, I do have it on a lot, but there are instances where I don't want it on. For instance, if I'm trying to just skew a rectangle, but I definitely want to keep the strokes exact same like I've always wanted to be a five-point stroke around this rectangle because it's like a dialogue box in a mockup design I'm creating, but I just want to, I just want to make it bigger or smaller. Then I don't want scale strokes and effects on because otherwise it's going to be taking that five-point. That's gotta stay the same. And it's going to scale it to ten or 7.6875 or something. And it's not gonna work right? So that's just a quick little lesson on scale strokes and effects, but the graphic styles option is a really cool way for you guys to just be able to apply whatever your effect is to any text or any shapes or any object here in Adobe Illustrator. Because learned a lot in this class. I know it was kind of a quick class and you know, pretty simple but kinda unique and cool effect. Can't wait to see what you guys come up with. Make sure you post your projects on this class. Go check me out on YouTube or do a lot more tutorials over there. I also have an illustrator and a Photoshop class on this skill share channels, so you can check that out as well. Once again, thank you guys for taking the class. I appreciate it. If you made made it this far. Can't wait to see what you guys come up with. Thanks for watching, and I'll see you in the next one.