How to Create an Ice Cream Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

In the following tutorial you will learn how to create an ice cream text effect in Adobe Illustrator.

Using the Type Tool, a nice free font and taking full advantage of the Appearance panel we’ll create the starting letter shapes. We’ll continue with the Brush Tool, a calligraphic brush and some simple Pathfinder options. Next, using basic blending, masking and vector shape building techniques along with a built-in art brush we’ll add some more shading and highlights for the existing letter shapes. Moving on, you will learn how to make and save a simple pattern and how to create the wooden stick. Finally, we’ll add the subtle details and the background.


Final Image

As always, this is the final image that we’ll be creating:

How to Create an Ice Cream Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

Tutorial Details

  • Program: Adobe Illustrator CS5
  • Estimated Completion Time: 2 hours
  • Difficulty: Intermediate-Advanced

Resources


Step 1

Hit Command + N to create a new document. Select Pixels from the Units drop-down menu, enter 600 in the width box and 300 in the height box then click on the Advanced button. Select RGB, Screen (72ppi) and make sure that the Align New Objects to Pixel Grid box is unchecked before you click OK.

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Step 2

Pick the Type Tool (T), simply click on your Artboard and add the black "VECTOR" piece of text. Use the Tidal font, set the size to 75pt and the tracking to 200. Make sure that your text is selected and hit Shift + CTRL + O (or go to Type > Create Outlines).

Move to the Layers panel (Window > Layers), select the resulting group and simply hit Shift + CTRL + G to Ungroup it. Select the resulting shapes one by one and replace the black with the two colors shown in the final image. You’ll need these colors again, so it would be a good idea to save them in your Swatches panel (Window > Swatches).

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Step 3

Select the "R" shape and go to Object > Transform > Reflect. Check the Horizontal box and click OK.

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Step 4

Focus on your "V" shape, select it, open the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance) and add a second fill using the Add New Fill button (indicated by the little, blue arrow in the following image). Select this new fill, set the color to black, lower its Opacity to 3%, change the Blending Mode to Multiply.

Go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK.

Return to the Appearance panel. Add a third fill, make sure that it goes above the existing fills and select it. Set the color to R=248 G=213 B=183, lower its Opacity to 40%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Go to Effect > Distort > Ocean Ripple. Enter the attributes shown in the following image, click OK.

Go back to the Appearance panel. Add a 1pt stroke and select it. Set the color to black, align it to inside, lower its Opacity to 5% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Make sure that this subtle stroke is still selected and simply duplicate using the Duplicate Selected Item button (indicated by the little, green arrow in the following image). Select this newly added stroke and increase its weight to 3pt. Take a closer look at your "V" shape and you’ll notice that the edges are bit pixelated. We’ll take care of this issue in the next steps.

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Step 5

Make sure that your "V" shape is still selected and make a copy in front (CTRL + C > CTRL + F). Select it and hit the D key from your keyboard to replace the existing Appearance attributes with the default ones (white fill and a black stroke).

Remove that black stroke and open the Transparency panel (Window > Transparency). Select both "V" shapes, open the fly-out menu of the Transparency panel and simply go to Make Opacity Mask. Now, those pixelated edges should be gone.

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Step 6

Next, you need to copy the Appearance attributes used for the "V" shape and paste them onto the "E" shape. Here is how you can easily do it. Go to the Layers panel, focus on the right side and you’ll notice that every shape comes with a little circle. It’s called a target icon. Hold the Alt key from your keyboard, click on the target icon that stands for your "V" shape and drag onto the target icon that stands for the "E" shape.

Select your "E" shape, focus on the Appearance panel, select the bottom fill and replace that green with R=186 G=1555 B=201. In the end things should look like in the second image. Finally, mask this "E" shape using the same techniques mentioned in the previous step.

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Step 7

Repeat the techniques mentioned in the previous step for the rest of the shapes. Make sure that you don’t forget the masking part.

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Step 8

Focus on the Toolbar, set the stroke color to black and double click on the Brush Tool to open the Paintbrush Tool Options window. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK. Pick the Brush Tool (B), open the Brushes panel (Window > Brushes), select the 3pt Round calligraphic brush and draw some paths as shown in the first image. Select these paths one by one and replace the black with the two saved colors.

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Step 9

Focus on your "V" shape, select the left brush added in the previous step and go to Object > Expand Appearance (or go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke).

Select the resulting group, open the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder) and hit the Unite button.

Select the resulting shape and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1px Offset and click OK

Select the resulting shape and make a copy in front (CTRL + C > CTRL + F). Select this copy and move it 1px to the right using the right arrow from your keyboard (go to Edit > Preferences > General and make sure that Keyboard Increment is set to 1px if you feel that your shape is moving more than 1px when you hit the arrow key).

Reselect this moved copy along with original shape and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with white and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

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Step 10

Keep focusing on your "V" shape, select the right brush and go to Object > Expand Appearance (or go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke). Select the resulting group and click the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel.

Select the resulting shape and make two copies in front (CTRL + C > CTRL + F > CTRL + F). Select the top copy and move it 1px up and 1px to the left using the arrow keys from your keyboard.

Reselect both copies and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with black, lower its Opacity to 25% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

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