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Create a Metallic Type Treatment Using Photoshop and Cinema 4D

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In this tutorial we will explain how to use Cinema 4D and Photoshop to create metal textured 3D typography that includes ornate and decorative swirls. Let's get started!


Tutorial Assets

The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial.


Step 1 - Document Setup

Open a new document in Photoshop. I should be 7 inches wide and 11 inches high. Set the depth resolution to 300 dpi.

Grab the paint bucket tool (G) then change the foreground color to Black (D) and fill the first layer with the color. This is just so we can have nice contrast between our type and background and we can set up our composition more easily. We'll be changing the background later on.


Step 2 - Type

For this tutorial I'm going to be using a Blackletter type called "Kingthings Spikeless" which you can download for free over here. You can use whichever typeface you like better, I chose a Blackletter style font because they're usually very bold and complex in their styling and that works very well for this kind of type treatment.

Select the Type tool (T) and type your text one word at a time, every word should be in it's own layer so we can arrange them properly. You can create a new group (Command/Ctrl + G) and place this layers inside to keep things organized. Use a font size of about 135pts or big enough to fit the canvas.

After arranging the text into your desired position, Duplicate the group (or the layers) of your type and merge them together into a single layer (Command/Ctrl + E). Once merged, change to the move tool (V) and right click on the transforming border. Select the option Skew and drag the center left anchor point down to transform the text.

After that, your text should look something like this:


Step 3 - Ornament

For the ornament, first I'm going to do a very quick sketch of the shape we are going to make. Create a new group for all the ornament layers and create a new layer inside. Select the brush too (B) with a small brush tip and select a bright contrasting color. I wanted to make a swirl pattern for this, I painted it over the type layer as a guide to try and keep a nice flow and composition in the shape. We will also use parts of this shape to blend with the type.

Create a new layer on top of your sketch layer. Now we are going to refine the guides from the sketch and this will help us make a clean circular swirls. Select the Elliptical Marquee tool (M) and using the guide, make elliptical selections on every round corner of the shape. For the biggest curves I'm doing selections of about 830 pixels wide. (Remember to keep the SHIFT pressed to do accurate circular selections). Follow the example below.

Once you have the selection, Right click it and select the option "Stoke". Use a stroke width of about 3 pixels:

Once you are done stroking the selections for each of the curves in the ornament, your new guides should look something like this:

We are going to repeat this process for each curve in our swirly ornament. For the new set of medium curves I used elliptical selections of about 260 pixels wide:

Finally, use a width of 110 pixels for the smallest curves:

Your guide should now look like this:

Once you have your guide finished, grab the Brush tool and create a new layer. Select a round hard brush of about 45 pixels wide. Then open the Brush presets menu, check the Shape dynamics option and make sure you have the Size Jitter control set to "Pen Pressure".

Now select the Pen tool (P) and start drawing a path following initial sketch and using the guides as reference.

Once you have the path of the main curved line, right click and select "Stroke Path" select the Brush as the tool and check the "simulate pressure" option.

For the smaller curved lines, go back to the bush tool and lower the size of the brush by 15 pixels and another 10 pixels for the smallest curves:

Your ornament should now look like this. You can do this Swirly shape as intricate as you like adding more details, just try to keep a nice flow between shapes.


Step 4 - Text Detailing

As mentioned before, we are going blend parts of the ornament into the letters to create further detailing on the text.
Make the text layer visible and duplicate the ornament layer. Select the move tool (V) and lower the size of the ornament. I want to add detail to the first and last letter of the words so place the ornament to one of this letters, follow the flow and shape of the letter as a guide.

Once you have positioned the ornament, create a layer mask and erase the ornament to blend with the letter like in the example below:

Duplicate again the ornament layer and lower its size. Go to Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal and then Flip Vertical. Move the ornament over the first "E" and repeat the process of positioning and deleting the excess ornament to blend with the letter.

Add some of the ornament details inside the text as well.

Some letters (like the "G" for example), have nice curved endings that are perfect to blend the ornament while maintaining a nice flow.

Continue duplicating the ornament and blending parts of it with the letters.

After you are done with the detailing of the text, you should have something like this:

Try not to include much detail on the letters otherwise it will make the text very heavy and it will not be understandable once we do the 3D rendering. Select the text and the blended ornament layers and merge them into a single layer (Command/Ctrl + E). Take the Elliptical Marquee tool (M) and then click on the layer's thumb while holding the Alt key to create a selection around the text. Right click the selection and chose the option "Make Work Path" then turn off the visibility of the text. We are going to export these paths to Cinema4D to do the 3D rendering and texturing of the final composition. Go to File > Export > Paths to Illustrator and save the file on your computer. (It will save the file as an illustrator document that Cinema4D will be able to read.)


Step 5 - Text Rendering

Open Cinema4D and Drag the illustrator file into a new document.

Now we need to select all the Path splines and join them together to have a single Spline.

Once you have all the path splines selected, go to Objects > Connect + Delete and now you should have only one spline object containing all the text:

Go to the object properties of the Spline and check the "Close Spline" option.

Create an Extrude NURBS object and make the type spline a child out of it.

On the Extrude Nurbs attribute window, under the "Caps" option, make sure the Start and End are set to "Cap."

Copy and paste the Extrude Nurbs object with the type spline. Under the copied Extrude Nurbs Attribute window and under the "Caps" now set the Start and End to "Fillet". This will make the extrude of the types hollow:

Select the first extrude nurbs object (The one with the Starts and Ends set to "Cap" and under the coordinates) set the Z position to -25 this will move the shape slightly to the front.

In the material menu, Go to File > Load Material and load the Materials Pack. Assign the material named "Nukei1" to the first Extrude Object (The solid letters).

In the material menu go to File > Create new material. We are going to make the metallic golden material for the outside of the 3d type.
Check the "Color" option and change the RGB values to 242, 182, 68 and set the Brightness to 50%

Check the "Reflection" option. Change the RGB values to 251, 233, 208, lower the Brightness to 30% and check the "Additive" option. On the texture option, click on the drop down menu and select "Fresnel" the double click on the gradient and change its colors from #aaaaaa to #969696. Change the blurriness to 25%.

Check the "Bump" option. Set the strength to 5% and the texture to "Noise". Double click on the texture thumb and change the Noise type to "Blistered turbulence":

Finally check the "Specular" option. Change the mode to "Metal". Set the width value to 57%, Height 124%, Falloff 12% and Inner width to 34%.

When you are done, save the new material and assign it to the second Extrude object (The hollow letters).

Add a light object to the scene and place it on top of the two extrude objects.

Change the coordinates of the light object to the next values: X 240, Y 435, Z -370

The main scene of the render is done, Now we are going to set the rendering values. Click on the render setting icon and under Save, check the "Alpha Channel" option (this will make the extraction of the render from the background very easy one we transport it to Photoshop).

On the Output option, Change the Width and Height values to 4000 pixels and the resolution to 300 dpi. Then Render to picture viewer.

Once the render is done, Click on the menu File > Save as, make sure you have the next settings and save in your computer:

Now we are going to repeat the exact same process to render the original ornament. Convert the shape to paths, export it to cinema 4D and follow the same steps as we did for the Text.


Step 6 - Render Extraction

Open your text render in Photoshop and unlock the text layer by double clicking on the layer thumb. Go to the channels menu and do a selection on the "Alpha Channel" layer, invert it (Command/Ctrl + Shift + I) and then hit delete to erase the background. Once extracted drag it to your original Photoshop document. Repeat the same process to extract the Ornament.


Step 7 - Photoshop Processing

First we are going to work on the background of the image. On your original Photoshop document, set yourself on the Black background layer and open its Layer styles menu. Apply a Gradient overlay and set the style to "Radial".

Double click on the gradient to open up the gradient editor menu, we want a gradient going from black to a gray tone. The first gradient stop should be #000000 add a second one close to the final stop, this should be #181818 and the final one should be #414141.

Create a new layer on top of the Background layer and fill it with color White. Go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise and use an amount of 14% with distribution set to "Uniform" and the monochromatic option checked.

Set this layer blending mode to "Multiply".
Create a new layer on top of the Noise layer and grab the brush tool. Select a soft round brush of about 500 pixels wide and the brush opacity set to 20%. Softly brush in the center of the image like shown below (brush as much as you want to get more light).

Center the ornament layer and place on top the 3D text layer:

We need to add a bit more of contrast to the 3D text. Go to menu Image > Adjustments > Brightness and contrast and change the Brightness value to -15 and the Contrast value to 40.


Step 8 - Color Adjustments

We are going to use a series of Color Fill and Adjustment layer to give the image hints of blue and yellow. Create a new group on top of all the layers. Inside this create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue and Saturation. Change the hue to + 7 and increase the saturation to + 50.

Now go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Brightness and Contrast. Set the Brightness value to 15 and the Contrast to 60.

Go to menu Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid color and select a light yellow color #f3dc1d. Change the layer blending mode to "Color" and lower the layer opacity to 30% (You can also erase some of the effect using the layer mask if you feel the color might be overpowering in certain areas of the composition).

Finally create another Color layer on top of the yellow one but this time use a dark blue tone #04163f. Change the layer blending mode to "Color" and lower the layer opacity to 25%

This is how your layers should look:


Final Image

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