Extruding Type with Photoshop 3D | Jamie Bartlett | Skillshare
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8 Lessons (30m)
    • 1. Trailer

    • 2. Class Project

    • 3. Creating An Extrusion

    • 4. Positioning the Camera

    • 5. Setting Up Lights

    • 6. Adding A Bevel

    • 7. Finishing Touches

    • 8. Thanks!

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About This Class


In this class I’m going to teach you how to extrude text using Photoshop’s built in 3D capabilities. Chances are, you’ve probably never even touched these tools because they behave so much differently than anything else in photoshop. So I’m going to walk you through the basics of using the 3D tools to extrude text, position a 3D camera, light your scene and modify shadows, render your 3D text, and then add some fun effects to finish off your design.

Anyone can takes this class and easily follow along with my step-by-step instructions. But it does require photoshop CS6 or higher.

I can’t wait to see what you guys create.

Meet Your Teacher

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Jamie Bartlett

Graphic designer and left-handed letterer


Jamie Bartlett is a graphic designer and left-handed letterer working out of Denver, CO. She graduated from John Brown University with a degree in Graphic Design and now runs a shop for her hand lettered designs and fonts. Her work reflects everything she loves in life: a good cup of coffee, nerdy design terms, tandem bikes, road trips, and so much more.

Check out all Jamie's classes to learn her tricks of the trade. 

To see what she's up to now, follow her on Instagram and Dribbble.


  &... See full profile

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1. Trailer: Hi, guys. I'm Jamie Bartlett, graphic designer and hand letterer behind apairofpears.com. In this class, I'm going to teach you how to make 3D text using Photoshop's built-in 3D capabilities. Chances are, you've probably never even touched these tools because they behave so much differently than anything else in Photoshop. You might not have known they were even there. I'm going to walk you through the basics of using the 3D tools to extrude text, position a 3D camera, light your scene and modify shadows, render your 3D text, and then add some fun effects to finish off your design. For the class project to be picking your favorite movie and making the classic title graphic for it. Anyone can take this class and easily follow along with my step-by-step instructions, but it does require Photoshop CS6 or higher. I can't wait to see what you guys create. 2. Class Project: For the class project, you'll be choosing your favorite movie, and designing a title for it in a classic Hollywood style. I chose to keep my project black and white, but feel free to play around with any colors. Before you move on, create a project and tell me what movie you're going to be using. Throughout the process, feel free to post as much progress as you'd like on your project. 3. Creating An Extrusion: To start off, let's make a new document. Go up to File, New, and since our class project is based on a movie title, we're going to use dimensions from a film frame. Full HD would be 1920 by 1080. This is the resolution I would normally make my project at. But for teaching this class, I'm going to make my project 1280 by 720, and that's just going to make everything load faster. Feel free to use this resolution if you don't need anything bigger. But if you do, I recommend 1920 by 1080. Make sure your resolution is set to 72 and click Okay. Next, I need to bring in my artwork. I designed mine in Illustrator. I'm just going to hop over to Illustrator. For my design, I want the word sleeping to be 3D, but everything else to just be flat. When I bring that into Photoshop, I need those both on separate layers. To start, I'm just going to copy sleeping and paste that into Photoshop. Make sure when you paste it, you're pasting it as a shape layer. It's very important that our artwork remains vector. I'm going to rename the shape 1 layer to sleeping, and then I'm going to copy and paste the rest of my design. This one, I'm just going to paste as a Smart Object. Then I'm going to rename this layer, we'll say just design. Now if you designed your project inside of Photoshop, you're going to need to convert the text to shapes. To do that, we'll say, here's my design. Just going to right-click on the layer and say convert to shape. But my design is already vector, so I'm going to get rid of this layer. Next, I'm going to make my text 3D by right-clicking on the layer and going all the way to the bottom to New 3D Extrusion from Selected Layer. Now Photoshop is going to ask if I want to switch to the 3D workspace, and yes, I do. So I'm going to click Yes and what it did was change Photoshop's layout to the 3D workspace, which updates all my panels over here, and my toolbar. We're going to be switching between the 3D workspace and the essentials workspace a lot throughout our class. Now go back to your layers palette and go to the background, right-click on it and click Postcard. This turns our background into a 3D object as well. But right now, it's separated from our text, so we need to merge the two layers. Click on the text and then press Command E to merge it with the layer below it, which is our background, and then rename this layer 3D scene. Now you probably have never even used the 3D tools in Photoshop before, so you might be a little bit overwhelmed by how it looks completely different. Quickly, I'm going to point out a few things that have changed. First off, we have two panels on the right, the properties panel and the 3D panel. In our layers palette, you can see that we have one layer for a 3D scene. With that layer selected, if we go over to the 3D palette, there are lots of objects inside of it. Right here is our sleeping layer and background mesh is our background layer. Even though it's one layer, it contains multiple objects. We also have a 3D camera, a scene, and an environment. Right now I have my scene selected. So the properties panels is showing properties for my scene. If I click on sleeping, then the Properties panel updates to show the properties of my text. Different types of objects have different properties. Depending on what I have selected, the Properties panel will display different things. The Properties panel is where I change the attributes of whatever I have selected. Changing the workspace to 3D also updated how my tools over here look and how they function. If you're ever using a tool and it's not behaving how you're expecting it to, it's probably because you're on the 3D workspace and you'll just need to switch back to essentials to get the tools to behave properly. 4. Positioning the Camera: With the move tool selected, I'll click on "Current View". This is our 3D camera. The way that our 3D camera is set up determines how our 3D scene appears. So if you imagine the word sleeping as a physical object in front of you and you have a camera pointing at it, depending on where you move that camera, either from the left or the right, or up or down, or zoomed in and out, changes the way that you see the object. So our 3D camera in Photoshop allows us to simulate that. Right now it's at the default view which is straight on. If I look up here, I have multiple ways of using the move tool. Right now I'm on the orbit 3D camera tool. So if I click and drag anywhere in the scene, I can orbit around the object. So you can see here that our text is 3D. We have the background here that's in 3D space, but it's flat, which is why it's called a postcard. Then we also have this grid which simulates the ground plane and gives us a point of reference. It won't actually display when we render, it's just here for a guide. So the orbit tool allows us to orbit around our scene. The next option is roll, that's going to let us rotate the camera. Next we have pan, and that allows us to move left to right, and up and down. If you notice, the rest of my text is not moving because that's not a part of my 3D object, just the word sleeping is. Next we have slide, and this one allows you to move the camera closer and further away from your object. The last one is zoom. This one acts just like a camera lens where you can zoom in and out with your lens, the camera doesn't move but your object gets bigger or smaller. Now I'm working in Photoshop CC 2015. So I have these three shortcuts down here. I'm not sure when these were implemented, but I know they're not in CS6. So if you're in CS6, you'll just have to use the tools up here. But if I click and drag on the tools themselves, they allow me to orbit, pan, and dolly in and out. Okay, so now that I messed up the view of my camera, let's say you wanted to go back to default. All you have to do is go to your 3D palette and click "Default Camera", and it goes back to the default view. Now with my camera selected, we can go up to the Properties panel and see that we have presets for the view of our camera. Right now it's set to Default Camera. But if I click on this drop-down, we have a lot of different options. The default camera has perspective, which is why the extrusion part on our text changes from the left to the right. It's all going towards one vanishing point straight in the back. But since this is all being simulated in Photoshop, we can actually disable this Perspective and switch it to Orthographic. A lot of the presets are actually orthographic cameras. So if I go to the drop-down and click on "Front", you can see that when "Orthographic" is selected, you don't see any of the 3D. It looks like it's basically a flat layer. But now if I orbit my camera and move it to the side, then you start to see the extrusion again. There's just no perspective. This is the look I want for my text. So now that I have my camera set up, I can reposition it to frame my text properly. So I think I have the angle how I want it. But now I want to position sleeping between the rest of my design. The nice thing about this being 3D is I can always go back and change this later. Now that I have this positioned roughly where I want it, I'm going to save. Now rotating the camera also made our background not fill up the frame. You can see it's transparent up here. So I need to scale up the background object. So click on "Background Mesh", and we see these controls show up over top of the image. If I hover over this box in the center, it's a Scale Uniformly. Now I can click and drag to scale it up until the background is completely filled. Next is this window in the top left. This is a top view of our entire scene, and it's also orthographic, so there's no perspective. This button here lets me change the view. So if I went and clicked on "Front", we're looking at the front orthographic view. I want to change this back to top, and this big gray box in the middle is actually my text. So if I rotate my camera to be looking directly above my text, you can see the gray box there. That's representing the extrusion of my 3D object. Because this view right here is looking directly down on my scene, we don't see the white background because that does not have an extrusion. But we can know that it's lined up directly on this red line because that's the exact center of our scene. So what we can tell through this is that our text is actually being extruded through the white background. So if I undo, I can get back to my camera's view. So since my text is extruding through the background, I want to make my extrusion smaller so that it stops at the background. So click on my text object in my 3D palette. In your Properties palette, make sure this first icon is selected. So in the bottom here you see the extrusion depth. I need to adjust that until my text extrusion over here lines up with the red line. So I'm going to bring that down till right there, 250 pixels. This is how thick of an extrusion I want my design to be. But if you want yours to be more, all you have to do is change the extrusion depth. So say I wanted my extrusion to be larger than 250 pixels, all I need to do is change this, let's just say to 500 pixels. You can see from this view it extended. But we can't see that right here because it's being cut off by our white background. So in order for us to see this, we need to move it forward in front of our background. Right here we have some arrows. The green one moves our text up and down on the y-axis. The red one moves it left to right on the x-axis. Then this blue one allows us to move it forward and backwards. We need to move the word sleeping forward so that the back part lines up with the background. So to do that, we're just going to click on this blue circle and keep moving it forward until it lines up with that red line. Now this is 500 pixels deep and none of it is being cut off by the background. I liked mine at 250, so I'm just going to undo back to there. So now that we have the design and layout how we want it, we're going to save our camera view so that if we ever mess up or accidentally switch our camera, we can always go back to this view. To do that, go down here and click on "Current View", and then go to the view drop-down and click "Save". I'm just going to name this, my camera. Hit "Okay". Now if we scroll all the way down here, here's my camera. So we can always click that to go back to this view. So just to show you, I'm going to go up here and click on "Default Camera", and it goes back to the default view. But I want to reset it to my camera. There we go. 5. Setting Up Lights: Now, we need to add a light to our scene, so it produces some shadows. To do that, go down here to the light bulb, click, and we're going to add new infinite light. You can see right here that is added to my 3D palette, and right here in the scene, this object is representing the light. You can think of infinite light as if it were the sun. It lights up our whole scene evenly, and if you rotate it, all of the lighting changes equally. The sphere right here in the middle of our screen is representing how the light is hitting it, and the smaller sphere is representing our light source, and this line connecting the two, is the direction our light is hitting our object. Right now, it's going at a diagonal from the right to the left. If we want to change that, all we have to do is click and drag the smaller sphere. You can see, depending on where we have this pointed, our lighting changes. But we're still not seeing any shadows, and that's because the background texture is pure white, so we need to change that. We'll go down to Background, and then up here in Diffuse. Right now, our background layer is set to this gray color, but we can't see that gray color because we still have a white texture over it, from our original background layer, that's what this white boxes that appears when I hover over it. We need to click on this and say, Remove Texture, and now it's gray. Now, how we have it so far, the background is being affected by the lighting in our scene. I don't want that because I want the background to be independent from my sleeping layer. We need to make the background object invisible. We click on the object, and up here, we need to uncheck cast shadows because we don't want the background casting any shadows. Then we also need to make sure that Invisible is clicked, and that makes our background transparent. Because we still have catch shadows still checked, the shadow still show up even though the background is invisible. Now, we need to change the diffuse of our background to pure black. We need to go back to the background material, go up to Diffuse, and we want to change this to pure black. Whatever color we have selected here is the color of our shadows. You can see if I change it to more of a red, the shadow becomes more red, but I'm going to keep mine pure black so that they're as dark as possible. Now, I can make a regular Photoshop background layer that I can control independently from my 3D scene. First, we need to switch from our 3D workspace to our central workspace, and then we'll add a new layer, and we'll fill that with whatever color background you want. I know from my design, I want it to be 27 percent brightness. We'll go ahead and fill that layer and then make sure it's on the very bottom. Now, I have a better idea of what tone I want the rest of my 3D text to be. Now, I want to remove the textures from the text, just like we did for the background. Let's switch back to our 3D workspace, go to the layers and make sure our 3D scene is selected, then we'll go to our 3D palette, and we need to go to our sleeping object, and in our sleeping object, we can see that there are multiple materials, and that's because the word sleeping has multiple sides. The first one is from the face, and the third one is from the sides. The bottom two here are the back the texts that we don't even see, so we don't have to worry about those. We need to remove the texture from the first three. We can do that at the same time, by first, clicking on the "Inflation," and then holding "Shift" "Down" on the keyboard, and clicking the third one. Then we'll go up here just like we did for the background, and remove the texture. Again, you can change the color right here to any color you want, and you can do different colors for different sides, but I'm going to leave mine this gray color. Now, I'm going to reposition my light to get the shadows going the direction that I want. We'll go up to Infinite Light, and then move this around to the angle and depth that you want. I'm going to do mine right about there. Now, this whole time, Photoshop has just been giving us an estimation of what our final render is going to look like. To get a better idea of what this is actually going to look like in the end, we need to do a test render. To do that, all we have to do is go over here to our Properties panel, and click this icon right here, and then Photoshop will start to render. This blue box is the part of the screen that Photoshop is rendering at the time. It's going to keep going back and forth over the artwork until it's done. Every time that it does a pass, you see that the image gets less and less gray. At anytime, we can press "Escape" on the keyboard, and stop our render. Down here, we have the Progress bar, that's saying it's 23 percent complete, and still has a little over two minutes left. You can't always count on that timer, but at least you have the progress percentage. But right now, I can already tell that I have a pretty good idea of what it's going to look like, so I don't have to wait anymore. I can press "Escape" on the keyboard and stop my render right there. If I switch to a different tool, all of my overlays will disappear so that I have a better view of my artwork. From this render, I can tell that I really like the shadows and the lighting that's happening, but now I want my shadows here to be less of a sharp edge. I want to soften them up, and to do that, I just need to go over here to my Properties panel and adjust the shadow, softness. I'm going to change my softness to 25 percent. You can notice, as soon as I made a change, my render went away, so I'm back to seeing a draft. That's always going to happen if you change anything of your design, you're going to have to re-render. Just to make sure this shadow is a soft as I want it to be. I'm going to go ahead and do a quick test render again. I'll let it do a few passes till I can get a clear view of what it's going to look like. I can already tell that it's going to be soft enough. I'm just going to stop my render by pushing Escape on the keyboard, and we'll keep moving on. 6. Adding A Bevel: I think the lighting is looking great, but my text is looking a little bland. We're going to add a small bevel just to make it a little more dynamic. So I switched onto my sleeping object. If we go up to the properties panel, the third icon here is called cap, and that's referring to the bevel cap. Click on that. Right now our bevel is at zero percent, the width is controlling how much of the bevel you have. This is how you control how big or small your bevel is. Then we have the angle down here, which controls how deep or shallow your bevel goes. If you bring it down to a negative number, you can see it's a negative bevel. I'm just going to reset this back to 45, and I want my width to be about 10 percent. The next control you have is the contour, which controls the shape of the bevel. Right now it's flat, but we're going to change ours to a cone. This represents the shape of our bevel. There's lots of different presets you can play with, and you can even design your own. Click "OK." You can see right here that I have a small bevel happening. Now I want to go back to my angle and increase it to make it a little more visible. Let's do 70. Then one more thing down here is the inflate option. I'm not going to do anything with it, but I just wanted to let you know that it's there, if you wanted to play around with it. If you move the strength up, you can see it rounds out your text and inflates it. You can change the direction by adjusting the angle here. Now I'm going to do another test render to see how my bevel is looking. I'm pretty happy with how this is looking. So I'm just going to let it render the entire way. 7. Finishing Touches: Now, that we're done with the render, we're finished with the 3D workspace. We can switch it back to essentials. Then first things first, we want to copy our render, because remember if we change anything with our render, we're going to lose our render and we'll have to re-render everything. To do this, we're going to select all by pressing Command+A on your keyboard, and copying, Command+C. Then we want to paste it in place, and that's Command+Shift+V. Now, we can go down to our layers palette and turn off our 3D scene. We have a copy right here. I also want to convert this to a Smart Object, so I'll rename the layer to render and right-click on it and say, "Convert to Smart Object." Next, I want to make the rest of my design white, so I'm just going to do a color overlay. To do that, double-click a new layer, add a color overlay and change it to white. Now, our render looks really nice and clean, but we're going to add some more effects and adjustments to stylize it a little bit. [inaudible]. First, I'm going to make a curves adjustment layer, so go down here to our Adjustment Layer menu and grab the curves one. We're just going to brighten everything up a little bit overall, so that the shadows aren't so dark. Now, this is brightening up everything, and I only want it to adjust the brightness of my render. We need to bring this down right above our render layer and make a clipping mask. To do that hover between the two layers, hold option on the keyboard till you get that downward arrow, and then click in between the two layers. Now, it only affects our render layer. I'm just going to bring down the highlights a little bit. I also want to make the white face part of my InDesign, not pure white. I'm just going to take the whites on the curves and just bring that down a little bit, right about there. If I turn this curves layer on and off, you can see what that did. This is all personal preference, so do whatever you like. Now, since the face of my design isn't actually pure white anymore, I'm going to go back and change the other part of my design with the color overlay to match that. I can just sample straight on my design and get the slightly off-white color. Then we go. Now, since this is an old movie title, I'm going to add a little bit of glow to my design. To do that, make sure your render layer is selected, go up to Filter, Blur, Gaussian Blur, we'll do about six pixels, press "Okay", then we're going to go to these little arrows here and double-click on them. We can change the Blending Mode of that Gaussian blur to soft light. Let's change the opacity down to 75. Let's adjust that blur a little bit more. Let's try four. Three. Let's try three. See how that adds just a little bit of a glow. We can copy this effect to the other part of the design by holding option, clicking on the Smart Filter, and dragging it up to the other layer. Now, I want to add some grain to this image. I'll make a new layer and put it at the very top. Fill it with 50 percent gray, convert it to a smart object by right-clicking and clicking Convert to Smart Object. Then let's rename it grain. Then go up to filter, noise. Add noise. Let's try eight percent and then make sure you have Gaussian and monochromatic selected. Click "Okay." Then we need to change the blending mode of this layer to overlay. That added all that grain. If you ever want to change the amount of grain, you can always go back in by double-clicking on add noise and adjusting it. Next, I want to make the background a little more dynamic by adding a vignette and some lighting. Let's start with the vignette. Let's make a new adjustment layer to find the exposure adjustment. Let's turn the exposure down a little bit and the gamma correction up. Now, we need to mask off the center of our image, so that the vignette is only affecting the edges. We'll go get the elliptical selection tool. Make an oval. I'm going to rotate mine. We'll go up to select, Transform selection and rotate it. Press "Enter" and fill with black. Since my background color down here is already set to black. All I need to do is press Command, Delete on the keyboard to fill it with black. I'll deselect that. If I double-click on the Adjustment Layer and then click on the mask icon to adjust the mask. Then I need to make sure that I have the mass selected in the Layers palette. Then we'll turn up the feathers so it's nice and soft. I want to make the vignette darker. Let's go back and adjust that. I want to bring the exposure down a little more. Now, I don't like how it's making this part of my text darker. I'm going to switch to a brush by pressing beyond the keyboard. I'm going to brush out that vignette a little bit, I'm using a round soft feather brush. I'm going to brush black on this area. That looks pretty good. But now, I wanted it to be a little bit darker over here. I'm going to switch to white, and I'm going to paint some white over here. That's good for the vignette. Now, I just want to make a bright spot over here. I need to make another exposure Adjustment layer, and we want to put that on top of the background layer. Bring it down here, just on top of the background and brighten it up. Now, we need to make a circle that's really big, that goes outside of the document. I'll invert my selection by pressing Command Shift I on the keyboard and then fill with black, de-select that. Then we need to soften this up. Now, lets go back and brighten it up too. All right, and I actually want to make it a bit bigger too. I'll just transform that, and enlarge it [inaudible] You can even reposition it. That looks pretty good. All right guys, that completes my design. Have fun making your own and feel free to ask me any questions along the way. 8. Thanks!: That's it guys. Thanks for taking my class. I hope you enjoyed it and learned a lot of new stuff in Photoshop. If you have any questions, feel free to post them on the Ask Me Anything thread on the Community page. If you post your project on Instagram, be sure to tag me @apairofpears. I love seeing you guys' work. Thanks again guys, and I'll see you next time.