This tutorial will show you a very easy and useful tip to create colorful illuminated letters using Photoshop’s 3D material settings. Let’s get started!
The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial:
1. How to Create 3D Text
Create a New Document at 1300 x 1300 px.
Then create the text in All Caps using the font Primal, setting the Size to 90 pt and the Tracking value to 30.
Go to 3D > New 3D Extrusion from Selected Layer. This will create a 3D mesh from the text layer.
To access the 3D mesh settings and properties, you’ll need to open two panels: the 3D panel and the Properties panel (both found under the Window menu).
The 3D panel has all the components of the 3D scene, and when you click the name of any of those, you’ll be able to access its settings in the Properties panel. So make sure to always select the tab of the element you want to modify in the 3D panel before you change its settings in the Properties panel.
If you select the Move Tool, you’ll find a set of 3D Modes for it to the right of the Options bar.
When you choose one of those, you can then click and drag to perform changes (on the selected element in the 3D panel).
Use those modes to change the Current View to an angle you like.
2. How to Adjust the 3D Mesh and Cap Settings
Select the 3D mesh tab in the 3D panel, and change its Extrusion Depth in the Properties panel to 15 px.
Click the Cap icon at the top of the Properties panel, and change the Bevel Width to 1.
3. How to Modify the 3D Material Settings
Select all the Material tabs except for the Extrusion Material‚s, and use these settings (the color values used are in RGB):
- Diffuse: 211, 211, 211
- Specular: 180, 180, 180
- Shine: 80%
Select the Extrusion Material tab, and use these settings:
- Diffuse: 121, 222, 209
- Specular: 20, 41, 42
- Shine: 80%
Click the Illumination icon, and choose New Texture.
Set the Width to 1300 px and the Height to 300 px, and click OK.
This should open the new file, but if it doesn’t, click the Illumination texture icon, and choose Edit Texture.
4. How to Create a Colorful Illuminated Texture
Duplicate the Background layer you have in the new file.
Double-click the copy layer to apply a Gradient Overlay effect with these settings:
- Check the Dither box
- Angle: 0
- Use the Spectrum Gradient Fill, or you can create your own colorful gradient fill that you like.
Click the Create new fill or adjustment layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel, and choose Levels.
Change the Levels layer’s Blend Mode to Luminosity, and change the Gamma value to 0.75.
Save and close the file.
This will create the colorful illumination material texture.
5. How to Add a 3D Shape Background
Pick the Rectangle Tool, and click once anywhere inside the document to get the Create Rectangle box.
Set the Width to 1560 px and the Height to 1750 px, click OK, and make sure to set the rectangle’s Fill Color to
Once the rectangle shape is created, go to 3D > New 3D Extrusion from Selected Path, and change the Extrusion Depth to 1.
Click the Current View tab in the 3D panel, and choose the text’s 3D layer’s name from the View menu in the Properties panel.
Select both 3D layers you have, and go to 3D > Merge 3D Layers.
Pick the Move Tool, select the rectangle mesh, and use the 3D Axis to move it behind the text.
The arrows at the ends of the axis move the mesh, the part below them is used for rotation, and the cubes are used for scaling. The cube in the center is used to scale the object uniformly. All you need to do is click and drag the part you want.
Select the rectangle mesh’s Front Inflation Material tab, and change its Specular color to (51, 51, 51) and its Shine value to 90%.
6. How to Adjust a 3D Scene’s Lighting
Select the Infinite Light 1 tab, and change both its Intensity and Shadow Softness values to 30%.
Use the Move Tool to move the light so that it’s facing the text, and tilt it upwards a little bit.
You can also click the Coordinates icon at the top of the Properties panel to enter numerical values.
Select the Environment tab, click the IBL texture icon, and choose Replace Texture to open the Building Interior image.
Click the IBL texture icon and choose Edit Texture.
Add a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer, and change the Saturation to -60 and the Lightness to 15.
Save and close the file.
Change the Intensity to 65%, and set the Ground Plane Shadows Opacity to 0.
Use the Move Tool to move the texture around to get a result you like.
Use the Move Tool‚s 3D Modes to change the Current View to an angle you like, and make sure that the rectangle mesh’s edges are not visible.
Go to 3D > Render 3D Layer. The rendering might take a while, but you can stop it any time by pressing the Esc key.
You can also stop the rendering to adjust the lighting, the camera view, or anything else you think needs tweaking, and render again until you get a result you like.
Congratulations! You’re Done
In this tutorial, we created 3D meshes from text and shape layers, adjusted their material settings, and used a gradient fill for the illumination texture to create the colorful illuminating effect.
Then, we adjusted the lighting of the scene, as well as the camera view, to render the final result.
Please feel free to leave your comments, suggestions, and outcomes below.