Deke’s Techniques 163: Applying Custom Carve and Shadow Styles to Any Font

163 Applying custom carve and shadow styles to type

Today, I show you how to create and assign custom variations on the classic type styles Carved and Shadow to any typeface any time you like. And because you’ll be doing so using dynamic effects in Adobe Illustrator, you can apply the Carved and Shadow styles to live, editable text without any need to convert the type to outlines. Fix a typo, change out a few words, or adjust the formatting, and your custom Carved and Shadows styles update automatically.

Here’s the official description from

In this week’s free episode of Deke’s Techniques, Deke shows you how to take any font you like and give it a carved-out, sculpted, or engraved effect.

As Deke points out, some fonts have such styles built right in. Take Imprint, for instance. It includes a carved style that it calls Shadow. (The naming conventions on these things is a little uneven.)

But you don’t have to rely on the font you want having this built-in option. You can create this effect with any font you have available, using Adobe Illustrator and a host of Transform and Offset effects applied systematically to a collection of stroke and fills. Take this type from last weeks project, set in the classic 191 typeface Hobo.

In the video, you’ll see how Deke creates the shadow and highlight illusions by duplicating the stroke and resizing, moving, and changing its colors, with the result being the sculpted, almost molded, letters you see here. (You can see he’s done a similar treatment to the stars, which he demonstrates with another set of effects in the video). Note the number of effects applied to the multiple strokes in the Appearance panel. These are all just mutated duplicates of the original stroke. In other words, no hand-drawing is involved.

The result, when combined with last week’s Spirograph-style embellishment, is this striking logo, that—dare I say—really pops!

Deke’s Techniques, now with bad puns!

Next week, a special treat in which I show you how to transform a scanned pencil sketch into digital ink. Not to mention the video debut of a relic from my past, a rough-and-tumble comic strip called “Jerk & Jello.”

Next entry:Deke’s Techniques 164: Turning a Pencil Sketch into Digital Ink in Photoshop

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  • Carve technique

    Thanks mate, always enjoy your explanations and your techniques!
    Keep it going,


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