Deke’s Techniques 132: Adding Photographic Texture to Vector Type in Illustrator

132 Adding a photographic texture to vector type

One of the great things about Deke’s Techniques (for me anyway) is that it gives me the chance to explore, not just how vast and powerful programs like Photoshop and Illustrator work, but how they work together, and in real-world scenarios. For example, this week, I show you how to take a couple of cloud photographs (Photoshop) and cram them into some vector-based text objects (Illustrator), replete with strokes and drop shadows.

Here’s the official description from

This week’s Deke’s Techniques demonstrates the relatively simple but oh-so-useful method for filling your Illustrator type with a photographic image. The steps are straightforward: You’ll need Illustrator CS5 or better in order to use the handy Draw Inside mode. Then it’s just a matter of selecting the text and placing it inside the type.

Of course, if you want to add strokes or drop shadows, you’ll need to deftly navigate both the Layers and Appearance panels in order to add those respective effects to the appropriate objects inside Illustrator. The result is this formerly boring text (left) turned into an editable, tweakable, barn-stormin’ effect.

Plain versus photo texture type in Illustrator

For members of, Deke’s got another video this week that shows you how to create a double stroke around this effect. Sounds simple, no? But it’s Illustrator, so good thing Deke has figured out the oddly complicated nuances for you.

And Deke will be back next week with another quick-and-useful technique.

Seriously, that second technique is worth the price of admission. As those of you who know Illustrator well know well, adding a double-stroke effect behind a photograph inside a clipping path is of those things that simply can’t be done in Illustrator. And yet, in my Deke’s Techniques course, I tell you how.

Next entry:Deke’s Techniques 134: Adding a Border to an Image in Illustrator

Previous entry:Deke’s Techniques 130: Head Shrinking in Photoshop


  • Off Topic

    Hi Deke,
    I know that this is ‘Off Topic’ but I have no other means of contacting you.
    I also realise that am asking for yet more ‘free stuff’ but given your contacts in the Adobe-World, could you please reinstate a quarterly or at the very least annual ‘Martini Hour’ style audio podcast, to celebrate something.  There are so many other gurus and icons you must be in regular contact with and that we would all love to hear from: not least of all Linda (.com) herself.
    Bob (in the UK)