How to Create Metallic effect in Illustrator

In this Adobe Illustrator Tutorial, I will show you, ‘How to Create Metallic Effect in Illustrator’.



Introduction

There are two things required in a Metallic effect:

  1. Metallic Color
  2. Brush Metal Effect (optional)

I will perform this tutorial on a Text in Illustrator but you can follow the steps to apply this effect on any Element or Design.

In case of text, you should chose your Font carefully. As we are creating a Metal look, so the Font should look Strong and Heavy. Otherwise, even after applying all steps correctly, the result may not look good.


Creating a suitable Background

Metals have lustrous or shining surface. Whenever we have to create light related effects like shining subject or glow in subject, it’s important to work on your Background.

As a rule of thumb, for such effects, we should always work with a dark background.


Create a Document

We will start by creating a New Document in Illustrator. For the purpose of this tutorial, I will chose the following values:

  1. Width: 850 px
  2. Height: 400 px
  3. Color Mode: RGB
  4. Raster Effects: High (300 ppi)
Creating  document for metallic effect in illustrator

Creating Background

Take Rectangle Tool (M) from the Toolbar with None in Stroke and R=68, G=68 and B=88 as Fill color. Click on the Artboard with Rectangle Tool to open Rectangle dialog box and enter values as shown below.

Rectangle dialog box

After we click on OK, a Rectangle will be created as shown below.

Rectangle shape

Now, we need to center our Rectangle with respect to the Artboard. We can do it using Align Panel. While the Rectangle is selected, open Align Panel and do the following:

  1. Align To: Align to Artboard
  2. Click Horizontal Align Center
  3. Click Vertical Align Center

Respective pics for above steps are shown below:

Our background currently looks dark but it is also dull in nature. We will add a Gradient in it to add a sense of direction.

With the Rectangle still selected, open Appearance Panel from Window menu. Click on the Add New Fill button.

Add New Fill in Apperance Panel

A new Fill will be added to the Rectangle and could be seen in the Appearance Panel as shown below.

New Fill added in Appearance Panel

With the New Fill selected, we will change it’s Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Blending mode in Transparency Panel

Now, we have to convert this solid Fill color to a Radial Gradient. First we will open swatches by clicking on the chevron icon along side the Fill color and chose any Gradient in it.

Gradient applied in selected fill

Open Gradient Panel from Window menu and convert the Linear Gradient to Radial Gradient in the selected Fill.

Radial Gradient

In the Gradient Slider, select the First Color Stop with white color and lower it’s Opacity to 0%.

Opacity to 0%

Now, double-click on the First Color Stop with White as Color and change the color values to R=68, G=68 and B=88

Color Value

Then move to the other Color Stop and change it’s color values to R=18, G=18 and B=38

Color Values

After a few minutes of experimenting with Gradient Tool, I have finalized the shape of gradient in the following way:

Gradient annotator

Now, we can easily place the subject in the center.


Add element for Metallic Effect

Now, we need to add the element for our Metallic Effect in Illustrator. In my case, as I already told you, I will be taking a text for the tutorial.

Remember, Typography is an important topic if you consider to use text too. I recommend to use a Bold, Strong and Headline type of Font in Sans Serif category.

Here, I will be using, LTY abbrevated for Learn That Yourself, the name of our website.

Text for metallic effect

I have used Futura Extra Black BT typeface with a Font Size of 200 pt and Tracking of 75 as well as Kerning of 50 between T and Y.

If you don’t know about Tracking and Kerning then please read the Character Panel explanation in our Type menu in Photoshop blog.


Add Metal Colors

With the text selected remove the Fill color. Open Appearance Panel from Window menu with the text still selected Add New Fill from the Appearance Panel.

Fill none and Add New Fill from Appearance Panel
New Fill added in Appearance Panel

We have to change the solid fill with a Linear Gradient at 90 degrees.

Gradient Swatch
Linear Gradient

Now, we need to change color of the Color Stops as well as add some new Color Stops in the Gradient.

First we will change the colors in the present Color Stops. Double click on the left Color Stop (White color in pic) and change it’s values to R=152, G=154 and B=158

Color stop values

Double click on the right Color Stop (Black color in pic) and change it’s values to R=114, G=114 and B=114

Color Stop values

Now, we need to add the following Color Stops:

  1. Location: 15%; R=93, G=93 and B=93
  2. Location: 35%; R=152, G=154 and B=158
  3. Location: 50%; R=164, G=164 and B=164
  4. Location: 60%; R=134, G=134 and B=134
  5. Location: 80%; R=201, G=201 and B=201
All color stops applied

It has began to resemble colors of metal. Now we need to add some surface shine using Stroke color. Add New Stroke using Appearance Panel with Stroke Weight of 3 pt and Round Join.

Stroke Panel

We will change the solid color of Stroke to a Linear Gradient of Black to White at 90 degrees with Opacity of 50% with Soft Light as Blend Mode.

Stroke Modified

Apply effect; Effect > Path > Offset Path with values as follow:

Offset Path effect
Offset Path effect applied

Now, Add New Stroke from Appearance Panel with Stroke Weight of 1 pt, Round Join, Opacity at 70% and Linear Gradient at 90 degrees. Linear Gradient should have following values of Color Spots:

  1. Location: 0%, Opacity: 0%; R=231, G=230 and B=233
  2. Location: 50%, Opacity: 100%; R=255, G=255 and B=255
  3. Location: 100%, Opacity: 0%; R=231, G=230 and B=233
Second Stroke applied

We have to apply the same Offset Path effect in this stroke layer too. Use the values below:

offset path
after applying offset path effect

We have complete adding the metal colors to our text. The result looks as shown below.

Metal Colors

Add Shadows

Let’s add some shadows to our Metal Colored Text. For this purpose, we will again Add New Fill but we will drag it down below our previous Fill.

Fill added

Change the Fill color to R=88, G=89 and B=91

Fill color

Go to Effects > Stylize > Drop Shadow with color of Shadow as R=28, G=28 and B=48 and other following values:

Drop Shadow

Again, add another Drop Shadow to the same Fill with same Shadow color and other values below.

Drop Shadow

Add Metallic Effects

We have already added Metal colors and in few cases that could be all you need. But if more detail is required than we can add few effects to make it Metallic in look.

We will Add New Fill in the Appearance Panel with the Text selected. This will be our third Fill layer in Appearance Panel. It should be on the top of all other Fill layers.

It’s color will be Black, Opacity of 50% with Color Burn as Blend Mode.

New Fill layer in Appearance Panel

Go to Effect > Distort > Diffuse Glow with the values shown below.

Diffuse Glow effect
Diffuse Glow dialog box
Diffuse Glow effect applied

Apply a new effect from Effect > Sketch > Note Paper with Image Balance of 25, Graininess of 15 and Relief of 8

Note Paper effect

If results don’t match after the above step, please note the order of effect layer in the Appearance Panel.

Now, again, Add New Fill on top of all previous Fills in the Appearance Panel with Color as Black and Soft Light as Blend Mode.

Add New Fill

We will apply Note Paper effect again with same values as above to this fill layer.

Note Paper effect

Then, we will go to Effect > Distort > Ocean Ripple with Ripple Size of 6 and Ripple magnitude to be 20

Ocean Ripple effect

Next effect, go to Effect > Brush Strokes > Angled Strokes with Direction Balance at 100, Stroke Strength at 50 and Sharpness at 10

Angled Strokes effect

The result, till now, is shown below:

output of metallic effect

Let’s add some more shine to it and some surrounding color impact. Add New Fill layer with color values of R=20, G=20 and B=51 and Opacity at 50% with Color Dodge as Blending Mode.

Add new fill layer

Final Result

Final result

Save as Graphic Styles

To be able to reuse this effect on different elements, we have save it as a Graphic Style. Open Graphic Styles Panel and with the text selected click on New Graphic Style button at the bottom of Graphic Styles Panel.

New Graphic Styles button
New Graphic Style saved

To apply this Graphic Style, we have to select our element and click on it. To download the Ai file of this tutorial, click here.


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