How To Create a Speed Lines Type Effect in Adobe Illustrator

How's it going everyone this is Chris from Spoon Graphics back with another video tutorial for Adobe Illustrator Today we're going to play around with Illustrator's handy shape building tools, specifically some of the recent additions from versions CS6 onwards

What we'll be producing is a piece of custom type treatment with so-called speed lines, which seem to have become a popular effect recently Along the way we'll touch on a range of useful tips and techniques that are handy time savers to help take some of the tediousness out of the process So begin by opening up Adobe Illustrator and create a new document at any size I'm using pixels units to keep the measurements simple Grab the Type tool and set out your chosen wording, which in my example is Speed Freak

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This effect works with pretty much any font, but I'm using one of my favourites named League Gothic Right click on the text and choose Create Outlines to convert the type into shapes, then right click again and select Ungroup to break the letters apart Select every alternate letter while holding the Shift key, then nudge these letters upwards to knock them out of line Draw a selection around the letters that make up the word Freak, then move it into position so it sits underneath the word Speed Select the Rectangle tool and make a single click on the artboard to enter specific dimensions

Use a Width of 50px and a height of 5px Zoom right in using the CMD+ shortcut, then activate the Direct Selection tool One of the newer features of Illustrator we'll be using is the little corner widgets which allow you to round off the corners by dragging the little circle icons If you're working in an older version, the Effect > Stylize > Round Corners menu should see you through this step Go to the view menu and make sure you have Smart Guide enabled

These will help you snap and line up the shapes to the edges of any letters Move the rectangular shape over the first letter so it overlaps and extends off to the left Hold the ALT key and drag the shape to make a duplicate Position this copy elsewhere along the left edge of the letter, overlapping it by around a quarter of the letter width Make more copies of the shape and randomly position them further along the letter

Scale the rectangle horizontally to shorten it in size to mix up the length of each of these speed lines Add three or four lines to each letter, all along the left edges Mix up the positions and length of each one to randomise the appearance, but keep the overlap roughly the same Those Smart Guides will come in handy whenever you want to align a rectangle up with the top or bottom edge of a letter When you're done, draw a selection around everything, or hit CMD+A to Select All

Hold the Shift key and click on all the letter shapes to remove them from the selection, then go to Object > Transform > Transform Each Change the options to 50% Vertical Scale, then 5px vertical move, which was the original height of the rectangles Near the bottom, check the little icon that aligns the effect to the top, then press the Copy button Change the fill colour of all these shapes to white Zoom in and hold the ALT key while dragging one of the new white shapes to make a copy, then position a bunch of these along the right edges of each letter, overlapping by various distances

The design looks pretty good against the default white background, but if you drag the artwork off the artboard you can see it doesn't quite work To fix this we need to permanently merge all these rectangles with the letter shapes Make sure everything is selected, then select the Magic Wand tool and hold the ALT key while clicking one of the white rectangle shapes The magic wand will magically deselect all the shapes that look similar Only the black shapes are selected now, so click the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel to merge them all into one outline

The Pathfinder command affects the stacking order of the shapes, so right click and select Arrange > Send to Back This black shape also needs converting into a Compound Path for the next step Go to Object > Compound Path > Make Draw a selection around everything again to add the white shapes to the selection, then hit the Minus Front Pathfinder button to punch out these shapes If you drag this version of the artwork onto a different background, you can see the it's now made of a single colour shape

Zoom in and select the first letter with the Direct Selection Tool to bring up those corner widget handles again Click and drag any one of them to round off the corners Repeat the process with all the subsequent letters If you find any that don't work and still end up with sharp corners, look out for the points that are highlighted in red, then remove those particular points from the selection by dragging around them while holding the Shift key, then try rounding the corners again As a finishing touch, go to Object > Envelope Distort > Make With Warp

Change the drop down menu to Rise, then give it a bend of 20% The final artwork looks really cool with this vector style speed lines type treatment If you're a bit of a speed freak yourself consider picking up this design on a t-shirt from my merch store Stick around on my channel by hitting the subscribe button to be the first to see my future video tutorials, otherwise thank you very much for watching, and I'll see you in the next one

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