Basically, I want to draw a “fluttering” banner/ribbon in Illustrator, such that the text follows the curve of the ribbon. There is to be a pseudo-3D effect, where the ribbon doubles back over itself, so that the reverse is visible to viewer as it moves in the opposite direction in front of or behind the previous piece.
Here are some reasonable examples of the effect I want:
My ribbon’s path will be much more complicated than this, but I would be fine with all the edges that double back being vertical (as in the second example).
Unlike these examples, my ribbon switches back and forth many times, and sometimes switches back in front of the preceding section rather than always folding behind.
On the flip side, I don’t need any shading: flat black-and-white would work fine. Maybe with a gray for the reverse sections, but I’m not sure I’d want even that.
My current method has been to draw the top edge of the banner, copy it, and manually offset the copy vertically, to form the bottom edge of the banner. Then a third copy, offset slightly above the bottom edge, to form the path that the text will actually run on. And I have to do this separately for each obverse and reverse section, because of course the reverse sections are frequently going behind other objects that the obverse sections pass in front of.
This process is fine enough, except that any change has to be propagated to all three paths. I also have to manually draw vertical lines connecting the top and bottom paths, and I have to be careful to keep all of the sections aligned.
The offset path option seems like it ought to be able to do something like this (or, at least, do a single section as one path), but none of the options are a simple offset – they are all, ironically, fancier than I need. Even a simple option to have a path automatically get a parallel path offset by some fixed number of pixels would be fine.
As a kind of stretch goal, a good way to handle switch-backs that have the edge angled (as in the first example) would be nice. Even nicer would be a good way to have the ribbon appear “closer” or “farther” from the viewer, with the offset between top and bottom edge, as well as the text font size, growing or shrinking accordingly.