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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Text Effects
Design

How to Create a 3D, Glowing, Retro 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 smart objects and layer styles to create a 3D, retro, glowing 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 Gradient

Step 1

Create a new 800 x 600 px document, click the Create new fill or adjustment layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel, and choose Solid Color.

Solid Color Layer

Step 2

Use the Color #2e363.

Fill Color

Step 3

Double-click the Solid Color layer to apply a Gradient Overlay effect using these settings:

  • Check the Dither box
  • Blend Mode: Linear Burn
  • Opacity: 20%
  • Style: Radial
  • Scale: 150%
  • Click the Gradient box to create the gradient fill using the colors #ffffff to the left and #ababab to the right
Gradient Overlay

This will create a simple gradient background.

Gradient Background

2. Add the Background Texture

Step 1

Place the Metal texture on top of the Solid Color layer, and resize it as needed.

Rename the texture's layer to BG Texture, and change its Blend Mode to Soft Light.

Add the Background Texture

Step 2

Go to Image > Adjustments > Levels, and change the Gamma value to 1.50.

Levels Adjustment Layer

3. Create the Text and Its Smart Object

Step 1

Create the text using the font Big John. The Size is 200 pt, the Color is #e8a505, and the Tracking is 100.

Create the Text

Step 2

Rename the text layer to Textright-click it, and choose Convert to Smart Object.

Make sure to follow the naming of the layers throughout the tutorial so that things don't get confusing.

Create the Smart Object

Step 3

Duplicate the Text layer, make it invisible, and drag it on top of the copy layer.

Duplicate the Text Layer

4. Create the Transform Action

Next, we're going to duplicate the text and transform the copy layer, and then repeat that for a number of layers.

Since we're working with smart objects, and to avoid any duplicate with transform issues, we'll record an Action for that.

Step 1

Open the Actions panel (under the Window menu).

Open the Actions Panel

Step 2

Click the Create new set icon at the bottom of the panel, enter Extrusion in the Name field, and click OK.

Create New Set

Step 3

Click the Create new action icon at the bottom of the panel, enter Action in the Name field, and click Record.

Create New Action

5. Record the Action

Step 1

Duplicate the Text copy layer by click-dragging it to the New layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel.

Duplicate the Text copy Layer

Step 2

Press Command-T to enter the Free Transform Mode, and then hit the Down Arrow key once and the Right Arrow key once to move the Text copy 2 layer 1 px downwards and 1 px to the right.

Move the Copy 2 Layer

Step 3

Hit the Return key to commit the changes. You should see all the steps recorded and added to the Action you're creating.

Recorded Action

Step 4

Click the Stop recording icon at the bottom of the Actions panel.

Stop Recording

6. Create the Extrusion

Step 1

Click the Play selection icon at the bottom of the Actions panel 10 times to create 10 more copies with the transformation.

Play the Action

The final layer should have the name Text copy 12.

Final Layer

Step 2

Select all the Text copy layers (without the original invisible Text layer), and go to Layer > Arrange > Reverse.

This will place the last copy layer at the bottom and bring the first to the top.

Reverse the Layers Order

Step 3

Deselect the first and last layers, and then place the remaining selected layers in a group and call it Extrusion.

Extrusion Group

Step 4

Rename the Text copy layer to Text Front, and the Text copy 12 layer to Text Back.

Duplicate the Text Front layer, change the copy's Fill value to 0, and then duplicate it.

Create the Text Front and Back Layers

7. Style the Extrusion Layers

Double-click the Text copy 2 layer to apply the following layer style:

Step 1

Add a Bevel and Emboss with these settings:

  • Size: 0
  • Shadow Mode - Opacity: 15%
Bevel and Emboss

Step 2

Add a Drop Shadow with these settings:

  • Opacity: 7%
  • Distance: 3
  • Size: 2
Drop Shadow

Step 3

This will style the first extrusion layer.

Right-click the styled layer, and choose Copy Layer Style.

Copy Layer Style

Step 4

Select the rest of the extrusion layers, right-click any of them, and choose Paste Layer Style.

This will create the 3D extrusion effect.

Paste Layer Style

Step 5

Duplicate the Extrusion group, drag the copy to place it on top of the Text Front copy 2 layer, and change its Fill value to 0.

Duplicate the Extrusion Group

8. Style the Text Front Layer

Double-click the Text Front layer to apply the following layer style:

Step 1

Add a Bevel and Emboss with these settings:

  • Size: 3
  • Gloss Contour: Cove - Deep
  • Check the Anti-aliased box
  • Shadow Mode - Opacity: 15%
Bevel and Emboss

Step 2

Add a Contour with these settings:

  • Contour: Cove - Deep
  • Check the Anti-aliased box
  • Range: 100%
Contour

Step 3

Add a Stroke with these settings:

  • Size: 1
  • Position: Inside
  • Blend Mode: Screen
  • Fill Type: Gradient
  • Use the faucet 70 gradient fill
Stroke

Step 4

Add an Inner Shadow with these settings:

  • Opacity: 35%
  • Uncheck the Use Global Light box
  • Angle: 141
  • Distance: 9
  • Choke: 6
  • Size: 18
Inner Shadow

Step 5

Add an Inner Glow with these settings:

  • Blend Mode: Linear Light
  • Opacity: 100%
  • Color: #d1cc90
  • Technique: Precise
  • Size: 90
  • Contour: Cone - Asymmetrical
Inner Glow

Step 6

Add an Outer Glow with these settings:

  • Opacity: 100%
  • Color: Use the faucet 140 gradient fill
  • Spread: 28
  • Size: 10
  • Contour: Cove - Shallow
Outer Glow

Step 7

Add a Drop Shadow with these settings:

  • Opacity: 7%
  • Distance: 3
  • Size: 2
Drop Shadow

This will style the top layer of the text.

Styled Front 1

9. Style the First Front Copy

Double-click the Text Front copy layer to apply the following layer style:

Step 1

Add a Bevel and Emboss with these settings:

  • Size: 10
  • Uncheck the Use Global Light box
  • Angle: 138
  • Altitude: 21
  • Gloss Contour: Cove - Deep
  • Check the Anti-aliased box
  • Shadow Mode - Opacity: 15%
Bevel and Emboss

Step 2

Add a Contour with these settings:

  • Contour: Cove - Deep
  • Check the Anti-aliased box.
  • Range: 100%
Contour

Step 3

Add a Stroke with these settings:

  • Size: 1
  • Position: Inside
  • Blend Mode: Screen
  • Fill Type: Gradient
  • Use the faucet 70 gradient fill
Stroke

This will style the first layer of the text front's inner part.

Styled Front 2

10. Style the Second Front Copy

Double-click the Text Front copy 2 layer to apply the following layer style:

Step 1

Add a Bevel and Emboss with these settings:

  • Technique: Chisel Hard
  • Size: 10
  • Uncheck the Use Global Light box
  • Angle: 110
  • Altitude: 26
  • Gloss Contour: Cone - Asymmetrical
  • Check the Anti-aliased box
  • Shadow Mode - Opacity: 15%
Bevel and Emboss

Step 2

Add a Contour with these settings:

  • Contour: Notched Slope - rounded
  • Check the Anti-aliased box
  • Range: 100%
Contour

This will style the second layer of the text front's inner part.

Styled Front 3

11. Style the Text Back Layer

Copy and Paste the Text Front layer's layer style to the Text Back layer, and then double-click the Text Back layer to adjust the following settings:

Step 1

Bevel and Emboss:

  • Size: 6
Bevel and Emboss

Step 2

Contour:

  • Contour: Cone - Inverted
Contour

Step 3

Drop Shadow:

  • Opacity: 70%
  • Distance: 20
  • Size: 50
Drop Shadow

This will style the back layer.

Styled Back Layer

12. Style the Extrusion Groups

Step 1

Double-click the Extrusion group to apply a Gradient Overlay effect with these settings:

  • Check the Dither box
  • Blend Mode: Multiply
  • Use the stove pipe 185x gradient fill
Gradient Overlay

This will add some more dimension to the extrusion.

Extrusion Gradient Effect

Step 2

Double-click the Extrusion copy group to apply an Outer Glow effect with these settings:

  • Blend Mode: Linear Light
  • Opacity: 35%
  • Color: #a9f6ff
  • Size: 27
  • Contour: Ring
  • Range: 75%
Outer Glow

Step 3

Group all the visible text copy layers and extrusion groups you have, and call the group Text Effect.

Text Effect Group

Step 4

Double-click the Text Effect group to apply an Outer Glow effect with these settings:

  • Blend Mode: Screen
  • Opacity: 50%
  • Color: #399da7
  • Size: 150
Outer Glow

Step 5

This will finish off the text effect.

If you want to change the text, you can double-click the original Text layer's thumbnail to open the original text file, change the text, go to Image > Reveal All, and then File > Save, and File > Close.

This will update the rest of the smart object layers, and you'll get the effect applied to the new text you entered.

Final Text Effect

13. Add a Texture and Some Adjustment Layers

Step 1

Place the Freeze texture on top of all layers, and rename its layer to Texture Overlay. Change the Texture Overlay layer's Blend Mode to Linear Burn and its Opacity to 15%.

Texture Overlay

Step 2

Add a Gradient Map adjustment layer on top of all layers, and check the Dither box.

Create the gradient fill using the colors #433469 to the left, #5e6474 in the middle, and #d4b28a to the right.

Change the layer's Blend Mode to Color and its Opacity to 15%.

Gradient Map 1

Step 3

Duplicate the Gradient Map adjustment layer, and then change the copy's Blend Mode to Soft Light and its Opacity to 50%.

Gradient Map 2

Congratulations, You're Done!

In this tutorial, we created a simple gradient background with a texture overlay.

Then we created the text, converted it into a smart object, and duplicated it. After that, we recorded an action to create the extrusion and started applying different layer styles to the layers to create the text effect.

Finally, we added a texture and a couple of adjustment layers to finish everything off.

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

Final Result
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