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  1. Design & Illustration
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Design

How to Create a 3D Floaties Text Effect in Adobe Photoshop

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

This tutorial will show you how to use Photoshop's 3D tools and material settings, along with a couple of images, filters and adjustment layers, to create a retro, summery, floatie-inspired text effect. Let's get started!

This text effect was inspired by the many Layer Styles available on Envato Market.

Tutorial Assets

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

1. Create the Background and the Text

Step 1

Create a new 1000 x 800 px document, and place the Wave image on top of the Background layer.

Resize the image as needed, and rename its layer to BG Texture.

Add the Background Image

Step 2

Create the text using the font Brusher and the Size 250 pt.

Create the Text

2. Convert the Text into a 3D Layer

Step 1

With the text layer selected, go to 3D > New 3D Extrusion from Selected Layer.

Convert to a 3D Layer

Step 2

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.

The 3D Panels

Step 3

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).

Use those modes to change the Current View into an angle you like.

Move Tools 3D Modes

3. Adjust the Mesh Settings

Step 1

Select the 3D mesh tab in the 3D panel, and then, in the Properties panel, change the Texture Mapping to Tile and the Extrusion Depth to 50.

Mesh Properties

Step 2

Click the Cap icon at the top of the Properties panel, and then change the Bevel Width to 10%, the Contour to Half Round, and the Inflate Strength to 15%.

Cap Properties

4. Create the Materials

Step 1

Select all the material tabs in the 3D panel, and then, in the Properties panel use these settings:

  • Specular: 255, 255, 255
  • Illumination: 0, 0, 0
  • Ambient: 0, 0, 0
  • Shine: 60
  • Reflection: 15
  • Opacity: 70
  • Refraction: 1.3
Material Settings

Step 2

Select the Front Inflation Material tab, and then, in the Properties panel, click the Diffuse folder icon and choose New Texture.

Add a Diffuse New Texture

Step 3

Enter 600 for both the Width and Height values, and click OK.

A new file will open with the new document created. If that doesn't happen, click the Diffuse texture icon and choose Edit Texture.

New Texture Dimensions

5. Create the Diffuse Texture

Step 1

When the new file opens, duplicate the Background layer.

Duplicate the Background Layer

Step 2

Double-click the Background copy layer to apply a Pattern Overlay effect using the following settings:

  • Pattern: Back To School Pattern #1
  • Scale: 25%
Pattern Overlay

Step 3

Go to File > Save, then File > Close to go back to the original document.

Save and Close

Step 4

You might see the texture looking a bit stretched. We'll fix that next.

Keep in mind that you can click the Diffuse texture icon and choose Edit Texture to change the pattern used anytime.

Edit the Diffuse Texture

6. Edit the UV Properties

Step 1

Click the Diffuse texture icon and choose Edit UV Properties.

Edit UV Properties

Step 2

What you need to do now is modify the Scale or Tile values until you get a result you like.

Modify the Scale or Tile Values

This will adjust the tiling of the texture and help you get a better result.

Adjusted UV Properties

7. Apply the Pattern to the Other Materials

Step 1

Select the Front and Back Bevel, as well as the Back Inflation material tabs in the 3D panel.

Then, in the Properties panel, click the Diffuse folder icon, and choose the Front Inflation texture from the list.

Apply the Texture to the Other Materials

Step 2

This will apply the pattern to the selected materials. You can then adjust the UV Properties for each material separately.

The Bevel materials do not have to look perfect. You can use different UV values to stretch them a little bit and make the texturing more dynamic.

Adjust the UV Properties

8. Create the Extrusion Material

Step 1

Select the Extrusion Material tab, and create a new 300 x 175 px Diffuse texture file.

New Extrusion Diffuse Texture File

Step 2

Duplicate the Background layer in the new texture file.

Duplicate the Background Layer

Step 3

Double-click the Background copy layer to apply a Pattern Overlay effect using the following settings:

  • Pattern: Back To School Pattern #1
  • Scale: 10%
Pattern Overlay

Step 4

Save and close the file.

Save and Close

Step 5

Adjust the UV Properties for the Extrusion texture.

If the values you enter don't work properly, try going back to the mesh's Texture Mapping option, and switch it to Scale and then back to Tile again.

After that, go back to the UV values and readjust them.

Adjust the UV Properties

9. Adjust the Lighting

Step 1

Select the Infinite Light 1 tab in the 3D panel.

Then, in the Properties panel, change the Color to (251, 249, 239), the Intensity to 100%, and the Shadow Softness to 50%.

Infinite Light 1 Properties

Step 2

Use the Move Tool to move the light around, or you can click the Coordinates icon at the top of the Properties panel, and enter numerical values for that.

Move the Infinite Light

Step 3

Click the Environment tab, and then click the IBL texture icon and choose Replace Texture.

Replace IBL Texture

Step 4

Open the Beach Splash image, and then change the Intensity to 30% and the Ground Plane Shadow Opacity to 2%.

Environment Settings

Step 5

You can use the Move Tool to drag the texture until you get a result you like.

Move the Texture Around

Step 6

Once you're done, choose a final angle you like, and go to 3D > Render. The rendering might take a while, but you can stop it at any time by pressing the Esc key.

Render the Scene

10. Create the Reflection

Step 1

Make sure that the 3D layer is selected, and then go to Select > All, and Edit > Copy.

Create a new layer below the 3D layer, name it Reflection, and go to Edit > Paste Special > Paste in Place.

Right-click the Reflection layer, and choose Convert to Smart Object. Then do the same for the 3D layer.

Create the Reflection Layer

Step 2

Press Command-T to enter Free Transform Mode, and right-click anywhere near the bounding box to get a list of all the options you can work with.

Start by choosing Flip Vertical at the bottom of the list.

Flip Vertical

Step 3

Then start using the other options to get the reflection to look as realistically positioned as possible.

Reposition the Reflection

Step 4

You can also click the Warp icon in the Options bar, and choose one of the presets to help you with adjusting the reflection.

Once you're done, hit the Return key to commit the changes made.

Warp the Reflection

11. Apply Some Filters

Step 1

Change the Reflection layer's Blend Mode to Overlay and its Opacity to 50%.

Reflection Layer Settings

Step 2

Go to Filter > Distort > Ripple, and change the Amount to 86 and the Size to Large.

Ripple Filter

Step 3

Go to Filter > Distort > ZigZag, and then change the Amount to 3, the Ridges to 5, and the Style to Around Center.

ZigZag Filter

12. Adjust the Coloring

Step 1

Add a Selective Color adjustment layer, and use these settings for the Reds (since the pattern color is red):

  • Cyan: 25
  • Magenta: -10
  • Yellow: -5
  • Black: 20
Selective Color Settings

Step 2

Add a Levels adjustment layer, and then change the Shadows value to 15 and the Highlights to 250.

Levels Settings

13. Add the Water Splashes

Step 1

Add a water splash image from the Water Splash PNGs on top of all layers, place it at the bottom of the text, and resize it as needed.

Add a Water Splash Image

Step 2

Change the splash layer's Blend Mode to Lighter Color and its Fill value to 10%.

Splash Layers Settings

Step 3

Double-click the splash layer to apply the following layer style:

Add a Bevel and Emboss with these settings:

  • Size: 4
  • Gloss Contour: Ring
  • Check the Anti-aliased box
  • Highlight Mode: Vivid Light
  • Opacity: 75%
  • Shadow Mode - Opacity: 0%
Bevel and Emboss

Step 4

Add a Contour with these settings:

  • Contour: Ring
  • Check the Anti-aliased box
Contour

Step 5

This will style the splash. Right-click the styled layer, and choose Copy Layer Style.

Copy Layer Style

14. Modify the Splash and Add Some More Splashes

Step 1

Add a layer mask to the splash layer, and then pick the Brush Tool, and choose one of the splash brush tips from the Splashes pack.

Set the Foreground Color to Black, and then use the brush to erase any unwanted areas from the water splash image you have.

Erase Unwanted Areas

Step 2

Add some more splash images, and for each layer of splashes you add, right-click it, and choose Paste Layer Style to style it.

Once you're done, place all the splash layers in a group and call it Splash.

Add Style and Group the Splash Images

Step 3

Add a new layer on top of all the splash layers inside the group, and paste the same layer style to it. Then use some more splash brushes to add more splashing water all over the text.

Add Splash Brushes

15. Add the Texture, Apply a Filter, and Perform Any Finishing Touches

Step 1

Add the Texture 637 image on top of all layers, resize it as needed, and then change its layer's Blend Mode to Soft Light and its Opacity to 60%.

Add the Texture Overlay

Step 2

Press the Option-Command-Shift-E keys to create a stamp layer on top of all layers. Rename the stamp layer to High Pass, and convert it to a smart object.

Create a Stamp Layer

Step 3

Go to Filter > Other > High Pass, and change the Radius to 2.

High Pass Filter

Step 4

Change the High Pass layer's Blend Mode to Soft Light and its Opacity to 50%.

High Pass Layer Settings

Step 5

Add a Gradient Map adjustment layer on top of all layers, and create a gradient fill using the colors #5c6070 to the left, #8b9376 in the center, and #fddd8e to the right

Check the Dither box, and then change the layer's Blend Mode to Soft Light and its Opacity to 50%.

Gradient Map Adjustment Layer

Step 6

Finally, you can decrease the Reflection layer's Opacity a bit more if the reflection looks too strong.

Reduce the Reflections Opacity

Congratulations! You're Done

In this tutorial, we created some text, converted it into a 3D layer, and adjusted its settings and properties. Then, we created the text's material, adjusted the scene's lighting, and rendered the final 3D effect. 

After that, we created the reflection and added some water splashes all around the text. Finally, we used some adjustment layers, filters, and textures to finish everything off.

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

Final Result
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