how do i get text like this, but w/ smooth lines instead of this cruddy attempt of replicated objects. not 3d effect extrude and bevel i want to keep it 2d.
Blend with 9001 steps. Does the job but isn't "pure"
There's no one "real" solution, but you can do pic related. Extract edges with direct selection and cmd-X & cmd-F, join them with cmd-J.
Works easy with simple geo shapes, but for O and R and P etc. it's a bit harder.
Just do 3D extrude in Illustrator with shading turned off. Apply the effect then expand. Select your shadowy bits and use whatever color you want. There are probably a zillion ways to do this, but this one works for me.
Contrary to popular belief, you can do it losslessly with the 3D Extrude function but it's retarded and it gets real ugly real fast if you have curved characters like O or S. Still fixable tho.
Works in most cases.