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How to Create a Neon Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

posted by: Iaroslav Lazunov, in Illustrator Tutorials / Text Effect/ Comments: 28
Final Image Preview




In this Adobe Illustrator Tutorial we will learn how to create a neon text effect using Gradient Mesh, 3D Modeling, Art Brushes and Transparency palette. Let's begin! 

Tutorial Details

  • Program: Adobe IllustratorCS-CS5;
  • Difficulty: Beginner
  • Estimated Completion Time: 15-20 minutes

Step 1

Create a neon text effect using the RGB color mode. If this mode is not set for your document, set it (File> Document Color Mode> RGB Color). Start by creating a background, take the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a rectangle with black fill.

Step 2

Keep the rectangle selected, go to Object > Create Gradient Mesh ... and in the dialogue window set the number of rows and columns equal three.

Select central nodes of the gradient mesh using the Direct Selection Tool (A) and fill them with different colors, with the same tool, move the nodes as shown in the figure below.

Step 3

Proceed to the creation of the text. Take the Type Tool (T) and create a text, in my case this word is NEON. I used the Tahoma bold font. You can change the height and width of text using the Selection Tool (V).

Step 4

Keep the text selected, go to Effect > 3D> Extrude & Bevel and set effect parameters in the dialog window.

If after having applied the effect, there is a need in editing of the parameters, you can get the access to them from the menu of the Appearance palette.

Step 5

Lock 3D object in the Layers palette, later it will be used as a template. Now prepare shapes to create Art Brush. These shapes can be obtained through the transformation of the circle. The height of the first shape is 2 px, and the height of the second one is 1 px.

It is not necessary that you copy them exactly, they just have to be similar to these shapes. Fill these shapes with gray color. Now drag these shapes one at a time to the Brushes palette and save new brushes as Art Brushes.

Step 6

For convenience in the further work, change the template font color to dark gray, almost black, and lock it in the Layers palette again.

Using the Pen Tool (P) create dashes as shown in the figure below, basing on the template. Apply the first created brush to the dashes.

Apply similar technique to all the letters of the template.

Step 7

Now take the second brush created in step 5, take the Paint Brush Tool (B) and continue to outline the letters of the template. If you did not do well with brush stroke, you can undo the last action by pressing the keyboard combination of Cmd / Ctrl + Z or the edit line shape with the help of the Direct Selection Tool (A).

Step 8

Take the Pen Tool (P) and outline the front surfaces of the letters, there is no need in being very exact.

Now the template can be deleted.

Step 9

Select all the elements created by us, except for the background, and set the Color Dodge Blending mode for them in the Transparency palette.

Step 10

Create the light glares on the letters. Take the Ellipse Tool (L) and create a circle. Fill it with radial gradient from white to black color.

Now set the Color Dodge Blending mode for this shape in the Transparency palette.

Place such items in different places. Gradient of some elements can be replaced with black and gray.

Step 11

Now create a few similar elements, but after filling with radial gradient bring the circle to the shape of an ellipse using the Selection Tool (V).

Locate the elliptical elements as shown in the image below.

Final Image



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Total comments: 26
0   Spam
1 Nick   (2011 Jun 02 03:44)
That is a fantastic end result. Congratulations!

0   Spam
2 ash   (2011 Jun 03 07:00)
is this hard todo?

0   Spam
3 jaroslav   (2011 Jun 03 07:05)

0   Spam
4 johnnyinternets   (2011 Jun 03 16:58)
Great tutorial once again biggrin

0   Spam
5 jaroslav   (2011 Jun 03 17:12)
Thanks a lot.

0   Spam
6 rajasegar   (2011 Jun 06 00:19)
Great tutorial and techniques well explained!
Thanks for sharing...

0   Spam
7 ifqy   (2011 Jun 14 03:16)
its too hard for basic user

0   Spam
8 jaroslav   (2011 Jun 14 03:23)
I'll help you if you have any questions.

0   Spam
9 mittuat   (2011 Jun 15 01:52)
please explain step 2 further.. how to fill colors???

0   Spam
10 jaroslav   (2011 Jun 15 01:59)
Select one node using Direct Selection Tool (A) then set color in the Color or Swatches palette. Then next node...

0   Spam
11 mittuat   (2011 Jun 15 02:16)
Select central nodes of the gradient mesh using the Direct Selection Tool (A) and fill them with different colors, with the same tool, move the nodes as shown in the figure below.

please explain the bold parts once more.. !

0   Spam
12 jaroslav   (2011 Jun 15 02:33)
Direct Selection Tool (A) then set color in the Color or Swatches palette.

Do you understand me?

0   Spam
13 krr   (2011 Dec 23 03:18)
how do you do this ????[b][color=purple] confused

0   Spam
14 jaroslav   (2011 Dec 23 03:26)

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15 Dede   (2012 Jun 08 02:38)
For CS3 I think there is an option in the color swahtces area that allows you to save those color settings. I can check for sure tomorrow when I have Illustrator in front of me, I use it daily but it's not on my home computer.

0   Spam
16 newbienic   (2012 Sep 18 01:46)
by the way what happen to the 3d??why suddenly in the next pic it became more darker...
and what did you do to the cirlce??...did you use the direct tool to change its shape??
tell me please biggrin

0   Spam
17 jaroslav   (2012 Sep 18 02:28)
>>what happen to the 3d??why suddenly in the next pic it became more darker...
Yes, See pic in step 6. I changed color to K=80
>>did you use the direct tool to change its shape??

0   Spam
18   (2012 Dec 06 06:51)
Thanks a lot to Designer.

0   Spam
19 ululf01   (2013 Mar 05 02:00)
A really big thanks for the tutorial

0   Spam
20 nur zawawi   (2013 Nov 23 03:36)
i really dont get for step 5. please explain details.

0   Spam
21 jaroslav   (2013 Nov 24 01:09)
Can't you save an artbrush or create such shape?

0   Spam
22 bijutoha   (2014 Jan 29 04:08)
Really, I love this work. Maximum time I am using photoshop to make everything. This brings me lots of opportunity to create in Illustrator. Thanks again.

0   Spam
23 help me please   (2014 Jul 09 13:34)
makes no sense to me on the creating the dashes lines and using brushes

0   Spam
24 Pavele   (2014 Oct 23 13:50)
Wow... this is very good tutorial, i will try to do this.

0   Spam
25 mangumj09   (2016 Aug 12 09:07)
I went through it twice and it doesn't work . .  when i do step 9 everything disappears very frustating

26 jaroslav   (2016 Aug 12 09:10)
you should work in RGB color mode

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