How to Create A Realistic 3D Typography in Photoshop

February 16, 2010| Legion of Skills

Photoshop 3D by loswlIn this tutorial you will learn how to create a Realistic 3D Typography Photoshop, you will learn how to create a really smooth looking 3D text in any version of Photoshop. This tutorial will create the illusion of 3D without  the use of any 3D programs, we will only use the raw power of Photoshop. Not only will we create it. you will also learn some simple technique to decorate the type to make it pop! Although this technique is limited, it can be very useful for someone who cannot afford to buy a 3D program.




Final Image

Photoshop 3D Final Image


Skill Level



Hansen Font From FontStock
Floral Brush by jaaaiiro
From Brusheezy!


Step 1:

Create a new document in Photoshop, 1600×1200 pixels, 300dpi (for printing), RGB color. We begin with a radial gradient, by double clicking the layer to activate the Layer Styles menu, then apply a Gradient Overlay. Here are the exact color codes:

Foreground Color – #f2f5f6
Background Color – #c8d7dc

Photoshop 3D

Before you press ok to apply the gradient overlay, move the (center white area ) a little to the bottom of the document by dragging the gradient down with the Move Tool. See image below.

Photoshop 3D


Step 2:

Create a soft cloud for the background. Create a new Layer and fill it with black using the paint bucket then create a Difference Cloud by first clicking “D” on your key board to make the foreground color Black and the background color White; then go Filter > Render > Difference Cloud.

Photoshop 3D Difference Clouds

Apply an Overlay to the Difference Cloud Layer, then use a large soft brush to erase the outer edges.

Photoshop 3D Difference Clouds 2

Darken the edges of your background by creating a vignette, Create a new layer, then create a radial Transparent Gradient.

Foreground Color #ffffff
Background Color #19271f

Photoshop 3D Radial Transparency

Click on the Gradient Tool and select and apply the Radial Transparent Gradient by dragging from the center of the document to the left edge. Erase the center of the gradient with a large soft brush. Set the layer to 60% Opacity.

Photoshop 3D Vignette


Step 3:

Create your type, use a thick font like Hansen. ( The effect does not work well with thin fonts)

Photoshop 3D Typography


Step 4:

Ctrl Click (pc) or Command () Click (mac) the text layer in the layer palette to make a selection of the type.

Photoshop 3D Typography

After the selection is made. Create a new layer below the text layer and fill the selection with black. Now we will duplicate the pixels of the new layer downwards, to give the illusion of a 3D extrusion, here is how it is done.

  1. While the new black layer is still selected, select the Move Tool (very important)
  2. Press Alt + Shift (pc) or Option + Shift (mac) and tap the downwards Arrow Key four times until you  have something that looks like the image below when you are done.

Photoshop 3D Typography Pixel Multiply

Apply a Gradient Overlay to the new black layer

Hex Colors

  1. # 615f5f
  2. #b3b3b3
  3. #454545
  4. #ececec

Photoshop 3D Gradient

Photoshop 3D


Step 5:

We will now give the layer a little bit of texture. Duplicate the layer and turn it into a Smart Object (older Photoshop versions can flatten the layer). Add 7.00% noise to the layer. Filter > Noise > Add Noise. Then Add a Soft Light Layer Style to blend it in nicely.

Photoshop 3D


Step 6:

Add some Layer Styles to the original text on top, to make it pop! Double click the text layer in the layer options panel to activate the Layer Styles options. Apply the options below.

  1. Gradient Overlay (Hex: #99e8cb # f5e78c #fcf7f4)
  2. Gradient Stroke (Fill Type Gradient – Hex: #4e4c4c #ffffff #595757 #9b9696 #2d2b2b)
  3. Inner Glow (Hex #f9dbdb)

Photoshop 3D

Photoshop 3D Layer Styles


Step 7:

Create a new text named 3D and place it above all the previous layers, repeat steps 3 to 6, Apply the Styles below for Step 6

  1. Gradient Overlay (Hex: #d92525 # f8d04a #f6e6b5 #f9f7f1)
  2. Gradient Stroke (Fill Type Gradient – Hex: #4e4c4c #ffffff #595757 #9b9696 #2d2b2b)
  3. Inner Glow (Hex #f5e8b6)

Photoshop 3D Color

Photoshop 3D Gradient


Step 8:

We will now add a little more decoration to the 3D lettering, with brushes.  Ctrl Click (pc) or Command () Click (mac), the (3D) text layer in the layer palette to make a selection of the type.

Photoshop 3D Selection

Create a new layer above the (3D) layer, while the selection is still activated.  ,Select the Paintbrush Tool and use one of the Floral Brush From Brusheezy, reduce the pixel to about 170 pix and start painting withing the selection, I used a white foreground color when painting. your result should look something like the image below.

Photoshop 3D Floral Brush

Apply a Gradient Layer Style to the floral layer:

Hex Colors: #fbfbfa #f6e6b5 #fcd967

Photoshop 3D Floral Gradient


Step 9:

Now we we solidify the 3D illusion by placing some 3D Spheres around the type. Use the

  1. Ellipse Tool (u) with the
  2. Shape Layer option selected. (This option allows scaling of the circle without destroying the pixels)
  3. Hold Shift and draw a perfect circle.

Photoshop 3D Spheres

Apply a Gradient Overlay to the circle and drag the lightest area to the top of the circle, like the image below.

Hex Numbers: #f9f7f1, #d9d9d9 #6f6d6d #262525

Photoshop 3D Spheres

Apply a Inner Glow, Hex Color #bebebe

Photoshop 3D Spheres


Step 10:

Add a drop shadow to the sphere by making a new layer underneath the sphere, draw a circular selection and fill it with black, blur the layer and lower the opacity. Group the sphere and the shadow, then make duplicates. For variety you can scale and duplicate the grouped sphere and shadow, I also flattened some of the groups and blurred them to add depth to the scene.

Photoshop 3D Spheres


Final Image

Photoshop 3D Final Image



We successfully created a realistic 3D typography without fancy 3D programs. Feel free to experiment with the technique, by “extruding” upwards, left or right. In my next tutorial, I will show you how to use an economical 3D program like Xara3D to create 3D text and decorate it in Photoshop. Have Fun!





Godserv Designs

Categories: Tutorials, Typography

18 thoughts on “How to Create A Realistic 3D Typography in Photoshop”

  1. Jorge

    Hello, nice tutorial although i kind of struggle in the difference clouds step.
    I dont understand the part that you said to put a overlay on the cloud layer and use the softbrush tool, also the vigenete step. I hope you can help.

    1. Gale

      I also did not understand the part about adding the overlay to the cloud layer. Please can you help me out here.

  2. kristina

    This is a creative use of standard Photoshop tools to create a custom 3D font without purchasing it — very useful tutorial for beginning designers who want to create eye catching typography. My favorite part are the 3D spheres! It is true that 3D is a fascinating spectacle for the eye and is rarely boring, a good gimmick to have on hand for any kind of brochure, poster printing, web design. Thanks!

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