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Moving along to the top of the F, set the blend at 40 steps. The wider the margin between the interior and exterior shapes within the blend, the more steps are needed to keep it smooth and gradient-like. Otherwise, it’ll be very obvious that it’s essentially multiple shapes layered on top of each other at varying levels of transparency.
Another method of designing the fiery shape and paths for this text treatment involves creating a simply custom art brush. Start with the Ellipse Tool (L) and create a long, horizontal ellipse. Use the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C) on the right and left anchor points of the ellipse to bring them to points (rather than remain rounded).
Use the Scale Tool (S) to squish the ellipse down so it’s thin. Much like the blending technique from above, select the ellipse and go to Object > Path > Offset Path…. Offset the ellipse by 1-2px (make sure its negative, as you want the new shape to be smaller). Reduce the opacity of the larger shape to 0% and use the Blend Tool to create a smooth blend between the tool (again just like Steps 3-5).
Select the newly blended shape, and in the Brushes panel, hit New Brush in the panel’s options. Choose Art Brush from the list and hit OK.
This brush is fairly simple, so the default options seen below will work just fine. Make sure the Direction of the brush is going to the right.
With your new brush selected, draw on top of your text with the Paintbrush Tool (B). Make sure to set each stroke to Overlay or Color Dodge in theTransparency panel.
Adjust the stroke width in the Strokes panel to your liking. You can also adjust the stroke with the Width Tool (Shift-W) in case you don’t have a pressure sensitive tablet.
Continue layering white blended shapes and strokes (with the new brush) so your fiery shapes burn bright.
You can also create a black version of the art brush from Steps 13-16 that is set to Overlay or Color Burn in order to give your fire some depth by creating shadowed components. Adjust the Opacity of each stroke to your liking as well, as you want the fire shapes and paths to be gradual changes between their layers.
Alternatively, you could use only brush strokes for the fire look. Seen below for the F in Outline Preview Mode. This makes smaller shapes overall, but also requires more layers in order to cover larger spaces and create brighter spots of fire.
Continue using the font from Step 1 for drawing strokes and blended shapes of fire for the rest of your text. I suggest layering black shapes (set toOverlay) underneath white pieces (set to Overlay or Color Dodge). As you create bits of “fire,” consider the direction of your flames and how you wish for your pieces to appear to be burning. In this case, they’re pulling upwards and largely to the right of the picture plane. I’ve also concentrated most of the bright layers on the curves of each letter.
If you change the color of your background gradient, you’ll change the color of your entire piece. This can lend to creating smoke-like letters, blue fire or assorted rainbow gradients of fiery words.
Group together your letters when you’re satisfied with your text, and prepare your file for whatever use you may have for flaming text.
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