Does anyone know how to change colors in letters to appropriately represent silhouette? A perfect example is the opening for the movie Superbad:

see photo

The 'U' is perfectly a U while having the right change of color to form the silhouette. I am trying to do a similar effect in Illustrator CS6, but no luck. I can create outlines of the text I have into fonts and play with the paths, but these seems tedious, is therein easier way?

2 Answers 2


Quick and easy:

Put your figure in the back. Set your text in the front. Turn your text into outlines.

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Select both.


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This breaks the text into pieces using the back figure as the slice point.

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Use the white arrow to select the pieces of the text which overlay the figure. Color at will.

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One quick and easy way to do this is with a Clipping Mask:

Clipping Mask

I've got two text layers, one for green and one for purple. I duplicated the silhouette path and used it as a Clipping Mask for the purple text

Another way is to use Blending Modes:

Blending modes

The top silhouette is filled with blue and the Blending Mode is set to Overlay. Under that is a duplicate of the silhouette filled with white and the Blending Mode set to Difference.

The advantage to this is you can have a single text object, but the disadvantage is that it's more difficult to control the colors.

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