3D Lettering Effect in Photoshop | Molly Suber Thorpe | Skillshare

3D Lettering Effect in Photoshop

Molly Suber Thorpe, Calligrapher & Designer

3D Lettering Effect in Photoshop

Molly Suber Thorpe, Calligrapher & Designer

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16 Lessons (51m)
    • 1. 3D Lettering Effect in Photoshop

    • 2. Set Up Your File

    • 3. Add Your Lettering

    • 4. Use A Font Instead

    • 5. Import or Create Swatches

    • 6. Run A Stepping Action

    • 7. Apply Dimension Effects

    • 8. Create The First Drop Shadow

    • 9. Add A Gradient Overlay

    • 10. Create The Long Drop Shadow

    • 11. Center & Transform Your Text

    • 12. Make A Grain Layer

    • 13. Add A Vignette

    • 14. Adjust Contrast

    • 15. Change The Colors

    • 16. Swap Out Your Artwork

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About This Class

Learn to make a beautiful, 3-dimensional text effect in Photoshop. I'll show you how to use your own hand lettering or any digital typeface. You will learn to use smart objects and non-destructive layer styles to create a design that is fully customizable and a stunning effect. 

After making this one time, you can use your Photoshop file over and over again to create different artwork. I'll teach you how to swap out the lettering while maintaining the dimensional effects, so that, like magic, any new design you place in the file will take on the same appearance. 


Required software:


  • Basic knowledge of Photoshop is helpful but not mandatory. I cover each step in detail, and even show my keyboard shortcuts on the screen, so a Photoshop newbie can still follow along! In fact, this class makes a good introduction to some of Photoshop's most powerful tools.


Useful Links:


My Calligraphy Books:

  1. *NEW* Mastering Modern Calligraphy: Beyond the Basics: 2,700+ Pointed Pen Exemplars and Exercises for Developing Your Style

  2. Modern Calligraphy: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started in Script Calligraphy

  3. The Calligrapher's Business Handbook: Pricing & Policies for Lettering Artists


+ Follow my Instagram and tag me in your projects: @mollysuberthorpe

+ Sign up for my Workshop News Bulletin to stay informed about my upcoming, in-person classes

+ Visit Calligrafile.com, a massive online resource guide that I created for lettering artists and creative freelancers, with 1,000+ recommended supplies, books, online classes, and helpful links.

Meet Your Teacher

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Molly Suber Thorpe

Calligrapher & Designer

Top Teacher

I design custom lettering for brands and individuals, Procreate brushes for artists, fonts for designers, and freelancing tools for creatives. I’m the author of four books for lettering artists and teach the craft both online and in person.



I’m lucky to have worked with some awesome clients over the years, including Google Arts & Culture, Martha Stewart, Fendi, and Michael Kors. My work and words have been featured in such publications as The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, Martha Stewart Weddings, LA Times, and Buzzfeed.

I love connecting with my students so please please share your projects with me. If you do so on Instagram, tag me with @mollysuberthorpe so I’m sure to see it!&nb... See full profile

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1. 3D Lettering Effect in Photoshop: Welcome to 3D lettering Effect in Photoshop. I'm Molly Suber Thorpe , a hand lettering artists, graphic designer, and author. Today, I'm going to teach you how to create a beautiful dimensional text effect just like this one for your own hand letter designs or for use with any digital typeface. We're going to learn how to use smart objects and non-destructive adjustment layers to create a design that is fully customizable and an effect that can be used over and over and over again with different art and different lettering. By changing up colors and dimension depth, you'll be able to change the artwork of your design, so that you can use this effect in multiple pieces. This process is fully non-destructive, meaning that you can change any aspect of it as you go or use the same effects you're creating class today to apply to a future piece of artwork without having to redo all the effect layers. That's the beauty of smart objects. I'm going to show you how to use smart objects in combination with filters and layer effects to create this non-destructive and beautiful type treatment. I hope that you'll follow along and make your own project, which you'll share in the project section of class, or if you share it on social media, tag me so that I can have a look on there. All right. I can't wait to get started. 2. Set Up Your File: This is the class project that we are going to create together today. I want to start off by showing it to you so that as we work you have a sense in your mind of where we're going with each step. Let me just zoom in and pan around this image a little bit and describe to you what we're going to be doing. We're taking a design that is either hand lettered, or created with a font, it's your choice and I'll show you both options. We're going to add dimension to it, depth, and we're also going to add a substantial size drop shadow. We're going to put grain over the entire thing to make it look a little bit vintage and set it on a backdrop with a nice vignette, and some other filters so that the whole thing ends up with a very cohesive and somewhat vintage look. Now let's set up our file. I'm coming up to File New. I am setting this size to ten by eight inches just because I think that's a very nice ratio to work with. It's the same ratio I've done in the sample here, and keeping the resolution at 300 dpi, and the color mode RGB. Now just so that you're aware if you have a very slow computer or you're just wanting to play around for the first time here, you might not want to go any larger than this. In fact, you may want to use a smaller resolution as you learn this technique. I say this just because these files can get very heavy and save time, load time and rendering time can take a little while. If you don't want your computer to get bogged down by some of the layers we're working with, the smaller the file size, the better luck you're going to have. That said, I do work with large files all the time. I have a pretty fast computer, but I also just don't think it's worth it to make finished artwork that's too small to print at a large size or zoom in on, but do just be aware that the end result of files like this is pretty heavy and big. Okay, so we're hitting "Create". Very first thing I want to do is replace the background with a solid color layer, and so I'm coming down here to my black and white cookie tool and hitting "solid color". We're going to talk about colors in just a moment. But you'll see here I have a pre-set of color palette and we'll discuss that. But I'm just going to set the background to this peachy color and then I'll delete the default background layer. The reason I did that is because for me it's important to be able to quickly double-click my background layer and change it to any color that I want very easily. It's just a personal preference I have, but it really helps my workflow a lot. 3. Add Your Lettering: Next I'm going to navigate to the file where I have my hand letter design. Here's the hand letter design that I created for this class. I made it in procreate on my iPad and I exported it as a Photoshop file and dropped it to myself on my computer, opened it here in Photoshop, and saved it as a Photoshop CC file. Now a couple notes about my design choices for this, in case you're looking for some advice on creating a design of your own. I opted to make my text on a slant moving slightly upward because I think that that adds a lot of movement and dynamism that makes for a more eye-catching design, especially when we add dimension. I also incorporated thick and thin strokes because the dimension that gets added later looks really cool when it's thicker in some parts and thinner and others. It almost looks like it takes on a leaden effect. For the same reason, I added thick and thin parts to these strokes coming in and out of the letters, so that again, I can play with the movement from thin to thick within the dimension. Now you can see that it created this on a blank background if I turn off the background layer. This is really important. Do not work with a flattened file. If you do, there will be more steps you'll just have to take on your own to eliminate the background, because it's just really important that your layer only have the artwork on it and no background, nothing else. With my art layer selected, I will come up to Edit, Copy or of course Command C if you prefer, and I'll navigate back to my new file. Now that I'm here, I don't just want to paste my new design in, I want to paste it onto something called a Smart Object, and I'll tell you in a moment a bit more about what that is if you don't already know. When in my layers palette, I'm coming down the New Layer icon and making a brand new layer one, and I'm just going to call this Art, because our artwork is going on it. Then I'll right-click not on the thumbnail, but outside the thumbnail to the right of the thumbnail, I'll right-click and say "Convert to Smart Object". Now, all the difference that you're going to see is that an icon appears here on the art layer thumbnail. If I double-click that, a new tab actually opens on my screen. When I exit full screen view so that you can see the tabs. You'll see that right here in this tab, because we haven't saved it yet, is the untitled file we created, and when I double-click the art layer, this R.PSB layer opened up. Here, I'm going to now paste either by hitting Command V or going to Edit, Paste. I'll zoom out a bit, drag my design to center it, and then either hit Command T for transform or just go to Edit, Transform, Scale. Then I'm just going to shrink it somewhat so that it's centered with a lot of nice margins around the edge. Now when I hit "Save" on this file and I close the layer, it appears here in our previous file. Before we go on, I'm just going to save this file, I'll call it Text Effect Demo. Next thing we're going to do is copy this Smart Object layer by just dragging it down to the New Layer icon and reversing the order, dragging this new copy down below the original. Double-clicking on the name, I'm going to rename it 3D because this will be the beginning or the first layer of our dimension. Now, I just want to show you something cool about smart objects. Now that we've copied our Smart Bar object, I want to show you how when you edit one of these layers, both of them update automatically, and if I had copied it 100 times, all 100 of them would update. I'll double-click on either one of them, and when I come in here, I want to say change the color of this type. So I'll come down here to my black and white cookie icon, add a solid color layer, I'm going to select this light turquoise and hit "Okay". Then with my Option key or alt key on the PC held down, you'll see that when I hover between these two layers, that my cursor changes to this Clipping icon, and if I click "once", then the color layer clips inside of my art layer and affects only the art on that layer. Now, when I hit "save" and I navigate back to my text effect demo file, you'll see that not only did the artwork on my 3D layer change, but if I turn it off and I'm just viewing this art Smart Object layer, it changed also. The fact that we can update one smart object and have it affect all of the other copies of that same Smart Object in our file is a crucial aspect to this text effect technique. 4. Use A Font Instead: Instead of using hand lettering, you may want to use a digital font. When you create that first smart object layer and you double-click it to open it up where I previously showed that you can paste in your hand letter design. I want to show you now how easy it is just too type-in digital font and have it work exactly the same way. I'll turn off that layer that I had already pasted in. I'll come over to my text tool and I'll just for the sake of it, write the same text that I hand lettered as well. I'll just resize this to fit the screen and maybe even slanted it a little bit upward. I want to increase the line height here in the character palette. If you don't have a character palette open, you can just come to window character. You may also want your paragraph palette if you want to control centering and left-right justification, stuff like that. I want to have the kerning pretty generous on. Let's see how optical looks slightly better and decrease the space a little bit. This is one way to add type and then you don't have to rasterize this layer. In other words, you don't have to turn it into just pixels. You can keep it as editable text. Then you'll always be able to come back in here and change the text without in any way affecting your actual design. 5. Import or Create Swatches: Now let's take a moment to talk about color swatches. Because to create the dimension and depth and lighting and shading that we're using in this technique, it's important that you have some tints and shades of the same hue and a few other swatches here in your toolkit to pull from really quickly. That just saves you a lot of time and makes the choice of color as you work eliminated from the equation because you can always recolor things later, because you don't want to spend your time while you're creating your layers and affects choosing new colors at each step. So in the Resources section of this class, I've actually given you an exported version of my swatch palette so that if you want, you can follow along in class with exactly the colors that I'm using. If you download that file, you're going to get one that looks like this, Text Effect Palette.aco. So save that somewhere safe on your computer, then come over here to your swatches palette. If you want to add on my swatches to the swatches you already have you'll click this Fly-out hamburger menu in the top right and then click Load Swatches. But I want to replace my swatches with my own swatches, and so either way, whether you click Load or Replace, you're going to click it and navigate to the swatch file in the popup that appears and hit Open and then the swatches will appear right up here. Now let me pull my swatch palette out here so that we can examine what I have. I have a pure black, then I have a 25 percent gray. If you want to create your own 25 percent gray, all you have to do is come over here to the left side of your screen in the toolbar and double-click your Foreground Color. Mine is already set up to 25 percent grade because that's the swatch I just created. But let's say that you're on some other color. The fastest way for me is to come to the CMYK input fields, and I'll just put zero for the three colors, cyan, magenta, and yellow. For K, which stands for black, I'm just inputting 25. So that's 25 percent black or light gray. Then to add it to your swatches, when it's the foreground color, all you have to do is click this New Swatch icon, or while you're still in this pop-up screen, simply click Add Swatches. So I have black, 25 percent gray and pure white. Then I chose a semi-muted, pretty light color for the background, in this case peach. Then I chose three tints and shades of roughly the same hue. So I picked a really bright turquoise, a medium turquoise, and a really dark turquoise, which is a bit more on the green end of the spectrum, but still they represent a range in the same hue family. The reason I've done this is because to create the lighting and dimension in this project, we need to have swatches prepared for ourselves that vary from light to dark, and for this particular technique, only three such colors are needed. So I like to have them already setup in my swatches palette so that I can just quickly navigate to them as I'm creating my effects. It saves me a huge amount of time. If you want to create your own color scheme, you can absolutely do that. Take a moment right now, I recommend just starting by picking a background color, muted, relatively light, as you can see here in the background, my peach color and my brightest turquoise color do not work together. It's pretty blinding. So pick a medium color that matches and then create another swatch with a much lighter version and much darker version. At the end of this video, I'm also going to teach you how to recolor your artwork so it's absolutely not an unchangeable decision at this point. But it does make your work prettier and more fun as you go along if the colors already look cool as you're working. 6. Run A Stepping Action: Now I quickly turned off that color fill layer in our smart object for just a moment. It had been on like this and I turned it off that's simply because for the sake of this video, the black on the light background is going to pop out a lot more. What we're going to do next is create an action. First, you may just want to set up your Photoshop workspace to look like mine, the minimum that you're going to need is this actions palette but if you want your window to look exactly like mine to make it easier to follow along, just come to Workspace, Photography. Here's my actions palette the icon is a little Play Symbol. All actions have to fit inside of folders. Since I'm creating a brand new action here, I'm going to create a brand new folder too. I'll click the Folder icon and I'll title this Layer Stepping and you'll see why in just a moment. Then I'm going to create a new action by clicking this icon that is the same as the New Layer icon. I'm going to call this down and right, and again, you'll see why in a moment. As soon as I create that layer, you'll see that this record button turns on. If you've never used actions before, they're an incredibly cool and powerful tool to help you save time on really tedious things or perform tasks that would normally take you forever. When this record button is turned on, Photoshop is actually recording every single thing that you do and saving it in such a way that when you play your action later, Photoshop will replicate all the actions that you took. Right now, if you have to do anything else in Photoshop before you continue following along with me, just hit the Stop button, and then hit Record Again when you're ready to start. Let's say for example, you need to rename a layer or change your background color, this action will record that and you don't want it to. We're only recording a very specific action at this time. So when you're ready, click the record button and start by coming to your 3D layer and making a copy. I'm just dragging it down to the New Layer icon. Then I'm going to drag that Copy, down below the previous layer so that the original layer is above the copy. Then I'm going to make sure I'm on my move tool and that means that without anything selected, if I use the arrow keys on my keyboard, I will move or nudge the layer that is selected. So with what is now the bottom layer selected, I zoom in a lot hopefully maybe you'll be able to see this. It's going to be very subtle. I'm just hitting my down arrow once and my right arrow once. That's it and I'm hitting Stop now. Zooming back out with Command Zero or alt+0. Now, my 3D layer looks like this and my 3D copy looks like this. Watch. Very slightly move to the side. What we're going to do now is create a ton of these copies and we're just going to do that by selecting the action down and right and hitting the Play button many times. If I hit it the first time, a copy is created, that is one pixel further down and further to the right than the previous. Again. I'm going to do this about forty times and you can see that as I am working, as I'm hitting it, the text itself, my design is getting thicker and thicker, and thicker. Just imagine how tedious that would have been had I been copying every layer and then by hand going one and to the right and if you made a little mistake, like accidentally going two down and one to the right, that would actually be visible as an error, so this also prevents errors from happening. So how do I know when to stop when it's thick enough? Well, that's personal preference, but one thing that I like to do is zoom in a little bit, pan around and see if there are any holes like this one. The I where the counter of the E, the hole in the E. See how there's just a tiny sliver here still visible, that's going to annoy me. I want that to be completely filled in. Same for right here, this point of tension where the U and the T are almost butting against each other? I want that filled in too. So I'm just going to make one more, repeat the action, zooming in and now I see that that space is full on the E and this region has been connected a little bit, and I like that better. Now with the last layer selected, I'll scroll up here to the very top of my 3D and holding the Shift key and tapping that top 3D layer, I will select all these 3D layers. Then I'll either hit Command or Alt+G to group them or just right-click and say group from layers. I'll call this group, 3D. Now if I turn it off and on, you'll see that my top art layer is there and the 3D group is all of the offset layers down and to the right of it. Now I'm going to change the smart object back to turquoise because as soon as we start adding gradations and lighting, it needs to be a color other than black for all of that to show up. So I'm double-clicking that Art Layer, turning back on turquoise, hitting Save and closing. 7. Apply Dimension Effects: For the time being, this top art layer is going to remain untouched and we're just going to deal with this 3D group. First let's add an effect of shading to all of the layers in the 3D group as if they were one flattened layer. The way to do that is to double-click on the group layer itself so that this Layer Style or affects palette pops up. Now whatever we add to this layer style palette is going to be applied to the 3D group as a whole, as opposed to each individual layer within it. I'll click "Bevel and Emboss" the top option and first thing I want to do is hit "Reset to default." It's a good thing that Photoshop the remembers the last settings that you used. But in this case, because I'm going to show you what changes to make based on the default and I'm not going to tell you if something doesn't change from the default will just leave it as is. It's important that you hit "Reset to default" so that we're all on the same blank Canvas for every effect that we add. I'll move the Layer Style palette slightly to the right and I'll zoom in on the background ever so slightly so that we can see a bit better. Throughout this class, when I tell you the settings for any layer style, I'm going to go from the top of the window to the bottom and I'm going to leave off anything that is already set properly according to the default. I'm only going to list things that you should change and it'll be ordered from top to bottom. First thing is depth. Let's increase this slightly to about 150 will know for sure in a second when we come down here to size and turn this up to, let's say about 120 or something. Okay, based on the size of your file, meaning the resolution and based on the size and width of your lettering and based on how many layer copies you made in that 3D group, the depth of your letters is going to vary slightly. Here, because size is based on pixels of very, very, very high resolution file with more pixels is going to require a larger size to fill up the depth of the letter, then a file that has a much lower resolution. Just knowing that I'm using an eight by 10, 300 dpi and I made 40 layers in my 3D group. I'm telling you that I want my size to be right around 120. I'm turning off Global Light and setting this angle to 138. Then changing the altitude to 25. Highlight opacity, I'm turning all the way down to zero and shadow, I'll first click the color swatch and immediately navigate up here to my swatches palette with eyedropper tool. Click on the darkest of my three text colors, hit "Okay" and I'll reduce this opacity very slightly down to maybe, 30 percent. Now I can come if I want back up to this depth slider and change it, if I want a little bit to cover more or less of the depth and this is going to be changeable later. For now, I'm just going to leave this, let's say at 100 and hit "Okay." Now I'll open my 3D group and I want to apply effects to each individual layer now, but they're going to be the same effects. What I'm going to do is add effects to the top layer, copy those effects and paste them into the rest of the layers. Now you may be asking, "Why didn't you just set the effects for your layer before you made 40 copies of it?" Well, the reason is that no matter how fast your computer is, Photoshop will slave away trying to do that. You'll just get that spinning cursor for ages and ages as it tries to copy, move, copy, moved, copy, move a layer with a Layer Style applied to it. It's much better to copy your layers when they're pristine, effect free and then apply the effects and paste them into the group later. Coming to the top 3D layer within the group, I'll double-click that and the Layer Style palette will appear. First, we're going to do Bevel and Emboss it again, reset to default. First thing to change is size. I'm going to change it to three pixels down here in the highlight, I'm changing from screen to normal. Changing the color by clicking the thumbnail, changing it to my darkest text color. Even though it's highlight, we're actually reversing the highlights and shadows here so the highlight is going to be dark in the shadow will be light. Move the opacity to 100 percent. For shadow, also move this to normal, click the "Thumbnail" and make it the medium. Text color, not the latest, but medium and change opacity to 100 percent. You won't really be able to see much happening here by the way, because right now we're only dealing with the top layer of the group. This is only affecting a tiny, tiny sliver within all of that depth. This won't really be visible to the eye until we copy paste it to all the layers. Next, we're going to add a stroke by just clicking the stroke over here and resetting to default. I'll set this size to, for me anything between three and five usually works, I'll do five. I'll explain in just a moment why you may need to adjust this and we'll change the color to a darkest text color. Now click "Okay." Going to zoom in and you'll see that if I turn off the effects, you can only see very, very, very slightly that these effects are showing through from that first layer only. Right-clicking anywhere, not in the thumbnail but anywhere else on this top 3D layer, I'm going to say "Copy layer style." Then I'll click the layer right below it. Scroll down to that 41st layer. Right-click again and say "Paste layer style" and instantly magic happens. If you find that when you do what I just showed you, this particular depth region, instead of looking smooth, looks like it has tons and tons of little lines going through it. As if you can basically see the edge of every single layer in this group. What you may need to do then is double-click your effects layer because this can be based on how thick or thin your strokes are in your file resolution. You may need to double-click that top layer effects again, come to stroke, increase by a few pixels, the stroke size, right-click again, that layer, copy again and paste it again on the rest of the layers. When you paste onto layers that already have effects, it replaces those effects. In that sense, these can be easily changed later on. You'll still always have to change just one of them at a time, then copy those effects and paste them to the rest of the group and there's unfortunately no railway around that yet in Photoshop. If I zoom in even more, if I look at the edges that are budding up right against the background, it does look like there's a slightly dark border there. What that is is actually the little bit of stroke from the first layer showing through. If you also have that in your file to get rid of it, all you have to do is toggle off the visibility of the stroke in the top 3D layer. Now you see that it decreased dramatically. 8. Create The First Drop Shadow: Now I'll give you a friendly reminder to save your file, because that's always important especially for these big hefty files where you don't want to lose all your steps ever. Before I create that long crisp drop shadow in the sample I first showed you, I want to create a small fuzzier drop shadow right underneath all of this text. That really what we're going to have as a final effect, is a background with this text floating slightly above the background, casting a shadow down onto the background and also casting a shadow down and to the right along shadow down the paper. This will become more clear when we do it. What is required to create this drop shadow is very simple. Just scrolling down to the bottom to the last 3D layer in my 3D group. I'll zoom in quite a bit, so that you and I can see this a little bit better. All we're going to do is add a drop shadow effect to the very bottom of these 3D layers. I'll double-click my effects that I already have pasted in there, and I'll come and click, "Drop Shadow". Reset to default. Change the color to pure black, change the angle to 138. If you're familiar with Photoshop, you may be wondering why we've used that number 138 a couple of times, but not turned on use global lighting. It's because a couple of the effects don't use the same angle and I don't want to force the file to change all my effects to a 138 degrees. I'm just manually typing it in. What this indicates here is that this is the directional light is coming into the image from. If you want to play around with this on your own, you can create completely different shadow angles. But this is what my trial and error has shown to be something that I like. I'm going to change the distance here to 12 pixels, and the size, keep the spread at zero, keep the size though at about 20. Now we should see it pop out from behind the last layer. You can keep your file just like this if you want, but I like grainy shadows. I think it looks a little bit more vintage, it's more appealing to the eye. All that you do now is add noise to your shadow and you can play with this, but I find anything for between 8-10 is usually a pretty nice effect. I'll zoom in quite a bit more and turn this preview on and off so that you can see. This is before and after. This is without the noise, and this is with it. I prefer it this way, so I'll click "Okay". 9. Add A Gradient Overlay: Now I just want to add an effect to the art layer. I didn't do this first because, if we had done it first, it wouldn't have been as visible as it's about to be now. It's much easier to do it once you've applied your effects to the 3D group. I'll double-click the art layer. What we're going to add is "Gradient Overlay". "Reset to Default". Set the blend mode to "Linear Burn". Set the opacity to about 30 percent, will change the gradient to a custom one, quite simply by just clicking on the gradient there. We'll click the top color stopper on the far left, this black one on the top left, and change the opacity down to zero. That means that the left side of the gradient is transparent, leading into a color of our choice. Now to change the color of the right side, we'll click the color stopper on the bottom right and click that thumbnail and we'll change it to the lightest of R3 text colors, and click "Okay". I usually use either a "Linear" in the style or, a "Reflected". Basically what it's doing is darkening the edges and leaving a streak of lighter bits in the middle and darkening the other edge again. What that's giving you is even more of an effect that, this is not only tilting on an upward baseline, but maybe it's creating a bit of the illusion, that the letters actually are coming toward you as well. Based on my preference at the moment, I choose this style to be either "Reflected" or "Linear". Let's go back to linear right now. I'm liking that on this design, so I'll hit "Okay". Now we have the basics done with the text itself. I want to group the text together so that I can collapse it, and move on to something else. With art layer selected holding "Shift", I'll click the "3D" group as well. Then either hit "Command G" to group them, right click and say "Group From Layers". I'll just call this text. Now we have one big group with the text design. 10. Create The Long Drop Shadow: Now I want to create that nice, crisp, clean drop shadow. This is also going to use the same action that we used before, and we need to start with the layer that is already at the very bottom of our text dimension. That would be the bottom 3D layer. I'll go down to it, I'll click it, and I'll drag it as a duplicate, down to the duplicate layer icon or the new layer icon. Now, I'll drag it outside of the group. I'll pull it down here right above my background and a collapsed the 3D group, once again, in fact the whole text group. Now let's right-click on this new copied layer and say clear layer styles because we don't want the same ones that the dimension layers had. Let's double-click the name of the layer and rename it shadow. Now might be a good time to hit save. Come to your actions palette, will again use this down and right option. Now that your file is a little bit bigger than the first time that we did this, it could start to take a bit longer than the previous time and you'll get a sense of what I mean about how long it might take if we were duplicating layers with effects applied. Shadow layer is selected, down and right action is selected, I'll push play. I want this at least as thick as the dimension itself, so I can go hit this 40 times and then we'll see how it looks. If your computer starts crawling through this, don't worry, just be patient, you can actually tap that action play button like 40 times, just counting and photoshop will catch up with you. You can just walk away, get yourself a shot of espresso, come back, and hopefully it won't get too frustrating. My 40 layers have been created and just like before with my dimension layers, I'm going to zoom in a little bit and see if there are any spots that really would look strange, if only a small sliver of them were showing through. Let's see, I don't really see many like that, maybe in the bottom bowl of the speed and the loop I do see some. But you know what? I want to make something super dramatic, so let's keep going, let's add another 10 layers and get it to an even 50. I see a tiny little sliver here in the O's when adding about four more to see if that fills it. Nope, not quite and now we're going to have little slivers here and there. Let's just go for another 10. You really could get away with 20,30, this is entirely personal preference and you can always add more later, of course, because you have this action. You can always go to the final layer of any group and keep adding more, and then copy paste those text effects onto your newer layers, and it will all work out. But I've done this enough times to have a sense of how it's going to look once we adjust the shadow color, and make it look realistic. I think that this design would benefit from a very long and crisp shadow. The magic number we ended up with here is 68. I want to take this opportunity to pan around a little bit because this looks really awesome so far. It's just cool to look through it at this level of magnification. I'm going to do the same thing I did to create a 3D group. With the bottom shadow layer selected, I'll scroll up to the top shadow layer, hold the Shift key and click it, so that all of them are selected, and then either command G to group them or right-click and say group from layers. I'll just call this shadow, quite simply. I'll toggle this folder open again and we're just adding an effect to the top layer which will paste onto all the rest. I double-click the top shadow layer and I want to add a color overlay. I'm going to reset to default, and I want to click this thumbnail, and click over to that 25 percent gray that I made. It may be your temptation to change this planning mode to something like multiplier, reduce the opacity which are ways to make shadows look realistic. But if you do that and we paste this effect onto all the other layers, then we're going to see the multiplied or semi-transparent effect of one layer on top of another. In fact what we have to do is color all these shadow layers light gray, and then affect the entire group by turning it to multiply and reducing the opacity. I'll hit okay, right-click my shadow layer, copy layer style, select the next shadow layer, scroll to the bottom, Shift click the lowest, say select all the rest of the layers, right-click, paste layer style. Now scroll back up and toggle shut your shadow folder. You remember how we added an effect to the entire 3D layer, you can see here. How I said that it affects the entire layer as if it's flattened. Well, the same thing occurs if you apply a blending mode to an entire folder. If I have the shadow folder selected and I come up here to my blending mode drop-down, and I change this to multiply, then it multiplies the entire group as one, as opposed to multiplying each individual layer on top of another. We have some very dramatic lighting here. If we leave this at 100 percent, I'll zoom out a bit. When we moved all those layers down one to the right one and we did it over and over, we were creating the very stark effect that light is shining in from the top left and casting shadows toward the bottom right. Now we can adjust the opacity of this shadow layer if we want. Like I said, this is like very strong sunlight hitting it. But we can reduce the opacity if we want to, something like over 40-50 percent, I like that. If at this point you want to go back in, now that you see these shadows and see its angle and you want to change the gradient overlay of the very top layer, you can do that by just double-clicking it to edit it. In essence, I really want to emphasize that the sun is coming in from the top left. Now that I see the effect this way, I'm going to see what happens when I reverse the gradient. Which means that instead of going from transparent to dark, it's the other way around and watch the image carefully. That's so much better. Now you see that up here on the top left is the brightest part, as if the sun is hitting that and the shadow increases as you move to the bottom left. Just like the drop shadow does and the shading of the inside here has a greater shadow cast on the right side, then the tops. 11. Center & Transform Your Text: You may find that now that we added dimension to the right side and bottom side of your image, the text no longer looks centered on the page, but that's fine. All that you have to do is select everything but the background at this point, the text and shadow layers. Transform them either with command t or edit, free transform or transform scale, it makes no difference, and then click and drag your image to where you want it centered on the page and hit "Return" to complete the transformation. 12. Make A Grain Layer: There are tons of amazing overlay images and patterns out there that you can buy for yourself. I do own some and I use some and I've made some of my own, but I am not going to require you to have any external files for this class. We're going to make all of ours from scratch. I want you to click down here in the "New Layer" icon to make a new layer and hit "Shift Delete." Here in the contents, we want to fill with 50 percent gray. Say "Okay." Now come to "Filter," "Noise," and add "Noise." We want to make sure that "Gaussian" and "Monochromatic" are both turned on. I usually go to around eight percent but again, your file resolution is going to dictate how fine or grainy this is and based on how grainy you want your image and how large that grain should be, you can play around and adjust this. Let's now hit "Okay." I'll double-click the layer title and name this "Noise." Now to knock out that 50 percent gray, and that's why we didn't fill this with just any gray. Exactly 50 percent gray is eliminated completely from an image when you set the transparency to soft light. That's what's soft light does. It eliminates the mid-tone exactly. That gray now is completely transparent, but the light and dark granules of the noise are still showing. This is an amazingly simple way to create grain on any image. I'm zooming in here and panning around to show you how this noise looks when it's set at 100 percent and it looks pretty cool. You see that when I turn it off, that drop shadow that we created behind the letters really pops out as being grainy, which I don't mind. I do like that remember. But when I add the "Noise," it just enhances it even further and makes the entire thing look more cohesive. The grain doesn't pop out so much anymore, but it just looks a bit extra grainy. I honestly don't mind a lot of grain, but I do usually turn this down to something like 60 percent. This is personal preference though. 13. Add A Vignette: Now let's add a vignette, create a brand new layer. I want black as my foreground color, so either I can hit "D" on my keyboard or I can click this icon to revert to the default foreground background colors. Now I'll come to my paintbrush and I want a really soft big brush, so let's just go into this default soft round brush. You can adjust the size of your brush with the left and right bracket keys on your keyboard. I want a pretty big one though, and I want to zoom out quite far. If you aren't able to zoom out, like if you're Photoshop window keeps resizing as you zoom out, you're going to want to shift into full screen mode by just hitting "F" on your keyboard. Hitting F twice more will remove you from full-screen mode. With my large soft brush and a black foreground and my new blink layer selected, the center of my brush is actually outside the canvas on the art board. I just want the edge of the soft brush to overlap my art board and create this shadow. I'll come in a bit closer at the corners to create a real vignette effect, and I'm just going to slowly keep doing this around and around until I get what's called the choke that I want. There, I think that's pretty good for now. I'll zoom back in slightly and I'll change this layers blending mode from normal to overlay. Now you see that it's darker, but it retains that peachy color underneath it or whatever your background color is, so it's going to darken it but in a way that almost looks like old paper. I'm going to retitle this vignette. If you want a more classic vignette that literally makes the edges look gray, you can set this to darken and reduce the opacity dramatically down to like 5 percent. But I really like that way, that overlay makes it look like old paper, like almost how old construction paper starts to yellow pretty quickly around the edges. I still might reduce this opacity a little bit, but I don't mind it being dramatic, we'll leave it there at 65 percent. 14. Adjust Contrast: Now, I want to show you how to adjust contrast in a really easy way. I'm going to create a levels layer, go into my adjustment panel here, the black and white cookie panel. I'm clicking Levels. Far left and far right markers here in this chart, illustrate the black point and white point of your image. If I move them in, if I move this black point in to where roughly the, if you want to call it the action of this chart begins, and move this white point over to the left, to the beginning of where the right side of the graph action begins, you see that I've created a really high contrast image that doesn't look unrealistic. None of it is too white or too dark, it's just really high contrast. Closing this, I'm going to rename it contrast. I'm going to reduce the opacity quite a bit, so that really it's just adding a touch of contrast and boosting up those lights and shadows. I have it set at 40 percent, and I'm going to take this moment to select these top three new layers and group them. Command G or right click group layers. Double click the group name and I'm going to name this group Overlays, just so that I have all of these filters and extra color layers right here up at the top. 15. Change The Colors: Now I want to show you some really cool ways to adjust the overall color of this image. Coming to our contrast layer, just selecting it so that whatever layer we make next moves to the very top will come to my adjustment panel and create a solid color layer. I want to make this my background color and hit "OK". Now coming to the blending mode drop-down, I'll change this to color. You see that immediately it creates this bizarre monochromatic effect, which is cool sometimes. Here you can play around a lot and I suggest that you do so because it's really fun. Sticking with just our background color here. If we change to hue, we have a very dramatic version of the peach, very vibrant and muted. Switching to soft light adds a lot of brightness and reduces the contrast somewhat. Setting to multiply, darkens it overall dramatically. Setting it to saturation just reduces the level of saturation of everything to the saturation level of that color layer. Now let's see what happens if I drag this color fill layer down above text and then clip it in by hitting option hovering in between the group and the color fill layer and clicking once. Now whatever I do with this color layer affects only the text. If I change this, for example, to color now, and then I double click the "Color thumbnail" to change the color of this layer. I can affect the overall color of the text without going in and changing our effects at all. 16. Swap Out Your Artwork: To really drive home how awesome it is to make texts effects using smart objects instead of regular text layers or art layers, I want to make this illustration using a digital font. So remember back in the beginning I showed you how you can come into your smart object, and instead of just using your artwork like I did you can use a digital font instead, this is a cute little script font called Alan teen that I've used and linked in the description of the class if you want to download it too, and I'm going to do is keep that text live so I could edit it, but I'm going to move that colorful clipping mask from my art layer onto this live font layer so that it's turquoise also and then I'm just going to hit Save, this will take a few seconds because it has a lot of updating to do in our actual file, but now we can see the magic at work when we go back into our art file and it transforms before our very eyes. Just a little bit of editing is required here, maybe recentering the design but honestly, the sky is the limit with this, you make one file where all of these effects are properly applied, if you ever want to apply them again, just copy this file. You only have to go through the work I'm showing you once on asleep because if you do a Save As and then input something new into that smart object, you can just reuse this over and over, changing the colors if you want, deleting or adding some stepped layers to increase or decrease the depth and the shadow, all of that can be edited and you don't have to go through the whole process again if you don't want. I'm going to show this to you just on time lapse with a few other design.