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Reshaping Text with an Envelope Warp in Adobe Illustrator CS4

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Warping text is fun because it allows you to give text a more interesting shape. This excerpt from Adobe Illustrator CS4 Classroom in a Book shows you how to use a preset warp shape or a mesh grid as an envelope.
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Warping text is fun because it allows you to give text a more interesting shape. An envelope warp lets you fit the text into a shape that you create or that is created for you. An envelope is an object that distorts or reshapes selected objects. You can use a preset warp shape or a mesh grid as an envelope, or you can create and edit your own by using objects on the artboard.

  1. Select the Type tool in the Tools panel. Before typing, in the Control panel, change the font family to Myriad Pro (if it is not already chosen), the font style to Bold Condensed, the color to white, and the font size to 48 pt.
  2. With the Type tool, click the poster below the two columns of text once.

    Exact placement is not important. A text cursor appears.

  3. Type the word transform.
  4. Select the Selection tool, and if the text overlaps the text in the two columns above, drag it down until it no longer does.
  5. With the text selected with the Selection tool, click the Make Envelope button in the Control panel. In the Warp Options dialog box, select Preview.

    The text appears as an arc.

  6. Choose Arc Upper from the Style menu. Drag the Bend slider to the right to see it bend up further. You can experiment with many different combinations. Drag the Horizontal and Vertical Distortion sliders to see the effect on the text. Return the Distortion sliders to 0% when finished. Click OK when you have finished with this dialog box.
  7. Use the Selection tool to drag the envelope object (the warped text) so that the bottom of the transformed text is aligned roughly with the bottom of the two columns of text.

    If you want to make any changes, you can edit the text and shape separately. Next you will edit the text "transform" and then the warp shape.

  8. With the warped text still selected, click the Edit Contents button in the Control panel.

    This is how you edit the text in the warped shape.

  9. Using the Type tool, hover the cursor over the warped text.

    Notice the blue line and blue "transform" text. The smart guides are showing you the original text. Click "transform" to insert the cursor, and then double-click to select it.

  10. Type workout and notice that the text warps automatically in the arc upper shape.

    Choose Edit > Undo Typing to return to the original text.

  11. In the Control panel, change the Stroke Weight to .75 pt, and the Stroke color to Mustard. Press Escape to close the Swatches panel.

    Notice that the attributes are applied to the warped text. Next you will edit the warp shape.

  12. With the Selection tool selected, making sure that the warped text is still selected, click the Edit Envelope button in the Control panel.
  13. Choose Bulge from the Select Warp Style menu in the Control panel. Notice the other options in the Control panel, such as Horizontal, Vertical, and Bend.
  14. Choose Arc Upper to return to the arc upper shape.
  15. Select the Direct Selection tool in the Tools panel. Notice the anchor points around the warped shape. Click to select the anchor point above the "n" in "transform." Drag it up to change the warp shape.
  16. Choose Edit > Undo Move to return the shape to the arc upper shape.

    Next you will add a drop shadow effect to the warped text.

  17. Switch to the Selection tool and click "transform."
  18. Choose Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow from the Illustrator effects. In the Drop Shadow Options dialog box, change the Opacity to 30%, the X Off set to 3 px, Y Off set to 3 px, and the Blur to 3 px, and click OK.

    Choose Select > Deselect, and File > Save.

    Leave the file open.

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