Many people are afraid to use the 3D features in Photoshop but it can be incredibly simple once you get the hang of it. In this Photoshop tutorial, you will learn step-by-step how to convert your text into 3D type, create a crystal cube, and arrange your objects in 3D space. This tutorial will improve your familiarity with Photoshop’s 3D tools and give you a basic understanding of how you can add 3D objects to your artworks. To follow this tutorial, you’ll need Photoshop CS6 Extended.
Preview of Final Results
To start, create a new 2400×1600 pixels document. Use the Text tool to add the text that you like. You should stick to a thick font for 3D text because thin fonts don’t show up well. The font I’m using is a free font called Couture. After typing, go into the Characters panel (Window > Characters) and reduce the leading. You can click on the Leading icon and drag left/right to increase/decrease the leading instead of typing in a number.
For the nightshift designers
Next, we’re going to convert the text to 3D. With the Text tool selected, click on the 3D button in the options bar. Remember, you need Photoshop CS6 Extended to see this button. Your text will turn 3D instantly and Photoshop will be switched to the 3D workspace. With the Move tool selected, click on the text to select it. You can also select it from the 3D panel. With the text 3D layer selected, reduce the “Extrusion Depth” setting in the Properties panel. This makes your text thinner and you’ll see it change as you make the adjustment.
We’re going to leave the text for now and create the crystal. It’s really easy to make and we’ll show you how. Create a new layer and name it “Crystal”. In your 3D panel, select “Mesh From Preset” then click Create. Photoshop will create a 3D cube for you on this layer. Next, we need to merge the cube with the text layer so that we can use the same camera and lighting setup. To do this, press Ctrl/Cmd+E or go to Layer > Merge Down.
We’re going to reduce the opacity of the cube to give it some transparency. This will help in the next step when we fit the text inside the cube. In the 3D panel, click on the Cube_Material. Your Properties panel will change to show the cube material settings. Set the opacity to 5%.
Now we’re going to resize and reposition the text so that it fits inside the cube. To make it easier, we’re going to switch the view so that we’re looking from the top down. In your 3D Secondary View window (View > Show > 3D Secondary View), click on the panel menu and select Top. Then click on the “Swap Main and Secondary-View” button located at top-right of your panel. This will swap your secondary view with your main view.
Select the 3D text layer in your 3D panel. Switch the 3D Mode to Scale in your options bar then click on an area outside of the text and drag to scale it down so that it fits inside the cube. Switch your 3D Mode to Drag (the 3rd button), then click on an area outside of the text and drag to reposition the text so that it’s in the middle of the box.
In your Secondary View panel, change the view to Left. Click on the “Swap Main and Secondary-View” button located at top-right of your panel. With the Drag tool selected, click on an empty area then drag to reposition the text so that it’s in the middle of your crystal. When you’re done, click on the “Swap Main and Secondary-View” button again to bring you back to the default camera view.
Next, we’re going to add the image of the sky. I got my sky picture from ShutterStock but you can easily find free cloud pictures on other websites. Drag and drop the file into your document. Photoshop will place your photo as a new Smart Object. Rename this layer to “Blue Sky”. In the 3D panel, select 3D Postcard then click create. This will turn your layer into a 3D object. Press Ctrl/Cmd+E or go to Layer > Merge Down to merge this 3D postcard layer with your other 3D layer.
Currently, your blue sky picture is cutting through the middle of your text and cube and we need to move this object way towards the distance. To do this, change the view to Left in your Secondary View panel then click the swap views button located at top-right of your panel. Select the Blue Sky 3D object in your 3D panel then set the 3D Mode in the options bar to Slide. Click on an empty area then, while holding the shift key, drag left to move the blue sky all the way towards the left. Click the swap view button to switch back to your default view.
Now the sky image is too small but that’s because it’s all the way in the background. To enlarge it back, set your 3D mode to scale then click on an empty area and drag to enlarge it back.
It’s bigger now, but it’s cutting through the 3D ground plane. Switch your 3D mode to drag then click anywhere outside of your document and drag the sky photo up until it is above the ground plane.
Now we need to reposition our camera view so that it is looking straight in front of the blue sky background. On the bottom left of your interface, you’ll notice a translucent black box with 3 arrows inside of it. This is the camera move tool and can be used to reposition your camera view. We just need to move our camera view up, so while holding down the shift key, click on the green arrow and drag down to move your camera up until your background fills your entire screen.
Now we need to move the text and cube up so that it’s back in our cameras view. To do this, select the text and crystal layer from the 3D panel (hold Ctrl/Cmd to select multiple 3D objects). Switch your 3D mode to Drag then click on an empty area and drag upwards while holding down the shfit key until the 3D objects are in the center of your image.
We finally have everything in place and we can start playing around with the 3D crystal. First, we’re going to rotate the crystal and text slightly. With the text and crystal 3D objects selected, click and drag on the Y rotation angle to rotate the 3D objects. I moved mine to the left until it was around 24º.