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Create a 3D Text Effect With Photoshop and Maya

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What You'll Be Creating
This tutorial was originally published in January 2013 as a Tuts+ Premium tutorial. It is now available free to view. Although this tutorial does not use the latest version of Adobe Photoshop, its techniques and process are still relevant.

Photoshop is an incredibly versatile application that is often used along side 3D applications. In this tutorial, we will show you how to sketch out an idea for a text effect, build up the idea in Photoshop, render it in 3D using Maya, and then how to add the finishing touches again in Photoshop. Let's get started!

Get inspired! Find more text effects on Envato Market.

Tutorial Assets

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


Before you get into project like this, it's good to do some brainstorming. Throw together some random ideas, save them in your mind, on paper, in Photostop, anywhere. It's all just to give you a clue as to what you're striving for. Even if you're not good with drawing, just try it.

You can see my own doodles below. They're not pretty, but it's the fastest way to visualize your goals, also it can open your eyes and give you many great ideas that you can implement later on.

1. How to Create the Text

Step 1

Let's start by opening a Photoshop document of 3000px x 3600px. Pick a font of your own choice (I used Helvetica, it's heavy and makes the letters look massive, like buildings do).

Make sure you type every letter in separate layer so you can easily rotate it, the do some twists as you see in 1st image below. Although it's kind of a fantasy scene, I wanted to keep the pose after collapse quite real.

Notice in 2nd image below, that every letter leans on the next one, like they just fell on each other. I've indicated there several points that make letters stick together to give you idea how this works. Now, everything here needs to sit on something, otherwise it will look like the text is jumping up, and the whole idea of collapse won't make any sense.

Our bottom letters are quite crooked, so yeah, if we want to feel the gravity (red arrow - 3rd image below) at this point we should bring up something underneath the text to make the surface completely plain (3rd image below). If you take a far look at this text you will notice that they totally make sense, by that I mean, in reality they would collapse in quite similar way. This is just a part of visualizing it, you can draw a surface just to see how your work should be further settled.

Tip: Try to start building your text from the letters on the very bottom (from the last word), it gets much easier this way, as you sort of have wider visual range of constructing them.

Step 2

Now, select all letter layers, right-click on any layer and choose Convert to Shape option (1st image below). Then again keep those layers selected and hit Command-E, this will merge all the shape layers into shape while still maintaining the vector mode (2nd image below). You should get that little square in corner to know it's still a shape layer (indicated with red arrow in 2nd image below). I'm not sure if this whole process I just did works in other Photoshop versions, so I strongly recommend using CS6. When you're done, go to File > Export > Paths to Illustrator. This will save the path to file.

2. How to Make the Text 3D

Step 1

Next, open Maya. Go to File > Import, then select the saved .ai file with paths (1st image below). Switch to the Surfaces section (indicated with red - 2nd image below). Then select first letter and go to Surfaces > Bevel Plus, set the desired Bevel Depth and apply this process to every letter. If your basic text got letters with gaps inside themselves like A, R, B, etc., make sure you select first the outer line and then the inner line while holding shift, before applying bevel plus. Otherwise you might receive an error or some full shape.

Step 2

We should be done with the 3D stuff now and to be honest you can render this text as it is right now. However, just to give me a better clue on some lights I decided to bring up a few ones myself here. So go to Create > Lights and choose here either Area or Spot Lights. You can throw few a round the scene and rotate it so they are targeting front and back of the text, these are the parts I basically wanted to keep in light (1st image below). Now if you decide to set those up, you will need to go to the Atribute Editor window, select the Raytrace Shadow Attributes and check Use Ray Trace Shadows option, then you can play around with the values there to get a decent shading. Finally go to Window > Rendering Editiors > Render View. In settings make sure you're saving the file as PSD with Alpha channel checked (2nd image below). Then select Mental Ray and simply render the text (3rd image below).

3. How to Add the Background and Colors

Step 1

OK, great. Now that the text is ready, bring it up to Photoshop. Take a look at 1st image below. I've just added some background to put my text in any scene (1st image below), this is not something you need to do, but I really find it helpful sometimes. I used the perspective basing on my Maya not rendered view of the text.

Now in the same image (1st below), you should now bring back the vector shape text that we made in step 1. Next using Command-T > Distort, try to match it to face of the render that we created. Don't worry if it isn't perfect, in fact if you take a look at mine (1st image below), it has some unmatched corners and sides. It's fine, now that you have it positioned, use Direct Selection Tool (A) and adjust the anchor points exactly on the edges of the proper letters (2nd image below). If you do a good job on this, the text shape should now almost perfectly match the 3D render face.

Next, as I mentioned previously, I used the perspective view from Maya to give me a clue how to put things on the ground. So draw or distort a grid over your ground to set the perspective (3rd image below), and then using this guide draw a plain surface underneath your text. Pen Tool path or distorting simple square shape layer will do the job fine.

Step 2

Now switch back to the shape text layer, we'll divide it into single letters. To do this, select Direct Selection Tool (A), click on first letter - this will reveal its path. Then right-click on it and select "New Selection". When the dialogue box appears, just hit OK. Now that you have that selection up you have two ways of separating the letter to new layer 1. Create New Layer above, grab Paint Bucket (G) and fill that selection with color. 2. Select Rectangular Marquee Tool (M), again right-click on the letter and select Shape Layer Via Cut (or Copy). The difference between these two is that the first one will rasterize the letter and the second one will keep it vector. I used the first method, might seem less confusing.

After that grab some medium gray color and paint shadows under text and the floor (3rd image below). Shadow underneath the text doesn't need to be accurate at the moment, it should be rather straight and sketchy, as later on we're going to fill that space with an uneven surface like ground/rocks/grass etc. Remember to always keep those layers with shadows in Multiply Blending Mode, as whatever further comes below these layers, Multiply will blend with it.

Step 3

Next use one of the backgrounds from the tutorial assets of "background" link and put it below the floor layer in Layers Palette (on the very bottom). Because they're seamless you can adjust them to any size you want simply by duplicating them and setting next to each other (1st image below). If you picked a saturated texture, try to make it more light and desaturated using Hue/Saturation (2nd image below). Next use Gradient adjustment layer, change its Blending Mode to Soft Light, adjust its Opacity to 70-80% and set it from black to transparent (3rd image below). Make sure it's casting black from the bottom to top.

Step 4

Above the Gradient layer create a Curves Adjustment Layer, set it as shown in 1st image below. Then select the Curves mask and totally fill it with black color using Paint Bucket (G).

Then use soft white brush and paint around the mask to reveal it (3rd image below), we're mostly looking for the corners and edges to be visible. You might notice some straight horizontal brushing on my mask (3rd image below), by doing that I tried to indicate the surface.

So in 4th image below you can not only notice that the mask is revealed in corners, it also gives us an impression that the text is really sitting somewhere in space within the perspective. Now add another Adjustment Layer - Gradient and the colors from black to white.

Make sure it's a Radial type of gradient (4th image below) and set its Blending Mode to Multiply (80-90% Opacity). If your result is still too dark, you can use new layer with Overlay Blending Mode, and just paint with soft white color in the center of the image. This should brighten up and bring the focus to center.

4. How to Add Texture

Step 1

Next, open image wall_1, drag it above O letter layer and while having that layer selected, hit Command-Alt-G (Clipping Mask). This should look like in my Layer Palette preview in 1st image below. Then use Command-T (Distort and/or Perspective) and match the perspective of brick wall to the O letter face (1st image below).

Now, repeat this step and add texture to U and T letters. Open the link called wall_2 and pick 2 another, but different brick walls. It's important to keep some variety, as in reality there are no two exactly the same cracks. Remember that the angle of the texture needs to match the letter angle. So if the letter is falling to the right and its top side is visible too, same way should be directed your texture.

Important note: From now on we will be only using Clipping Masks, while working with the letter adjustments. So please remember, when you will be told to add another adjustment layer, you just go ahead and hit Command-Alt-G to add a Clipping Mask.

Step 2

Now you've probably noticed that the U, T letters texture is slightly different than O's, and it looks like O just needs a little bit of a yellow tones touch and some destaturation to match the rest of letters. So now add Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer (remember to use Clipping Mask!), and lower the Saturation almost all the way down and add a little bit of Lightness. Now if you're not getting something similar to my 1st image below, you could either use some masking on the Hue/Saturation layer to reveal the saturation on bricks or/and add a little bit of red and yellow tones with Color Balance (set it in Shadows and Midtones).

Next, add another adjustment layer - Brightness/Contrast, lower the contrast all the way down (2nd image below), then select black color and using Paint Bucket (G) fill the layer mask with black. Now, as indicated in 2nd image below (red color), paint with soft white brush to reveal the mask and bring up the lowered contrast. You need to paint in dark areas to soften them. If this isn't enough, you might try to Duplicate this Brightness/Contrast layer 1-2 times to give it a better effect. After this, create another adjustment layer - Solid Color, and fill it with soft brown color like #cdb89f. This will totally fill up the letter with solid tone and we just want some touch of that color here, so lower this layer Opacity down to 15-20% to match the O tone showed in 3rd image below.

Step 3

Let's proceed adding further adjustments. Now add a new normal layer above, change its Blending Mode to Overlay. Set your color to #fff6e2 and use soft brush to paint as indicated in 1st image below. This will add some nice edge lights. Next, create Gradient Map adjustment layer, set it as showed in 2nd image below, then lower its Opacity to around 30%. After this, create another new layer, set its Blending Mode to Color. Pick a soft orange/red tone #ca9d74 and softly brush on the bricks as indicated in 3rd image below.

Step 4

Moving further, create another adjustment layer - Curves. Set it as showed in 1st image below and hide its layer mask by filling it up with black color (simply use Paint Bucket). Then use soft white brush to paint on mask. Paint as indicated with red color in 1st image below. By doing this you should bring up some nice shading to the overall shape. Notice that the bottom right side of the letter receives a little bit more shadow.

Repeat this process but this time adjust the Curves to lighten up the letter - as showed in 2nd image below. So create new Curves layer above, set it properly, hide its Layer Mask and then paint as indicated to reveal the lights (green color in 2nd image below). This should make the bricks stand out a little bit, as well as some parts of the cracked wall. When you're done, add another adjustment layer - Brightness/Contrast, drop the Brightness and Contrast half way. Now again hide Layer Mask by filling with black color. Then use soft white brush and paint as indicated in 3rd image below - increase the letter's face ledge shading.

Step 5

Now create another adjustment layer - Gradient Map. Set it from black to white. Again hide the Layer Mask using Paint Bucket with black color. Change layer's Blending Mode to Soft Light (or Overlay - it depends on how intense you want your effect to be). Then adjust the Opacity to match your own needs, mine was set to around 70%. Finally add Selective Color and set only Red and White within the adjustment layer (2nd image below). If you don't like the adjustment taking effect on the whole letter face, just use black to paint on Layer Mask where you don't like it. Now we should get back the color and contrast, as well as receive the whole less photographic look (3rd image below).

Step 6

You should probably know what to do now. This is basically the same process that we just did to the O letter, but without desaturating it (as we did while beginning to work on O letter). So I'll skip describing it accurately. I'll just shortly remind you what we did:

  • 1st image below - adding Brightness/Contrast, spot painting to reveal the mask (you might Duplicate the layer to strengthen the effect)
  • 2nd image below - adding Solid Color (soft brown), dropping layer Opacity to 15-20%
  • 3rd image below - adding edge lights using very soft brown on new layer, Blending Mode set to Overlay
  • 4th image below - adding Gradient Map, Opacity to 30% max.

For any additional info like color guidance - refer to the previous steps.

Step 7

This is the part where we used Curves to cast shadows and lights (1st image below), repeat it the same way in our previous steps. Next add Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer, lower them half way down and add shading on the letter ledges Finally add Selective Color and set only Red and White within the adjustment layer If you don't like the adjustment taking effect on the whole letter face, just use black to paint on Layer Mask where you want it. Now we should get back the color and contrast, as well as receive the whole less photographic look as previously.

5. How to Sketch More Details

Step 1

Now let’s sketch some new items to incorporate into the illustration. As you can see, I have added a cuckoo clock, as well as some roads.

Use small, hard, black brush to sketch the outlines (1st image below). Then fill them with transparent black color to still see what's going on below them (2nd image below). And finally trace them using Pen Tool (3rd image below).

To do the tracing you will definitely need some good Pen Tool skills. I've mention that this tutorial is for advanced users, but still, if you're trying your hand on this, you might find this guide helpful to proceed here.

Step 2

To make the paths less distracting change their colors to dark and light grey. As you may notice they cover some parts of the text (indicated with red arrows in 1st image below) and it's ok, now we know where the text doesn't need any special attention. But for now let's still stick to texturing letters.

So take a look at the 2nd image below. I've moved back to my Maya text and selected the whole group just to see how the perspective of each letter is going (2nd image below). Notice that each letter has its own perspective and depending on the letter pose it varies. If you match this with our Photoshop text you can easily see how to set your perspective (3rd image below).

So open the "brickwall" image from our preparation hit Command-T > Distort (and/or Perspective) and try to position the bricks along the perspective lines (4th image below). Now, in Layers Palette, go back the 3D text render layer (it now works as the back of our letters) and drag that brick layer above the rendered text, then hit Command-Alt-G (Clipping Mask).

This will automatically fit it into the inner part of O letter (5th image below). As you can see you don't necessarily need to build the brickwall with only one distorted image, you can Duplicate bricks layer and rotate so it fits the rest of the empty space (6th image below). Also take a look at the green arrow in 6th image below, it indicated a piece of wall taken from the same brickwall as the O face has, I wanted to make a good connection between the front of the letter and its inner part, and it works just great! So do not fear to try to add some wall or other elements there as well.

6. How to Add More Textures

Step 1

Now remember, as usual we will add every adjustment layer using Clipping Masks (Command-Alt-T). So now add two Hue/Saturation adjustment layers and set them as showed in 2nd image below. They specifically need to affect these indicated areas (to do this cover their masks with black and paint with soft white brush in these areas to reveal the masks). Next again use the same texture that we used on O's letter face and try to match it to the top that it sort of connects with the front (2nd image below). If you want some more variety on your top letter part, you might duplicate that wall layer and add some bricks from it, like in the 3rd image below (use Clipping Masks on every layer that is meant to cover the inner part of the letter!). Next, create new layer above and very softly brush with indicated color (4th image below), this should soften the texture giving it some additional warmth as well.

Step 2

Continue working on the inner part of the letter. Now add a Gradient Map (as showed in 1st image below) and drop its Opacity to 30%. Next, using the technique of painting on Curves. So use Curves to cast shadows (2nd image below) and Lights (3rd image below). Then again paint on the same Curves layer which casts lights, but now try to make the detail pop up a little bit, especially bricks sides (3rd image below).

Step 3

OK, great! Use the same technique to texture the U and T letters, the process is all the same as we just did in previous steps. Remember that we're still working on the 3D text render layer, you can divide it into smaller parts to avoid mess (or even separate each letter back from the next one and then work on each separately using clipping masks). You might also notice that some letters like T are very square and if you just drop a plain texture on them, they are not exactly accentuating the letter angles. So to do that, simply use Pen Tool or Polygonal Lasso Tool and then paint inside the selection (4th image below). To fill up the outside selection parts, hit Command-Shift-I to inverse the selection and then cast some lights or shadows again.

Step 4

Now let's switch to letters on the very top. This time use some more delicate texture like "wall_3" from preparation. Scale it down and fill each of these top letters with it (1st image below). Then again using Curves paint some shadows in the edges of the letters (indicated with red in 2nd image below).

Step 5

Next, switch to letters on the very bottom. This time use "wall_4" texture to fill up each of them. I wanted to keep the tops of the letters dilapidate, so I kept the pattern in the top of each letter (1st image below). Then again, repeat what's been done in previous step - using Curves paint some shadows in the edges of the letters (indicated with red in 2nd image below). Then you can cast some additional shadows using Curves again or just paint with medium grey brush on new layer with Blending Mode set to Multiply (3rd image below). Basically, here you should create some delicate shading caused by the middle letters.

Step 6

Now let's take care of the smallest word - OF. Use "concrete" texture and fill up both of these letters (remember to keep using Clipping Masks!). Add Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer (2nd image below). Then desaturate it a little bit with Hue/Saturation (3rd image below). And using the Curves technique add some shadows (4th image below) and lights (5th image below).

Step 7

Now, go back to the 3D render text layer. Again use Curves technique to paint shadows, so first add the Curves Adjustment layer, hide its mask and adjust the curve for shading (1st image below). Then use Pen Tool or Polygonal Lasso Tool and draw selection accentuating the corner of F letter (1st image below). Now paint shadows inside (yellow arrow 1st image below) and outside the selection (red arrows 1st image below - use Command-Shift-I to inverse the selection before painting).

Next again use Curves, but this time cast some lights as indicated in 2nd image below. Make sure the curve line is adjusted properly for adding lights.

Step 8

Keep adding the texture to the rest of the letters. Take care of the "Business" word now. Use "ground" image from tutorial assets. Try to maintain a tiny detail in the texture, so make you don't throw a huge texture on the letters, rather scale it down first. Then, again use Curves technique to cast shadows (as indicated in 1st image below). Next add another adjustment layer Brightness/Contrast, adjust it as showed, then use soft black brush and paint on white mask to erase some of the brightness from letters edges (indicated with red 2nd image below). Finally use Curves again, this time set it up for casting lights and paint as indicated in 3rd image below.

Step 9

Let's move to the text on the very top, again work on 3D render layer (if you separated letters, simply just move to the "We Are" word). Bring up the same wall texture as the letter faces have and darken it using some Level adjusting on it (1st image below). To make the texture less popping out use Brightness/Contrast now (2nd image below), and you can even double that layer to make the effect stronger. Next, use Curves technique to add shadows as indicated in 3rd image below and another Curves to cast lights as indicated in 4th image below.

7. How to Add the Roads, Rocks and Grass

Step 1

Looking good! Now let's move to adding roads. So open up the "road" image from tutorial assets. Use Command-T > Distort (and/or Perspective) and try to set the perspective along with the yellow arrow (1st image below). Having that piece of road, use Command-J to duplicate it as many times as you want to fill up the road shape. While you're doing, remember to use Clipping Masks these road layers, to stick them to the original road shape layer. Also, you can see some red arrows in the 1st image below, this is the direction your road images should be set. So use the road in perspective that you created and now put it along the red lines (no erasing is needed here, the road tiny texture should blend with no problem).

Next, you probably noticed that in 1st image below that there are some lights on the roads already. So to do these, let's just merge all the "road" layers you just created and slightly darken them using Levels. Then create Curves adjustment layer, set it up to cast lights, fill up the mask with black and reveal the mask (with white brush) where it's showed in 2nd image below. By the time, use the same road texture to fill up the road edges (2nd image below).

Then add some adjustment layers to the top of the road - Gradient Map and Hue/Saturation (3rd image below). Now, to make the lights a little bit stronger and by the same time softer use Brightness/Contrast, fill its mask with black and paint (on mask using white color) to reveal some lights (indicated in 4th image below). Next use another adjustment layer - Gradient Map (5th image below).

Finally add some shadows (indicated with red, 6th image below), and lights (indicated with green, 7th image below) using Curves method.

Step 2

Now let's take care of the road edges. First switch to this layer and add Brightness/Contrast, adjust it as showed in 1st image below (remember to use Clipping Masks all the time!). Next throw Hue/Saturation and Levels adjustment layers (2nd image below). And please do not mess up the layer order, there is a reason they are added one after another. So always keep the order as shown. Next, again use Curves technique to add shadows (indicated with red) and lights (indicated with green), for the reference look at 3rd image below. As for final touch, separate the road faces from sides (4th image below). To do this use Pen Tool or Polygonal Lasso Tool, draw two selections and paint with soft white color within that shape.

Step 3

OK, let's now go to the floor. Use one of the textures from "Gravel_2" in tutorial assets. Hit Command-T > Distort and adjust it along the perspective (1st image below). Stick this texture to the floor shape layer (use Clipping Masks all the time). Then, let's go to the layer of the floor edge shape and add the same texture there. To vary the lighting on those surfaces, apply some shadows to the bottom of the edge (use any of the previous techniques or just grab Burn Tool and paint over the texture) - 2nd image below.

Next open "grass" image, adjust it the exact same way as the gravel and again use Clipping Mask to stick it to all the top floor layers. Use hard Eraser and get rid of the unwanted parts of grass (3rd image below) - draw some sidewalks/roads etc.

Then open "gravel_1" image. Cut out some rocks from there and paste them as one merged layer above floor layers in our Layers Palette (4th image below). Then create new layer below these rocks, change it's Blending Mode Multiply (you can stick it to the top floor layers using Clipping Mask, but it's not mandatory, it mostly needs to be below the text layer). Then set your brush color to #4c371f, remove the shape shadow and paint some normal shadows below the letters (red arrows, 4th image below), at the same time use #899498 and paint shadows caused by the roads on the blue surface (yellow arrows, 4th image below).

OK, still while we're at adding shadows, move fast to the 3D text layer and bring back its selection (Command-left-click on layer's thumbnail), if you have the layer divided into small parts, use the same command but hold Shift (while clicking on other thumbnails) to add new selections to the existing one. Then create new layer below "road" layers (but above all the text layers), set its Blending Mode to Multiply and use color #81776c to cast shadows. Use 5th and 6th image below as reference.

Step 4

Now go to the rocks layer add new layer (use Clipping Masks all the time), set your color soft brown/yellow #877759 and softly brush on the dark spots over rocks (1st image below). Then again use Curves technique to cast shadows on the bottom sides of the rocks (2nd image below). Repeat the process but this time add lights as indicated in the 3rd image below. Next create new layer, change it's Blending Mode to Multiply, use soft brush and paint with#795d3b as indicated in 3rd image below to cast shadows between rocks and letters. Now they should look like they're really standing there.

Step 5

Now as you can see the rocks don't cast any shadow below themselves and it's not a mistake, as we'll try to cover them with grass to bring up the reality feeling even more. To do this, you have to group all your rocks layers (simply select them all and hit Command-G). Then go to you Brush Settings, select the Dune Grass Brush and proceed with the settings from the first three boxes below (everything important is indicated there). Next, add a Layer Mask to the rocks group, set your brush to black and paint with that settings we just made (use indicated spots in 2nd/3rd image below). This will mask out the grass shape from the rocks giving an impression that the grass is really there.

Step 6

While you're at the same brush settings move to the original shape layer of the top floor. Right-click on it in Layers Palette and choose Rasterize Layer. Then using any color paint with the same brush settings directly on that layer - paint where the green arrows indicate in 1st image below. This should make the grass stand outside the floor. Then move back on the top of floor layers, stick another adjustment layer to them - Solid Color (using Clipping Mask). Select color indicated in 2nd image below and lower this layer's Opacity to 10-20.

Then switch back to regular soft brush, create New Layer (remember to use Clipping Mask), change its Blending Mode to Soft Light. Now use the light yellow color and paint as indicated in 3rd image below.

Step 7

Next, load the selection of grass (1st image below), then create a new group above floor layers and while having this selection active click on the Add Layer Mask icon in Layers Palette. Your group view should now look like mine in 1st image below (selection should disappear with the appearance of layer mask). After this, again use Curves to cast some shadows in indicated areas (2nd image below). Then move to adding some adjustment layers, first go for Color Balance and then Gradient Map. Adjust it as showed in 3rd image below.

8. How to Add the Final Details

Step 1

Looking great! Now to make this fully complete, as I sketched before, let's make the cuckoo clock. It's not necessary, but I find it not only funny but it's also nice addition to fill up the canvas space and correct the composition. So open the original image of cuckoo clock. You will notice that it's a frontal view with some additional elements on the sides that we don't want. So before you move it into our main project document, just get rid of all the elements that pop up. Then cut it and paste into our project. Drag it above all layers (you might even create a group for this object, as there will be many layers connected to this).

So anyway, drag this clock to the canvas, use Command-T > Distort (and/or Perspective) and position in as you see in 1st image below. Then use Pen Tool and draw 3 separate shape layers. Draw them in specific order: the dark brown first (side), then the lightest brown (roof side), then medium brown (roof top) - 2nd image below. Next, select all these cuckoo clock layers, use Command-T and resize it down vertically so it looks more natural, by the time grab Line Tool (U), set it to 1 pixel and draw almost a straight line coming from illustration top to the clock (3rd image below).

Step 2

Now use another texture from tutorial assets "wood". This seems to be closest to the one that our clock has. Stick it (Clipping Mask) to the side shape of the clock (1st image below). Drop the saturation down a bit (2nd image below). Then create new layer and brush over with some soft brown color to soften the texture (3rd image below). Finally create another layer of Blending Mode set to Overlay, use white color and brush as indicated to cast some light (4th image below).

Use the same process and fill up the 2 another sides of the clock (5th image below).

Step 3

Go back to the cuckoo clock layers, stick now Brightness/Contrast adjustment to it, set it as showed (1st image below). Grab Pen Tool and draw a hole shape over the cuckoo bird's door (2nd image below). Use the color showed in 3rd image below and simply soften the whole clock texture by brushing on this. Finally make another new layer, change its Blending Mode to Soft Light and use soft white brush to add some highlights (indicated in 4th image below).

Step 4

Copy the door from the clock below the hole, paste and rotate it horizontally to create an impression that the door is open (1st image below - red arrow). Then copy two tiny strips from random spots of the clock and paste them where the green arrows indicate (1st image below). Now to brighten up the door, use new layer, stick it to the door layer with Clipping Mask, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and paint with white or soft brown as indicated (2nd image below). Then I've decided to correct the clock plate's perspective a little bit, to do this simply create an ellipse with Elliptical Marquee Tool and use Command-T > Distort it (3rd image below). Then add two Gradient Maps for color match, as showed in 4th image below.

Step 5

You could obviously skip this step and move back to just add a falling bird, but let's make this more entertaining! Open a spring image, cut it out from the white background and paste it above the clock. Now use Command-T > Wrap and adjust it to look like it's been really kicked out of the hole (1st image below). Next, use Curves technique again to paint some shadows (red arrow) and lights (green arrow), refer to 2nd image below for direction. Now add a Gradient Map to the spring, use settings from 3rd image below. Then create new layer use color #ece7dc and softly brush over the spring to take away some of the texture and brighten it a little (4th image below). Finally, again use Curves technique to paint shadows (red arrow) and highlights (green arrows), use 5th image below as reference.

Step 6

Open the image of bird now. Extract it and paste above the spring, use Command-T to rotate it in proper direction. Next, set a Gradient Map as showed in 2nd image below. Then, using Curves technique, paint shadows (red arrow) and highlights (green arrows) as indicated in 3rd image below.

Step 7

Now to make everything look better, more mixed and mastered, throw some adjustment layers above everything in Layers Palette. The order is really important, so strictly follow the images below.

Final Image

Create a 3D Text Effect With Photoshop and MayaCreate a 3D Text Effect With Photoshop and MayaCreate a 3D Text Effect With Photoshop and Maya
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