Adobe Illustrator CS3 offers an easy way to create embossed letters or figures. A thin shadow area, matched with a lighter area, will appear to "lift" the letter or illustration off of the page. The effect is accomplished by shifting duplicate layers of the same object.
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Create a type character, and make it large enough to work with easily, about 150 points in size. Click the object and choose Type>Create Outlines (Cmd-Shift-O on the Mac; Ctrl-Shift-O on the PC.
Apply a fill colour to the selected object by clicking in the colour palette. Choose the Rectangle tool and create a shape that covers the type object. Give the rectangle shape the same fill colour that you applied to the base object.
On the Layers palette, drag the rectangle path below the Group listing for the type outline, and expand the group listing. Click the Compound Path name in the layers listing, and choose Duplicate "<Compound Path>" from the pop-out palette menu in the upper right-hand corner of the Layers palette. Repeat to create a second duplicate.
On the bottom-most Compound Path layer, click the selection circle to the far right of the layer window, then apply a dark fill colour. Press the left arrow on the keyboard three times to move the object to the left, creating the dark embossed offset.
Click the selection area circle for the middle Compound Path, then apply a white fill colour. Press the right arrow on the keyboard three times to move the object, creating the light embossed offset. The dark and white shapes you just created will now appear as dark and light edges behind the topmost type object or illustration. You've created your embossed effect.
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