In this tutorial, I will show you the steps I took to Design an Awesome Desert Ruin Text Effect in Photoshop. This is an intermediate tutorial so some steps can be tricky, but why not have a try :)

Along the way, you will learn some simple but effective methods that you can use to manipulate stock images in order to produce the effect you want.

When you need postcard printing for a client, these skills can assist with the creative process.

Here is a preview of the final effect: (click to enlarge)

desert text flatten 500x308 Design an Awesome Desert Ruin (3D) Text Effect in Photoshop

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vip sign up 250 Design an Awesome Desert Ruin (3D) Text Effect in Photoshop

Ok Let’s get started!

To complete this tutorial, you will need the following stock: (registration required for those images)

Desert

Sky

Letter PSD File

Destroyed Building

Step 1

Create a new document sized 1200px * 740px and leave the background as white. Load the Desert image into Photoshop and select the desert portion with the rectangular marquee tool, as shown below:

1 sel 500x327 Design an Awesome Desert Ruin (3D) Text Effect in Photoshop

Copy and paste the selection onto our document, resize and position it as shown below:

1 resize 500x320 Design an Awesome Desert Ruin (3D) Text Effect in Photoshop

Now we want to fade the top edge of the desert a bit (to get ready for attaching the sky in step 2) – so grab the gradient fill tool and use the following settings:

1 grad fill Design an Awesome Desert Ruin (3D) Text Effect in Photoshop

Add a layer mask onto this desert layer, fill the mask as shown below:

1 mask fill 500x327 Design an Awesome Desert Ruin (3D) Text Effect in Photoshop

And you will have the following effect: (top edge faded-in)

1 effect3 500x70 Design an Awesome Desert Ruin (3D) Text Effect in Photoshop

Add a new Levels adjustment layer on top of the desert layer with the following settings:

1 lv3 Design an Awesome Desert Ruin (3D) Text Effect in Photoshop

and we will have a lighter sand colour for the desert, as shown below:

1 effect 21 500x90 Design an Awesome Desert Ruin (3D) Text Effect in Photoshop

Step 2

Load the sky image into Photoshop, select the sky portion of the image as shown below:

2 sek 500x367 Design an Awesome Desert Ruin (3D) Text Effect in Photoshop

Paste the selection onto our document, resize and position it as shown below:

2 paste 500x329 Design an Awesome Desert Ruin (3D) Text Effect in Photoshop

Add a layer mask on this sky layer. Again we use the gradient fill tool on the layer mask to fade its bottom edge:

2 mask1 500x314 Design an Awesome Desert Ruin (3D) Text Effect in Photoshop

and you will have the following result: (bottom edge of the sky faded-in)

2 effect3 500x94 Design an Awesome Desert Ruin (3D) Text Effect in Photoshop

We can increase the contrast of the sky a bit by adding a new selective colour layer as clipping mask to the sky layer, with the following settings for “Cyans”:

2 sel col Design an Awesome Desert Ruin (3D) Text Effect in Photoshop

Add another Levels adjustment layer on top of all previous layers (don’t add it as clipping mask to any layer), with the following settings:

2 lv1 Design an Awesome Desert Ruin (3D) Text Effect in Photoshop

Layer mask on this levels adjustment layer:

2 lv mask1 500x300 Design an Awesome Desert Ruin (3D) Text Effect in Photoshop

and you will have the following effect so far:

2 effect 2 500x303 Design an Awesome Desert Ruin (3D) Text Effect in Photoshop

Step 3

Now we can add a spot light on the image by creating a new layer, and use a soft white brush to do a single click on the position shown below:

3 light 500x342 Design an Awesome Desert Ruin (3D) Text Effect in Photoshop

Load the letter PSD file you download into Photoshop, drag the letter onto our document, resize and position it as shown below:

3 paste2 500x299 Design an Awesome Desert Ruin (3D) Text Effect in Photoshop

Rasterize this letter layer, use the distort tool to adjust its angle a bit:

3 distort 500x323 Design an Awesome Desert Ruin (3D) Text Effect in Photoshop

Use a combination of the chalk brush and soft round brush as eraser, erase the edge of the text as shown below: (This will create some torn-apart effect for the text, getting it ready for the next step)

3 erase1 500x405 Design an Awesome Desert Ruin (3D) Text Effect in Photoshop

Load the selection of this letter layer via Ctrl + Left-click the thumbnail image of this layer on the layer palette:

3 load sel 500x417 Design an Awesome Desert Ruin (3D) Text Effect in Photoshop

Load the destroyed building image into Photoshop, drag the selection onto this image and select the following portion:

3 move sel 500x224 Design an Awesome Desert Ruin (3D) Text Effect in Photoshop

Copy and paste th selection onto our document and set the layer as a clipping mask to the text layer, again we carefully erase the following portion of this new building texture with a soft eraser:

Hint: make sure you DO NOT use 100% flow and opacity for your eraser tool – this will result the texture being overdone. Try to set the flow and opacity to be both around 30% instead.

3 paste 2 erase 500x343 Design an Awesome Desert Ruin (3D) Text Effect in Photoshop

Step 4

We can add some variety to the text by adding more building/concrete texture onto it. Go back to the building image and move the selection to a different area as shown below:

4 sel 500x201 Design an Awesome Desert Ruin (3D) Text Effect in Photoshop

Copy and paste the selection onto our document and set it as clipping mask to the text layer, set its layer blending mode to “vivid light”, and erase the following portion with a soft eraser:

4 erase2 500x308 Design an Awesome Desert Ruin (3D) Text Effect in Photoshop

We can also selection an individual piece from the building texture:

4 sel 2 Design an Awesome Desert Ruin (3D) Text Effect in Photoshop

Copy and paste it on to the top right corner of the text, resize it to fit the shape of the text, and erase the edges with a soft eraser:

4 paste 2 500x406 Design an Awesome Desert Ruin (3D) Text Effect in Photoshop

and you will have the following effect so far:

4 effect1 500x307 Design an Awesome Desert Ruin (3D) Text Effect in Photoshop

Step 5

Now we can add some special effect around the text to make it look cool. I decide to add some dusts around the text (since it’s in a desert).

Use the Eyedropper Tool to pick a colour from the desert ground texture:

5 col pick 500x312 Design an Awesome Desert Ruin (3D) Text Effect in Photoshop

Create a new layer and grab a soft round brush (preferably a cloud brush) with around 20% flow and opacity setting, paint some dust cloud on the bottom of the text:

5 paint2 500x186 Design an Awesome Desert Ruin (3D) Text Effect in Photoshop

Duplicate this dust layer once, enlarge it a bit and use the warp tool to warp it as shown below: (this create a flying effect)

5 dup warp 500x288 Design an Awesome Desert Ruin (3D) Text Effect in Photoshop

Create another layer on top, use a particle brush (you can find lots of them around the net) and paint some particles in a flowing pattern as shown below:

5 dust paint 500x242 Design an Awesome Desert Ruin (3D) Text Effect in Photoshop

Also make sure you paint some shadow under the text with a soft black brush for some image depth:

5 shadow 500x153 Design an Awesome Desert Ruin (3D) Text Effect in Photoshop

and you will have the following effect so far:

5 effect2 500x342 Design an Awesome Desert Ruin (3D) Text Effect in Photoshop

We’re done here! I further added a few lighting effect and lens flares around the text, and here is my final result for this tut:

(if you wish to learn some of those lighting techniques, check out this tutorial here on psdvault.com)

desert text flatten 500x308 Design an Awesome Desert Ruin (3D) Text Effect in Photoshop

That’s it for this tutorial! Hope you enjoy this tutorial and find it useful! Till next time, have a great day!