The tapering of the white lines varies in severity and shape throughout. I'm guessing a lot of tinkering was involved here, but curious as to the general effect and how it's achieved. It's pretty stunning.

Anyone have an idea of how this could have been put together?

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1 Answer 1


I believe this is half-toned and warped. One of the comments give a link to another case where half-toning is used.

We try here something resembling. Do not expect even a nearly exact copy - complex stuff like this is very hard to repeat.

In illustrator we have some 50% grey shapes (a circle + outlined letters). On the top there's a pattern of black curves. It's made with blending.

enter image description here

Next we give a heavy gaussian blur to the grey shapes:

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Black curves get also gaussian blur, but lighter to keep them visible. Blur radius is about half of the stroke width.

Half-toning is made by tresholding everything. Unfortunately we haven't it in Illustrator. We must rasterize all and make black-white live tracing instead.

Rasterizing must be in high resolution, a white background is added:

enter image description here

Live tracing to BW needs careful settings. White can be rejected here to get transparent background:

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Higher white treshold leave the curves visible:

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Now it's easy to decide improvement possiblities:

  1. We had solid grey shapes. Gradient fill would give variation to resulted line widths.

  2. Having part of the shapes blurred less and others more gives more variation (less blur => more defined shape edges)

  3. Envelope distortion or other warping to shapes before half-toning is possible without affecting resulted line densities and thicknesses

Warping after half- toning affects line densities. Illustrator has envelope distortion and special warping tool. We skip them and try Photoshop. We copy the result to Photoshop as a new pixel layer. In PS we have prepared a high resolution image with white background for this:

enter image description here

We make a few pushes and pulls with the Liquify filter, then we invert all colours and get our final result:

enter image description here

Here's another random attempt. There's applied different blurs and shallow gradient fills to the grey shapes.

enter image description here

As said, not really the same as your example, but maybe gives a starting point. Your example has somehow ultra clever left-right antisymmetry, where line widths grow to up in left and to down in right.

  • Good. Adding some blurring linking some letters should be fine.
    – LeoNas
    Jul 15, 2018 at 16:16
  • 1
    Wow. I really appreciate the work put in to answer this. Thanks a lot. This is a great outline on how to get started with this effect :)
    – Brad
    Jul 15, 2018 at 19:57

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