How to Use Warp Design Elements in Adobe Illustrator

There are different methods for warping objects in Illustrator. You can use a preset warp shape, or you can make an "envelope" out of an object you create on the artboard. Let's look at both.

  1. Here are two objects that will be warped using a preset. The first step is to group them by pressing Ctrl+G.
  2. Open the Appearance Panel (Window > Appearance). Click the fx icon, go to Warp and choose an effect. In this case Flag.
    Appearance Panel
  3. In the dialog box, set your preferences and check Preview. When you're satisfied with the effect, click OK.
    Warp Effect
  4. To edit an effect, go to the back to the Appearance Panel and double-click the fx icon that appears next to the listed effect.
    Appearance Panel
  5. The kind of warp can be changed by clicking the Style menu.
    Warp Options
  6. To make the warp effect more three-dimensional, click the fx button in the Appearance Panel and go to 3D > Extrude & Bevel
    Appearance Panel
  7. Set the desired Axes and Extrude Depth. Check on Preview and if satisfied, click OK.
    Extrude & Bevel
  8. To use the Envelope Method, select the shapes to be warped, as well as the shape to be used as the envelope. Make sure the envelope shape is on top, in this case, the circle.
    Shapes to be Warped
  9. Go to Object > Envelope Distort > Make With Top Object.
    Object Menu
  10. The shapes underneath will be warped to the envelope.
    Warped Shapes
Author: Kate Cahill

Kate Cahill is a graphic designer, writer, and creative director who has developed content for print and web. As creative director, she has produced award-winning work for agencies focused on the pharmaceutical and health and beauty aid industries. She has also served as production manager, with responsibility for the successful fulfillment of long-run print contracts. Kate has been delivering training for Webucator clients since 2010. Her enthusiasm for cutting-edge technology, combined with hands-on practical experience, brings an added benefit to her classes. Kate teaches real-world techniques and integration of Adobe software, as well as Microsoft PowerPoint, to produce a fully developed and cohesive brand identity.

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