Learn how to make any inspirational message look more meaningful by turning it into a 3D typography poster. In this Photoshop tutorial, you will how to create striking 3D gold text, add reflections with image-based lighting, create a drywall background from scratch, and position your lights using an easy method that feel like you’re playing a 1st person shooter game. To follow this tutorial, you’ll need Photoshop CS6 Extended.

Preview of Final Results

Failing is not always failure

3D Gold Text


Tutorial Resources


Step 1

Start by creating a new 1920×1200 pixels document. Select the Text tool and type in your inspirational text. The font we’re using is Bebas Neue and Pacifico. These fonts are free. Adjust the font size and leading to your likings. Use the Free Transform tool (Ctrl/Cmd+T or Edit > Free Transform) to scale your text then position the text in the middle.

Failing is not always failure text

To position your text perfectly in the center, select your text and background layers, switch to the Move tool, then click on the align center buttons in the options bar.

Align center buttons


Step 2

Next we’re going to convert the text to 3D. To do this, right-click on the text layer and choose New 3D extrusion from layer.

Depending on how complicated your text is, Photoshop might give you a message that your text is too complicated for it to process. If this happens, you need to convert it to a path and use Adobe Illustrator to simply the path. To do this, right-click on the text layer and select Convert to Shape. Copy the shape layer to your clipboard then paste it into a new document in Adobe Illustrator. In Illustrator, go to Object > Path > Simplify. Checkmark the preview option then adjust the settings so that you get the least amount of points without distorting the text much. Copy and paste the text back into Photoshop. When you paste, Photoshop will ask how you want to paste your text as. Select Shape Layer then click OK. Delete the other text layer then right-click on the new shape layer and select New 3D Extrusion from selected layer.

Adobe Illustrator Simpify Text


Step 4

Once you convert your text into a 3D extrusion, Photoshop will switch you to the 3D interface. Go back into the Layers panel and select the background layer. We’re going to convert this to a 3D object so that we can use it as a wall for the 3D text. Right-click on the background layer and select Postcard. Switch back to the Layers panel and select the two layers. Merge the layers into a single 3D layer by pressing Ctrl/Cmd+E.


Step 5

We’re going to start by reducing the thickness of the 3D text. Select the 3D text layer in the 3D panel

In the Properties panel, reduce the Extrusion depth setting. You can get a better preview by going to 3D > Render to do a quick render of the scene. Photoshop will start rendering the picture and when it looks good enough, click anywhere to stop the render. Keep adjusting the setting and rendering until you get the results that you like. For my text, I used an extrusion depth of 100.


Step 6

Now we’re going to make the 3D text look gold. Select text material layers in the 3D panel. You can select multiple layers by clicking on the top material layer then holding the shift key and pressing on the last materials layer.

Your Properties panel will switch to the Materials settings. Start by setting the Diffuse color to a yellow-orange color. The color I’m using is #FFC000.