Warping Text using Illustrator CS3

Strangely, the most hit page during the most recent week has been my “how-to” warp text with Adobe Illustrator 10.

Adobe, in Illustrator 11, 12 and 13 (aka CS, CS2 and CS3) have dramatically simplified the process of warping text:

Firstly, you have some text in a Text Frame:


Whilst the frame is selected, there is a new button on the Toolbar:


If you select “with warp”, a new dialog box appears:


By clicking the “Preview” button, off you go!

Adobe Tips

As promised, I am starting to document the techniques shown at the recent Adobe roadshows

Illustrator 10: Illustrator 10: Making Good Text Go Bad. Photoshop 7: Photoshop 7 File Browser Automatic Numbering Technique

Apart from writing the above articles, I decided to noodle around with the GD library that is a part of PHP4. GD permits the dynamic changing of images programmatically, rather than having to do it by hand in an image editing tool. In my example, the code is grabbing a random Neil Finn lyric from the Random Neil Finn Lyric Server. The end result looks like this:


The text is gathered from a SOAP stream, and composited on top of another dynamically served image.

OK, I have another confession. I absolutely cannot miss an episode of Meet the Osbournes. Its partly the fact that this dysfunctional family seems to work, a Simpsons in real life. Ozzy, obviously suffering from too many non-natural substances in too great quantity, is really a pussy cat. This persona belies his 30-plus years of a proto-high priest of the dark side. The irony of seeing Ozzy go bananas over his noisy neighbours is delicious. What a riot.

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.