As graphic designers, we’re always on the hunt for resources to help us perfect our next design, but sometimes we just can’t find what we’re looking for. This is a particularly common challenge when trying to find the perfect font for that prominent headline that must be compelling. Many of us have spent hours scrolling through our font libraries just hoping that the perfect typeface will miraculously fall into place. But, you can’t always count on a heroic font to come to the rescue; often you’ll have to design text effects on your own to achieve the perfect aesthetic. Don’t wait until your next design dilemma to break out your custom text effect skills — be your own hero and stop your font frustrations from ever happening.
In today’s tutorial, I’m going to show you a simple and efficient way to create an explosive, eye-grabbing 3D text effect without using 3D software like Cinema 4D. Everything in today’s tutorial can be easily done in Photoshop and even in freeware software like GIMP. The main goal of this tutorial is for you to learn how to create your own 3D typography and practice your own methods for achieving powerful text effects.
Here is what our final image will look like:
Step 1: Create Your Canvas
Create a new file, make your canvas 800 x 500 pixels, and press “OK.”
Step 2: Build a Black Background
Making sure your foreground color is set to the default black (#000000), create a new layer and fill in your entire canvas.
Step 3: Add Simple Text
Click the “Text” icon within your toolbar or press “T” on your keyboard to access the text function. Change your font to bold, set the size to 18pt, and type in your desired text using pure white (#ffffff).
Step 4: Rasterize and Move
Duplicate your text; this is an optional precaution. Whether you have duplicated your text layer or not, right-click on the layer and select “Rasterize Type.”
Once that is done, select each letter of your words and begin rotating them until you final image resembles something like the image below.
Step 5: Add Blending Options
To give our text some depth, we will be adding a few blending options to it. First, duplicate your newly-jumbled text. Double-click or right-click the layer to access the “Blending Options” menu. Check the boxes for “Bevel and Emboss” and “Color Overlay.” Note the color for the Color Overlay is #393939. Change the settings as shown below:
Step 6: Rearrange Your Layers
After you have finished with step 5, your image should now look like this.
Move this layer beneath the original text layer and nudge it to the left so that it gives your text a 3D look. Then, merge the two layers.
Step 7: Shatter Your Text
Use Photoshop’s lasso tool, select a piece of the first letter of your word and move the selection either up or down to give the letter the appearance that it is breaking apart.
Continue doing this for each letter until you are finished.
Step 8: Duplicate Your Text Layer
Duplicate your newly-shattered text and move it underneath the original copy. Move the text slightly to the left to give the words even more depth, and then merge the two layers together.
Step 9: Add Texture
Copy the aforementioned texture stock and paste it onto your canvas. You will need to resize it by pressing Ctrl + “T”.
Select around the words and press delete on the texture layer to remove any excess or unwanted texture that makes your type hard to read.
Change the layer mode to “Linear Burn.”
Step 10: Change Colors
Staying on your texture layer, go to “Image” > “Adjustments” > “Hue/Saturation” and change the settings as shown below.
Step 11: Add Outer Glow
Once again staying on your texture layer, access the blending options menu and check the “Outer Glow” box. Change your color to white (#ffffff) and change your settings to match the ones below. Once done, press “OK.”
Step 12: Get Glassy
Grab the glass stock and paste it into your canvas. Resize the image and place it under all of your text layers.
Duplicate and rotate the image two more times until you have something that looks like the image below. Make sure to merge the glass layers together.
Step 13: Change Your Glass Color
To finish up your image, access the Hue/Saturation menu on the glass layer and change settings as shown below.
As you can see, creating your own 3D typography in Photoshop is really easy and yields some great results. So, now that you know how to create your own 3D typography, try to create your own variation of this technique by using different types of brushes and stock images. Try using different fonts of varying thickness and sizes as well as different colors to get some creative and interesting results. When creating your own typography, you can get as fancy as you want, just remember to experiment and that there is never one way to do things. Most importantly, don’t count on fonts when you can build something far better with your own design skills!
Gabrielle is a freelance graphic designer, animator, photographer and filmmaker who has taken on various projects including creating logos for clients, animating commercials for film festivals, working as a character and background designer and animating music videos for an international music artist.