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Create 3D Rubber and Glass Text in Photoshop CS6

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In this tutorial, we will explain how to use the vector editing and 3D capabilities of Photoshop to create rubber and glass 3D text. In the process, we will show you how to create the materials, modify the lighting, render the scene, and finally, how to enhance the color of the final result. Let's get started!


Tutorial Assets

The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial. Please download them before you begin. If assets are not available you may need to find alternatives.


1. Create the Text and the Main Shape

Step 1

Create a new 1000 x 750 px document, and fill the Background with the color #c2c2c2. Then, create the text using the font Righteous in All Caps. The color is #484848, and the Size is 255 pt.

Step 2

Go to Type > Convert to Shape.

Step 3

Pick the Pen Tool. Then, in the Options bar, choose Path, and click the Path operations icon to choose Subtract from Selection. What you'll need to do next, is remove random parts from the text shape. Make sure to draw polygonal shapes by clicking once to add each of the corners of the subtracted part, and make sure to close each path separately.

Step 4

Try not to remove very big or so many parts. The text needs to remain readable.

Step 5

Once you're done removing the polygons, click the Path operations icon again, and click Merge Shape Components down the pop-up menu.

This will merge all the paths into one shape.


2. Placing the Letters

Step 1

Instead of placing the letters in the 3D scene, which can be a bit more difficult and time consuming, we are going to move and rotate the letters now.

To do so, pick the Direct Selection Tool, then click and drag around the letter to select it (its anchor points).

Step 2

Go to Edit > Free Transform (CTRL/CMD + T) to enter the Free Transform Mode. Then, drag the letter to where you want it to be, and rotate it in its new position. You can also use the keyboard's Arrow Keys to move the letter.

It is important to keep as little distance between the letters sitting on top of each other as possible, but don't make them intersect or stick together. If there is no empty space, they will be extruded as one 3D mesh.

When you're done, hit ENTER/RETURN to accept the changes.

Step 3

If the letters overlap and you can't select all of the anchor points by clicking and dragging, you can SHIFT + Click the remaining anchor points separately.


3. Creating the Inner Part

Step 1

Set the Foreground color to White, pick the Rectangle Tool, and draw a rectangle that is 10 px wide and 155 px long.

Step 2

Next, you'll need to duplicate the rectangle, then place it inside one of the removed parts, then duplicate it again and place it inside another part, and so on. The rectangles will be used to fill in the straight parts (not the bent or curved areas).

When you place the rectangle, enter the Free Transform Mode to rotate it, scale it, and extend it just a little bit inside the text shape. Don't forget to hit ENTER/RETURN to confirm the changes afterwards.

Step 3

Use the original rectangle to fill the last empty straight part (no need to create a copy for that one).

Step 4

The remaining parts will be created using the Ellipse Tool. Make sure that the Shape option is selected in the Options bar, then press and hold the SHIFT key, and click and drag to create a perfect circle. While doing so, you can press and hold the Space bar and move the circle around, until you place it inside the area you want to fill.

Don't place the circle exactly in the center of the letter. Instead, stretch it a little bit outwards from the center. You can check the circle's Width and Height values while creating it, or you can check them afterwards in the Options bar.

Step 5

Click the Subtract from Selection icon in the Options bar, then repeat the same steps to create another circle inside the one created before, but this time, create it 20 px less in Width and Height, so that after it is subtracted from the original circle, the remaining part's width will be 10 px.

Step 6

You'll need to create circles with different sizes depending on the size of the letter they're placed inside.

And for the letters where the rest of the circle is overlapping with the letter itself, use the Pen Tool to get rid of the extra parts, then click Merge Shape Components (just like you did back in steps 1-3 and 1-5.

Step 7

You can always scale and rotate the parts until you like the final result.

Step 8

When you're done, select all the shape layers except for the main text (click the last layer, then SHIFT + click the first), and go to Layer > Merge Shapes. In Photoshop CS6, what this will do, is merge all selected shape layers in one shape layer, without rasterizing them. Rename that layer to Inner Shapes.


4. Creating the Remaining Parts of the Scene

Step 1

Duplicate the Background layer, drag it on top of all layers, and call it Ground. Then duplicate the Ground layer and rename it to Wall.

Step 2

Use the Rectangle Tool again to create 10 x 25 px rectangles, and make sure to click the Combine Shapes icon in the Options bar to create them in one shape layer, and call it Glass.

These will be added around the text, so you can create any as many as you like. If you want to place a couple of them on top of each other, then it is better to do that when you create the shapes, leaving a 1 px distance between them.

Then create some 50 x 50 px squares in a separate shape layer and call it Rubber.


5. Creating the 3D Layers

Step 1

For each shape layer, select it then go to 3D > New 3D Extrusion from Selected Path, and for the other two layers, select each one, then go to 3D > New Mesh from Layer > Postcard.

Step 2

The 3D layers now are separate, which means that each mesh is in a different scene. To place all the elements in one scene, select all the 3D layers, then go to 3D > Merge 3D Layers.


6. The 3D Scene and Panels

Step 1

To access the 3D mesh settings and properties, you’ll need to open two panels: The 3D panel, and the Properties panel (both found under the Window menu).

The 3D panel has all the components of the 3D scene, and when you click the name of any of those, you’ll be able to access its settings in the Properties panel. So make sure to always select the name of the element you want to modify in the 3D panel before you change its settings in the Properties panel.

Step 2

Select the Move Tool and check its Options bar. You’ll find a set of 3D Modes for the tool to the right of the bar. When you choose one of those, you can then click and drag to perform any changes (on the selected element in the 3D panel).

So click the Current View tab in the 3D panel, then click and drag in any empty area of the 3D scene to change the Camera View, but don’t move any of the meshes yet.


7. Modifying the 3D Meshes

Step 1

Next, we'll start adjusting some basic mesh settings for the different meshes in the scene.

Click the main text 3D mesh name in the 3D panel, then, in the Properties panel, set its Extrusion Depth to 50.

Step 2

Click the Cap icon at the top of the Properties panel, then change the Bevel Width to 5 and the Contour to Half Round.

Step 3

Change the Inner Shapes mesh Extrusion Depth to 20.

Step 4

Change the Bevel Width to 20 and the Contour to Half Round.

Step 5

Change the Glass mesh Extrusion Depth to 200. We'll scale this later, so any value will do for now.

Step 6

Change the Bevel Width to 3.

Step 7

Change the Rubber mesh Extrusion Depth to 49.

Step 8

Change the Bevel Width to 3 and the Contour to Half Round.

Step 9

Click the Ground mesh name, then click the Coordinates icon at the top of the Properties panel, and change the X Rotation value to 90.

Step 10

Go to 3D > Snap Object to Ground Plane. Then, increase the Y Position a very small value (0.1) to avoid having scratches on the ground when rendering.


8. Creating the Rubber Material

Step 1

Click the main text Front Inflation Material tab in the 3D panel. Click the Diffuse texture icon in the Properties panel and choose Remove Texture.

Step 2

Change the Diffuse color to #d1272e, the Specular to #545454, the Illumination to #080808, and the Ambient to #000000. Then change the rest of the values as shown below.

Step 3

Click the Bump folder icon and choose New Texture.

Step 4

Type 600 for both the Width and Height values.

Step 5

Click the Bump texture icon and choose Edit Texture.

Step 6

This will open the texture file. Duplicate the Background layer, then double click the copy to open the Layer Style box.

Step 7

Apply a Pattern Overlay effect using the Noisy pattern.

Step 8

Save the file (File > Save) then close it (File > Close) to go back to the original document.

Step 9

Click the Bump texture icon once again, then choose Edit UV Properties.

Step 10

Set the U Scale to 250%, the V Scale to 200%, and both the U Offset and V Offset values to 0.


9. Saving and Re-applying the Material

Step 1

Instead of repeating the same steps for the rest of the materials, you can save the created material and re-apply it.

To do so, click the Material picker box, then click the pop-up menu icon to the top right corner and choose New Material.

Step 2

Type in a name for the material and click OK.

Step 3

Now, when you scroll down the Material picker, you’ll find the material you saved, and you can apply it to any surface by clicking it. So select the rest of the text mesh material tabs, and apply the rubber material to them.

Step 4

Apply the same material to the Rubber mesh as well.


10. Creating the Glass and Planes Materials

Step 1

Select the Inner Shape mesh material tabs and the Glass material tabs, then remove the Diffuse texture, and use the values below.

The Diffuse color is #dfdfdf, the Specular is #727272, the Illumination is #080808, and the Ambient is #000000.

Step 2

Click the Ground mesh tab, then un-check the Cast Shadows box. You'll need to do the same thing for the Wall mesh too.

Step 3

Click the Ground material tab, then click the Diffuse texture icon and choose Edit Texture.

When the texture file opens, double click the layer in the file to apply a Pattern Overlay using the Wood Pattern.

Step 4

Click the Create new fill or adjustments layer icon down the Layers panel and choose Hue/Saturation.

Step 5

Change the Saturation value to -20. Save and close the file to go back to the original one

Step 6

Remove the Opacity texture (click its texture icon and choose Remove Texture), then change the rest of the material setting as shown below. The Specular color is #bbbbbb, the Illumination is #000000, and the Ambient is #000000.

Step 7

Apply the same material to the Wall mesh, then change the Shine value to 50 and the Reflection to 10.


11. Changing and Saving the Camera View

Step 1

Now that you're done with the materials, it's time to work on the final camera view. So use the Move Tool to rotate, zoom, and move the camera around, until you like the angle of the scene.

Step 2

Then, using the 3D Axis, scale the Ground and Wall planes vertically and horizontally until they fill the final view you chose. And make sure to snap the Wall to the Ground Plane after you scale it.

The arrows at the ends of the 3D axis move the mesh, the part below them is used for rotation, and the cubes are used for scaling. The cube in the center is used to scale the object uniformly. All you need to do is click and drag the part you need to perform the changes.

Step 3

Since you will need to change the camera view quite a lot in the next few steps, it is a good idea to go ahead and save the final one.

So click the Camera View tab in the 3D panel, then choose Save from the View drop down menu in the Properties panel.

Step 4

Type in a name for the view and click OK.

Step 5

The view will be added down the 3D panel and to the View menu. So whenever you change the camera angle and want to get back to this view, just click its tab in the 3D panel or choose it from the View menu.

Step 6

Before working on the other meshes, select the text and Inner Shapes group tabs, then snap them to the Ground Plane to make sure nothing is floating around in the scene.


12. Adding the Bucket

This is a totally optional part, but it adds a nice touch to the final result.

Step 1

Create a 230 x 230 px circle using the Ellipse Tool.

Then, in the Options bar, change the Fill to None, and the Stroke to a 10 px Black one, with the Align set to Inside.

Step 2

Go to 3D > New 3D Extrusion from Selected Path. Then change the Current View to the main 3D layer's view by choosing its name from the View drop down menu.

Step 3

Select both 3D layers and merge them by going to 3D > Merge 3D Layers. Then, change the ellipse's mesh X Rotation value to 90.

Step 4

Using the 3D Axis, scale the bucket down and place it where you want it to be in the scene.


13. Creating the Bucket's Material

Step 1

Click the Ellipse Front Inflation Material tab, then click the Diffuse texture icon, choose Remove Texture, then click the Diffuse folder icon and choose New Texture. The dimensions of the new texture should be set to 1024 for both the Width and the Height.

Then click the Diffuse texture icon and choose Edit Texture. Create a new layer, set the Foreground and Background colors to Black and White.

Step 2

Go to Filter > Render > Clouds.

Step 3

Go to Filter > (Filter Gallery) > Distort > Glass, and use the values shown below.

Step 4

Double click the texture layer, and apply a Color Overlay effect by changing the Blend Mode to Multiply and the Color to #909090.

Step 5

Save and close the file.

Step 6

Check the image below for the rest of the material's values. The Specular color is #c1c1c1, the Illumination is #000000, and the Ambient is #000000.

Step 7

Click the Diffuse texture icon one last time and choose Edit UV Properties. Set the U Scale to 300%, the V Scale to 100%, and both the U Offset and V Offset values to 0.

Apply this material to the rest of the Ellipse materials.


14. Splitting and Placing the Glass and Rubber Meshes in the Scene

Step 1

Select the Glass mesh name in the 3D panel, then go to 3D > Split 3D Extrusion. This will split the original mesh into separate mesh tabs that will appear down the 3D panel.

So now you can click each glass mesh by clicking it in the scene, or by selecting its name tab in the 3D panel.

You'll then need to use the Move Tool and the 3D Axis to scale, rotate, and place those different meshes in the scene. You can rotate and move the camera view to help you place the meshes. This might take some time, but it will get easier as you get used to doing it.

Keep in mind that you can select more than one mesh group in the 3D panel and move them together if needed, and that you need to snap those on the ground to the Ground Plane.

Step 2

Split the Rubber mesh then place the resulting meshes in the scene and inside the bucket.


15. Working on the Lighting and Rendering the Scene

Step 1

Click the Infinite Light 1 tab, then change its color to #fefbef, its Intensity to 80%, and its Shadow Softness to 50%.

Step 2

Move the light using the Move Tool so that it falls diagonally from top and in the same direction of the camera angle. You can use the Coordinates to assign values as well.

Step 3

Click the Add New Light to Scene icon down the 3D panel, then choose New Point Light.

Step 4

Change the Point Light color to #fffef8, its Intensity to 30%, and un-check its Shadows box.

To make the light fade gradually as it spreads further, which looks more natural and realistic, check the Light Falloff box, and change the Inner value to 79.4 and the Outer value to 868.5.

Step 5

The Point Light should be placed in the center in front of the text. Here are the Coordinates values used in the tutorial.

Step 6

When you're done modifying everything, go ahead and render the scene (3D > Render).

Step 7

The rendering might take some time, but you can stop it anytime by clicking anywhere inside the document.


16. Adding Adjustment Layers to Enhance the Coloring of the Final Result

Step 1

Click the Create new fill or adjustment layer icon and choose Brightness/Contrast.

Step 2

Change the Brightness to 5 and the Contrast to 2.

Step 3

Click the Create new fill or adjustment layer icon again, and this time, choose Color Balance.

Step 4

Choose the tone type from the Tone drop down menu, and change its values as shown below.

Midtones - Shadows - Highlights


Congratulations! You're done.

In this tutorial, we converted a text layer into a shape layer, then used the Pen Tool to subtract some parts from it. Then those parts were filled with other shapes, and all elements were converted to 3D layers and merged into one.

All the meshes were then textured with different materials, and placed in the scene as desired. The lighting was adjusted and then the scene was rendered. After the rendering, two adjustment layers were added to enhance the coloring and the contrast of the final result.

Please feel free to leave your comments, suggestions, and outcomes below.

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