Create a Dark Grunge 3D Text Scene in Photoshop

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Tutorial Resources

Step 1: Open Photoshop and Set Up Your Canvas

Open up Photoshop and create a new 1200x1200px document at 72 dpi.

Open Photoshop and Set Up Your Canvas

Step 2: Add the Text

Next, we want to create some text, so let’s use the Horizontal Type Tool (T) to type the text "TYPE" using Franklin Gothic Heavy, or a similar heavy font.

We are going to change the text to a red color (#CC3333) so that it stands out from the black background that we will be creating later on.

We are also going to adjust the kerning of our text by holding down Alt/Option and using the left and right arrows so that the spacing between the letters are to your liking.

Duplicate the Text

Step 3: Duplicate the Text

To start making the 3D effect, we are going to duplicate the text we have by pressing Ctrl/Cmd + J. We should adjust the color so we will be able to differentiate the text face and the text sides.

Also, the text color of this text layer will be the base color for the darker text sides, so let’s use a darker red color (#990000).

We are also going to shrink down the darker text because it will be farther away from us, in terms of perspective.Use the Free Transform command (Ctrl/Cmd + T), hold down Alt/Option + Shift, and then shrink the text down a little bit (to around 90%). Use the Move Tool (V) to move it down a bit and so we can give our text the depth and thickness that we want.

Duplicate the Text

Step 4: Connecting the Text

We want to go around to each letter and connect the corners so that it creates the sides of the text. Create a new layer (Layer > New > Layer), and using the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) make a shape that connects the two corners as shown below, then fill it with our dark red color (#990000).

Duplicate the Text

Step 5: Breaking the Text Sides Apart

Now that we have our 3D text all set up, we want to break apart the sides so we can add a shadow to them individually. First, we need to take the dark red text and the sides we created and merge the two layers together. So make sure the text layer is on top (the stacking order you should have is light red text > dark red text > dark red sides) and go to Layer > Merge Down (Ctrl/Cmd + E).

Make sure you have the dark red text layer selected, then using the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) make a shape around one side of the text side.

Once you have selected an area, use Ctrl/Cmd + J to duplicate it. This will create a new layer with just the piece we selected so that we can have each side on its own layer.

Repeat this for each side of our text. As you go along, make sure you name each layer appropriately to keep your work tidy and intuitive, and also put each letter in its own folder (Layer > New > Group) so that it will be easier to work with as we go along.

Breaking the Text Sides Apart

Step 6: Add the Shadows

Now we can start working on our shadows; we are going to have a light source coming from the top right of our canvas, so we will adjust our sides accordingly, having the darkest parts on the bottom left and the lighter on the upper right.

Click on the first side and go to Layer > Layer Style > Gradient Overlay. We will adjust the angle for each side so the lightest part is the closest to the light source at the top right.

Add the Shadows

Add the Shadows

Step 7: Correct the Shadows

Although we want all the shadows to be the farthest away from the light source, there are a few exceptions. One exception is the left side of the letter T — we want the shadow of it to be the closest to the middle because the middle part of the letter will block the left arm.

Correct the Shadows

Step 8: Darkening the Shadows

Now we want to take the sides that are going to be blocked the most from the light source and make them darker. To darken these sides, go to Layer > Layer Style > Color Overlay. Change the color to black and adjust the Opacity to between 20% and 60%.

Darkening the Shadows

Step 9: Embossing the Text Face

Let’s add some effects to our text face. Click on the text face layer in the Layers Panel to make it our active layer, and then go to Layer > Layer Style > Bevel and Emboss. Make sure the angle of the bevel is pointed towards the top right so that our lighting is consistent.

Embossing the Text Face

Step 10: Adjust the Light of the Text

Now to add a little bit of lighting to the face of our text, we are going to give it a gradient by going to Layer > Layer Style > Gradient Overlay.

Adjust the Light of the Text

Adjust the Light of the Text

Step 11: Adding a Texture to the Background

We can now start working on our background. First, though, change the Background layer’s fill to black. One way to do this is to press Ctrl/Cmd + A to select the entire canvas, then hit Shift + F5 to open the Fill dialog window, which you can use to fill the selection with black (#000000).

Go and get the Lava Rock Texture 01 for our background (which is from the Design Instruct Freebies section, by the way). Bring the texture into our document. Rotate the texture using Free Transform (Ctrl/Cmd + T) as well as shrink it down so that it is equal to the width of our canvas.

Adding a Texture to the Background

Step 12: Fade Out the Texture

We are going to fade out the texture, and to do this, we first want to find the center of the canvas. Go to View and make sure Snap is checked (you can toggle Snap on and off by pressing Shift + Ctrl/Cmd + ;).

Now bring a horizontal guide to the center; when the guide reaches the center, it should snap in place. Do the same for a vertical guide.

Now go to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All. Fill the mask with black, and then use the Gradient Tool (G) with its gradient set to White, Transparent to make a gradient starting from the center.

Click on the mask layer, and using the Free Transform command (Ctrl/Cmd + T), bring the top and bottom in by clicking-and-dragging the top transform control in while holding Alt/Option so that none of the edges of the texture show up.

You should end up with the texture fading out in an oval shape as it gets closer to the edge of our canvas.

Fade Out the Texture

Step 13: Add Shadows Under the Text

To add the shadows under the text, we are going to Ctrl/Cmd + click on each layer of the text in the Layers Panel to produce a marquee selection around its edgest.

Next, create a new layer and fill the selected area with black (#000000).

Duplicate this layer by hitting Ctrl/Cmd + J so that we have 2 black text layers. Move these layers behind all the other text layers.

Go to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur and make sure the angle goes from the top right to the bottom left so that it is the same angle as our light source.

Add Shadows Under the Text

Step 14: Make the Shadow Darker

Duplicate the shadow layer by pressing Ctrl/Cmd + J. Now link the two layers together and go to Layer > Merge Layers.

Make the Shadow Darker

Step 15: Blur the Shadow

With the other black text layer, go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and adjust the Radius to 12.0.

Blur the Shadow

Step 16: Mask Away Parts of the Shadow

Go to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All. Using a black, 100px brush with Hardness at 0%, start painting away the black parts of the shadow on the top and right, where the light source would be for each black layer.

Mask Away Parts of the Shadow

Step 17: Adding a Texture to the Text

Get the grungy texture from Zen Textures and bring it into Photoshop. Size the texture so that it is a little bit bigger than the width of the text.

Ctrl/Cmd + click on each layer and go to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All. This will make the texture show up only on the text.

Change the Blend Mode of this layer to Soft light and turn the Opacity down to 40%.

Adding a Texture to the Text

Step 18: Add a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map. Add a Blue to Yellow gradient and drop the Opacity down to 10%.

Add a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer

Add a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer

Step 19: Adding the Sub Text

Using Franklin Gothic Demi Condensed (or a similar font of your choice), let’s type out "DESIGN INSTRUCT" in white.

Change the Blend Mode of the text layer to Overlay, and duplicate the text by pressing Ctrl/Cmd + J. This will give us a sort of lighted text look.

Adding the Sub Text

Step 20: Adding a High Pass

Alright, final step: We are going to go to Layer > Flatten Image to make one layer from all the layers we’ve created thus far. Duplicate this layer (Ctrl/Cmd + J) and then go to Filter > Other > High Pass. Change the Blend Mode to Soft Light to finish off our piece.

Adding a High Pass

Tutorial Summary

With the use of simple Photoshop techniques and some stock textures, we were able to create a high-impact dark scene that has 3D text. We added shadows using a variety of techniques, made certain that our lighting is consistent throughout the way, used a few filters, and incorporated textures to make our scene more interesting. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and found a few tricks that you can utilize in your workflow.

Preview

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  • awhy

    Cool, mate. Thanks anyway for sharing.

  • http://warstwy.com ader

    I love 3D typo and 3d typo tutorials. More Cinema 4d tutorials please.

  • ????

    You could just use photoshop 3d feature, with one step, you can achieve the same result and save yourself one hour.

  • ????

    You could just use photoshop 3d feature, with one step, you can achieve the same result and save yourself one hour.

  • http://rolling-webdesign.com Theo

    Great tut and a really nice result,i like it !

  • http://aoberoi.me Ankur

    Doing the polygonal lasso tool technique to connect the darker and lighter version of the text is EXTREMELY difficult to do right when the glyphs of the text are rounded. Would you be able to update this tutorial using something like Repousse in CS5? I think it is possible to do practically everything you did here in that alternate method.

  • http://www.iconebula.com/ Supratim

    Nice to see you achieve this off with Photoshop. Illustrator is an easier and more ready way to do this.

  • http://www.denisdesigns.com/blog Tyler

    You could use Repousse, if you had CS5, I am using CS4 though. This tutorial would be more geared towards people with the lower versions of Photoshop.

    I haven’t used the 3D feature much in CS4, but from what I have found it is very limited on what you can do.

    Also if you have more complex text and you don’t feel comfortable using this method, you could start in Illustrator, which I have created a tutorial for here:

    http://designinstruct.com/graphic-design/text-effects/a-guide-to-creating-3d-text-in-adobe-illustrator/

  • http://www.tutorialking.eu Thomas Beal

    Great Tutorial Denis, I also think that the Photoshop 3d feature would be really useful

  • http://pih-poh.blog.banjig.net/ hello

    Hi. i’m beginner. i can’t Step 4: Connecting the Text help me..

  • http://pih-poh.blog.banjig.net/ hello

    i can Step 4 hehe… but i can’t Step 5: Breaking the Text Sides Apart xaxa

  • David Robinson

    on step 17 i cant select layer if i have more than 1 layer selecter so how do i do this?

  • graphicalsandeep

    if u have old version of photoshop then what u do…
    so basic is always good…
    If u use use always shortcut then u dosent get perfection……

  • http://www.mamiomedia.com Mamio

    I’m using CS5 but originally started many years ago on Photoshop5. Even though newer version has fancy tools/options nowadays, I think that one can be a better designer if they have the know-how or even a glimpse on how to do this manually, like Tyler. Sure time is money, use new tools for work but getting to know the old school way in your spare time I feel can enhance your knowledge of future tool/options. Many thanks Tyler.

  • http://www.quali-x.de Wiyono

    Collll
    Thank you for sharing..

  • Wimonphan from Thailand

    That’s great, it’s so cool. I have to create the job by use your tutorial absolutely.

  • Mantosh Pande

    Cool…..Tut…will help me a lot

  • Alex Alves

    “Also, the text color of this text layer will be the base color for the darker text sides, so let’s use a darker red color (#99000)”… But it`s not red, it`s green

  • http://sixrevisions.com Jacob Gube

    It was a typo. The color is #990000. The tutorial has been updated, thanks for noting the error.

  • marwan

    this tut is so nice…real thank you

  • http://www.psd-dude.com PSDDude

    it really looks nice, very realistic!

  • Shauna- Kay

    Some parts of this tutorial were difficult and it took a lot of trial and error. But I am finally done and I am very satisfied!! I learnt a lot. Good job and keep it up for photoshop fanatics everywhere 🙂 God bless.

  • Tristan

    I would disagree with that statement. Using the 3D Repousse is much more reliable than Lassoing the corners.

  • Tiffany

    I’m having trouble with Step 18. I’m using CS5, and there is no preset Blue to Yellow Gradient Map. How do I achieve this effect? I’m pretty beginning so use easy steps please.

  • http://www.denisdesigns.com/blog Tyler

    Hi Tiffany,

    If you click on the actual gradient in the Gradient Map it will bring up the Gradient Editor. If you double-click on the bottom left pointer just below the gradient, you can change the color to blue. Double click on the right bottom pointer and change it to yellow.

    I hope this helps!

  • Peter

    This is so hard to do!!!

  • Papparazi

    This was very helpful for my training Thankyou and God bless. :-)!

  • Jeevitha

    i want 3d effect

  • Alex Thomas

    It’s great. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://digisheets.in Gourav

    You tutorial is very difficult to follow, I have seen better tutorials on the Internet

  • fola

    Pls the step 12 is really killing me am not geting it at all pls help thanks

  • fola

    Pls I need help with step 12 its not working here, which layer exactly will u mask and how do u fill the mask with black and will d opacity b 50 or 100, the gradient is it white to trasperent or foreground to transperent and lastly will u unchain the layer from the mask before reducing the mask. That’s where am stuck. Thanks.

  • Terrie B

    I completely skipped the text part as it was way too much for me and the effect wasnt worth the effort lol. I just used the FX bevel and embosses, they worked for what I am doing.

    Where I am now stuck is Step 12. It needs clarification. I went to the gradient tool, there is nowhere to select White or Transparent. Those are not options. Do you mean to create an ALL WHITE gradient by removing colors? I can fill the entire thing black but sadly, I am unable to get that circular part back to reveal the texture.

    So frustrating, I will have to stop here and see if I can pick up later when I maybe learn what you mean with those instructions. Ugh. Trying to learn here 🙂

  • http://www.webbee.com.au ozibite

    This look amazing. Great job.

  • Dave

    Step 4 is ridiculous.

  • http://sixrevisions.com Jacob Gube

    Dave, are you having a hard time on Step 4? If so, exactly how are you having a hard time? We’d love to try and help Dave! Also, we’re always wanting to improve, and reader feedback helps us tremendously identify trouble spots with our tutorials.

  • http://www.marioland.info Mario

    NIce tutorial, but it is limiting you to the pretyped text when you first start. You cannot edit the text easily afterwards.

  • Greco

    I have problems on Step 17, I can’t select layer mask when i have selected all the layers, can someone help me pls?

  • aBAA

    Don’t make a goddamn tutorial if you don’t explain in DETAIL every fucking step!! Already stuck on step 4 , have ABSOLUTELY no clue how to do it because the goddamn author can’t be arsed to explain

  • Aris Alwan

    Thanks for the tutorial. 😀
    I’ve made it! 🙂

    this is my result:

    http://sphotos-c.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/934969_595107427177911_91217309_n.jpg

  • http://sixrevisions.com Jacob Gube

    Hey Aris! Great job on using this tutorial and incorporating your own techniques and adaptations. Keep up the awesome work Aris.

  • http://www.amakups.com amakups

    Hi. Very nice tutorial thanks a lot.

  • Stephen Centeno

    Great tutorial. But I’m having a problem. The sample word “TYPE” can be easily connected to its duplicate layer to make it 3d because almost all of its letter does have corners. My problem is, I do not know how to make letters with curves (i.e. S, P, D, U)in 3D. Haha. Sorry for being noob. Help me please. Thank you in advance. 🙂

  • http://www.hobiblogu.com/ Hobi

    Great tutorial.

  • http://www.escancilingir.com Anahtarc?

    I congratulate you for this wonderful sharing. Resources descriptive enough, and I find it so thank you

  • http://www.escancilingir.com Anahtarc?

    I congratulate you for this wonderful sharing. Resources descriptive enough, and I find it so thank you

  • MikiBenz

    It would be helpful if you had screenshots of your layers, I struggled with some of the steps because I could not tell when to alter an existing layer or add a new layer with an effect.

  • Adrián

    Great tutorial!!! thanks a lot!!! That is exactly what I wanted!!!

    Regards!

  • Adrián

    Thanks a lot very helpful and exactly the kind of scenery and text I was looking for.

    Regards

    Adrián

  • Danny

    this is just impressive. thanks

  • Marj Flores

    You can use the Pen Tool in lieu of the Polygonal Lasso Tool as it’s too complicated using the latter in terms of 3d effects in Photoshop.

  • isa

    je dois être stupide mais je n’arrive pas du tout à faire
    deja cette partie Étape 4: Raccordement du texte (RIEN COMPRIS)
    Nous voulons faire le tour à chaque lettre et de connecter les coins de sorte qu’il crée les côtés du texte. Créez un nouveau calque (Calque> Nouveau> Layer), et en utilisant l’outil Lasso polygonal (L) faire une forme qui relie les deux coins comme indiqué ci-dessous, puis le remplir avec notre couleur rouge foncé (# 990000). (RIEN COMPRIS)
    Étape 5: Briser les côtés de texte Apart (RIEN COMPRIS)
    Maintenant que nous avons notre texte 3D tous mis en place, nous voulons briser les côtés afin que nous puissions ajouter une ombre à eux individuellement. Tout d’abord, nous devons prendre le texte rouge foncé et les côtés, nous avons créé et fusionner les deux couches. Donc, assurez-vous que le calque de texte est sur le dessus (l’ordre d’empilement, vous devriez avoir est un texte lumière rouge> Texte rouge foncé> côtés rouge foncé) et allez à Calque> Fusionner vers le bas (Ctrl / Cmd + E). (RIEN COMPRIS)
    DOMMAGE CAR LE RESULTAT EST TRES BEAU

    Translated by Google Translate:

    I must be stupid, but I can not at all to do
    Already this part Step 4: Text Connection (NOTHING INCLUDED)
    We want to go around to each letter and connect the corners so it creates the sides of the text. Create a new layer (Layer> New> Layer) and using the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) make a shape that connects the two corners as shown below, then fill it with our dark red color (# 990000). (NOT UNDERSTOOD)
    Step 5: Break the text sides Apart (NOTHING INCLUDED)
    Now that we have our 3D text all set up, we want to break the sides so we can add a shadow to them individually. First, we must take the dark red text and sides, we have created and merge the two layers. So make sure that the text layer is on top (the stacking order, you should have is a light red text> dark red text> dark red sides) and go to Layer> Merge Down (Ctrl / Cmd + E). (NOT UNDERSTOOD)
    DAMAGE AS THE RESULT IS BEAUTIFUL

  • amin

    Experimental Grunge
    i can open this link….
    plz help
    🙂

  • Basilis

    really good staff