Photoshop Tutorial: Stunning 3D effects in 30 minutes

Announcing the first tutorial of a new series!
Together, with a pinch of this and a dash of that, we’ll figure out how to create this cool effect in just 30 minutes.

Ingredients:
1 normal, everyday Photoshop
1 set of real 3D text.
1 large black canvas (1600×1200px)

Step 1: First, we’ll need something written in 3D. We have two possible variations:

If you prefer a bit of Mac spice, use the command “Extrude and Bevel” in illustrator. This tutorial from PSDUTS may help you through it.

If you swing more toward a Windows flavor, Xara3D is another. If you don’t have Xara 3D, have no fear. We always come prepared: click on the thumbnail below to download a sample.

Step 2: Place the 3D text and rename it as “3D Text”. Then, with the Magic Wand Tool select the face of the letters and cut that part as you can see from the screnshoots below.

Step 3: With me so far? Now comes the fun part. Make two copies of this layer, one for backup (“3D Text Copy”) and another one (“3D Text Blur”). Set the backup copy aside to cool for a bit (aka, Hide). Leave the other two layers (“3D Text” and “3D Text Blur”) on the fire and easily accessible. Turn down the heat a bit on “3D Text Blur”; let it simmer for a while and come back to it later.

Step 4: Next, create a new layer group, rename it “Effects”, and change the blending option of this group to “Color Dodge”. Now, being careful not to disturb the other layers, reach inside this new layer group and, with a flick of the wrist, create a new layer, applying the filter “Clouds” (Filter -> Render -> Clouds) to give it that nice, puffy consistency that we’ve all come to know and love.

Step 5: Dropping just below that group in your palette, create another group, this one named “Colors”. Remember that little wrist-flick technique from Step 4? Didn’t get it quite to your satisfaction the first time? Well, we’re going to give it a go again. As before, within this new group you’ll need to create a new layer; add a sprinkle of pink, and with the gradient tool (in Radial Mode) draw a soft edge glow. After that, set the layer blending mode to the “Low” mixer setting, or “Soft Light”.

At this point, you might see a strange pink cloud, but don’t worry. All part of the plan.

Step 6: Repeat the previous step with two other bright colors, but placed differently.

Step 7: Now, for the “secret ingredient.”
Do you remember the “3D Text Blur” we set aside way back in Step 3?
Well, it’s been simmering long enough! Select it now and apply a Gaussian Blur of 13 pixel radius (Filter -> Blur -> Gaussian Blur)

Step 8: Now the creative part. Add a new layer in the “Effects” group, immediately above the “Clouds”. Download a cool brush from DeviantArt and use white to trace around the inside face of each the letters.

Step 9: Still with me? We’re almost there! Carefully slide yet another new layer between the two groups (“Effects” and “Clouds”).
Reach for your trusty Gradient Tool (this time in Linear Mode), choose White and, holding down the Shift key, drag the Gradient tool from the outside edges of the canvas to the middle of the image.
Set your blending mode to “Saturation” and see what happens…

Step 10: Ready for another layer? We’ll need a new one in the “Effects” group; name it “Abstract Lights”.

Step 11: Then ctrl-click (command-click for you Mac lovers) the “3D Text” layer icon in the layer’s palette and paint inside the new selection with a custom abstract brush as we did in Step 8 (remember, use WHITE).

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Step 12: You’ve made it. The final step. The icing on all of these layers. Create…one…last…layer above the “White” layer we just did.

Use a nice LARGE custom brush, like this, and draw a single Cloud above the text. Apply a Motion Blur (Filter -> Blur -> Motion Blur) with an Angle of “-11? and a distance of “200? pixels.
Change the Opacity to “30%” and apply a gradient overlay with the following settings:

Voila!

There you have it. A quick, easy way to spruce up any old 3D text into something to set anyone’s mouth watering. Serve hot or cold to your friends, and watch ‘em drool…

Enjoy!

For a bit of a twist—if you’re feeling a bit adventurous–above all the layers, try new custom brushes (like smoke) and repeat the last step to apply cool lights. Experimenting can be fun!

Here’s another example from my portfolio.

Tutorial by Francesco Mugnai.

Text by Francesco Mugnai & Marc Westenburg

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69 Comments on "Photoshop Tutorial: Stunning 3D effects in 30 minutes"

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Rajita - Font
Guest

This tutorial is absolutely stunning and beautiful

Deuce Designz
Guest

I loved this tutorial and will help on my club flyer designs thanks man or wooman

reza
Guest

thankyou for this beautiful tutorial…:)

sw
Guest

great man! tank for share it.. alla prossima.

Zakh
Guest

thanks for your nice tutorial

JBoy
Guest

Cheers mate – it’s a great effect!

4igan
Guest

o pidar nice tutorial

Donderbus
Guest

nice tut

i ‘d ajust the brightness/contrast of the final image with
+26
+40

Jon
Guest

What was the font that you used for the 3D text in Xara3D?

I can’t seem to find a font that is has strong and wide as the one that you used.

petro
Guest

2 new but useful;) thanks

Rj
Guest

It does not work for me. When you change the effects folder to ‘colour burn’ the clouds effect even the black background. I have followed your tutorial word by word and this step doesn’t work. It is does not come out like your screenshot

KANEEZ
Guest

VERY NICE

Jay
Guest

excellent job! Love the look.

Jay
Guest

and RJ, its color dodge….

Seth
Guest

for some reason when i add the “Colors” in step 6, the more colors i add, it ends up looking white. help?

Joey C.
Guest

Wow! Your tutorial is amazing. I did get a little tripped up over step 5, but I experimented with it and within five minutes I got it! Kudos!

Joey C.
Guest

I enclosed a picture of my final product. Click my name! I forgot to add it before, whoops! ;D

Matthew 'Web Design' Adams
Guest

This looks amazing, goign to have a play around with it myself.

Nice one

Newbe
Guest

hi how do i bring text from xara3d to photoshop? Thanx

Aroldo
Guest
Liza
Guest

This tutorial is amazing . If you interested in Photoshop there are number of nice videos tutorial of photoshop effects on http://www.codervods.com/Default.aspx?mode=default&category=Adobe%20Photoshop&days=All&currentIndex=0

Thanks

khalil
Guest

thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you ……………………. endlessly.

lucie
Guest

Im getting really stuck on part 6 to 7,I have the pink cloudy thing over the text,but in the next step it look like its just text? How do I get mine like this?

hell
Guest

hmm. Nice.

Matt
Guest

I found this quite hard to follow. I tried my hardest to follow it but the end product was just not as good :| Oh well

Bubs
Guest
this doesn’t work, at step 5 you say to change the blending mode to soft light but in your pic it’s at normal and when it’s to soft light it disappears changing the hue of the letters to pink there’s no cloud, your tut is full of useless fluffy language… Read more »
Bubs
Guest

nvm that i got it to work, but it seems like you have steps jumbled up with pics, bad flow. but still fix the diction

ThE-WaR
Guest

Pretty Cool My Friend It’s Look Awsome Thnk You A Lot
‘ ThE-WaR’

Dustin
Guest

First, thank you for the excellent tutorial. One thing I want to point out to everyone: make sure that your document is in RGB mode rather than CMYK. If it isn’t, the clouds aren’t going to lay over the black background properly and none of this is going to work.

Beattie282
Guest

TY for this tut i made a amazing cold ice sign
here is a link

http://img406.imageshack.us/my.php?image=coldicecopyyg0.jpg

Pablo_tetch
Guest

Is it possible to save the result on a transparent background?! i have a gradient background and would like to use it on there….!

jesica
Guest

cool. Do you know how to animate it?

Guru
Guest

perfect and i enjoy lots man thanks man cheers!..

Chas
Guest

cheers mate, is that downlod at the bottem the psd file because no matter what i do it doesnt ork on my version of photoshop (7.0) i would just like the psd file used so i can just change my text! is that possible?

Chris
Guest

Merci that’s awesome! You rock! Im attempting it now :)

djhamdi
Guest

NICE TUTORIAL BUT THE FILE PSD IS NOT OPEN WITH WINRAR………………..HELP…I NEED THAT FILE…..
i mean the file of ” cold ice ”

Marlon
Guest

I also can’t unzip the file? … any further information?

MFX Design Iasi
Guest

Thanks!

Alek
Guest

Here’s my result. Did smoke extras and whatnot.

http://img255.imageshack.us/my.php?image=cloudyalekryanjs3.png

JUSTEN
Guest

YO

LuisRichard
Guest

download error . Try to upload it again

G-Rod
Guest

what is the wrist-flick technique

negah-3d
Guest

real greatful !

REO
Guest

Awesome, I’m gonna make it. Thanks!

REO
Guest

The download file is corrupted. I think there is something wrong with how it was zipped.

SB
Guest

Whoa. It took me 30 minutes on the dot. Thank you so much! Love it!

Corey Osborne
Guest

Didn’t work. have spent over 4 hours trying to see if I missed a step. I have gone over and over and IT DOESN’T WORK.

Magda
Guest

Your’s is the inigtlleent approach to this issue.

Scott
Guest

You lost me on steps 5 & 6, I dont get the same results. Having them placed only inside the text, I have tried several different approaches and none give me the results you show. Any ideas?

Swagdaddy
Guest

well dont be so stupid

codigo
Guest

file zip is corrupt, please another mirror… thx a lot…

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