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In this tutorial, I will show you techniques involved to create this rather cool, 3D typography with abvanced Texturing and Lighting Effect in Photoshop. Some steps can be a little tricky and you do need a lot of patience to complete this tut, but why not have a try?

The aim of this tut is to demonstrate how you can texture a 3D text (created in Illustrator) quickly and effectively, using the least amount of steps possible.

Here is a preview of the final effect I have for this tutorial: (click to enlarge)

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OK let’s get started!

To complete this tutorial, you will need the following stocks:


Ground Crack

Mountain (Soil) Texture



Step 1

Create a document sized 1500px * 680px (you can choose a smaller size to fit your screen, but make sure you maintain the proportion), fill the background with #161616 colour.

Load the “Ground Crack” texture into Photoshop, Press Ctrl + A to select the entire image, copy and paste it onto out document. Name the new layer as “crack”, resize, rotate and distort this layer until you achieve the following effect:

Erase the the edges of the crack texture so it transits into the background colour:

Duplicate this crack layer once and move the duplicated layer toward the lower right end of the canvas for more variety:

Please note that the erase part is totally optional, if you’re happy with just the distorted texture, you can just leave it as it is.

Step 2

Now we have a ground base we can work on, let’s get on with the text creation.

I used Illustrator to render this 3D effect (I won’t demonstrate the steps for rendering as it’s irrelevant to this tutorial) and you can download a copy by clicking the following image, then loaded into Photoshop:

On top of the text layer, add the following two adjustment layers (make sure to tick the “use previous layer as clipping mask” option)



Add a layer mask on the text layer, then use the erase tool with chalk bursh setting  (Assign 40% opacity and flow) , erase the portions as shown below to create a rough surface. Also use a soft round brush to erase the bottom part on the text:

Portions you need to erase:

Once you’re happy with the text, load the “Mountain (soil) texture” stock into Photoshop. Load the select of the text layer by Ctrl + left-clicking the thumbnail image on the layer pallette, drag the selection on the soil texture:

Hint: to drag the selection, you must select the rectangular marquee tool first, then move you mouse over the selection, and click-hold to drag it.

Maintain the selection around the text, copy and paste your chosen soil texture onto our canvas. Name this layer as “soil” and make it a clipping mask layer for the text layer:

Use a soft round brush to erase the portions texture as indicated below: (set the opacity and flow to around 20% – this way you can make sure you don’t erase too much of the texture, as well as creating depth for the image)

Add the following Levels adjustment layer on top of the soil layer (make sure to tick the “use previous layer as clipping mask” option):

Load the “Grass” image into the Photoshop, select a portion of the grass:

Copy and paste the selection onto our canvas and name it as “grass”, right click the layer and select “create clipping mask”, and you will have the following effect:

Add the following Curves adjustment layer on top of the grass layer (make sure to tick the “use previous layer as clipping mask” option):

Change the blending mode of the grass layer to “soft light” and here is the effect so far:

Optionally, you can add a layer mask and erase certain portion of the grass texture if you think they’re unnecessary.

Step 3

Duplicate the grass layer once and drag it to the top, release the clipping mask and delete the layer mask attached to it. Add a new layer mask and change the blending mode to “overlay”, then erase the following areas on this grass overlay layer:

Hint: Same as all previous texture erases, combine the use of the chalk brush and circle brush is important, also set the flow and opacity to a low level (20% for both).

Add the following Levels adjustment layer on top of the grass overlay layer (make sure to tick the “use previous layer as clipping mask” option):

and here is the effect so far:

Create a “Shadow” layer under the text layer, garb a soft round brush to paint under the texture, in the area shown as below:

When you paint the shadows, make sure you pay attention to areas around the text:

Change the blending mode of this shadow layer to “soft light”, and here is the effect so far:

Step 4

Load the “Bird” stock image into Photoshop, cut out the bird and paste it onto canvas, position it as shown below:

Create a new layer called “bird shadow” under the bird layer, use a small soft round brush with black colour (set opacity and flow to both around 30%), carefully paint a thin shadow under the bird:

Duplicate the bird and the bird shadow layer, flip them horizontally and position them the left side as shown below:

Step 5

Now we’re pretty much done the main aspects of the tutorial. And we can add some background touches for some more depths. Some mist/cloud here would add some extra effect here.

I won’t brag you again with the cloud rendering and warping (you can check out this post if you haven’t used it before). What I would like to address is that when render the clouds, put each of them onto seperate layers, and change their blending mode into either “overlay”, “soft light” or “screen”:

Here is a screenshot of what I did to the cloud layers – it shows the cloud position and blending mode: (click to enlarge)

You will notice by change their blending mode (and layer opacity), you can add lighting depth and extra effect to the text and ground texture,

Also you can use a soft eraser to erase the portion of cloud where it links to the ground texture for more depth:

Step 6

Now we’re petty done for this tutorial! For some final adjustments, I add the following 2 adjustment layers:



and here is the effect:

Optionally, you can add some colours and glowing effect to touch up the overall design. You can achieve this by adding a new colour balance adjustment layer, and use the Gaussian blur filter. I won’t show you the exact settings here and I will leave this to you to explore and experiment :)

Here is the version where the colours and glowing effect is applied: (click to enlarge)

That’s it for this tutorial! Hope you enjoy it and learn something new! Have a great day :)

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