Photoshop is a great tool for creating almost anything you can imagine. You can retouch photos, create interesting type effects, special effects and much more. Within the last few versions, Adobe has really been working on enabling their users to create realistic, beautiful artwork in 3D. We will be exploring how to do that in Photoshop. We will also be covering the menus and settings that go with it. One of the great things you can do with 3D in Photoshop is create beautiful type effects.
Open Photoshop and create a new document. Make it 1024px x 768px set the resolution to 72ppi. Select a bold typeface. For the typeface, I chose Forque and set all RGB values to 127. Next, Go to 3D> New 3D Extrusion From Layer. What you will see are the basic settings for anything created in 3D in Photoshop. We will use the 3D Panel and the Properties Panel to edit our 3D type.
The 3D Panel is fairly simple. I will break down each section, explaining what each part controls.
Environment- Environment is where you determine how your ground plane will look and react in the 3D design. You can control the ambient lighting, the color of your text and the color of the shadows, as well as the softness and opacity. This will allow you to create soft shadows or very harsh ones. Scene- This is where you set out how your object will be seen. You can use lines, points, or the normal choice as a surface. You can also choose different styles, such as solid, paint mask, cartoon, lighting only and sketch.
Current View- You can choose the default view here, as well as the depth of field.
Object (Love Design)- This is the main section where you will create the look of your 3D object. You have the different inflation materials, which means that these are the menus where you can control the look of each individual side. There are inflation materials, which show how the front and back are shaped in 3D. There are also extrusion materials which determine the look of each side of your object. The bevel materials determine how the edges of your object look.
Infinite Light- This is your light source. You can add multiple light sources to your scene easily with the icon in the bottom right that looks like a new layer icon. Default Camera- This is the default view of the camera. Click on the main object layer with a T symbol named “Love Design”. In the Properties Panel, this section is broken down into 4 sections. The first is called Mesh. This is where you determine the extrusion depth. I set the depth to 80. You can also click the box and choose from one of the presets.
In Deform, you can also set the extrusion depth in the second section called Deform. Here, you can twist or tape your text in a controlled manner. You can also bend and shear your text.
Cap is where you can control the contour of the faces of your object. This is a great place to create a raised beveled edge. I set the contour to cone and set the width to 51%. At the top you can decide which side to apply the contour to.
Coordinates will allow you to manually dial in the settings. You can change the X(left and right) settings, Y (up and down) settings, and Z(Forward and back) settings. Next, go to front inflation material and you can change the look and settings of the front face of your design. I set the diffuse, Specular, and Illumination colors to a sky blue. I increased shine and reflection to 100%. I lowered Roughness and Bump to 0%. I lowered Opacity to 50%, so that you could see through it, but there would be color. I set Refraction to 100%.
Next, Select the front bevel material and under the presets drop down menu choose Wood Balsa, which is a light wood texture. Keep the rest of the settings as normal. We will do the same for the Extrusion material as well.
If you click on Infinite Light, you will be able to manipulate the lighting for your 3D object. This is important, because this is where all of your lights and shadows will come from. The pinhead on the canvas is how you manually control the tilt and angle of the lighting. You can also determine the type of lighting in the Properties Panel. You can decide if you are going to use an infinite light, a spot light, or a pin light. An infinite light is more spread out and creates softer effects. A spot light is more narrow and controlled. A pin light is very concentrated and precise. Each one creates very distinct results.
You have control over other aspects of your lighting as well in the Properties Panel. You have control over the color of the light as well as its intensity. Generally, the higher the intensity value, the crisper your shadows will be. You can still control the softness of your shadows here as well. Under presets, there are a lot of different options. Some of them are Dawn, Daylights, Mardi Gras, Night Lights Lush, and Cold. You can choose one of these to get interesting results.
Rendering your object once you are finished with all of the options is very simple. All you have to do is go to 3D> Render. Depending on the size of your file and your computer’s capabilities, it may take a while for your work to fully render. In the bottom left of the main screen there will be a status update of how long it will take. Here is our wood and glass text rendered in 3D. Notice the shadows behind the text. I left the environment white so they would be easy to see.
There is a lot to cover in the 3D section of Photoshop. Now that you have the basics down, you can begin creating 3D type in Photoshop. There are other options and capabilities to explore as well, such as creating 3D from a selection or path, and creating 3D forms from gradients. I encourage you to try out those options, as you can get some interesting results.