Create glowing 3D text and beautiful effects using only non-destructive Photoshop techniques. This tutorial will show you how to create 3D text, give it a futuristic blue glow, and finish it off with a modern bokeh and grid background. There are also a few really cool Photoshop tricks scattered in this tutorial. To follow this tutorial, you’ll need Photoshop CS5 Extended (Not the regular version).
What You’ll be Making
Download the PSD
TRON-Inspired Text.zip | 5.98 MB
TRON-Inspired Text Photoshop Tutorial
Before you begin this Photoshop tutorial, make sure you have these fonts installed. You’ll need to have them installed before running Photoshop or else you won’t be able to use it. You also need the extended version of Photoshop CS5 (not the regular version).
You can substitute the Raleway Thin font with Neue Helvetica 35 Thin if you have it.
Start by creating a new 1920×1080 pixels document. To create a new document, go to File > New.
Make the background black. You can do this quickly by pressing Ctrl/Cmd+I or going to Image > Adjustments > Invert to invert the color.
Type in the text you like to use with the TR2N font with a font size of 480pt. It’s best to use something around 4 characters. I’ll be writing TR2N instead of TRON to give credit to the author Jeff Bell for this beautiful font.
Duplicate the text layer then rename it to TR2N 3D. Make sure this layer is positioned as the top layer.
Make sure you have the TR2N 3D text layer selected then go to 3D > Repoussé > Text Layer. You’ll get a popup that asks if you want to rasterize the text – just click yes. If you don’t see the 3D menu, you might not be using Photoshop CS5 extended. There are two versions of Photoshop and the 3D tools are only available in Photoshop CS5 Extended.
In the Repoussé tool, reduce the Depth value so that the thickness of your 3D text looks similar to ours. Don’t click OK yet.
In the Materials area, click on the drop down menu then choose the sphere with no texture. This will remove all the textures from your text. Don’t click OK yet.
Here’s how the text currently look.
In the Bevel settings, select Front then set the height to 5, width to 0.5, and contour to the deep cove contour. Click OK to apply the changes.
This bevel settings you just set gives your text a slight bevel like this:
We’re done creating the 3D text! Now that we’re done, we can allow Photoshop to improve the quality of the 3D text.
One of the most common problems people experience when trying out the 3D tools is that they get jagged low quality edges. Photoshop does this to improve the performance while you’re editing. Once you’re done, you can change the quality and have Photoshop render a higher quality image.
This quality setting is hidden in the 3D panel. Go to Window > 3D to bring up the 3D panel. In the Quality drop down menu, select Ray Traced Final.
Photoshop will now render the image and you’ll see a blue grid moving across your image. This process will take awhile depending on your computers speed. If you press anything, Photoshop will pause the render. To resume the render, just right-click on the layer and choose Resume Progressive Render. When the text quality looks good enough for you, simply click anywhere to stop the render.
After the render, you’ll get a smooth text like this.
Now we’re going to apply some layer styles to give it a glow. Before we begin, I’m going to convert it to a Smart Object. This step is optional – you don’t have to do it. I just like doing it because it protects me from accidentally changing the settings (ex. clicking on the visibility icon of the 3D settings). Every time this happens, Photoshop will have to restart the rendering. If you want to convert the layer into a Smart Object, right-click on the layer then choose Convert to Smart Object.
If you want to go back to edit the 3D settings, you can double-click on the layer thumbnail. Photoshop will open the layer as a new document and give you instructions on how to save the changes.
Edit the settings you like then save and close. The changes will show up in your original Photoshop document.
We’re now going to use layer styles to give the 3D text a blue glow. Right-click on the TR2N 3D layer then choose Blending Options.
Select the Color Overlay option then set the color to #00B4FF. You can also change the blending mode to Overlay if you like. Don’t click OK yet.
Select the Outer Glow layer style then set the color to the same color we used earlier (#00b4ff). Set the size to around 30px. Note that the size you use will vary if you used a different font size than the one we used. Click OK to apply the changes.
Here’s how the blue glow looks like.
Now we’re going to work on the front face of the 3D text to give it a glowing effect. In the Layers palette, move the TR2N layer above the TR2N 3D layer. You can move the layer by dragging it above the TR2N 3D layer.
Your text will now have a nice white glow.
If you zoom in and look closely, chances are that your white outline is not aligning perfectly with the 3D text.
To fix this, use the Free Transform tool by going to Edit > Free Transform. Zoom in and drag the handles of the transform box to scale it so that it fits your 3D text. If your bounding box is snapping and you don’t want it to, hold the Ctrl or Cmd key while dragging to disable snapping.