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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Text Effects

How to Make a 3D Text Effect Action With Layer Styles in Photoshop

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Difficulty:BeginnerLength:MediumLanguages:
This post is part of a series called Learn Photoshop Actions.
50 Amazing & Cool Photoshop Action Tutorials
How to Make a Photoshop Action to Create a Photo Art Effect
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Photoshop actions are great timesavers when creating 3D text effects, but they require you to pay attention to the right order of steps. Keep in mind that when you start recording a 3D action, almost every mouse click and keystroke will be saved in that action.

If you are new to the actions world, you can read a great article by Melody Nieves that covers the basics of Photoshop actions or learn more from Kirk Nelson's lessons on Building Your Own Actions in Adobe Photoshop.

In this tutorial, you will learn how to create an action for a minimal 3D text effect, which will work with any font in different sizes and also with shapes. This action is a 72 DPI version of the Hi-Res 3D Actions - 300 DPI pack.

Hi-res 3D actions

Tutorial Assets

The only asset used for this 3D text effect is a Google font:

1. How to Prepare to Record a 3D Action

Before recording an action, let's set the background and the text with a frame for the final 3D text effect.

Step 1

Open Photoshop, go to File > New, and set these preset details:

  • Width: 850 px
  • Height: 550 px
  • Resolution: 72 px/inch
  • Color mode: RGB Color 8 bit

Click on Create.

Create the document

Step 2

To customize the background, go to Layer > New > Layer from Background... and name it Background. Then go to Layer > Layer Style > Gradient Overlay... and use these settings:

  • Blend Mode: Normal
  • Check the Dither box
  • Opacity: 100%
  • Style: Radial
  • Angle:
  • Scale: 100%
  • Click on the Gradient and set these color stops:
  • Color stop 1 - Color: #f4f9ff Location: 0%
  • Color stop 2 - Color: #6cacfd9 Location: 100%

Hit OK to apply all the changes.

Customize the background

Step 3

To draw the frame, select the Rectangle Tool (U). Now click into your document to create a rectangle with these dimensions: Width: 740 px and Height: 210 px. Then go to Layer > Layer Style > Blending Options and set the Fill to 0%. Finally, go to the Stroke tab and set the stroke Size: 9 px and Position: Inside. Hit OK to apply the changes.

Draw a rectangle

Step 4

To add the text, select the Type Tool (T) and write the word "MINIMAL". Now go to Window > Character and set the font to Montserrat Black. Then set the font size to 123 pt and the tracking to 50. Finally, select both layers in your Layers panel and make a group of them with Control-G.

Add sample text

Step 5

When you are ready to record the action, go to Window > Actions. Click on the folder icon at the bottom of this panel to create a New Set and name it 3D Text Effect, and hit OK. Then click on the page icon to create a New Action and name it Photoshop Action. Hit the Record button to start recording this 3D text action.

Start recording an action

2. How to Create Layers for the 3D Text Effect

Step 1

In order to preserve the original layers for later use, your first step is to click on the eye icon next to Group 1 to hide this layer. Then go to Layer > Duplicate Group..., name it top-layer, and hit OK. Then click on the eye icon next to top-layer to make it visible. Finally, go to Layer > Smart Objects > Convert to Smart Object.

Create a layer

Step 2

Go to Layer > Duplicate Layer..., name it 3d text 1, and hit OK. Then Double-click the 3d text 1 layer to apply the following layer style:

Add a Bevel and Emboss with these settings:

  • Style: Inner Bevel
  • Technique: Smooth
  • Depth: 25%
  • Direction: Up
  • Size: 4 px
  • Uncheck the Use Global Light box
  • Angle: 120
  • Altitude: 30
  • Check the Anti-aliased box
  • Highlight Mode: Screen #dddddd and Opacity: 48%
  • Shadow Mode: Multiply #b2b2b2 and Opacity: 59%
Add bevel and emboss

Step 3

Add a Color Overlay with these settings:

  • Blend Mode: Normal
  • Color #d8dde8

Hit OK to apply the changes. Then go to Layer > Smart Objects > Convert to Smart Object.

Add color overlay

Step 4

Go to Layer > Arrange > Send Backward. Then press the Down Arrow key () once to move the layer down by 1 px. Now press Control-T and change the width to W: 99.73%. Click on the Check button to apply the change. Lastly, go to Layer > Smart Objects > Convert to Smart Object.

Arrange layers

Step 5

Go to Layer > Duplicate Layer and name it 3d text 2. Then go to Layer > Arrange > Send Backward. Then press the Down Arrow key () once to move the layer down by 1 px. Now press Control-T and change the width to W: 99.70%. Click on the Check button to apply the change. Lastly, go to Layer > Smart Objects > Convert to Smart Object.

Transform layer

Step 6

To achieve the 3D text effect, you will need to repeat the previous step eight more times. The only change every time you repeat the step is the name of the new duplicated layer. You will continuously create layers 3d text 3, 3d text 4, 3d text 5 .... until you end up with 3d text 10.

Repeat step 5

3. How to Create Shadows for the Photoshop Text Effect

This cool Photoshop text effect wouldn't be complete without shadows, so let's make some.

Step 1

Go to Layer > Duplicate Layer and name it Shadow4. Then go to Layer > Arrange > Send Backward.

Create Shadow layer

Step 2

Now create three more layers for the shadows. Go to Layer > Duplicate Layer and name it Shadow3. Then again go to Layer > Duplicate Layer and name it Shadow2. Now, for the last time, go to Layer > Duplicate Layer and name it Shadow1.

Duplicate shadow layer

Step 3

Go to Layer > Layer Style > Drop Shadow and use these settings:

  • Blend Mode: Linear Burn
  • Select the color #3f464a
  • Opacity: 35%
  • Uncheck the Use Global Light box
  • Angle: 90°
  • Size: 2 px
  • Check the Anti-aliased box

Hit OK to apply the changes.

Add a drop shadow

Step 4

Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur..., set the Radius to 1.3 px, and hit OK.

Add a gaussian blur

Step 5

Select the Shadow2 layer in your Layers panel. Now go to Layer > Layer Style > Color Overlay... and use these settings:

  • Blend Mode: Multiply
  • Select the color #b8bbc2
  • Opacity: 69%
Add a color overlay

Step 6

Add a Drop Shadow with these settings:

  • Blend Mode: Linear Burn
  • Select the color #595c64
  • Opacity: 8%
  • Uncheck the Use Global Light box
  • Angle: 111°
  • Distance: 11 px
  • Size: 3 px
  • Check the Anti-aliased box

Hit OK to apply the changes.

Add a drop shadow

Step 7

Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur..., set the Radius to 5.5 px, and hit OK.

Add a gaussian blur

Step 8

Select the Shadow3 layer in your Layers panel. Now go to Layer > Layer Style > Drop Shadow... and use these settings:

  • Blend Mode: Linear Burn
  • Select the color #595c64
  • Opacity: 6%
  • Uncheck the Use Global Light box
  • Angle: 104°
  • Distance: 8 px
  • Size: 13 px
  • Check the Anti-aliased box

Hit OK to apply the change.

Add a drop shadow

Step 9

Select the Shadow4 layer in your Layers panel. Now go to Layer > Layer Style > Drop Shadow... and use these settings:

  • Blend Mode: Linear Burn
  • Select the color #595c64
  • Opacity: 30%
  • Uncheck the Use Global Light box
  • Angle: 112°
  • Distance: 10 px
  • Size: 10 px
  • Check the Anti-aliased box

Hit OK to apply the change.

Add a drop shadow

Step 10

Go to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur..., set the Angle to -66° and the Distance to 50 px, and hit OK.

Add a motion blur

4. How to Style the Top Layer of the 3D Text Effect

Step 1

Select the top-layer layer in your Layers panel. Then go to Layer > Layer Style > Inner Shadow... and use these settings:

  • Blend Mode: Linear Burn
  • Select the color white
  • Opacity: 86%
  • Uncheck the Use Global Light box
  • Angle: 120°
  • Distance: 1 px
  • Size: 1 px
  • Contour: Cone
  • Check the Anti-aliased box
Add an inner shadow

Step 2

Add an Inner Glow with these settings:

  • Blend Mode: Linear Burn
  • Opacity: 15%
  • Select the color #d0d0d0
  • Technique: Softer
  • Source: Edge
  • Size: 18 px
Add an inner glow

Step 3

Add a Satin style with these settings:

  • Blend Mode: Overlay
  • Select the color white
  • Opacity: 80%
  • Angle: 18°
  • Distance: 250 px
  • Size: 250 px
  • Check the Anti-aliased box
  • Check the Invert box
Add a satin

Step 4

Add a Color Overlay with these settings:

  • Blend Mode: Normal
  • Select the color #e6e7ea
  • Opacity: 100%
Add a color overlay

Step 5

Add a Drop Shadow with these settings:

  • Blend Mode: Linear Burn
  • Select the color #616779
  • Opacity: 2%
  • Uncheck the Use Global Light box
  • Angle: 90°
  • Distance: 5 px
  • Size: 5 px
  • Check the Anti-aliased box

Hit OK to apply the changes.

Add a drop shadow

Step 6

The last step of this 3D action is to stop recording. Go to the Actions panel and hit the Stop button at the bottom of the panel.

Stop recording an action

This is the final 3D text effect.

Final result

From now on, you can play this action on any text or shape, and it will create the same 3D effect. Select your text layer or group of layers in the Layers panel. Go to your Actions panel, select the Photoshop Action, and hit the Play button.

Congratulations, You Are Done Creating an Action

In this tutorial, we learned how to record an action in Adobe Photoshop for a minimal 3D text effect.

We started by preparing the background and some example text with a shape. Then we started to record the action. After that, we created and transformed multiple layers. Finally, we added different layer styles and finished our action recording.

This 3D text effect we just created is a 72 DPI version of Hi-Res 3D Actions - 300 DPI from my portfolio on GraphicRiver.

Hi-Res 3D Actions

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