photoshop creative

Can I create 3D text without 3D tools?

Posted in:
Q&A, by Mark White
February 16, 2017

On Thursday, we answer your questions!

3D text can look great in a poster, but Elements doesn’t have the tools to create it. Luckily, you can render 3D text just with the Text tool, some selecting and moving, and a little control on lighting and shading.

Start off with your text in a bold, sans serif font. Duplicate, then turn the upper text layer to #000000, and the lower one to #595959. Select the lower layer and hold Cmd/Ctrl and Alt/Opt; nudge right two pixels and up one. Keep doing this. It will duplicate the layers up and right to create the illusion of the text being 3D.

When you have lots of grey text layers, merge them. Next, on a new layer set to 30% Opacity (clipped to this merged grey text layer), select the top of a letter and fill in white. For curved letters, add a gradient and mask it over that specific layer. Add shadows on the insides of Ps, Ds Os and Us.

Once you’ve done this, you can clip a texture or main image to the black text layer. Merge the grey text layer to the highlights and shadows, then clip the same texture, and set it to Overlay.