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Create a Valentine's Day-Inspired 3D Text Effect Using Filter Forge and Photoshop

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Valentine's Day is right around the corner. In this tutorial, we will combine Filter Forge and Photoshop to create a wood textured 3D text effect with a simple red glass heart. Let's get started!


Tutorial Assets

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


Downloading Filter Forge and the Filters used

First, you need to download Filter Forge from the plugin's website. Once you download it, run the installation package. It will be added inside Photoshop under the Filter menu. Super easy to install.

To launch the plugin and start adding some filters, go to Filter > Filter Forge > Filter Forge 3. You'll find a couple of already existing filters under a number of categories. You'll also find a "Filter Library: Download more filters" link to the top right side of the plugin's window. Click the link to start downloading filters.

The link will take you to the Filters page on the plugin's website.

You can search for almost any filter among the amazing 9000+ filters available. Just type the keywords you want to find filters for, and click the Search button.

Once you get your search results, click the filter's name.

This will open the filter's page. Click the "Open this filter in Filter Forge" button to install the filter. If you get a message asking you to confirm, just click Yes or OK. The Filter will then be added to the other filters you have.

You can search for the downloaded filters by typing their names or a related keyword in the plugin's search box.

Make sure to download all the filters in the Tutorial Assets section before you continue with the tutorial.


Step 1

Create a new 1270 x 915 px document, and fill the Background with Black. Then create the text in All Caps using the font "Fengardo Neue Black". The font color is white, and the font size is 350 pt.

In this tutorial, the word used is "LOVE". So the letters L, V, and E will be created separately, then a heart shape will be added instead of the letter O.

If you don't have a letter that you can replace with the heart shape, you can just add the heart separately to the text.


Step 2

To create the heart, pick the Custom Shape Tool, then choose the default heart shape in the Options bar. Press and hold the Shift key, then click and drag to create a 276 x 240 px heart.

Next, we are going to add a base to the heart. So pick the Rounded Rectangle Tool, and in the Options bar, set the Radius to 10, and choose the Combine Shapes option to add the rectangle to the heart in one shape layer. Click and drag a 100 x 50 px rectangle as shown below.

If you want to move the base, you can use the Direct Selection Tool to Shift + Click each of the rounded rectangle's anchor points, then move them.

Once you're satisfied with the result, click the Merge Shape Components icon down the "Path operations" menu in the Options bar.


Step 3

Select the text layer, then go to Type > Extrude to 3D. This will instantly convert the text into a 3D mesh.

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.

One interesting thing about the new 3D environment in CS6, is the use of the Move Tool in the 3D scene. So there are no special 3D Tools anymore. If you check the Move Tool's Option bar now, you'll find a set of 3D Modes for the tool to the right of the bar.

It is always important to keep in mind that any modification you make in the 3D scene will be applied to the selected element in the 3D panel. So if you find selecting the elements by clicking them inside the 3D scene a bit confusing, you can just click their names in the 3D panel instead.


Step 4

Click the 3D Mesh name in the 3D panel to adjust some of its settings. Start off by reducing the Extrusion Depth value to 55, and setting the Texture Mapping to Tile.

You can always use the Rotate 3D Object mode of the Move Tool to click anywhere in the 3D scene, then drag to rotate the camera view. This will help you check the changes from different angles

Click the Mesh name again, then click the Cap icon at the top of the Properties panel. Change the Sides to "Front and Back", the Width to 5%, and the Contour to Half Round.

The text will have rounded edges now.


Step 5

Create a new 500 x 500 px document.

Go to Filter > Filter Forge > Filter Forge 3. Then, choose the "Plywood Plus" filter under the "Building" category, and choose the third preset under the Presets tab.

Click the Settings tab, then check the Seamless Tiling box. Click the Apply button to the bottom right corner to apply the filter.

This will create a nicely detailed wooden texture.

Go to Image > Image Rotation > 90° CW to rotate the texture 90° Clockwise. This will change the orientation of the texture from horizontal to vertical.

Go to File > Save, and save the document as a .psd file or an image file (.jpg). Then go to File > Close to close the texture file and get back to the original 3D document.


Step 6

Now, we will create the wooden material that will be used to texture the 3D text. So click the mesh's Front Inflation Material in the 3D panel, and change its settings in the Properties panel as below.

You'll need to change the Specular color to #fff7e5, the Shine value to 90%, the Reflection to 20%, the Bump to 10%, and the Refraction to 1.600.

Click the Diffuse folder icon and choose Load Texture. Then load the wood texture that you created in the previous step.

This will apply the texture to the front side of the text.

The texture is applied so that it covers the text in large blocks of pattern. To make the pattern repeat vertically, click the Diffuse texture icon, and choose Edit UV Properties.

In the Texture Properties box, change the U Scale to 350%, and make sure that the V Scale is set to 100%, and both the U Offset and V Offset values are 0.


Step 7

The texture looks so polished and shiny. To make the texture seem a bit rougher, go ahead and click the Bump folder icon, choose Load Texture, and use the same wood texture.

After you load the texture, click the Bump texture icon and choose Edit UV Properties.

Apply the same UV Properties used for the Diffuse previously.

You might not be able to notice the effect now, but the bump will make a difference when the scene is rendered. And what it basically does, is create an illusion of bumps in the texture based on the loaded image, after converting it to a grayscale map. So the lighter values create raised surface areas and darker values create flatter surface areas.


Step 8

Click the material menu arrow, then click the pop-up menu icon, and choose New Material.

Type in a name for the wood material you created.

This will add the material to the other materials, so that you can use it again without the need to re-enter all the values each time.


Step 9

Now, we are going to apply the saved material to all the remaining sides of the mesh. So click each one in the 3D panel, then choose the wood material from the menu to apply it.

Once you're done, the whole text will have the same material.

Don't forget to save your work after each step.


Step 10

Before moving on to the heart shape, we are going to perform one last step. We're going to split the mesh, to be able to move each letter separately.

To do so, go to 3D > Split Extrusion. A message will appear telling you that you'll lose the original extrusion, so click OK to continue.

If you check the 3D panel now, you'll notice that you have three separate meshes, one for each letter. So instead of creating each letter in a separate layer, extruding it, then texturing it on its own, you can now create all the letters in one mesh then split it. This is a great CS6 3D feature.


Step 11

In the Layers panel, select the heart shape layer, then go to 3D > New 3D Extrusion from Selected Path.

Click the Mesh name in the 3D panel, then change its Depth to 55, and its Texture Mapping to Tile in the Properties panel.

Click the Cap icon in the Properties panel, then change the Width to 10, and the Contour to Cone.

This is how the heart should look.


Step 12

To make the heart stand out, we're going to apply a shiny red glass material instead of using the same wood material.

Click the Front Inflation Material, then start changing the values as below.

Change the Diffuse color to #8e010a, the Specular to #f3f3f3, the Illumination to #1d0000, and the Ambient to #960000. Next, change the Shine value to 75%, the Reflection to 30%, the Opacity to 35%, and the Refraction to 1.800 (it might be auto-rounded to a very close value, so no problem if that happens).

That's it for the heart material. Follow the same steps of saving the material and applying it to the other sides of the mesh.

You can use different colors if you like, or maybe make the sides less transparent. Make sure to apply any changes before moving on, as we're not going back to the materials after this step.


Step 13

As you might have noticed, the text and the heart are in separate 3D layers, so they are in separate 3D scenes as well. The next step will be merging them in one layer, and one scene.

Before merging the layers, it is better to make sure that both layers' camera angles are the same. So select the heart 3D layer, click the Current View in the 3D panel, then, choose the text layer's name from the View drop down menu in the Properties panel.

This will give all the meshes the same camera view.

Select both 3D layers (Command/Ctrl + Click each one), then go to 3D > Merge 3D Layers.


Step 14

Now that all the meshes are in the same scene, it's time to reposition them using the Move Tool.

You can select the mesh by clicking it, or by clicking its name in the 3D Panel. When a mesh is selected, you can see the 3D Axis that can be used to move the mesh, rotate it, and scale it. Click and drag the arrow ends to move the meshes around.

Click and drag the parts below the arrow ends to rotate the meshes.

Click and drag the box in the middle of the 3D Axis to scale the mesh uniformly.

One important step to keep in mind, especially after merging or scaling 3D objects, is to make sure that they are still on the Ground Plane, not floating over it. To do so, select the mesh you want to place on ground, then go to 3D > Snap Object to Ground Plane. Do this every time you add a new element or scale an existing one, unless you want the object to not touch the ground.


Step 15

Moving on to the Current View, or the camera angle. In this tutorial, the camera is supposed to be placed above the meshes. If you want to place the camera in front of the text, you'll need to make a simple modification that will be mentioned later.

You can move the camera manually, or you can click the Coordinates icon in the Properties panel and type in some values.

If you like the view, and want to save it, you can click the View drop down menu in the Properties panel, and choose Save.

Enter a name for the view and click OK.

The view will be added to the drop down menu, as well as the bottom of the 3D panel. So whenever you change the view while working on the 3D objects, you can go back to the saved view by clicking its name in the 3D panel, or choosing it from the View menu in the Properties panel.


Step 16

Time to add a plane for the ground. You can use the Environment Ground Plane, but a separate plane has more settings as a 3D object than the Ground Plane.

Create a new layer on top of the 3D layer and call it "Ground", then fill it with white.

Go to 3D > New Mesh from Layer > Postcard. This will create a simple plane. Go ahead and set the plane's Current View to the 3D layer's View.

Click the Ground Mesh name, then click the Coordinates icon in the Properties panel. Change the X Rotation Angle to 90, so that the plane is placed horizontally instead of verticallly.

Select both 3D layers, then merge them (3D > Merge 3D layers).


Step 17

Click the Ground mesh, then go to 3D > Snap Object to Ground Plane. If you notice that the other meshes are floating as well, go ahead and snap them. Scale the plane until it covers the whole scene (canvas). This will change according to the camera view, so make sure you scale the plane in the final camera view that you'll be using for the final rendering.

Tip: If you are not using the same camera angle as the one in the tutorial, you might notice that one horizontal plane will not cover all the areas of the scene, especially if you are using a more straight-forward view. If that's the case, you will need another vertical plane, that is perpendicular to the ground. So follow the same steps to create one and place it in the scene before getting to the next step.

If you want to check out how a part of the scene will be rendered, you can select that part using any selection tool (for example, the Rectangular Marquee Tool is used here), then go to 3D > Render. If you do so, you might notice some weird lines on the ground. This is caused by the plane mesh being placed exactly on the Ground Plane.

To solve that problem we need to move the plane mesh a fraction above or below the ground plane. To do so, click the Ground Mesh name, then the Coordinates icon in the Properties panel, and increase the Y Axis value 0.1. If that doesn't work (or gets rounded back to the original value), add another 0.1.

If you re-render the selection now, you should get a clean result.


Step 18

Time to modify the plane material. We're aiming for a simple reflective surface. So we don't need any Diffuse texture. Click the Diffuse texture icon and choose Remove Texture to ba able to add simple colors instead.

Change the Diffuse color to #d4cdbb, the Ambient to #363636, the Shine value to 50%, the Reflection to 10%, and the Refraction to 1.850.


Step 19

Time to modify the lighting of the scene. Start by clicking the Infinite Light 1 down the 3D panel. Make sure that its Intensity is 90%, and set its Shadow Softness to 30% in the Properties panel.

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

This will create a new light. If you can't see the light inside the scene, click the "Move to view" icon down the Properties panel to move the light to the center of the scene.

Go ahead and add another Point Light. You'll notice that the lighting is pretty intense and harsh. We'll work on that next.


Step 20

Select the Point Light 1, then change its color to #c78c04 and its Intensity to 30%. We don't want all three light sources to cast shadows, because this will create a mess of shadows everywhere. Infinite Light shadows are enough, so un-check the Point Light 1 Shadow box.

Select the Point Light 2, change its Intensity to 20%, and un-check it Shadow box. The lighting should look better now.

Also, set the Environment Light color to #191919, its Intensity to 50%, and un-check it Shadow box as well.

Once you're done modifying the Light settings, you can start moving the lights around in the scene (Click the light name, then move it using the Move Tool). No numerical values of the coordinates will be posted in the tutorial, as the numbers are just random and difficult to copy. Instead, some images of the 3D scene from different angles will be added next, so that you can position your lights accordingly.

This is the Infinite Light positioning. It should be pointing diagonally downwards on the text.

As for the point Lights, Point Light 1 is the one to the left and Point Light 2 is the one to the right. You'll need to move them around depending on the scene you have, and the letters' location. So take your time with this step, and keep in mind that you can render parts of the scene to check how everything is working out.

You can as well rotate the whole scene to check where the lights are exactly placed, since it might be hard sometimes to figure that out by looking through one angle only. And remember that you can go back to the original view by clicking the view name you saved earlier in the tutorial.

When you're happy with all the scene's elements, go ahead and render it (3D > Render). This might take a while, but you can stop the rendering anytime by clicking anywhere inside the document. You can check the time needed to complete rendering in the status bar at the bottom of the Photoshop window.

When the rendering is finished, save the document, then save the final result as an image. (You can rasterize the 3D layer, but you'll lose the 3D scene, and you won't be able to go back to it or modify any of its components. So saving an image is way better).


Step 21

Open the image you saved, then duplicate it.

Go to Filter > Filter Forge > Filter Forge 3, and choose the LOMO filter under the Photo category. Choose the preset shown below under the Presets tab, then click Apply.

This filter will intensify the colors, and make them more vivid. But it's a bit too strong.

To reduce the filter's effect, we're going to fade this layer into the original Background layer, by reducing the copy's Opacity. The value used here is 25%, but you can choose the value you like.


Step 22

Finally, click the "Create new fill or adjustment layer" icon down the Layers panel, and choose "Gradient Map".

Change the adjustment layer's Blend Mode to Soft Light, and it's Opacity to 30%. Then click the Gradient box to create the gradient.

The gradient uses five colors as follows (you need to click once below the gradient bar to add each color Stop):

Color - Location

  • 1 - a08657 - 0
  • 2 - b28f5a - 25
  • 3 - bc9359 - 46
  • 4 - cbb785 - 67
  • 5 - edebbe - 100

Final Image

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