How To Create a Speed Lines Type Effect in Adobe Illustrator

August 22, 2019 posted by

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. 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.


37 Replies to “How To Create a Speed Lines Type Effect in Adobe Illustrator”

  1. Reek says:

    Hello world!

  2. Nestor Arellano says:

    Best channel on Youtube.

  3. Blaine Conners says:

    Nice. Keep them coming. Please

  4. falxonPSN says:

    Clean and simple. Nice video, as always.

  5. Issac Dhan says:

    Very Short yet Simple and Informative. Thanks

  6. GREEN GRAY says:

    Great and easy! Thnx!

  7. Nostalgia Vault says:

    Woah you made this easier than it seems, thanks!

  8. Cole Stoughton says:

    Great tutorial yet again! Never knew about the magic wand tool, I've been always having a difficult time figuring out how to get rid of white background shapes and to merge them into a single color shape until now

  9. Callum McCartney says:

    Love it

  10. Ricardo Moreira says:

    I got myself wondering how did you create those dirt dots effect in the end 😀

  11. dawood badri says:

    I want to learn that spoon graphics intro with logo and motion and all please !!

  12. djaktube says:

    How do you apply that final texture to the letters?

  13. Ahmed Adel Khater says:

    Awesome tutorial as always! Thanks for sharing!

  14. Ahmed ElDesoky says:

    As usual, Brilliant. Keep doing these type customs on illustrator
    Thanks a lot

  15. Holy Molly says:

    So good !

  16. Dan Huston says:

    Thanks for the video – text looks great! What background/overlay you use to create the print effect? (Sorry, new to AI)

  17. Designio Goldero says:

    Awesome and fast !

  18. Mickey Chan says:

    love it!

  19. Fernando Alves says:

    Wow!!! Few steps to create a nice job. Thanks for share this.

  20. Cristian Gutierrez Esp. says:

    I found a god

  21. Cody Brown says:

    Very well done, thanks for putting these out!

  22. Tom Scharstein II says:

    I didn't know you had a Youtube channel! I used to follow your website tutorials a long time ago, always loved the way you approach material.

  23. Arjuna Dimas says:

    what the font?

  24. Made by Mighty says:

    Love the effect man, thanks for the tutorial 🙂

  25. Esau Mendoza says:


  26. jwalzer says:


    You absolutely rock! One quick question – how would I add a stroke to the letters? Say I wanted a yellow stroke (outline) with red letters.


  27. Hafizuddien Ju says:

    Darn brilliant. Thanks for this.

  28. Swerve Tutorials says:

    Great tutorial, definite like 😀

  29. James E! Walker says:

    Great tutorial! Thanks for sharing Chris.

  30. ayesha akhtar says:

    what calculations are for transform each bar in illustrator cs6?

  31. carolina santamaria says:

    Can you explain how you put the texture in the typography

  32. Spoon Graphics says:

    Join my mailing list at Spoon Graphics if you want to keep up with all my other content. Every subscriber gets a FREE design resources bundle! 📦

  33. Álmos Pap says:

    Thank you! You helped a lot. Where did you get this background?

  34. Riham karam says:

    Very nice..simple and easy tutorial.Q: when i try to round the corners in the end i found that widget handles disappeared . i repeat it again but the same error ..what is the mistake in your opinion ?Ai CC 2015

  35. Danielle Morris says:

    Love this. The issue I am running up against is that a lot of my corners won't round with the widget, any idea why?

  36. monmonbox says:

    I can't keep up, you talk too fast but very helpful tutorial btw!

  37. Nav Pat says:

    how can i change the color of the text after everything?

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