Elegant 3D Text Effect in Photoshop

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In this tutorial you’ll learn how to create an elegant 3D Text effect using simple the shape tool, layer styles and paths.

Step 1: Setting Size

Make a new document. I’m choosing a standard desktop resolution of 1280×1024 so this can be used as a wallpaper.

Step 2:

Now press “U” and select the rectangle tool. Create a rectangle that is the size of the document. Name this rectangle layer “Gradient”. Now apply a layer style with a gradient overlay using these colors #af1854, #f0d6c0 and #ffffff. Be sure the gradient is set to Radial.


Make sure to turn on the “Shape Layer” instead of the default path layer when using the Rectangle Shape Tool.

Step 3:

Now transform the rectangle named “gradient” and increase it’s size from all sides. The gradient will stretch along with rectangle and the background will look like this:

Step 4:

Now click on type tool and write “Think” on a new layer. Name this layer “Think”. I used Helvetica Neue 75 bold. Apply an inner glow with these settings:
Blend Mode: Multiply
Color – black
Opacity – 8%
Size – 13 px
Note: These values may change depending on the size of your font. Use the image below for reference.
The text will look like this:

Step 5: Creating 3D Text

Duplicate the text layer and position it behind “Think” layer. Name this layer “3D”. To give it a 3D look, we need to extract all the highlighted 3D faces of text . Let’s start with letter “T”.
Press “U” and create a rectangle of equal width above the letter “T”. Don’t forget to turn on “shape layer”. Fill this rectangle with any color and give opacity 20%.

Press “A” and select the direct selection tool. Select the upper two anchor points and align them by pressing the right arrow to give the top of your “T” a 3D look. Name this shape “T1″.

Create other faces shown below using the same process. Name these T2 and T3.

Step 6: Giving Shadows

Select the face T1 and change it’s color to white. Hold Ctrl and click on layer T1 to get selection of layer. Create a new layer and name it “T1shadow”. Select a brush, and using the color black, hardness 0% and size 50 px. Drag from left to right to give it depth.

Step 7:

Repeat step 5 & 6 to the rest of the characters. Give shadows to other letters carefully. If everything is done correctly, the result will look like this.

You may decide to apply your shadows differently. I’ve applied shadows that gives the text a bit of a soft glossy feel.

Step 8:

Select all layers except the background layer, group them and name the group “Think”. Copy the group and merge all the layers of this group copy. This layer will be automatically named as “Think”. Duplicate the Think layer and change the blending mode to multiply with 50% opacity.

Step 9:

To create a perfect shadow we need to establish a perspective viewport. Create a new document of size 900 x 600 px. Press ctrl + ” to show the grid. Press print screen to copy the entire desktop. Open new document, paste the image and remove the area without the grid.

Copy this grid and paste it in our work document. Change it’s blending mode to multiply to see through it. Transform it to create a plane on which the shadow will fall.

Step 10: Shadowing

Duplicate the Think layer and fill it with black. Transform it to make it fall onto our grid.

Fill in empty spaces where we added extra faces on our characters with black and merge them with the think shadow layer. Now our shadow will look like this:

Step 11:

Apply a Gaussain Blur to our shadow layer “think shadow” and change it’s blending mode to multiply. Now add a layer mask to the “think shadow” layer to fade out the shadow using a gradient (or use a soft eraser).

Step 12:

Looking pretty good! Now let’s add some lighting effects. Press P to select the pen tool and create a Path like this.

Now select a brush of size of 5px with 100% hardness. Select White as your foreground color. Select the pen tool again—the path you drew before should still be there. Right click and select “stroke path” tool. Select Brush from drop down menu and turn on “stimulate pressure”. You will get stroke like this:

Step 13:

Name the this stroke layer as “Wave 1″ and duplicate the layer. Go to filter > Distort > Wave and apply filter with these settings:

This will give an extra wavy look to the stroke.

Step 14:

Create some more waves by following the steps 12 & 13 and arrange them around the text. Apply a light gussian blur to some waves to give them a sense of depth. If everything is done correctly then it will look like this:

Step 15:

As an optional step, we can add some stars to our text. Press “U” to select the custom shape tool and select 5 point star.

Make a new document of size 100 x 100 px and make a star with the 5 point star shape. Fill it with black and then ctrl + click the same layer to get selection of star. Go to Edit > Define Brush Preset, create the brush and name it star brush.

Step 16:

Press F5 to access the brush panel and apply these settings:
Brush tip shape – spacing 30%
Shape Dynemics – size jitter & angle jitter 100%
Scattering – 578% on both axis
Other Dynemics – opacity 100%.

Step 17:

Select this star brush and keep its size to 15 px. Set foreground color to “#ff62ad“. Create another path with the pen tool, right click to select “stroke path”. Turn on stimulate pressure and create a wave of stars. Name this new layer something like “Star Wave”.

Step 18:

Now we just need to hide this star wave layer from some places to make it seem as if it is passing through layers. I prefer to use a mask, and manually filling in the areas I want to hide.

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