Create soft 3D text in Photoshop

In this tutorial, you will learn how to create funny text with the effect of a soft toy in Adobe Photoshop using 3D tools, patterns and stock images. Let’s start!

I was inspired to create this effect by the various layer styles available on GraphicRiver.

1. Editing and saving the pattern

Step 1

Move on File – Open (File – Open) and choose a seamless floral pattern in EPS format. The result is a dialog box Rasterize EPS Format (EPS format rasterization) in which we install Mode (Mode) on Rgb Color (RGB colors) and uncheck the option Anti-aliased (Smoothing).

By deactivating the parameter Anti-aliased (Anti-aliasing), the edges of the pattern will be clear and not blurry, this will facilitate our further work.

Step 2

In the file that opens, zoom in (Ctrl +) and go to the upper left corner of the document. Please note that in the upper part of the first pattern there is a transparent strip, which may cause problems with the seamlessness of the pattern.

Therefore, the next few steps we will edit the pattern to fix this problem. The rest of the patterns we simply select and save as separate pictures.

Step 3

Activate Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) (Rectangular selection) and select the first pattern. Do not try to make the selection perfect, as in the next step we will refine this pattern.

Step 4

Right click on the selection and select Transform Selection (Transform the selected area). Scale up and drag the top edge of the selection to the border of the document to close the gap.

When finished, press the Enter button to apply the changes, and go Edit – Copy (Editing – Copy).

Step 5

Create a new document using the default settings that Photoshop suggests. Then go Edit – Paste (Editing – Paste).

Take Move Tool (V) (Move), hold down the Shift key and move the inserted image below so that the top edge lies exactly in the center of the document.

Step 6

Duplicate the patterned layer (Ctrl + J) and move the copy above so that the bottom border lies in the center of the document and touches the top border of the original.

Step 7

Next, take Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) (Rectangular selection) and select the empty area, then use Paint Bucket Tool (G) (Fill) fill it with pink color from the pattern (to find the exact color, hold down the I key and click on the desired color).

Step 8

Select both layers and press Ctrl + E to merge them together.

Move on File – Save (File – Save) and save the created pattern as a regular picture in JPG format. It will be convenient if each picture is called a certain number, it will facilitate the work in the future.

Step 9

The remaining patterns are simply selected, copied and pasted, and then saved as an image.

2. Create text layers

Step 1

Create a 1000 x 626 pixel document with a white background.

Then write the text in capital letters using the font HWT Artz. The size is set to 350 pt, and Tracking (Tracking) – by 50.

Step 2

Name the text layer “Text”, click on it with the right mouse button and select Convert to Shape (Convert to curves).

3. Create a text stroke.

Step 1

Duplicate the “Text” layer (Ctrl + J) and call the copy “Back edging”.

Step 2

Take Direct Selection Tool (A) (Partial selection). On the top parameter panel set Fill (Fill) on None (No), the stroke color is at # e9e7e2, and the size is at 5.

Then click on the button for selecting the shape of the stroke and set Align (Alignment) on Outside (Outside).

Step 3

Double-duplicate the “Rear bezel” layer. We call the first copy “Lateral sides”, and the second “Front edging”. Then set the stroke size of the “Side faces” layer to 2.5.

4. Create a curved line.

Step 1

Take Rectangle Tool (U) (Rectangle), click anywhere in the document and in the appeared window set Width (Width) by 5, and Height (Height) – 600, then click OK.

Step 2

Take the tool Add Anchor Point Tool (Add anchor point) and click around the center of each vertical side of the rectangle to add anchor points.

Name the rectangle layer “Back”, later we will use it to create a shadow.

Step 3

Select both anchor points and use the right arrow key to shift them to the right.

5. Create 3D layers

Step 1

Alternately apply to each layer 3D – New 3D Extrusion from Selected Path (3D – New 3D extrusion from the selected contour).

Step 2

Next, select all the created 3D layers and go 3D – Merge 3D Layers (3D – Merge 3D layers) to merge them into one layer.

6. We work with a 3D scene

Step 1

To have access to the parameters of 3D objects, we need to open two panels: the 3D panel and Properties (Properties) (both are in the main menu Window (Window)).

The 3D panel contains a list of all the components of the scene and, if you select one of them, we can edit its parameters in the panel. Properties (Properties). Therefore, always pay attention to whether the desired object is selected before editing it.

Step 2

If activate Move Tool (V) (Move), a set of special 3D modes will appear at the top of the options bar.

If you select one of them, then with the selected object of the scene you can make certain manipulations (move, rotate, scale, etc.).

We will also use these modes to change the view from the camera.

7. Configure the 3D grid and the capital

Step 1

On the 3D panel, select the components “Text” and “Side faces”, then on the panel Properties (Properties) install Extrusion Depth (Extrusion Depth) at 30.

Step 2

Next, select the components “Rear bezel” and “Front bezel”, set Extrusion Depth (Extrusion Depth) by 3.

Step 3

Select the component “Text” and click on the button Cap (Capital) on the panel Properties (Properties).

Install Sides (Parties) on Front and Back (In the front and in the back), Bevel Width (Chamfer width) – by 1, Contour (Contour) – on Half Round (Semicircle), Inflate Angle (Inflating the corner) – 90 and Strength (Intensity) – by 7.

Step 4

Select the components “Rear trim” and “Front trim”, then click on the button Cap (Capital) on the panel Properties (Properties).

Install Sides (Parties) on Front and Back (In the front and in the back), Bevel Width (Chamfer width) – by 15, Contour (Contour) – on Half Round (Semicircle), Inflate – Strength (Bloat – Intensity) – by 10.

8. Move the text and change the view from the camera.

Step 1

Activate Move Tool (V) (Move) and use the 3D axes to move the back border to the back of the text.

The arrows at the ends of the axes move objects, a small arc that goes further is responsible for turning, and with the help of a cube you can scale the object. The central cube from which the axes extend is needed for uniform scaling of the object. To perform an action with the axes, simply click on them and drag the mouse.

Step 2

To better control the process, on the property bar in the menu View (View) can choose a more convenient camera angle.

9. Create a material with a pattern.

Step 1

On the 3D panel, select all the materials of the “Text” component.

On the panel Properties (Properties) set the color Specular (Highlight color) on 24, 15, 7 and Shine (Shine) – 100%.

Step 2

Select the component “Text” and go 3D – Split Extrusion (3D – Divide Extrusion). As a result, the text is divided into individual letters.

Select and share the rest of the scene, except for the component “Rear”.

Step 3

Choose Text Front Inflation Material (The material of the front bump of the text), on the property bar, click on the texture icon next to the parameter Diffuse (Scattering), choose Replace Texture (Replace texture) and find on our computer the first pattern that we saved at the beginning of the lesson.

Step 4

Click on the texture icon again. Diffuse (Scattering) and choose Edit UV Properties (Edit UV properties).

Step 5

Adjust the parameters Tile (Mosaic) and Offset (Shift) to get the desired result.

10. Add a relief texture.

Step 1

Click on the folder opposite the parameter Bump (Relief) and choose New Texture (New texture).

Step 2

Install Width (Width) and Height (Height) at 512 and Resolution (Resolution) – at 300.

Step 3

As a result, a new texture file should open. If this does not happen, click the folder button again and select Edit Texture (Edit texture).

In the opened file we duplicate (Ctrl + J) the background layer.

Step 4

Double click on the copy of the layer to apply the layer style. Pattern Overlay (Overlay pattern) with the following parameters:

  • Pattern (Pattern): denim 7
  • Scale (Scale): 50%

Save and close the file to return to the 3D scene.

Step 5

Editing UV-properties of the embossed texture Bump (Relief). To better see the resulting effect, we increase the scale of the document.

Step 6

Install Bump (Relief) at 5% or other value that is suitable for your work.

11. Save and reuse material

Step 1

Check to Front Inflation Material (The material of the front bulge) was still active. Next on the property panel, click on the button with the texture sphere, then in the menu that opens, press the button with the gear and select New Material (New material).

Step 2

Enter the name of the material and click OK.

Step 3

Select the remaining materials of the Text component, except Extrusion Material (Material extrusion). Then open the material selection menu, scroll down the list and find the sphere with the material that we saved. Select it to apply to selected objects in the scene.

12. Replace textures of materials.

Step 1

Apply the saved material to the following letter: Front Inflation Material 2 (Material of the front bulge 2), Front Bevel Material 2 (Material of the front bevel 2), Back Bevel Material 2 (Rear bevel material 2) and Back Inflation Material 2 (Material back convexity 2).

Step 2

Choose Front Inflation Material (Material of the front convexity) of the second letter, on the property panel, click on the texture icon Diffuse (Scattering) and choose Replace Texture (Replace texture) to select a different pattern that we apply to the second letter.

Step 3

Then select the remaining materials of the second letter (except for the material of extrusion), click on the texture button Diffuse (Scattering) and in the list that appears select the name of the pattern that we used for the material of the front bulge.

You may need to adjust the UV properties of each new texture, so don’t forget about it.

Step 4

Repeat the above steps with the remaining letters.

13. Create a simple edging material.

Step 1

Find the component “Front trim” of the first letter and select Front Inflation Material (The material of the front bulge). On the property bar, click the texture button Diffuse (Scattering) and choose Remove Texture (Remove texture).

Step 2

Set color Diffuse (Scattering) at 233, 231, 226.

Step 3

Click on the button with the folder opposite the parameter Bump (Relief) and select texture in the list Text Front Inflation Material – Bump (The material of the front convexity of the text – Relief).

Scale up the document to adjust the UV properties, then set Bump (Relief) at 2.

Step 4

Save the material and apply it to other materials with edging.

To fill in Extrusion Material (Extrusion material), we select all components with edging and on the properties panel we set Texture Mapping (Display texture) on Tile (Mosaic).

Step 5

Go back to any material extrusion component with edging, edit its UV-properties, save the material, and then apply it to the rest Extrusion Material (Material extrusion) component with edging.

14. Customize the placement of letters

Step 1

Select the components of the first letter: “Text”, “Front Border”, “Side Faces” and “Rear Border”.

Using 3D axes or panel Coordinates (Coordinates) on the property bar, move the letter and select the best location in your opinion.

Step 2

Repeat the process with the selection and editing of the position on the remaining letters. If anything, you can always go back to the right letter and correct mistakes.

Step 3

Select the components of the first letter again and press the menu button in the upper right corner of the 3D panel. Choose Move Object to Ground Plane (Move the object to the base plane).

Apply this to the rest of the letters.

Step 4

Select all the components and slightly shift them down the Y axis. This will create the illusion of immersion in the soft surface of the sofa.

15. Create a background

Step 1

Move on File – Place Linked (File – Put related) and open the photo with an empty room.

Name the layer “Background” and, if necessary, adjust the size.

Step 2

Above the “Background” layer, add a photo of the plant and name the “Plant” layer.

Hiding 3D layers to focus on working with the background.

Step 3

Adjust the size, rotation and position of the plant and place it above the vase from the left edge of the background. You can take Stamp Tool (S) (Stamp) and retouch the thin plants in the vase, but we will blur the background, so this is not necessary.

Step 4

Select the “Background” layer, go to Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur (Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur) and set Radius (Radius) by 5.

Step 5

We also wash the plant itself.

16. Select and cut the image

Step 1

We open a photo with a sofa, we activate Quick Selection Tool (W) (Quick Selection), can also activate the parameter Auto-Enhance (Boost automatically) on the top options bar. This may slightly slow down the process of working in the program, but the selection will be more qualitative.

Click on the sofa and lightly hold the tool to select it.

Step 2

To remove excess selection, hold down the Alt key and click in the desired areas.

In places with small details as accurately as possible, we carry out the instrument in order to obtain a high-quality selection.

Step 3

After selecting the sofa, click on the button. Select and Mask (Selection and mask) on the top panel with parameters (in previous versions of Photoshop, this button is called Refine Edge (Specify edge)).

Install View (View) on On Black (On black) and increase Opacity (Opacity) at 100%.

Also play with the settings Smooth (Anti-aliasing) and Shift Edge (Edge offset) to make the selection as accurate as possible.

Step 4

When finished, click OK and go Edit – Copy (Editing – Copy).

Step 5

Go back to the working paper, go Edit – Paste (Edit – Paste) and call the new layer “Divan”.

We click with the right mouse button on the “Sofa” layer, in the context menu we select Convert to Smart Object (Convert to a smart object) and adjust the size of the sofa so that it fits clearly into the scale of the background.

Step 6

Turn on the visibility of the 3D layers and customize the view from the camera so that the letters are lying on the sofa.

17. Adjust the stage lighting

Step 1

On the 3D panel, select the component Infinite Light one (Infinite Light). Then set the properties panel Intensity (Intensity) by 45% and Shadow – softness (Shadow – Smoothing) – by 30%.

Step 2

Using tool Move Tool (V) (Move) or Coordinates (Coordinates) on the property bar, adjust the position of the light source so that it matches the room lighting (the light source on the background layer is near the window).

Step 3

At the bottom of the 3D panel, click on the button Add new Light to Scene (Add a new light on the stage) and choose New Infinite Light (New infinite light).

Step 4

Next, select the component Infinite Light 2 (Infinite Light 2). Install Intensity (Intensity) by 30% and uncheck Shadow (Shadow).

Step 5

Move the light so that it illuminates the top of the text.

Step 6

Choose a component Environment (Environment), click on the texture IBL (ISBI), choose Replace Texture (Replace texture) and find a photo with a bedroom.

Step 7

Install Intensity (Intensity) by 90% and move the light source around the scene to find the best location.

18. Add invisible elements and render the scene.

Step 1

Select the component “Rear”, rotate it by -90 ° along the Y axis and increase the size until the rectangle fills the entire sofa.

Step 2

Rotate and move the component “Back” close to the letters.

Step 3

We configure the final view from the camera, which we will render.

Select the component “Rear”, remove the check mark from Cast Shadow (Drop shadow) and activate Invisible (Invisible). Due to this, we will create an invisible surface on which the shadow will fall.

Step 4

Having finished setting the scene, go 3D – Render (3D Rendering) to visualize the scene. Rendering may take a lot of time, depending on the power of your computer and the complexity of the scene, but you can stop this process at any time by pressing the Esc key.

You can also stop rendering if you need to modify the lighting, objects, or other parameters of the scene, and then start it again until the result suits you.

When finished with this, we convert the 3D layer into a smart object to avoid accidental changes.

Step 5

Right click on the 3D layer and select Create Clipping Mask (Create clipping mask) so that the shadow on the component “Back” does not extend beyond the sofa.

Step 6

At the bottom of the layers panel, click on the button. Add layer mask (Add layer mask).

Set foreground color to black, activate Brush Tool (B) (Brush), take a soft round brush and draw on the mask in the places that need to be hidden.

19. Add a shadow

Step 1

Under the 3D layer, add a new layer, call it “Back Shadow” and change the blending mode to Linear Burn (Line dimmer).

Set the foreground color to # 848285 and draw a shadow in those places where the letters touch the sofa to enhance the effect of realism.

Step 2

Reduce the opacity of the “Back shadow” layer and use the eraser (E) to remove the extra shadow.

Step 3

Under the “Back Shadow” layer, create a new layer, call it “Drop Shadow” and change the blending mode to Linear Burn (Line dimmer).

Add a shadow where the letters touch the sofa. Then press Ctrl + T to activate the free transformation, compress the shadow vertically and place it under the letters.

Click the Enter key to apply all changes. If necessary, repeat the transformation.

20. Add the final touches

Step 1

Place the image with the bokeh effect over the “Plant” layer and call the new layer “Bokeh”.

Set the blending mode of the “bokeh” layer to Screen (Clarification) and, if necessary, adjust the size so that the image fits into the borders of the document.

Move on Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur (Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur) and set Radius (Radius) by 3.

Step 2

At the bottom of the layers panel, press the button Create new fill or adjustment layer (Create a new fill or adjustment layer) and select Gradient Map (Gradient map).

For the gradient we use colors # 44386e (left), # 716d7c (center) and # d4a987 (right).

Activate the parameter Dither (Dithering), change the blend mode to Soft Light (Soft light) and opacity reduced to 35%.

Step 3

Select the “plant” layer and turn Image – Adjustments – Vibrance (Image – Correction – Vibration).

Install Vibrance (Vibration) at -35 and Saturation (Saturation) – at -10.

Step 4

If the sofa looks too sharp compared to the rest of the scene, apply a filter. Gaussian Blur (Blur according to Gauss) with a radius of 0.25.

Congratulations, we are done!

At the beginning of the lesson, we saved several patterns, then created text layers, converted them into 3D objects and added materials to them.

Then they created the background, refined the lighting and the camera on the 3D scene and visualized the final version.

And finally, add shadows and apply color correction to the final version.

Feel free to leave comments, suggestions and share your result.

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