Create rusty 3D text in Photoshop

Rusty metal is one of those natural phenomena that contain tremendously destructive power, but at the same time are phenomenally beautiful. Oxidized, iron creates bright colors, patterns and textures on the usual smooth surface. It is this feature that attracts artists and photographers so much.

In this tutorial, you will learn how to use real rusty textures and 3D Photoshop tools to create text covered with sharp peeling rust without the fear of cutting yourself!

Final image:

1. Preparation of textures

In this lesson, rust textures are very important for creating the final effect. There is no better way to get a scaly, porous, scaly rusty effect than to use a real image of a rusty texture. It is possible to recreate such an image by artificially digital methods, but it takes a lot of time and rarely looks as good as a snapshot with a real texture.

This tutorial uses textures from the Envato Market. However, nothing prevents you from creating your own rusty textures. The network has many lessons on this topic.

Step 1

In this tutorial, Rusty Textures from the Envato Market were used.

Note: texture data can be downloaded from the link at the beginning of the lesson (for a fee).

Step 2

Unzip the downloaded file and extract the textures. This set of 19 high quality textures. Take a look and see the characteristics of each rusty texture.

2. Creating 3D Elements

The idea is to create a rusty metallic text. Massive block letters are ideal for this type of effect. In addition, such letters are easy to create in Photoshop using 3D tools.

Step 1

Launch Photoshop and create a new document through the menu. File> New (File> New). Ask Width (Width) and Height (Height) 1000 px. AT BackgroundContents (Background content) set option Other (Other) and specify midtonegray (halftone gray).

Step 2

Add a new layer through the menu Layer> New> Layer (Layer> New> Layer) (Shift + Ctrl + N) and name it The foundation. Then go to menu 3D> NewMeshFromLayer> MeshPreset> CubeWrap (3D> New mesh from selected layer> Mesh sets> Cubic deformation). Photoshop automatically changes to 3D space and converts the newly created new layer into a white cube.

Step 3

In the 3D panel, select the object Cube wrap (Cubic Deformation) and take the tool Move Tool (Move) (V) to get a 3D manipulator. Using the scaling options, convert this cube into an elongated flat box that serves as the basis for the text.

Step 4

To add text, use the tool Horizontal type tool (Horizontal Text) (T). Use bold, large, block font. The image below uses the Kabel Ult BT Ultra font.

Step 5

Go to menu 3D> New 3D Extrusion From Selected Layer (3D> New extrusion from selected layer). After this, Photoshop converts the text layer into 3D volumetric letters.

Step 6

Aged and rusted metal letters usually do not have clear, sharp edges, soft chamfers will look more plausible. Therefore, in the panel Properties (Properties) click on the icon Cap (Capital) to make changes to settings Bevel (Bevel). Install Width (Width) 10% and change Contour (Contour) on Half round (Semicircular).

Step 7

At the moment, all the letters are a single 3D object. In order to manipulate them separately, they must be divided into separate grids. So go to menu 3D> Split Extrusion (3D> Split Extrusion) and check in the palette Properties (Properties) that each letter is now located on a separate grid.

Step 8

In order for all 3D objects to interact with each other, they must be placed on the same 3D scene or layer. Go to panel Layers (Layers) and, while holding down the Shift key, select the layer with 3D text and 3D base on it. Then go to menu 3D> Merge Layers 3D (3D> Merge 3D layers) to merge both of these layers into one 3D layer.

Step 9

Using tool Move Tool (Move) (V) Click on Layer Scene (Scene) on the 3D panel. Adjust the camera view to get a higher viewpoint on the bottom.

Step 10

Select each three-dimensional letter in the panel. 3D and using the 3D transform manipulator, move and expand each letter to get a more interesting text layout on the bottom.

Step 11

Positioning objects in 3D space using one viewpoint is extremely difficult. Simplify the task by using another viewpoint. To do this, go to the menu View> Show> 3D Secondary View (View> Show> Background 3D View) to open the second viewport. Using two windows, make sure that the letters touch, but do not overlap.

3. Adding Textures

Now, after the 3D elements are in place, it’s time to apply the most amazing rusty textures! This is the very moment when the final result begins to take shape. Also at this stage we will make creative decisions. Experiment with the placement of textures and create your own unique version of rust elements.

Step 1

In the 3D panel, open the object Cube wrap (Cubic deformation) and select Cube Material (Material Cuba). Next in the panel Properties (Properties) click the folder icon next to Diffuse (Diffusion). In the context menu that opens, select Load texture (Load texture). Select a rusty texture to cover the surface of the cube, in this example, a rusty texture 01.jpg is used. Since this object is a cubic deformation, the selected texture is automatically applied to all its sides.

Step 2

Adjusting the surface color alone is not enough, as the surface will look too smooth. She needs to roughen. Therefore scroll down to the properties Bump (Relief), click on the folder icon to load the texture, and use the same rust texture as the relief pattern.

Step 3

In the 3D panel, switch to the tab Materials (Materials) and select R Front Inflation Material (R Material of the front bulge). Use the panel Properties (Properties) to display the rusty texture for Diffuse (Diffusion) and Bump (Relief). Select the texture of your choice, in this example, the texture 02.jpg is used.

Step 4

Skip to section R Front Bevel Material (R Bevel Material) and apply the same texture to Diffuse (Diffusion) and Bump (Relief) for this surface too.

Step 5

Skip to section R Extrusion Material (R extrusion material) and apply texture to Diffuse (Diffusion) and Bump (Relief) to the side surfaces of the letter R. The difference with this surface is that the texture looks stretched. So again, click on the folder icon next to Diffuse (Diffusion) and select in the context menu Edit UV Properties (Edit UV properties). Try increasing the parameter in the section. Tile (Mosaic) U / x to 4. Then set V / Y: 0.57. These settings are just a suggested starting point. Experiment with their values ​​until the texture looks natural.

Step 6

Repeat the same process to apply a rusty texture to the remaining letters. Keep in mind that surfaces Back bevel (Rear bevel) and Back inflation (Rear bulge) are almost invisible, so you do not need to impose a texture on them.

4. Installation of lighting

After texturing the lighting is the next step in the design of the presented image. In this scene, we use general spatial lighting and another light source to create a lighting effect.

Step 1

In the 3D panel, select the tab Infinite Light 1 (Infinite light 1). Then in the panel Properties (Properties) set the type of light source Spot (Spotlight) and set the light yellow color of the light.

Step 2

Take the tool Move Tool (Move) (V) and use the 3D manipulator to move this light to the extreme left position on the stage. Instead of trying to turn the corner of the light, use the button Point at origin (Direct the light to the origin) at the bottom of the panel Properties (Properties).

Step 3

Check the box Shadow (Shadow) and install Softness (Smoothing): 50%. The remaining parameters of the spotlight can be adjusted using the light manipulator. Moving additional elements of the manipulator that appear when you hover the mouse pointer on it, you can adjust the light. Or use the input fields on the panel Properties (Properties) by entering the values ​​in them:

  • Hotspot (Hot spot): 22.5
  • Cone (Cone): 36.7
  • LightFalloff (Weakening Light): tick
  • Inner (Internal): 669 px
  • Outer (Outdoor): 1440 px

Step 4

Now proceed to the rendering! Go to menu 3D> Render 3D Layer (3D> Render 3D Layer) or press Alt + Shift + Ctrl + R and give Photoshop some time to render the image.

5. Postrender processing

The 3D functions in Photoshop are quite impressive and are great for creating text effects like this, but don’t forget that all the power of Photoshop is revealed when manipulating pixels on a 2D image! It’s much faster and easier to make a final correction of a rendered image using basic Photoshop tools than to constantly tweak the 3D options and re-render the image.

Step 1

If you are satisfied with the appearance of the image created by the render, then rasterize it. This action converts the 3D layer to a flat 2D layer, which is much easier to work with. Just do not forget to save this document under a different name, in case you need the original 3D layer again. Go to menu Layer> Rasterize> 3D (Layers> Rasterize> 3D).

Step 2

Duplicate the rendered layer Layer> New> Layer Via Copy (Layer> New> Copy to New Layer). Then select the tool Smudge tool (Finger) with Strength (Intensity) 85% and specify a spray brush size of 24 px. Look closely at the image, sharp lines seem unnatural for a metal that is highly corroded with corrosion, so use Smudge tool (Finger) to “mess up” the edges.

Step 3

Go to menu File> Place Linked (File> Place Related) and select another rusty texture to place on the stage. The texture below shows the 16.jpg. Texture added as a smart object. Hold down the Ctrl key and drag one of the vertices to adjust the perspective of the texture to match the perspective of the scene. Then press Enter to accept the transformation.

Step 4

Change the layer’s overlay mode to Soft light (Soft light). Then, holding down the Ctrl key, click on the render layer to load the selection in this form. Use this selection as a mask for the texture layer. Layer> Layer Mask> Reveal Selection (Layer> Mask Layer> Show All).

Step 5

In the same way, add another texture (for example, as shown below 11.jpg), transform it according to the perspective, and create a mask for it. Change the blending mode to Soft light (Soft light) and reduce Opacity (Opacity) up to 25%.

Step 6

Duplicate the texture layer 11.jpg through the menu Layer> New> LayerViaCopy (Layer> New> Copy to new layer) and remove the duplicate mask by dragging it to the trash icon in the panel Layers (Layers). Set the blending mode Multiply (Multiplication) with Opacity (Opacity) 100%.

Step 7

Through the menu Layer> Layer Mask> Hide All (Layers> Mask Layer> Hide All) add a solid black mask to the layer with a duplicate texture. Then using soft round Brush (Brush) white color gently paint the mask in some places, showing the effect of particularly strong corrosion, making the effect uneven.

Step 8

Change the brush color to black and, using the same brush, paint over the surfaces of the masks of other textures to selectively remove the effects created with them from areas where they have gone too far with the texture. This is a purely subjective step, and the choice of cultivated areas implies a lot of creative solutions to achieve the final effect.

6. Final touches

The image at this stage looks quite decent and is covered with convincing rust. The letters turned out so realistic that it seems that you can cut yourself about them! The next few steps will just add some drama to the image as a stroke.

Step 1

Create another layer on top of all the layers, combining all the others, for this, holding the Alt key, go to the menu Layer> Merge Visible (Layers> Merge visible). Then convert this layer to a smart object via the menu. Layer> Smart Objects> Convert to Smart Object (Layers> Smart Object> Convert to Smart Object).

Step 2

Go to the menu Filter> CameraRawFilter (Filter> Camera Raw Filter) and tab Basic (Basic) Enter the following parameters:

  • Contrast (Contrast): +18
  • Highlights (Light): +38
  • Clarity (Sharpness): +45

Switch to the tab Effects (Effects), and in the section Post Crop Vignetting (Vignette after cropping) set value Amount (Effect) -25. Then click OK to apply the filter.

Step 3

Adding a simulated center blur is a great touch to make the finished image more realistic.

Go to menu Filter> Blur> IrisBlur (Filter> Blur> Aperture Blur). Set a blur point on one of the raised corners of the letter U. Then drag the circle of blur outside the canvas and set the value Blur (Blur) 22 px.

Step 4

Add adjustment layer PhotoFilter (Photo Filter) and configure Cooling Filter (80) (Cold filter 80). Blue shades allow you to relax all the warm orange shades on stage. On the mask adjustment layer, apply a linear black and white GradientTool (Gradient) to hide the filter effect, leaving it only in the far right corner of the image.

Step 5

Add adjustment layer Curves (Curves) and add two points on the curve, one in the center and one in the lower left intersection. Move both points slightly up and left to make the image brighter.

Great job! You are done!

Congratulations! You created flaky, rusty text with 3D Photoshop tools, as well as several high-quality textures. What did you do? Show your results in the comments below.

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