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How to Create a 3D Warehouse Sign Text Effect

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

This tutorial will show you how to use Photoshop's shape attributes, along with 3D mesh, material, and lighting settings, to create a 3D warehouse sign and add it to a background texture. Let's get started!

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

Tutorial Assets

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

1. How to Create the Basic Text Shapes

Step 1

Create a 1000 x 800 px New Document.

Pick the Rounded Rectangle Tool, change the Radius in the Options bar to 10 px, and create the sign shape.

Rename the shape layer's to Sign.

Create a Rounded Rectangle Shape

Step 2

Create the text in All Caps using the Grounday Font. Set the Size to 300 pt, or use any size you like, and change the Sign shape's size so that the text fits in it.

Center the text inside the Sign shape when done.

Create the Text

Step 3

Rename the text layer to Text, right-click it, and choose Convert to Shape.

Convert to Shape

Step 4

Duplicate the Text layer and rename the copy to Stroke.

Stroke Layer

Step 5

Pick the Direct Selection Tool (A), and change the Fill in the Options bar to None and the Stroke Size to 5.

Click the Set shape stroke type icon, and click the More Options button to get the Stroke settings box.

Set the Align to Outside, the Caps to Square, and the Corners to Miter.

Check the Dashed Line box, and change the first Dash value to 3 and the first Gap value to 20.

You can use any other values you like as well, depending on the text you have and the result you want.

Stroke Settings

2. How to Subtract Shapes

Step 1

Duplicate the Text layer, place the copy layer on top of the Sign layer, and select both the Text copy and Sign layers.

Duplicate the Text Layer

Step 2

Go to Layer > Combine Shapes > Subtract Front Shape.

Rename the resulting layer to Sign, and change its Fill color if needed.

Subtract Front Shape

Step 3

Pick the Ellipse Tool, press-hold the Option key, and click-drag to create a little circle close to the top left corner of the sign shape.

Try to keep the little circle close to the edges.

Subtract an Ellipse Shape

Step 4

Create another matching circle in the right corner of the Sign shape.

If you find it hard to match both circles, you can create and align them in separate layers, and then subtract them from the sign just like you did with the Text shape.

When you're done, click the Path operations icon in the Options bar, and click Merge Shape Components.

Merge Shape Components

3. How to Create 3D Meshes and Work With the 3D Scene

Step 1

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

Create the 3D Layers

Step 2

Select all the 3D layers you have, and go to 3D > Merge 3D Layers.

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).

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

Change the View

4. How to Adjust the 3D Mesh and Cap Settings

Step 1

Select the Sign mesh tab in the 3D panel, and change the Extrusion Depth in the Properties panel to 10 px.

Extrusion Depth

Step 2

Click the Cap icon at the top of the Properties panel, change the Sides to Front and Back, the Bevel Width to 1, and the Contour to Half Round.

Cap Settings

Step 3

Change the Text mesh's Extrusion Depth to 10 px as well.

Extrusion Depth

Step 4

Click the Cap icon, change the Sides to Front and Back, the Bevel Width to 2, and the Contour to Half Round.

Cap Settings

Step 5

Change the Stroke mesh's Extrusion Depth to 50 px.

Extrusion Depth

Step 6

Pick the Move Tool, and use the 3D Axis to move the 3D meshes into their final positions.

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 part you want.

Move the Meshes

5. How to Add Preset 3D Meshes

Step 1

Create a New Layer on top of the 3D layer, name it Donut, and Fill it with Black.

Create a New Layer

Step 2

Go to 3D > New Mesh from Layer > Mesh Preset > Donut.

Click the Donut mesh's Current View tab in the 3D panel, and choose the Sign view from the View menu in the Properties panel.

This will match both camera views to help better merge the 3D layers later on.

Create a Donut Mesh

Step 3

Create another New Layer, name it Cylinder, and fill it with Black as well.

Go to 3D > New Mesh from Layer > Mesh Preset > Cylinder, and match its Current View to the Sign's.

Create a Cylinder Mesh

Step 4

Create one more New Layer, name it Sphere, and fill it with Black.

Go to 3D > New Mesh from Layer > Mesh Preset > Sphere, and match the Current View to the Sign's.

Create a Sphere Mesh

Step 5

Select all the new 3D layers, as well as the Sign layer, and go to 3D > Merge 3D Layers.

Merge 3D Layers

6. How to Create and Work With Instance Objects

Step 1

Hide the Cylinder and Sphere meshes by clicking the eye icon next to each of their tabs in the 3D panel, and make sure to select the Donut mesh tab.

Hide 3D Meshes

Step 2

Scale down the Donut mesh, rotate it, and place it in the Sign mesh's left corner hole.

You can click the Coordinates icon at the top of the Properties panel to use numerical values, especially for the Rotation Angles.

Adjust the Donut Mesh

Step 3

Right-click the Donut mesh tab, and choose Instance Object.

An Instance Object is basically a linked copy that reflects the changes made to the original object, like the material settings, for example.

Instance Object

Step 4

Move the instance object to the other corner's hole.

Move the Instance Object

7. How to Scale 3D Meshes

Step 1

Show the Cylinder mesh. For the cylinder, you'll need to scale the mesh along the Y-Axis to stretch it vertically.

If you're using the Coordinates values to do that, you'll need to click the Scale icon and uncheck the Uniform Scaling option first.

Uniform Scaling

Step 2

Place the Cylinder mesh on top of the Donut mesh.

Move the Cylinder Mesh

Step 3

Create an Instance Object from the Cylinder mesh and move it on top of the instance Donut mesh.

Instance Object

Step 4

Repeat the same steps to add Sphere meshes where you like.

Add the Sphere Meshes

8. How to Create a Simple Metal Material

Step 1

Select the Donut, Cylinder, and Sphere Material tabs, and use these material settings:

  • Specular: 138, 138, 138
  • Shine: 50

You can increase the Reflection value a little bit if you like as well.

Basic Material Settings

Step 2

Click the Diffuse texture icon, choose Replace Texture, and open image 3 from the Metal gradient seamless textures 1 pack.

Replace Texture

Step 3

Select the Donut_Material tab, click the Diffuse texture icon, and choose Edit Texture.

Edit Texture

Step 4

This will open the texture file. Add a Levels Adjustment Layer and change the Gamma value to 0.55.

Save and close the file.

Levels Settings

Step 5

This is an optional part, but you can click the Diffuse texture icon again, choose Edit UV Properties, and adjust the texture's tiling values if needed.

Edit UV Properties

9. How to Add a Bump Texture

Step 1

Select the Cylinder_Material tab, click the Bump folder icon, and choose New Texture.

New Texture

Step 2

Set the Width and Height values to 500, and click OK.

Set the Dimensions

Step 3

When the new file opens, Duplicate the Background layer, and double-click the copy to apply a Pattern Overlay effect using the 10 px horizontal stripes for the Pattern fill.

Save and close the file.

Pattern Overlay

Step 4

Increase the Bump value to 50, and adjust the UV Properties to get a result you like.

Adjust the Bump Settings

10. How to Create a Simple Wooden Material

Step 1

Select the Sign Front Inflation Material tab, click its Diffuse texture icon, and choose Edit Texture.

Place the seamless wood tex image on top of the shape layer, and Clip it to it to see how it looks.

The texture is tileable, so you can repeat it if necessary. When done, Save and close the file.

Edit the Sign Texture

Step 2

To apply the same texture for the Bump, click the Bump folder icon, and choose the Sign texture from the list.

Change the Specular color to (210, 208, 208), and the Shine value to 70%.

More Material Settings

Step 3

Select the Sign Extrusion Material tab, use the PlywoodNew0061 image for the Diffuse texture, and change the Specular color to (51, 51, 51).

Sign Extrusion Material

Step 4

Click the Sign mesh tab and change the Texture Mapping to Tile.

Texture Mapping

Step 5

Select the Sign Extrusion Material tab again, and adjust the UV Properties to get a result you like.

Eidt UV Properties

11. How to Create Other Basic Materials

Step 1

Select all the Stroke Material tabs and use these settings:

  • Diffuse: Use the PlywoodNew0061 image
  • Specular: 185, 184, 181
  • Shine: 50%
Stroke Material

Step 2

Select all the Text Material tabs, click the Diffuse texture, and choose Remove Texture.

Remove Texture

Step 3

Use these settings:

  • Diffuse: 227, 227, 227
  • Specular: 241, 240, 240
  • Illumination: 191, 191, 191
  • Shine: 100%
Text Material Settings

12. How to Add a Background Texture

Step 1

Place the Background image below the 3D layer, and rename its layer to BG.

Add the Background Image

Step 2

Go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation, change the Hue to 10 and the Saturation to -35.

Hue and Saturation adjustment layer

Step 3

Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur, and change the Radius to 5.

add a Gaussian Blur

Step 4

Select the 3D layer, and change the Current View to match the background image's angle.

Change the Current View

13. How to Adjust a Scene's 3D Lighting

Step 1

Select the Infinite Light 1 tab, and change the Intensity to 50% and the Shadow Softness to 30%.

Infinite Light 1 Settings

Step 2

Use the Move Tool or the Coordinates values to move the light towards the top left corner, and tilt it a bit to the back.

Infinite Light 1 Location

Step 3

Click the Add new Light to Scene icon at the bottom of the 3D panel, and choose New Infinite Light.

New Infinite Light

Step 4

Change the Intensity to 30% and uncheck the Shadow box.

Infinite Light 2 Settings

Step 5

Move the light to the bottom right corner.

Infinite Light 2 Location

Step 6

Click the Environment tab, click the IBL texture icon, and choose Replace Texture to open the Warehouse image.

Replace IBL Texture

Step 7

Change the Intensity to 30% and the Ground Plane Shadows Opacity to 0%.

Move the light around if you like to see different results.

Environment Light Settings

Step 8

Click the IBL texture icon and choose Edit Texture. Add a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer and change the Saturation value to -75Save and close the file.

Hue and Saturation adjustment layer

14. How to Render a 3D Scene and Add Adjustments

Step 1

Once you're done making changes to your 3D scene, go to 3D > Render 3D Layer. The rendering might take a while, but you can stop it any time by pressing the Esc key.

You can also stop the rendering to adjust the lighting, the camera view, or anything else you think needs tweaking, and render again until you get a result you like.

When you're done rendering, right-click the 3D layer and choose Convert to Smart Object to avoid making any accidental changes.

Render and Convert to Smart Object

Step 2

Add a Curves Adjustment Layer, Clip it to the 3D layer, and tweak the curve to adjust the lighting.

Curves adjustment layer

Step 3

Add a Brightness/Contrast Adjustment Layer, Clip it to the 3D layer as well, and change both the Brightness and Contrast values to 10.

Brightness and Contrast adjustment layer

15. How to Add Global Adjustments

Step 1

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

Create the Gradient fill using these Color and Location Stops:

Color - Location

  • #282828 - 0%
  • #53535c - 25%
  • #7a7b87 - 50%
  • #a3a4ad - 75%
  • #ededf1 - 100%

Change the Gradient Map layer's Blend Mode to Soft Light and its Opacity to 35%.

Gradient Map adjustment layer

Step 2

Add a Color Lookup Adjustment Layer, choose the Sienna-Blue table from the Abstract menu, and change the layer's Opacity to 35%.

Color Lookup adjustment layer

Step 3

Create a New Layer on top of all layers, and name it Noise.

Add a Noise Layer

Step 4

Go to Edit > Fill, and change the Contents to 50% Gray.

Add a Gray Fill Layer

Step 5

Convert the Noise layer to a Smart Object, and set the Foreground and Background Colors to Black and White.

Convert to a Smart Object

Step 6

Go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise, change the Amount to 2.5 and the Distribution to Gaussian, and check the Monochromatic box.

Add Noise

Step 7

Change the Noise layer's Blend Mode to Soft Light.

Change the Blend Mode

Congratulations! You're Done

In this tutorial, we created a bunch of shape layers to create the sign and the text.

Then, we converted the shapes to 3D meshes, added more preset 3D meshes and instance objects, and adjusted their settings and materials.

After that, we added and modified the background texture image, and adjusted the lighting of the 3D scene accordingly.

Finally, we rendered the scene, and added adjustment and fill layers to finish off the effect.

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

3D Warehouse Sign Text Effect Photoshop Tutorial
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