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Design

How to Create a Colorful, Summery 3D Text Effect in Adobe Photoshop

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Difficulty:IntermediateLength:LongLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Summer is here! So it's time for a colorful, fresh, and fun text effect tutorial. This tutorial will show you how to create a colorful 3D text effect, and then add in a couple of brushes and stock images to create an interesting, summery text effect. Let's get started!

Tutorial Assets

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

1. Creating the Text Shapes

Step 1

Create a new 1500 x 1500 px document, and then create the first letter using the font Insaniburger and any color you like (you can use the color swatch colors in the Colors - Brush - Style file).

The Size doesn't matter as you can scale the text when you convert it into a 3D mesh.

Once you create the text, go to Type > Convert to Shape (or right-click the text layer and choose Convert to Shape).

Create the Text Shape

Step 2

Duplicate the letter's shape layer, rename the copy to add Stroke to the letter's name, and pick the Direct Selection Tool.

In the Options bar, change the Fill to None, the Stroke Color to the same text color and its Size to 25 pt. Then click the Stroke Options icon to change the Align to Outside.

Create the Stroke

Step 3

Repeat the same steps to create the rest of the letters and their strokes.

Once you're done, rearrange the letters and their strokes as you'd like them to be when you convert them into 3D meshes. It is better to arrange them vertically as shown in the image below.

Rearrange the Letters

2. Creating the 3D Scene

Step 1

For each shape layer you have, select it and go to 3D > New 3D Extrusion from Selected Path.

Convert to 3D Layers

Step 2

Select all the 3D layers you have, and then go to 3D > Merge 3D Layers, and rename the merged layer to 3D Scene. This will place all the meshes in one scene.

Merge 3D Layers

Step 3

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 tab of the element you want to modify in the 3D panel before you change its settings in the Properties panel.

3D and Properties Panels

Step 4

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

Move Tool 3D Modes

3. Modifying the 3D Meshes

Step 1

Select all the original letter mesh tabs in the 3D panel, and then change the Extrusion Depth value in the Properties panel to 250 px.

Letter Meshes Extrusion Depth

Step 2

Click the Cap icon at the top of the Properties panel, and change the Sides to Front and Back, the Bevel Width to 5, the Contour to Half Round, and the Inflate Strength to 5.

Letter Meshes Cap Settings

Step 3

Select all the stroke mesh tabs in the 3D panel, and then change the Extrusion Depth value in the Properties panel to 50 px.

Stroke Meshes Extrusion Depth

Step 4

Click the Cap icon at the top of the Properties panel. Change the Sides to Front and Back, the Bevel Width to 10, the Contour to Half Round, and the Inflate Strength to 15.

Stroke Meshes Cap Settings

Step 5

Select all the mesh tabs you have, and then go to 3D > Move Object to Ground Plane.

Move Meshes to Ground Plane

Step 6

Pick the Move Tool, and use the 3D Axis to move the stroke to the middle of the letters' extrusion.

The arrows at the ends of the 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 wanted part.

Using the 3D Axis

4. Creating the Materials: The Basic Settings

Step 1

Select all the letter Material tabs. Change their Shine value to 90%, the Reflection to 50%, and the Refraction to 1.3.

Basic Letter Meshes Material Settings

Step 2

Then, select all the stroke Material tabs, and change the Shine to 90%, the Reflection to 50%, and the Refraction to 1.2.

Basic Stroke Meshes Material Settings

5. Creating the Materials: Adding the Bump Texture

Step 1

Select the first letter's Front Inflation Material tab, and then click the Bump folder icon, and choose New Texture.

New Bump Texture

Step 2

Set the new texture's Width to 1500 and its Height to 950, and click OK.

New Texture Dimensions

Step 3

Click the Bump Texture icon and choose Edit Texture.

Edit Bump Texture

Step 4

This will open the texture's file. Set the Foreground and Background colors to Black and White, and then go to Filter > Render > Clouds. Save the file and close it to go back to the original 3D Scene.

Clouds Texture

Step 5

Increase the Bump value to 50%.

Bump Value

Step 6

Select the remaining Front and Back Inflation Material tabs for the letter meshes, click the Bump folder icon, and choose the Bump Texture you've already applied under the first letter's textures list.

Apply the Bump Texture to the Remaining Letter Materials

Step 7

Make sure to change the Bump value to 50% as well.

Bump Value

Step 8

Select the Front and Back Inflation Material tabs for the stroke meshes, apply the same texture, and change the Bump value to 80%.

Apply Bump Texture to the Stroke Materials

6. Adding the Extrusion Colors

Step 1

Select the first letter's Extrusion Material tab, click the Diffuse texture icon, and choose Edit Texture.

Edit Diffuse Texture

Step 2

When the file opens, just fill it with the letter's color, save it, and close it.

Change Extrusion Color

Step 3

Repeat that for the rest of the letter and stroke Extrusion Materials, filling each one's Diffuse texture with the letter/stroke's color, until all the extrusion parts are colored.

Coloring the Remaining Extrusions

7. Adjusting the Lighting

Step 1

Click the Environment tab, and change the Shadow Softness to 20%.

Environment Shadow Softness

Step 2

Click the Infinite Light 1 tab, and change the Intensity to 70% and the Shadow Softness to 30%.

Infinite Light Settings

Step 3

Make sure you like the lighting. If not, you can change the Intensity values, or move the lights around.

Adjusting the Lighting

Step 4

Once you're done, go ahead and render the scene (3D > Render). This might take a while, but you can stop the rendering any time by pressing the Esc key.

After the rendering is finished, select the 3D Scene layer, and go to Filter > Convert for Smart Filters to make sure that you don't accidentally lose the rendering of the scene.

Convert to a Smart Object

8. Working on the Background

Step 1

Duplicate the Background layer, and double-click the copy to apply a Gradient Overlay effect with the following settings:

  • Check the Dither box
  • Style: Radial
  • Scale: 150%
  • Click the Gradient box to create the gradient using the colors #daf4f5 to the left and #1d7585 to the right. You can also click and drag the gradient in the document to reposition it if you like.
Gradient Overlay

Step 2

Convert the Background copy layer into a Smart Object.

Convert to a Smart Object

Step 3

Go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise. Change the Amount to 0.75 and the Distribution to Gaussian, and check the Monochromatic box.

Add Noise

Step 4

Duplicate the Background layer again, and drag the second copy on top of the first one, changing its Fill value to 0.

Second Copy Background Layer

Step 5

Double click the second copy layer to apply a Gradient Overlay effect with the following settings:

  • Check the Dither box
  • Blend Mode: Color Burn
  • Opacity: 70%
  • Style: Radial
  • Scale: 150%
  • Click the Gradient box to create a fill color to transparent gradient using the colors #dfddda to the left and #c7b299 to the right.

This will just intensify the coloring a bit.

Gradient Overlay

9. Adding the Shrub

Step 1

Place the Shrub 02 PNG.. image below the 3D Scene layer, reposition it behind the 3D text, and duplicate it, placing the copy on top of the 3D Scene layer.

Click the Add layer mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel, and fill the mask with Black.

Add the Shrub

Step 2

Pick the Eraser Tool, set the Foreground color to Black, and choose a hard round tip.

What you'll need to do next is paint to unmask parts of the shrub so that they appear in front of some of the letters' edges.

You can always set the Foreground color to White, and paint over any parts you want to re-mask (hide).

This might take some time, but keep in mind that you can use different brush-tip Size and Hardness values to get the result as precise as possible.

Paint the Shrub Leaves

10. Adding the Sand

Step 1

Open the Pile of sand image, use the Magnetic Lasso Tool, and/or any other selection tools to select it, and then copy and paste it below the original Shrub layer.

Reposition the sand pile so that it covers a small part of the lowest letter.

Add the Sand Pile

Step 2

Duplicate the Sand layer and place the copy below the Shrub copy layer. Add a layer mask to it. 

Sand Layer Copy and Mask

Step 3

Double click the Sand copy layer to apply an Inner Shadow effect with the following settings:

  • Blend Mode: Soft Light
  • Uncheck the Use Global Light box
  • Angle: -45
  • Distance: 4
  • Size: 5
Inner Shadow

This will brighten up the edges a bit.

Brightened Sand Edges

Step 4

Pick the Eraser Tool, set the Foreground color to White, choose the Eraser Brush from the Colors - Brush - Style file, and erase the top part of the sand pile so that it only covers the edges of the letter on top of it.

Erase the Sand Top

11. Creating the Wet Sand Edges

Step 1

Use the Lasso Tool to create a wavy selection around the sand edges, mimicking the shape of the wet parts that the water leaves.

Fill the selection with the color #b7b7b7, and Deselect.

Create Wet Edges

Step 2

Convert the layer into a Smart Object, and change its Blend Mode to Multiply and its Opacity to 35%.

Convert to Smart Object and Change Settings

Step 3

Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur, and change the Radius to 1.5.

Gaussian Blur

12. Adding the Beach Umbrella, Chair, and Ball

Step 1

Open the Beach umbrella, chair and ball image. Use any selection tool you like to select each of the image's items separately, and copy and paste them into the original document.

Place the items in the document, and make sure to place their layers on top of the Shrub copy layer.

Add Beach Items

Step 2

Double click one of the pasted items' layers to apply a Color Overlay effect with these settings:

  • Color: #828383
  • Blend Mode: Color Burn
  • Opacity: 50%
Color Overlay

Step 3

Copy and paste the layer style to the other two items you pasted. This will intensify the coloring and make it more vivid.

You can then use the Burn and Dodge Tools to brighten or darken any areas as needed.

Darken andor Brighten Some Areas

13. Adding the Shadows

Step 1

Duplicate each of the beach item layers, and select the Umbrella copy layer.

Duplicate Beach Item Layers

Step 2

Go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation, and change the Lightness to -100.

Lightness Value

Step 3

Duplicate the Umbrella copy layer, and change the Lightness value for the Chair and Ball copy layers to -100 as well.

Lightness Value

Step 4

To create the ball and chair shadows, select each item's copy layer, go to Edit > Transform, and use the different Modes to transform the shadow following the already existing shadow angles in the image.

The Skew, Distort, and Perspective modes will help you get the basic shape, while the Scale and Rotate modes will help you resize and reposition the shadows.

Create the Shadows

Step 5

Merge both the ball and the chair's shadow layers. You can rename the merged layer to Ball and Chair Shadow, and convert the merged layer into a Smart Object.

Change the Smart Object layer's Blend Mode to Linear Burn and its Opacity to 23%.

Command-click the Sand copy layer thumbnail to create a selection. Select the Ball and Chair Shadow layer, and click the Add layer mask icon to mask the shadows to the sand pile.

Mask Shadows

Step 6

Apply a Gaussian Blur with a 2.5 Radius to the Ball and Chair Shadow's Smart Object layer.

Gaussian Blur

Step 7

As for the Umbrella, you'll need to add two shadows: one over the letter below it, and another over the letter behind it.

Erase any extra parts of the shadows, convert their layers to Smart Objects, and apply a 1.5 Radius Gaussian Blur.

Change the bottom shadow layer's Blend Mode to Linear Burn and its Opacity to 23%. Then change the back shadow layer's Blend Mode to Multiply, and its Opacity to 10%.

Umbrella Shadow Layers

14. Adding More Sand and Shadows

Step 1

Duplicate the original Sand layer, place it on top of all the beach item layers, add a layer mask to it, and fill the mask with Black.

Pick the Eraser Tool, set the Foreground color to Black, and use the Eraser Brush tip to add in some sand at the bottom of the ball and the chair. You can use a smaller brush tip if needed.

Add Top Sand

Step 2

Create a new layer on top of the Shrub copy layer, changing its Blend Mode to Linear Burn and its Opacity to 25%.

Pick the Brush Tool, set the Foreground color to #c7b199, and use a soft round tip to darken the bottom part of the lowest letter.

Darken Bottom Parts of the Lowest Letter

Step 3

Create a new layer below the original Shrub layer, and change its Blend Mode to Linear Burn.

Use a soft round brush tip, with the color #c2c2c2, to create the shadow around the sand pile.

Alternatively, you can create an elliptical selection, feather it a bit, and fill it with the same color.

Create the Sand Shadow

15. Adding the Flowers

Step 1

Open the cliviapack - STOCK image, and then select, copy, and paste some of the flowers into the original document.

Spread those flowers between the letters, and put all of their layers in a group.

Add the Flowers

Step 2

Double click the Flowers group to apply the following layer style:

Add a Color Overlay with these settings:

  • Color: #cbd0d6
  • Blend Mode: Color Burn
Color Overlay

Step 3

Add a Drop Shadow with these settings:

  • Opacity: 35%
  • Distance: 7
Drop Shadow

This will make the flowers' color pop up a bit more.

Enhanced Flowers Color

16. Adding the Water Splashes

Step 1

Create a new layer below the original Sand layer.

For each brush water splash layer you'll be creating next, make sure to apply the Water Splash Style from the Colors - Brush - Style file to it.

Add one of the Abstract water brush tips behind the text.

Background Water Splash 1

Step 2

You can create another new layer and use another Abstract water brush tip behind the text if you like.

Background Water Splash 2

Step 3

Create a couple of new layers on top of the Flowers group, and then use the Water Splash Brushes (by Serkenil) tips to add some splash layers on top of the text.

Each brush should be added in a separate layer to maintain its shape and details.

Front Water Splash

Step 4

Place the Png Water Splashes image below the Sand copy layer, reposition it behind the sand, and change its layer's Blend Mode to Pin Light.

You can add a layer mask to it and erase any parts you think need removing.

Sand Water Splash 1

Step 5

Double click the Png Water Splashes layer to apply a Color Overlay effect with the following settings:

  • Color: #28a690
  • Blend Mode: Hue
Color Overlay

This will adjust the coloring of the water splash.

Adjusted Coloring of the Sand Water Splash

Step 6

Finally, create some more new layers below the Shrub copy layer, and use some of the Water Splash Brushes (by Aura_ID) tips to add some more water splashed to the edges of the sand pile.

Always keep in mind that you can erase any unwanted parts, as well as transform and move whatever brushes you add.

Sand Water Splash 2

17. Applying the High Pass Filter

Step 1

Go to Select > All, then to Edit > Copy Merged.

Copy Merged

Step 2

Go to Edit > Paste Special > Paste in Place, and make sure that the pasted layer is on top of all layers.

Convert that layer into a Smart Object, rename it High Pass, change its Blend Mode to Soft Light, and set its Opacity to 50%.

High Pass Smart Object

Step 3

Go to Filter > Other > High Pass, and change the Radius to 7.

High Pass Filter

This will sharpen the details and adjust the coloring of the final result.

Final Result

Congratulations! You're Done

In this tutorial, we created colored text letters, converted them into shapes, and created a stroke for each shape.

Then, we converted those shape layers into 3D meshes, and merged them in a single scene. After that, we modified the mesh settings, positioned them, and created the different materials. We also adjusted the lighting, and rendered the 3D scene.

Once the rendering was done, we started adding a couple of different items to the 3D letters, such as the shrub, the sand pile, the beach items, and the flowers. We adjusted the coloring, added some shadows, and worked on blending those items together nicely.

Finally, we added a couple of water splashes all over the letters, and applied a High Pass filter to the final result to sharpen it a bit more.

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

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