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Create a 3D Ice Text Effect With Modo and Photoshop

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While Photoshop allows us to do many things, often, the final outcome we are looking for just can't be accomplished using Photoshop alone. One of the best things about Photoshop, however, is that it almost always has a role in modern design workflows, especially in 3D. In this tutorial, I will show you how to create a 3D ice text effect using Modo to sculpt the 3D models and Photoshop for texturing and post-production. Let's get started!


Speed Art Video


1. Create 3D Letters

Step 1

  • Create new document and select empty Mesh item in the Item List.
  • Change its name to: Frost txt
  • In Tools palette activate Text tool.
  • In its properties in Text field type FROST
  • Choose nice strong font - in this case Arial Black
  • Give it Size: 21.4 cm
  • .

Step 2

To be able to see vertices in viewport press Command/Ctrl-1 to bring GL_Toggles pie menu. Choose Toggle Verts.

  • In Mesh properties panel find Subdivision Settings and change Spline Patch Level to 5.
  • Also change Curve Refinement angle to 5.0°

Step 3

Now You will change filled curves to regular polygons. Do the following:

  • With all polygons visible go to Geometry > Freeze...
  • Make sure that you have pop up window set like on the screen grab below.

Step 4

You need to remove extra vertices to have lighter geometry later. Do the following:

  • Select second vertex [1] than skip one and select fourth vertex [2].
  • Than press UP arrow on keyboard.
  • Modo will select vertices for you base on your initial selection pattern (select one, skip one and so on).
  • Delete selected vertices.

Step 5

Repeat vertex cleaning process for the rest of the edges.

Step 6

Repeat vertex cleaning process for the letter O. Main idea is to have the same number vertices on outer edge and in inner edge of the shape.

Step 7

After cleaning letter O should look like this.

Step 8

Now clean letter S the same way.

Step 9

Clean redundant vertices as before:

  • Select second vertex [1] than skip one and select fourth vertex [2].
  • Than press UP arrow on keyboard.
  • Modo will select vertices for you base on your initial selection pattern (select one, skip one and so on).
  • Delete selected vertices.

Step 10

Now you will cut polygons to add edges. Do the following:

  • Activate Snapping [1].
  • In its properties [2] activate Vertex. (This way Modo will snap to vertices of active geometry).

Step 11

Cut letter F like shown on the screen grab. You need to slice letter to quads - four sided polygons.

  • In Tools palette under Mesh Edit Activate Slice Tool [1].
  • Draw Slice Plane from one vertex to edge that is on the opposite side [2].
  • Repeat those steps until you have only quads in your letter.

Step 12

Add another edge to letter F.

  • In Tools palette under Mesh Edit Activate Slice Tool [1].
  • Draw Slice Plane from one vertex to edge that is on the opposite side [2].
  • Repeat those steps until you have only quads in your letter.

Step 13

Finished letter F should look like this.

Step 14

Than do the same to letter T.

  • In Tools palette under Mesh Edit Activate Slice Tool [1].
  • Draw Slice Plane from one vertex to edge that is on the opposite side [2].
  • Repeat those steps until you have only quads in your letter [3].

Step 15

To make modeling easier center geometry in 3D space.

  • Change selection mode to Polygon (press 3).
  • In Tools go to Center Selected and choose X axis.

Step 16

Add new edges to the main body of the letter F.

  • Select polygons like shown on screen grab.
  • Activate Loop Slice Tool (Alt-C) [1].
  • Set is edge count to 2.
  • Make sure that its Mode is set to Uniform. This way all new polygons will be even on the length.

Step 17

Slice all big polygons until your letter F looks like mine.

  • Activate Loop Slice Tool (Alt-C) [1].
  • Set is edge count to 4.

Step 18

Ready letter F should look like this.

Step 19

Now it is time to slice letter T.

  • Select polygons on the top of letter T [1]
  • Activate Loop Slice Tool (Alt-C) [1].
  • Set is edge count to 4.
  • Than do the same for left and right side of top bar [2].

Step 20

Ready letter F should look like this.

Step 21

Now cut letter R.

  • Make sure that you have Snapping to geometry/vertex active.
  • In Tools palette under Mesh Edit Activate Slice Tool [1].
  • Draw Slice Plane from one vertex to edge that is on the opposite side.
  • Repeat those steps until you have only quads in your letter.

Step 22

Now create even polygons on the left side of letter R using Loop Slice (Alt-C). Than use another Loop Slice (Alt-C) on the part marked with red arrows.

Step 23

Now it is time to connect outer and inner edges of letter R.

  • Make sure that you are in Polygon Selection Mode.
  • Activate Edge Slice (c) tool and cut from one vertex on outer edge [1] to vertex [2] on inner edge.
  • Repeat all steps until you have all vertices connected.
  • If on the opposite side there is no corresponding vertex to connect to, don't worry. This tool will add point on edge that you touch with it.

Step 24

Ready letter R should look like this.

Step 25

Now add edges to hold inner part of letter R. Do the following:

  • Select polygons that you wan to slice.
  • Activate Loop Slice (Alt-C)
  • Add 4 uniform edges.

Step 26

Use Loop Slice tool again to cut "leg" of the letter R [1].

Step 27

Next change topology of letter O.

  • Activate Edge Slice (C) tool and add first edges like on the screen grabs.
  • Connect outer edge of letter O with inner edge.

Step 28

Use Edge Slice tool to connect all vertices. If you need you can add vertex on the edge with the same tool.

Step 29

Slice letter O to quads.

  • Select all polygons by double click on them.
  • Activate Loop Slice (Alt-C).
  • Add 4 edges in Uniform Mode.

Step 30

Now connect all points in letter S.

  • Activate Edge Slice (C) tool and cut from one vertex on outer edge to vertex on inner edge.
  • Repeat all steps until you have all vertices connected.
  • If on the opposite side there is no corresponding vertex to connect simply add it by touching edge.

Step 31

Ready letter S should look like this.

Step 32

Just like before slice letter S to quads.

  • Select all polygons by double click on them.
  • Activate Loop Slice (Alt-C).
  • Add 4 edges in Uniform Mode.

Step 33

Now it is time to make letters truly 3D.

  • Make sure that you are in Polygon Selection Mode.
  • Make sure that you don't have any polygons highlighted with orange color. Now you have all visible polygons selected. (In Modo when you have nothing highlighted you have selected all visible item depending on your Selection Mode).
  • Activate Extrude Tool (Z)[1].
  • Press on the screen to activate tool handles.
  • Extend polygons by 10cm, make sure that you are editing only Z axis.

Step 34

Now You will add extruded edges to hold sides of the letters.

  • Select 2 polygons on sides of the letters.
  • Press L to select loop of connected polygons.

Step 35

Add 4 edges using Loop Slice (Alt-C) in Uniform mode.

Step 36

Press Tab key to see your mesh in Subdivision mode. See how all edges that you added in previous steps are holding surface in place. Now surface is ready to mimic ice, you will add some details to surface in next steps.


2. Create HDR Map to Light the Scene

Step 1

Create new document in Photoshop give it dimensions shown on the screen. Important thing is to change its Color bit mode to 32.

Step 2

Add guides to document bounds and Vertical and Horizontal center.

Step 3

  • Activate Rectangle tool and make shape like on the screen.
  • Change its color to light blue R=41, G=121, B=155.

Step 4

Add Gradient Overlay Layer Effect to Rectangle Shape.

Step 5

Edit default gradient, change its middle point location to 70%.

Step 6

With the Background selected go to Edit > Fill ... (Shift-F5) and fill it with light blue color.

Step 7

Select Rectangle 1 layer and from Right Click Menu choose Convert to Smart Object.

Step 8

Now create wave shape from smart object.

  • Activate Transform Tool (Command/Ctrl-T) and press Warp Transform [1].
  • From Warp drop down choose Flag and set its Bend amount to -20.

Step 9

You need to create another dark layer on the bottom of canvas.

  • Select Rectangle 1 layer and from Right Click Menu choose New Smart Object via Copy.
  • Move it in Layers panel [1] to bottom.
  • On the canvas move it down like on the screen grab [2].

Step 10

  • Double click on Smart Object Rectangle 2 to edit it.
  • Double click on Gradient Overlay effect to bring gradient edit panel.

Step 11

  • Change gradient white swatch to dark blue color. Use values like you see on the screen.
  • Adjust color sliders to match screen grab.
  • Save Smart Object and close it.

Step 12

  • Create layer above Background.
  • Use Color Picker (I) to sample dark blue color.
  • Activate Gradient tool and draw on the canvas to blend in Smart Object.

Step 13

  • Select top Smart Object and go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur ...
  • Set Blur Radius to 7.8 Pixels.

Step 14

Copy blur from top layer. Press on blur icon and drag it with pressed Alt onto smart object below. Save image as HDR.


3. Create Basic Ice Shader and Set Up Environment

Step 1

Select all polygons and press M to add material. Name it Ice_TXT

Step 2

To be able to see changes you need to change Frame size.

  • In the Shader Tree select Render Item [1].
  • Change Frame size like on the screen grab [2].
  • In Preview Window change view to angle that you like. Press Alt-left Mouse Button and drag on inside preview window to do that.

Step 3

Now it is time to make ice shader.

  • Open Ice_TXT group and select material inside it.
  • Change its name to Ice_BRDF.
  • Press Ctrl-G to create new group, call it Ice.
  • Edit Material Ref to values shown on the picture.

Step 4

Change Material Trans values to the shown on the screen.

Step 5

Setup Environments to bring up all ice attributes later on.

  • Select Environment and from the Right Click Menu choose Duplicate.
  • Change its name to Env_cam, than change it properties like on picture [1].
  • Select second Environment and change its properties like on the picture [2].

Step 6

Now you will use HDR map that you created in Photoshop earlier.

  • Select Env_Light and delete Environment Material.
  • In Bridge select HDR map that you created and drag and drop onto the Env_Light.
  • Right click on the Effect column and change its Effect to Environment Color.
  • Change its Projection type [1] to Spherical.
  • In the Shader Tree go to Add Layer > Processing > Process.
  • Change it Saturation value to -30.5% [2].

4. Create Big Air Bubbles

Step 1

In real life is hard to find clear ice. Most of the time there trap air bobbles inside it. Now you will learn how to mimic this.

  • In Items list go to Add Item > Mesh (M) and create new Mesh layer and call it Big air.
  • Activate Cube Tool and draw small cube inside letter F.
  • Give it small size like on the screen grab.

Step 2

With bobble mesh selected press D two times to add extra polygons and make it rounded.

Step 3

  • Go to System > Preferences > Defaults > Mesh Items and turn on Select Pasted Elements and Deselect Elements before Pasting. [2]. This way pasting many parts of geometry will be much easier. Remember: Modo paste geometry based on its x,y,z, coordinates values, not your pointer position on the screen.
  • Select all polygons of newly created sphere.
  • Copy them press Ctrl-C.
  • Than paste geometry, press Ctrl-V and move it to diferent parts of letters [2].

Step 4

  • Press Tab key to go to Subdivision mode.
  • Open Sculpt palette go to Layout > Palettes > Sculpt and Paint Tool Bar (F3) and activate Move brush.
  • With right click change brush size and start sculpting.

Step 5

You can push and pull vertices with Move brush. Sculpt each sphere into different shape to give them more natural look.

Step 6

Your air bobbles should look like this.

Step 7

  • Select all polygons of Air bubbles and press M [1] to give it Material Group.
  • Delete material inside that group that was created automatically.
  • Duplicate Ice_BRDF material from Ice_TXT group and move it to Air_bubbles group.

Step 8

Activate Preview window. Your letters should look like this. You can see ice surface and air bubbles trapped inside it.


5. Create Small Air Bubbles

Step 1

In Modo you can save a lot of render time by using replicators. Basic idea is to have point clouds and in render time put real geometry in those point position. You can add randomness to many aspects of replicated geometry.

  • In Item mode select Frost txt mesh.
  • In Polygon mode paint select random selection of front polygons.

Step 2

  • If you plan working with point cloud you need to be able to see it. To do that place your cursor anywhere over 3D viewport and press O to bring visibility properties pop-up window. Under Active Meshes sub tab locate Show Vertices [1] and turn it on.
  • Than with polygons from Frost txt selected press Alt-first button on modo modes tool bar [2]. This will convert your polygon selection to vertex selection.
  • Now copy verts - simply press Ctrl-C.
  • In the Item List create new empty mesh. [3]
  • Call it Frost air and paste verts, simply press Ctrl-V. Congratulations, you have created point cloud!

Step 3

Change viewport display mode to Wireframe. Use Viewport buttons located in left top corner of it. Remember that by default every viewport display mode is independent, you need to change it in every viewport that you use.

Step 4

  • Activate Move tool (W).
  • Move points on Z axis to back side of letters.

Step 5

  • Go to modo tool bar and activate Duplicate > Array tool [1].
  • Set its parameters like on the screen grab.

Step 6

Now it is time to add randomness to placing of the polygons. Activate Jitter Tool and press anywere on the viewport and drag. See how points are turning in to random cloud.

Step 7

Now you need to delete some points that escaped over the shape of letters.

  • Change view to Front View press 2 on keypad.
  • Than select points with Rectangle selection.
  • Next press Alt-SPACE BAR and from selection menu select Lasso selection type.

Step 8

Now it will be much easier to select all points that are floating outside letter shapes and delete them.

Step 9

Now activate Scale Tool (R) and scale points on Z axis to fit into letter volume.

Step 10

Now it is time to create air bubbles geometry.

  • In the Item List create new mesh, call it a_1.
  • With that mesh selected press CTR+G to create new Group Locator, call it Air txt.
  • Activate Cube tool [1] and draw small cube.
  • Give it 1.5 mm size and make sure that it is centered X,Y and Z.

Step 11

Press Tab to go to subdivision mode, and than press D to add more edges to your drop. Your first drop is ready.

Step 12

  • Now from the Right Click Menu choose Duplicate and create 3 more drops.
  • Change their name accordingly.
  • Select a_2 mesh and in the Polygon mode activate Scale tool (R) and squash this drop a little.

Step 13

  • In Item mode select a_3 mesh.
  • In Vertex mode select one vertex and move it up to form flying drop shape.
  • Leave a_4 mesh as it is. This way you will have more sphere rounded bobbles later on.

Step 14

Now clean up Item List a little.

  • Select Frost txt mesh and press Ctrl-G to make new group.
  • Than put there Big air and Frost air meshes.
  • Create Replicator, go to Add Item > Particles > Replicator.

Step 15

  • Now select meshes from Air txt folder.
  • Open Groups palette and create new Group.
  • Call it Air Bubbles.

Step 16

  • In Replicator properties set its Prototype and Point Source like on the screen [1].
  • Now add some variation to rotation of replicated objects [2].
  • Than add Random Scale to all objects [3].

Step 17

Open Preview window to see how your air is looking.


6. Model Background Plane and Ice Surface

Step 1

  • In the Item List create new mesh - press (N).
  • Change name it BG.
  • Activate Cube tool and draw plane in the 3D view port.
  • Make it big, 4 x 3 m.

Step 2

Now create back side of the plane that will be background of your scene.

  • In Edges selection mode activate Edge Extend Mode.
  • Move it on Y axis for 3m.

Step 3

  • In Polygon selection mode select bottom of the plane [1].
  • Activate Loops Slice (Alt-C) and set its Count to 4 [2].
  • Make sure that tool works in Uniform mode [3].

Step 4

  • Select all polygons and activate Loop Slice tool (Alt-C) again [1].
  • Leave all setting from previous use of this tool [2].

Step 5

Now the only thing you need to do is to cut back side of the plane.

  • Sleet all polygons and activate Loop Slice tool (Alt-C) again [1].
  • Leave all setting from previous use of this tool [2].
  • Make sure that tool works in Uniform mode [3].

Step 6

Change mesh to Pixar Subdivision Surface, to do that press Shift-Tab.

Step 7

  • Change layout to UV edit. Use Alt-Tab shortcut.
  • In 3D Select polygons on the back.
  • Turn on Tear Off option. This way you will move object
  • Activate Move Tool (W) and detach part of the geometry. Move it to the top of the UV space.

Step 8

  • Select edge in UV view.
  • Modo will height with the blue color corresponding edges in UV space. They are in reality one edge. You will sew them in next steps.

Step 9

  • Activate Rotate tool (E) and rotate polygons until orange line will be perpendicular to blue one.
  • Than under Move and Sew press Selected. This way Modo will sew orange edge to the blue one.

Step 10

Now select all polygons of your mesh and press (M) to add material to the object.
Name it BG.

Step 11

Now place BG group above Base Shader and change BG_matr properties to the shown on the screen. This material have no Specular effect.

Step 12

  • To be able to see changes in preview you need to duplicate Base shader and place copy Above Base Shader inside BG group.
  • Change Shading Rate to 0.25 pixels.

Step 13

  • Add another layer. Go to Add Layer > Processing > Gradient.
  • Change it Input Parameter to Distance to Locator [1].
  • Press Edit Gradient and in Gradient Editor add 2 keys. First at 0 m will be white and second on 1 m will be dark gray.

Step 14

Now you can experiment with locator that drives this gradient. You can find it in texture Group and it have name BG_Gradient. Move it on the Y and see how it gives color to the back geometry.

Step 15

  • Add another layer. Go to Add Layer > Processing > Gradient.
  • Change its effect to Refection Amount [1].
  • Change it Input Parameter to Texture V [2].
  • Press Edit Gradient and in Gradient editor add 2 keys. First at 0 with 0% and second on at 1.0 with 55%.

Step 16

To have nice professional looking background rotate BG mesh by 45°.

Step 17

Now create ice surface geometry.

  • Create new mesh in the Shader Tree.
  • Activate Cube tool and draw cube with dimensions shown on the screen.

Step 18

  • Select one loop of polygons and activate Loop Slice Tool (Alt-C), with Count set to 3 and Uniform.[1]
  • Than select front loop of polygons [2] and also slice it with Loop Slice.

Step 19

Now You need to prepare geometry to be rendered in subdivision mode.

  • Select last loop of polygons and cut it with Loop Slice tool like you can see on the screen grab. [1]
  • Do it the same for all sides [2],[3].

Step 20

Now change view to front and move ice surface down. Just under the letters.

Step 21

  • Select all polygons and press M to give it material. Name it Ice ground.
  • Delete default material from that group.
  • In the Shader tree open Ice_TXT group, duplicate Ice_BRDF material and move it to Ice ground group.

Step 22

You can open preview window and see how your letters looks on the ice surface.

Step 23

For creating ice texture on the ground I used DSC_8789.dng image by Tuts+ Photoshop Editor, Grant Friedman. You will need to topen it in Adobe Camera Raw. I saved it as PNG, so modo can read it.

Step 24

In order to display texture on the surface it is best practice to use UV maps. Now you will create one.

  • Change layout to UV layout.
  • Select all polygons from ice surface mesh.

Step 25

  • In 3D viewport change view to Top.
  • Activate Project from View tool and click on the 3D viewport that you want get information from.

Step 26

  • Activate Rotate tool (E) [1] and rotate it for 45°.
  • Than activate Fit UVs tool [2].

Step 27

  • In the Shader Tree open Ice ground group and drag and drop DSC_8789_bump.png into this group.
  • Change its effect to Bump
  • Change its Low and High Value to -100% and 100% [1]. This way surface will look more natural.
  • Change Projection Type to UV map and UV map to Texture [2].

Step 28

Now model air bubbles taped inside of the ice surface.

  • In the Item list create new mesh, name it Air - Bubbles inside [1].
  • Activate Cube tool and draw cube with dimensions shown on the screen [2].

Step 29

To make squashed bubble shape press Tab and than press D two times. Now you have bubbles to stat with.

Step 30

Now copy geometry and paste it to the same mesh item. Move copies around to give some live to your image. Remember that those frosted bubbles should be near surface of the ice.

Step 31

Now add some smaller bubbles of air.

  • Activate Cube tool draw small box on the screen.
  • Press Tab to subdivide it and than press D to add extra edges to geometry.

Step 32

Bring up preview window and check your progress. Your image should look like this.

Step 33

  • Change view to top.
  • Activate Move Brush tool, and sculpt bubbles to some organic random forms.

Step 34

Add material by pressing M on keyboard. Choose existing material from drop down list - Air_bubbles. Activate Preview window to see how they look.

Step 35

You can select some of bubbles and move them down a little. Than dispersion will make them blurred and they will look more natural, more frosty.

Step 36

Now you can temporarily move Ice_TXT material group below Base Material. This way Preview window will be much more responsive.


7. Create Snow Piles

Step 1

Select polygons on top of each letter. It can be random but it must mimic snow aggregating on top of letters. Try to recall where snow build up in real life. Copy selected polygons by pressing Ctrl-C.

Step 2

  • In Item List create new mesh item. Name it Snow Top.
  • Paste copied polygons, press Ctrl-V.

Step 3

  • With polygons selected only on flat surfaces like on screen grab activate Extrude tool (Shift-X) [1].
  • You need to press anywhere on the 3D viewport to show tool handles.
  • Extrude polygons for about 1.9 cm.

Step 4

  • Now press [ (left open bracket) to invert selection.
  • Copy selected polygons press Ctrl-C. You will need them in a few minutes.

Step 5

  • Press B to activate Bevel tool.
  • Extrude faces for 1.9cm.

Step 6

  • With polygons still selected press F key to flip normal vector to opposite direction.
  • Than pres Ctrl-V to paste selected polygons.

  • Go to Modo tools and under Vertex sub tab press Merge.
  • You will be presented with tool window, stay with Automatic Range.
  • Press F to flip polygons back to their normal direction.

Step 7

  • Select 2 polygons for every part of the snow pile they are marked with [1] and [2] letters, than press L to select closed loops.
  • Now you can use Loop Slice tool (Alt-C).
  • Place slider under 50% of edge length.

Step 8

  • Using the same method as before select bottom loop.
  • With polygons selected activate Loop Slice tool (Alt-C), and add another edge in 50% position.

Step 9

Press Tab key to see your mesh in Subdivision mode. Now you are ready to add some snowy feel to this base mesh.

Step 10

  • Bring Sculpt palette, to do that press F3.
  • Activate Move Brush make sure that its Sculpt Mode is set to Mesh.

Step 11

Now just sculpt to form some hills and slopes on snow pile surface. Sculpt this way snow on all letters.

Step 12

When you finished making top part of the snow it is time to add some snow on the ground.

  • Activate Cube tool and draw rectangle near letter R. Make sure that is not to big. It should look like those fragments fell from top of the letters.

Step 13

Press Shift-D to Subdivide Polygons.

Step 14

Now you just need to place all part of snow in right places.

Step 15

To make little snow piles more rounded you can use standard Move Tool with Soft Selection Falloff applied. This way you can shape geometry to more natural looking rounded shapes.

Step 16

When you will be sculpting those small parts of snow use different tool to get look that you are after.


8. Create Final Shader

Step 1

In the Shader tree select render item and change its properties as shown on picture below.

Step 2

Remember to change Indirect bounces to give more realistic look to scene.

Step 3

Change Snow_BRDF material values to those shown on the screen grab. Leave Material Trans tab on default values.

Step 4

Add Layer that will break snow surface. In the shader tree go to Add Layer > Enhance modo textures > Noise > Marble Noise . Change its effect to displace and change it values to those shown on the screen grab.

Step 5

Add another layer, go to Add Layer > Textures > Noise. Change its name to Noise_M and set its values to those shown on the screen. Change its effect to Bump.

Step 6

  • Add another Layer. Go to Add Layer > Processing > Gradient .
  • Change its effect to Diffuse Amount.
  • Change it Input Parameter to Thickens. This way thinner parts will be less diffused.

Step 7

Now you will create Render Outputs to be able to edit them in Photoshop.

  • Go to Shader Tree and press Add Layer > Special > Render Output.
  • Choose the same Render Outputs as on my screen.

Step 8

  • Select Frost TXT and go to Polygon mode.
  • Go to Select > Assign Selection Set and give it name Frost_txt [1]
  • Create new group in the Shader Tree, call it OUTPUTS
  • Select Alpha Output and duplicate it.
  • Change its name to a: frost txt [2].
  • With this output still selected press G to create another group - call it Frost_txt.
  • With this group selected go to properties panel and change its Polygon Tag Type to Selection Set.
  • Change its Polygon Tag to Frost_txt.

Step 9

  • With Frost TXT selected in Item Mode select also Snow Top mesh.
  • Than change Selection Mode to Polygon Mode.
  • Go to Select > Assign Selection Set and give it name geometry [1].
  • In the Shader Tree duplicate Frost_txt group and change its name to geometry.
  • With this group selected go to properties panel and change its Polygon Tag to geometry.
  • Select Render Output and change its name to a: geometry.

Step 10

  • Now Select in Item Mode only Snow Top mesh.
  • Than change Selection Mode to Polygon Mode and select all polygons.
  • Go to Select > Assign Selection Set and give it name snow [1].
  • In the Shader Tree duplicate Frost_txt group and change its name to snow.
  • With this group selected go to properties panel and change its Polygon Tag to snow.
  • Select Render Output and change its name to a: snow_pile.

Step 11

Now You will create UV map of those letters, this way you can wrap textures on the surface and bake information from procedural layers to bitmaps.

  • Change layout to UV layout, use Recent Layout menu (Ctrl-Tab).
  • Select only Frost_txt mesh
  • In the Vertex Map List under UV Maps create new map and call it baker [1]. It is extremely important that this UV map name must be unique in this scene. No other viable object can have UV map with the same name, otherwise bake will produce errors.
  • In UV tools activate UV Projection Tool [2].
  • In its properties choose Projection Type: Atlas.
  • Modo will create very nice UV map for you.

Step 12

Now you will bake procedural layers to one bitmap.
This will help you to free up some memory needed for rendering. Now you will random distortions to ice letters. Transparent, refractive objects can be tricky to work with, they require a lot of RAM to show live preview even in Modo. But there is simple workaround. Do the following:

  • In the Shader Tree locate Ice material group and Duplicate it.
  • Change its name to Ice_surface and drag it below Ice material.
  • Now open group and select material, than change its name to Surface_BRDF.
  • Set its Material Ref values to shown on the screen.
  • Remember to leave Bump Amplitude and Displacement Distance values the same as in source material [1].
  • Important: Zero out all values on Material Trans sub tab.

Step 13

Now it is time to add surface displacement texture.

  • Go to Add Layer > Textures > Noise. [1]
  • Change its name to Nise_L.
  • Press G to create group and change its name to tweak to bake it. You will put here procedural layers for baking, so then you will be able to turn it off with single click.
  • Change its Texture values to shown on the screen [2].
  • Change its Texture locator values to shown on the screen [3].
  • Change its Effect to Displacement.
  • Make sure that Projection Type is set to: Solid.

Step 14

  • Go to Add Layer > Enhance: modo Textures > Organic > Minky. [1]
  • Change its Blend Mode to Add. This way layer will add it values to the one below set to drive the same effect.
  • Change its Effect to Displacement.
  • Change its Texture values to shown on the screen [2].
  • Change its Texture locator values to shown on the screen [3].
  • Make sure that Projection Type is set to: Solid.

Step 15

  • Go to Add Layer > Image Map > (New Image).
  • Choose 2048x2048 RGBA map [1].
  • Save it to disk as 16bit txt_displ.png I Recommend PNG format because of its higher quality compare to JPG and capability to store 16 bit data - ideal for displacement.
  • Make sure that it Effect is set to Displacement and turn off its visiblity.
  • Make sure that its Projection Type is set to: UV Map and UV map is set to: baker [2].
  • It is extremely important that this UV map name must be uinque in this scene. No other visble object can have UV map with the same name, otherwsie bake will produce errors.

Step 16

  • Change Low Value of bitmap to -100.0 % 11].
  • From right click menu choose Bake to Texture and let modo work [2]. Baking displacment is time consuming, in my case it took 54 min to bake down displacement bitmap.

Step 17

When baking is done you can close redner window. To save image Go to File > Save all images.

Step 18

Your bake texture should look like this. If you have spotted any errors simply retouch them in Photoshop. Pick color with picker and paint with brush tool.

Step 19

  • Go to Add Layer > Enhance: modo Textures > Organic > Minky. [1]
  • Set its Effect to Bump.
  • Set all texture values like shown on the screen.

Step 20

  • Go to Add Layer > Textures > Organic > Minky. [1]
  • Set its Effect to Bump.
  • Set all texture values like shown on the screen.

Step 21

  • Duplicate Noise_S layer and rename it to: Noise_M.
  • Set all texture values like shown on the screen.

Step 22

  • Duplicate Noise_M layer and rename it to: Noise_L.
  • Set all texture values like shown on the screen.

Step 23

  • Now Grab txt_disl layer and tweak to bake it group, duplicate it and move up to the Ice material group [1].
  • Than go to Go to Add Layer > Enhance: modo Textures > Noise > Dented. [2]
  • Set its Effect to Bump.

Step 24

To add finishing touch to shader creation and make ice surface even more real, select Three layers of Noise and duplicate them. Than move them up to the Ice ground group. Now press F9 to render image!


8. Tweak Layers in Photoshop

Step 1

Open rendered image and group layers by they properties. Alpha layers put to one folder and color layers to another. You can play with different setting of layers from color folder. Set layers from 01 to 05 to Linear Dodge blending mode. All 6 of this layer will give you Final Color Output.

Step 2

Add Brightness/Contrast layer on top of your document. Set its value like on the screen.

Step 3

Select a: snow_pile layer, select all on the canvas (Ctrl-A) and copy content of this layer.

Step 4

Create empty layer mask to do that press small button on the bottom of Layers Palette [1].

Step 5

  • Now reveal layer mask. Click hold down left Alt and press on layer mask.
  • Select all on the canvas (Ctrl-A) and paste (Ctrl-V).
  • Now go back to normal view, hold down Alt and press layer mask thumbnail.

Step 6

Add Levels layer on top of image and make clipping mask on part of the snow. To make clipping mask hold down Alt and press between layers.


Conclusion

In this tutorial, I showed you how to create a stunning 3D ice text effect using Modo and Photoshop. I showed you how to sculpt the letters, add texture, lighting, transparency, as well as how to add a bit of snow on top. I hope that you learned something from this tutorial and can use these techniques to create something amazing on your own.

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