How to Create Remarkable 3D Text in Photoshop

Oct 20 2009 by Tyler Denis | 44 Comments

How to Create Remarkable 3D Text in Photoshop

In this quick and easy graphic design tutorial, you’ll discover a handy process for generating eye-grabbing three-dimensional typography with the help of Photoshop and some creative techniques.

Final Result

Here is a preview of what we’ll be working towards (click on the image to see the result in full-scale).

Preview

Setting up the Photoshop document

1 First off, we are going to open up Photoshop and create a new document (Ctrl + N). In the New document dialog box, set the Width and Height units to inches (if it isn’t already). We’re creating a square canvas; set the width and height to 10 inches. We’re creating a graphic that’s high resolution and ready for print use, so set the Resolution to 300 pixels/inch.

Setting up the Photoshop document

2 With your canvas created, fill the Background layer with a dark gray (#333333) color. One of the ways you can do this is by first setting your Foreground color to the dark gray color (in the Tools panel). Then choose the Background layer in the Layers Panel and press Ctrl + A (which creates a marquee selection around the entire canvas – you can also do this via Select > All). Finally, choose Edit > Fill (Shift + F5) to open up the Fill dialog box, make sure that the Use option is set to Foreground color, and then click OK to apply the fill.

Creating the text

3 Now we’ll place the text on the canvas. Choose the Horizontal Type Tool from the Tools panel and type the text/logo that you desire. Change the color of the text in the Options bar to a yellow color (#FFCC00), use a rather large font size, and try to choose a bold font type as the technique works best this way. The font used here was Myriad Pro Black set at 286pt for the word ‘Six’ and 83pt for the word ‘Revisions’. Start typing the text on the center of the canvas; this tutorial uses the text ‘Six Revisions’, but of course, feel free to modify it.

Creating the text

4 Rasterize the text so that we can more easily work with it; this has the side effect of not being to modify the text anymore so make sure you’re happy with the text. Right-click on the text layer and click on Rasterize Type (or Rasterize Layer depending on what Photoshop CS version you’re using).

Creating the text

Using Free Transform on the text

5 Now we are going to skew the text to give it more of a dramatic 3D look. Make sure you have the layer with our text selected in the Layers Panel, then press Ctrl + T to let us edit under Free Transform (Edit > Free Transform).

6 Holding down Ctrl, click on the top right transform control of the box. Drag the corner to the left. Do the same with the top middle transform control. You should get something like what I have below.

Using Free Transform on the text

Adding some layer styles

7 We are going to add some layer styles to our text. Make sure that the text layer is selected in the Layers Panel, and then click on the Add a layer style icon at the bottom of the Layers Panel. Choose Bevel and Emboss, which will open up the Bevel and Emboss Layer Style dialog box. Set it to the settings that I have below; this will make the edges of the text really pop. Don’t forget to change the colors for the highlights and shadows. The highlight is #FFCC66 and the shadow is #DFA125.

Adding some layer styles

8 Go back into the Layer Styles dialog box (if you exited out of the Layer Styles dialog box, just double-click on the layer in the Layers Panel to go back) and apply a Satin layer style. This will give some depth to the color on our text instead of just a solid or gradient. Change the color to #F3881F.

Adding some layer styles

9 The last thing we are going to do to the text’s face is add a Gradient Overlay layer style. Click on the gradient and change the left color stop to #F7F3A7 and the right color stop to #F3881F.

Adding some layer styles

Creating the 3D effect

10 We are going to start giving this text a 3D look. First, we want to duplicate our text layer; choose the layer and press Ctrl + J to duplicate the layer. Go to the duplicated layer and get rid of the layer styles by clicking and dragging them into the trash can icon at the bottom right of the Layers Panel.

Adding some layer styles

11 Now that we have a logo with no layer styles, we are going to adjust the color. Open up the Curves options by choosing Image > Adjustment > Curves (Ctrl + M) and adjust them to something like I have below to give the layer a darker color.

12 We want to drop down the saturation because the color is too vibrant to be a shadow. Go into Hue/Saturation with Ctrl + U (or Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation) and adjust the settings like I have below.

Adding some layer styles

13 Now, we are going to create the edges of our text to make the three-dimensional look. First, we want to click and drag our layer below the original yellow text layer and move it one space to the left with the arrow key. Holding down Alt, push the down and left arrows repeatedly. This will duplicate the brown layer each time you push the arrow button. Keep duplicating the layer until you get the size and depth that you like.

Adding some layer styles

Combine the duplicated layers

14 Let’s combine all of these duplicated layers into one. To do this, click on the topmost brown text layer in the Layers Panel, hold down Shift, and then click on the bottommost brown text layer to select all of them. Then with all the appropriate layers selected, click on the Link layers icon at the bottom of the Layers Panel. A chain link icon should appear on all the brown text layers when you click on it. Once you link all the brown text layers together, select all the layers in the Layers Panel again (if you somehow deselected them) and press Ctrl + E to merge down all the linked layers together.

15 Let’s add a Gradient Overlay layer style on our combined text edge layer so it goes with the gradient on our yellow text. The colors are black (#000000) and white (#FFFFFF) (double-click on the merged layer to open up the Layer Styles dialog box).

Combine the duplicated layers

Create a drop shadow

16 Duplicate the brown text edge layer with Ctrl + J while it’s selected in the Layers Panel. We are going to use it to create a shadow on our text. Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and adjust it so the Radius option is at 8px. Now go into Curves by pressing Ctrl + M and adjust them as I have them. This should give you a blackish shadow.

Create a drop shadow

17 If you zoom in at the edges of the letters using the Zoom Tool (Z), you’ll notice that the brown sides coming off the corners are jagged. We’re going to go in and fix those. Using your Polygonal Lasso Tool, click a shape around the area that needs to be removed and push the Delete key. Repeat this for each area that needs it until you get smooth edges on all your letters.

Create a drop shadow

Some optional steps

18 This looks pretty good so far, and we could probably stop here and be happy with it, but if you want to put the extra effort in, we can start adding in some more shadows. Our light is coming from the top left so we should plan to have our shadows at the darkest from the bottom right. To get our shadows right, we are going to use the Burn Tool on the brown text edge layer to darken it. Before we start adding in our shadow, we want to use the Polygonal Lasso Tool to create some edges where there would be corners on the text. Do this for all the corners of our text, holding down Shift and dragging your mouse to add to the marquee selection.

Some optional steps

The Burn Tool

19 Now we can start burning in the areas we selected. Change the Burn settings in the Options bar so that the Ranges option is Highlights and the Exposure is at 50%. I also used a brush with a Master Diameter set at 125px with a 0% Hardness.

The Burn Tool

20 With the same Burn settings all set, we are going to do the rest of the areas that need shadows. Since you should still have the areas selected, we can do an inverse selection, Select > Inverse (Ctrl + Shift + I), then we can burn the areas that we haven’t done yet without burning the areas we have already done.

The Burn Tool

21 We can also do some highlights too with the Dodge Tool. Use the same brush, the same settings, and the same method that we did with the Burn Tool.

The Burn Tool

Finished!

There we have it, 3D text using nothing but Photoshop. Here’s what I ended up with:

Preview

Share your work on Flickr

Why don’t you share your work on the Six Revisions Flickr group and show it off to the community?

Download

If you’d like to download the Photoshop file used in this tutorial, you can do so below.

Related Content

About the Author

Tyler Denis is a part-time freelance designer from Ashland, New Hampshire. He is also the creator/writer of the design blog Denis Designs/blog, a website dedicated to bringing quality tutorials and inspiration. You can follow him on Twitter or at his personal site, Denis Designs.

44 Comments

Jacques//An1ken

October 20th, 2009

Nice Tutorial Tyler, there are numerous ways to create 3D text in photoshop and you showcased this one brilliantly.

Keep up the good work.

Jad Graphics

October 20th, 2009

Nice tutorial. Great job!

Andy Feliciotti

October 20th, 2009

Finally a use for Bevel and Emboss

Corne Smetsers

October 21st, 2009

Great tutorial..

But the 3d tool in Illustrator is better/faster in my opinion? Most people who have Photoshop also have Illustrator right?

I prefer the Illustrator way hehe

Kevin Mullins

October 21st, 2009

Nice one – good to get the technical details regarding the light direction etc. I’m just about to make a flyer with 3D Text so this is perfect timing.

Andy

October 21st, 2009

Nice tutorial, though the ‘perspective’ applied in Step 6 creates an unnatural effect. The bottom-right corner should be dragged up-and-left, not down-and-right.

That’ll add a bit of extra realism :)

Andy

October 21st, 2009

Nice tutorial but I wouldn’t call it ‘quick and easy’.

bill

October 21st, 2009

Nice tutorial but this is a bit like using a wrench to tighten a screw. There are a lot of other programs, like Illustrator, that will do a much better job of this with far less steps.

neoprabhu

October 22nd, 2009

Hi denis,I think you missed one step after 16, might be like reducing opacity or something, otherwise how can you explain the decreasing of dark shadow at edges at 17…

Web Designer

October 22nd, 2009

looks nice. thanks for the tut.

Web 2.0

October 22nd, 2009

I liked the style, nice tutorial.. thanks!

Tyler

October 22nd, 2009

neoprabhu:

The curves in step 16 darken the shadow, but I did forget to say that that shadow layer goes below the brown text edge layer.

Philip

October 24th, 2009

I will try this later and it seems very easy to follow. Great job Tyler.

cLaK

October 25th, 2009

nice tut… easy to do and great effect ;)

Ali

October 26th, 2009

Yea man great effect!!!

spartax

October 28th, 2009

love your tutorial, really helpful,, thx alot tyler…

gilberto

October 29th, 2009

fabuloso el tutorial cambie a mi imaginacion el fondo de sombra y me salieron unos efectos espectaculares gracias por el tutorial

ims

October 31st, 2009

strong like :)

widayat

November 24th, 2009

Thanks for the tut, dood friend

prasad

November 25th, 2009

that’s great work, I could not even think about doing it in photoshop.

keep it up!

harry

December 22nd, 2009

thanks alot… very helpful:)

gengtang

December 24th, 2009

very nice!thanks……

agon

January 3rd, 2010

Hi very nice tutorial and i am doing this for the second time, but i have a question, in the step 16 when u add curves and this give a little balckish to the brown edge layer, but whith there is totaly black edges, and in the step 17 those blackish edge become a light orange. how it possible, did i made something wrong ?

Sapphire

February 5th, 2010

Thank you for this tutorial. I have not tried it yet but am willing to give it a shot. For people like me, it is frustrating trying to get that “3D” look in text because I only have Photoshop Illustrator 9.0.1 which does not give me the “3D Extrude” options. Yes, it probably will be easier with the Illustrator CS3 but since I cannot afford it, I have to make due with what I have. This tutorial may be a bit challenging, but I am willing to try anyway, it sure beats getting frustrated for not having that 3D effect plug in to work with. Thank you again, will post back if I have success with this.

sarah

February 10th, 2010

Fantastic tutorial!!
Very helpful and great result!! :D

Muxx

March 12th, 2010

Love it!

I was thinking of doing a full 3D design in one of my next projects. This should help for some of the effects :)

F.Y.

April 17th, 2010

cool tuto :)

Tutorial Lounge

April 27th, 2010

really beautiful tutorial you sharing with amazing techniques for create 3d effect easy way.

fishtaco

May 4th, 2010

wow great tutorial.

just like all the others! thanks

Mahmoud El-hosary

May 17th, 2010

salam 3alikom

great effect

Thanks for U

lektire

May 20th, 2010

thankz man really awesome
and this site 6revisions really rocks!! guys keep up the good work

egiova

September 18th, 2010

Clean and smart job, very clear tutorial. Congratulations.

asif

November 11th, 2010

very well described.

bahaa

February 20th, 2011

thank you very much , more than helpful

Michel Silva

February 24th, 2011

Good, good, good. Tanks!

CreativeJH

April 9th, 2011

Nice work. The idea is good. :D

robin

September 6th, 2011

Thanks a whole bunch for this great tutorial.

saeide

September 12th, 2011

thanks i didi it.but i have some problem.

nono

October 18th, 2011

nice tutorial.. i followed thru the last and i agree with Andy with his keen observation on step 6 perspective to be more realistic.. thanks

John

November 5th, 2011

the result looks great, but I didn’t quite understood how you obtained the 3D look …

Paul Thewlis

August 29th, 2012

Really nice tutorial, thanks so much

Richard Martin

October 8th, 2012

I must say thanks for this. I was looking for a clear tuition on how to do this, so thanks.

Dave Greaves

May 30th, 2013

Great detail thanks for sharing well written.

Sean Gannon - HeadshotsUK

September 18th, 2013

Thank you, I was looking for something on 3D text. Everything else was very complex.

Leave a Comment

Subscribe to the comments on this article.