How to create a 3D retro effect using the Appearance panel in Adobe Illustrator

You will need
  • Adobe Illustrator Program
  • Ownership Level: Beginner
  • Run Time: 15 minutes
Create a new document of any size, the main thing is to fit your text on it.
Paint the background with a pleasantly muted blue-gray color, select Type Tool (T) and write a word using the settings shown in the picture.
In this case we use Myriad Pro font, color black, size 100px, tracking width 100.
If you do not have Myriad Pro installed on your system, you can use another bold font.


Highlight the text, go to the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance) and click Add New Stroke at the bottom of the panel. Enter values as in the picture.


Select from the Appearance panel just created a new new stroke, and click Add New Effect at the bottom of the panel. Then select the Distort & Transform effect > Transform, enter the values as in the picture, and click OK to accept the changes.


Add a new stroke as we did before, but with those settings, that are depicted in this picture. Verify that the new stroke is under the previous one in the Appearance panel. We will put a few more elements on each other, make sure they are located in the right order.


Make a duplicate of the created stroke and place it below the previous one. Apply the Transform effect as in the picture and set Opacity to 34% to create a small inner shadow effect.


When we just started editing a text object, the Appearance was already an empty layer with fill – Fill. Highlight it and paint it in the color of our first stroke.


Copy the fill layer and fill it instead of solid color favorite pattern. Here I use a zig-zag, but any pattern of black color with transparent elements will suit. Set Blending Mode to Overlay, so black is mixed with the color underneath.


Copy the dark stroke from the previous steps and place it under the layers with fills in the Appearance panel. Highlight it, press Add New Effect, and select Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the values shown in the picture. Before you click OK, make sure you set a value of 7 in the Copies field.


Copy the last stroke and place it down. Click on the Transform link in the stroke properties in the Appearance panel to change the effect settings. Set the Copies parameter to 11, and click OK. Then change Blending Mode to Multiply and expose Opacity 25%.

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