The “Step & Repeat” Trick for Creating 3D Text in Photoshop

Hello everyone this is Chris from Spoon Graphics back with another video tutorial for Adobe Photoshop Today we’re going to create a colourful 3D type effect, which is ideal for making fun lettering pieces or quote designs

We’ll start by creating a custom type layout using a ready-made font as a base, then I’ll show you the clever Photoshop Step-and-Repeat trick that produces the cool faux 3D appearance Vibrant colours are used throughout to really brighten up the artwork, which are enhanced with shading effects using Photoshop Layer Styles The whole design is then finished off with subtle texturing with grainy details Stick around until the end to get your hands on my Subtle Grunge Photoshop brushes so you have all the tools you need to create the effect yourself To create your custom type effect, create a new document in Adobe Photoshop

I’m using a size of 2000x2000px, but the canvas can be any size You could totally use your own hand lettering as a starting point for this effect, but in this tutorial I’ll show you how to customise an existing font with some small tweaks to create a custom type layout Choose a nice mono-weight script font from your library One of my most-used fonts is Smoothy I’ll link to it in the description if you fancy picking it up yourself

Lay out your chosen words in separate text elements and scale them up to fill the canvas Holding the ALT key while dragging the text element is an easy way to duplicate it while retaining the font and size you’ve already established Visualise how you could compose your text elements to create a balanced layout Currently the big difference between the baseline and cap sizes creates some huge gaps, so all the lowercase letters of the first word are moved downwards by editing the baseline shift value in the Character panel To adjust the kerning between a pair of letters, position the cursor in the relevant place, then hold the ALT key while nudging with the left or right cursor keys

The apostrophe in my example is floating in outer orbit, and the last letter is sat on its own Adjusting baseline to bring the apostrophe inline and connecting up the ‘S’ neatens up the lettering Position the next word by aiming to match the spacing in and around the letters Bringing up the baseline shift value helps fill out the empty space Select all your text elements (or both in my case) and use the CMD (or CTRL on Windows)+T shortcut for Transform

Right click and choose Skew, then move the right edge upwards to produce a ‘rise’ effect It’s a shame the Smoothy font doesn’t come in more weights, but the mono-weight type style is easy to fatten up with a Stroke Double click each layer and apply a 9px stroke positioned to the Outside Shift and click each text layer to select them both, then use the CMD+E shortcut to merge them into one Let’s add some colour to the background

Double click the background layer to make it editable, then double click again to open the layer style options Apply a Gradient Overlay Set up the hues to orange to yellow I’m using the exact colours of #FF4A2C and #FFDA45 Select the text layer and use the CMD+J shortcut to duplicate it Turn off the visibility of the layer to hide it for the moment

Double click the first text layer to add a Bevel and Emboss layer style Hit the Reset to Default button to use the standard settings Next add a Color Overlay and choose a suitable hue for the 3D extrusion I’m using a purple of #BD45EC Bring back the visibility of the other text layer and set it up with just a white Color Overlay

With the purple text layer selected, which isn’t visible underneath the white layer above it, use the shortcut CMD+ALT+T to record a transformation Nudge the text left and up one pixel with the cursor keys then hit ENTER Repeatedly press the CMD+ALT+SHIFT+T shortcut to repeat this step and create a duplicate that is offset by 1px upwards and to the left every time As each new copy is added, the layers begin to form a faux 3D appearance Keep adding layers to extend the extrusion effect

Aim for around 100 layers You can easily keep count by looking at the layer copy numbers of each new layer name Scroll right back down the layer stack and hold Shift while clicking the first copy Press CMD+E to merge them all into one layer to keep the layers tidy and reduce the memory intensity Press CMD+T and move the extruded layer and the white text layer into place so they’re aligned together, and also positioned centrally on the canvas

Double click the white text layer and add a Drop Shadow Change the settings to Color Burn with the default black swatch Edit the angle to 135 degrees, so the shadow is cast diagonally across the extruded portion Continue setting the options with a Distance of around 40, zero spread and 100 Size Fine tune the amount of shading by reducing the opacity

I went with 60% This shading effect really enhances the 3D effect and the Color Burn blend mode intensifies the purple There’s still one layer left over that we can use to make a long shadow effect Right click on the layer and choose Clear Layer Style to remove the purple bevel and emboss effects, turning it back into black text Use the CMD+ALT+T shortcut to make the initial Step as part of the Step-and-Repeat trick

Nudge the text down and left by 1 pixel Repeatedly press the CMD+ALT+Shift+T shortcut to replicate this adjustment to form a stretched long shadow effect Scroll down the layer stack and Shift+Click the first black text layer, then merge them together with CMD+E Press CMD+T to Transform and move this shadow into place, aligned to the bottom of the purple 3D shapes Set the blending mode to Multiply, then reduce the opacity to between 3 and 5 percent

Now let’s add a few finishing touches to the artwork Create a new layer and set up a brush with a large soft tip Using a white foreground colour, place a white glow in the upper right, opposite to where the shadow is falling Set this layer to Soft Light and reduce the opacity to around 50% to add some subtle highlights that add more gradual variations of colour Add another new layer at the top of the layer stack

Go to Edit > Fill and choose 50% Grey, then head to Filter > Noise > Add Noise Set up the values to 5%, Gaussian and Monochromatic Set this layer to Overlay to apply some subtle grain to the artwork Follow the link in the description to download my Free Subtle Grain Photoshop Brushes Double click the ABR file to load the brushes into Photoshop

Add a new layer at the bottom of the layer stack, but above the coloured background layer Grab the brush tool and choose one of the subtle grunge brushes It helps to reduce the flow amount in the top toolbar so you can build up layers of grunge Don’t forget to switch the foreground colour back to black, then dab a few spots of dirt over the background Change the layer’s blending mode to Overlay so the dirt speckles blend into the coloured backdrop

They won’t show much over the brighter yellow, but they fade in to a darker red over the orange part, which produces a cool effect Select the purple 3D extrusion layer and add a layer mask Paint a few dabs of dirt over the canvas again Because it’s being painted within a layer mask, it will erase parts of the artwork to allow the background to show through, giving it a nice distressed look Repeat the process on the white text layer too

To really bring out the details, apply a quick Sharpen filter to all the layer masks and background overlay layer The final result is a cool piece of custom type with a faux 3D appearance and subtle texturing Using these same techniques, you can create all kinds of type pieces, using various quotes and colour schemes If you enjoyed the tutorial or learnt any new tricks, give the video a Like to help recommend it to others Subscribe to the channel to stick around for more, and join my mailing list at Spoon Graphics to get your hands on 100s more free design resources

As always thank you very much for watching, and I’ll see you in the next one!

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