Warping Text using Illustrator 10’s Warping Tools

NOTE: Technique for the latest version of Illustrator CS3 

Adobe Illustrator 10 has a collection of new Warping tools. These tools do not directly work with text. At first, this looks like a serious ommission. But hark! There is a little technique that will serve us well.

Firstly, let’s assume you have created some text in your Illustrator document.

[1000] 01 initial text

Create a rectangle that bounds the text exactly. This rectangle will not be visible: its used for the Envelope tool…

[1001] 02 rectangle

Select both the new rectangle and the text frame underneath. Go to Object>Envelope Distort>Make with Top Object.

This will take the underlying text and ‘distort’ it into the shape of a rectangle. The text probably hasn’t changed that much. But the beauty of Illustrator 10 is that we can now Warp the envelope shape.

[1002] 03 warp

Voila! we can now warp text!

To edit the text, you can select this object and go to Object>Envelope Distort>Edit Contents. Here you can edit the text rather than the envelope shape itself.

In this simple example, we are changing the shape of the envelope that the text is being stretched into.

Now, this alone is interesting and worthwhile. But there is another “thing” we can do…

By simply adding a Warp Envelope to our text object by going to Object>Envelope Distort>Make with Warp

[1003] 04 envelope with warp

We can change the shape the text is ‘enveloped’ into. These warp styles closely reflect the style in Photoshop 6.0. However, what is different is that there is an underlying shape that we can manipulate the effect the shape the text is warped into.

[1004] 05 warp envelope warp

Apart from using the ‘white arrow’ (direct select tool) to change the envelope, or we can use the Warping tools to change the shape.


15 thoughts on “Warping Text using Illustrator 10’s Warping Tools”

  1. Thank you!!! This answers so many questions. I didn’t even know where to start with warping text in Illustrator and I’m excited at all of the things it can do! 🙂

  2. Oh.. my….my…. You saved my time! Thank you so much for sharing. It was for one of my school projects and it worked! So worldy of you. Thank you!

  3. imagine sone circles, one inside another, having the same center. on each ciscle there is a phrase, shorter and shorter. the size of the font is the same for each phrase, and each phrase is ended with a dot. all dots are inline with the dot in the center of all circles.
    i tryed to do that with photoshop, or with word, i didn’t figured out how to get to what i imagine. i ask for this specific thing because i want for some years to make a visual poem. can you make a tutorial on this one too and give a link here?

    thank you in advance 🙂

  4. How do you create outlines on your text once it is enveloped, my silkscreener requires all text be converted to outlines.

  5. Is it possible to retain straight edges? I still want the distortion, but only a simple one without the curves. Thanks!

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