Join Deke McClelland for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating 3D type, part of Introducing Photoshop: 3D.
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In this movie, I'll show you how to create 3D type, using a process known as extrusion. And to give you a sense for what that looks like, I've established these flat letters that I've rotated in 3D space, which is why they're casting shadows. But they currently have no depth. However, if I were to switch to the Move tool. Then I'll see this heads up display, which allows me to extrude the type. And as I drag upward, you can see, it's as if I'm pressing the letters through a mold.
Pretty much as if I'm working with a letter shaped pasta maker. So, now that you have a sense for what extruded letters look like, let's see how you make them in Photoshop. So, our goal, is to create this effect right here, which you can see inside the layers panel is merely a combination of a 3D text layer along with a photographic background. Once again from the Fotolia image library, which features this editable text and the photograph, but so far, we have nothing in the way of 3D. To create 3D type, you want to go ahead and select the type layer, here inside the Layers panel.
Go up to the Type menu, this is the easier way to work, and choose Extrude to 3D. And that will go ahead and immediately extrude the letters as you see here. All right, now I want to rotate my camera around just a little bit here. I'll switch over to the 3D panel, which I can also get by double clicking in the thumbnail for the 3D layer. And then I'll select current view, so I know that I'm modifying the camera as opposed to the object. And I'll go ahead and select that rotate the 3D camera tool there.
And then I'll just drag around, inside the image window, in order to rotate my view just a little bit. And this way, I can see the amount of extrusion that I have, which is pretty intense. I don't really need letters that are this deep. So if you want to change the degree of extrusion, what you do is you go ahead and you select your mesh which is the text object right there, the 3D model. And it's called Green Leafy Peace, after the text layer.
So it's pretty easy to identify. And then you go up to the properties panel, and you switch from this first option right there, mesh over to deform, as strange as that might sound. But in any case, you want to switch to that second icon. And then, you want to drag down on this heads-up display. So, if I drag up, just like I did a moment ago, inside that demo file, then I would increase the amount of excursion. If I drag down, then I'm going to reduce the amount. And I'm going to take it down to what seems like a whopping amount right here, 1100, let's say, and about 60 pixels is what I'm looking for, and that's going to work out 1164 should work out just fine, and we end up with this effect here.
Now that's a pretty huge number, of course. But it's a function of the fact that we're looking at some very large text, from a distance. So, everything is relative in the world of 3D. All right, now for the sake of expediency, I'm going to dial in some numerical camera settings. So I'll go ahead and click on my camera once again, here inside the 3D panel. Then I'll switch to the coordinates icon up here in the properties panel. And I'll click on the X in order to select that last value. And I'll change it to negative 4,500, and I just happen to know that these values work in the case of this specific file.
I'll set the Y value to 7,200 and I'll set the Z value to 23,000. And then I'll press the tab key a couple of times to advance to the X rotation value and I"ll change it to 8 degrees and then I'll tab to the Y value and change it to -12 degrees. In order to achieve this effect here. A Z value of zero degrees, is just fine. And then I'll press the enter key, or the return key on the Mac to accept that change. A couple of other modifications are in order. Notice that our shadows are extending beyond the edge of this deck, or table, or bench, or whatever it is, out into the background.
And of course, that's not going to work. So go ahead and click on Infinite light 1, if you're working along with me. In which case, you'll see this light widget on screen. And then, you can go ahead and drag it upward, like so, in order to pitch the shadow, a little farther downward. That's going to be the easiest way to work, as opposed to trying to mask out the shadow in the background. All right, I also want to change the softness of the shadow. So, here in the properties panel, with the light selected, I'll go ahead and change this softness value right here to 20%, and then I'll press the enter key, in order to accept that change.
And I'll go ahead and change the intensity value to a 100% like so, and I'll press the Enter key or the Return key again. All right now I want a shadow that's a little more organic with it's background. And you can create colored shadows inside Photoshop. They're just a little tricky to find, what you do is you click on environment here at the top of the 3D panel. And then notice here in the properties panel, if you scroll down, you'll see some ground plane options. So any time you want to get to the ground plane options you need to click on Environment.
And then, in order to control the color of the shadows, I'll go ahead and click on that color swatch right there, which by default is black, and then I'll move my cursor out into the image window, and I'll click on one of the natural shadows here inside of the image and I end up lifting its HSB values. Now I'm going to modify these just slightly. I'm going to set the hue value to 30 degrees, and I'll take the saturation down to 50%, and then I'll take the brightness level down to 15%. And we get this dark shade of brown.
Then go head and click OK to accept that change. And now what you want to do in order to get a darker shadow is go ahead and increase that opacity value right there, the one that's associated with shadows, to 100%. So, we want to leave the reflections value alone. We could create a reflection, but it wouldn't really make sense against a wooden surface like this. All right. And now to get a better sense for how my 3D type looks, I'll go ahead and switch to the rectangular marquee tool, which I can get by pressing the M key.
And then I'll click on the render icon by the bottom of the properties panel, or the one down here at the bottom of the 3D panel, that will work out as well. In order to render that type and see what it looks like. And when all is said and done, the results are these beautifully ray traced letters, right here. And that friends is at least the basics of how you create extruded 3D-type, here inside Photoshop.
New to Photoshop? Check out Deke's companion courses, Introducing Photoshop: Design and Introducing Photoshop: Photography.
- Creating a simple 3D object
- Adding an object to a 3D scene
- Rotating the camera or an object in 3D space
- Positioning 3D objects
- Creating 3D type
- Extruding a path outline
- Working with Diffuse, Specular, Shine, and Reflection materials
- Importing a 3D model from another source
- Lighting your 3D scene