3D text effects are common elements in graphic design and advertising. The extra depth dimension allows images to visually pop from the page, and provide excellent building blocks for development of an image. A variety of tools can be used to create them, but creation of 3D text effects often requires significant time, patience, and knowledge.
In this tutorial, Joe Moore will teach you step by step how to render beautiful and visually sharp 3d text in 3D Studio Max, render it using Mental Ray, and then combine it with additional visual elements to create an atmospheric, nature inspired 3D text composition using Photoshop. If you don’t have 3D Studio Max, fear not, for a beautiful PNG render is included so you can still follow the Photoshop section.
This tutorial is jam-packed with techniques, tips and tricks to improve your workflow and design skills. Whether you’re a rookie designer looking to learn new techniques to use, or you’re a veteran designer just looking for tips on taking your images to the next level, you’ll find a ton of useful information here.
- 3DS Max (Xara3D would also work.)
- Adobe Photoshop
Download the Render
Skip to the Photoshop Section
Final Image Preview:
Step 1: Creating 3D Text
Step 1-1: Setup and Materials
Start your 3D Studio Max up and press F10, this will bring up your rendering settings. This displays all the information about our render, size, algorithms, caustics, environments and much more.
Now, you want to scroll all the way to the bottom of the render settings; click the assign render tab and then click “Production”. This will bring up a dialog menu that displays all your available rendering engines or “productions”. For this we will choose “Mental Ray”. This allows us to use mental ray materials to their true potential.
Alright, so now that we have “Mental Ray” enabled we can close out the render preferences and press “M” on the keyboard. This will bring up our “Material editor”, we will use this to make the blue stripe and the white basic color. So start off by selecting the first sphere and then click the large button under the grid that says “Standard”. This will bring up a new window which will show us all the types of materials to choose from, we will select “Raytrace” and select ‘ok’.
Now that we have that done go ahead a select “Diffuse” and choose white. Your going to want to keep the setting pretty basic, aside from the white, but you can use the screenshot to reference with mine.
Before we go any further; go ahead and click the checkerboard on the far right hand side, 3rd icon down. This will show us the reflection our material has. Now, we want to click the gray box beside “Reflect”, which is right beneath the “Diffuse” section. This will open a new window that will allow us to edit the reflections for out material. We want to choose “Falloff”. A falloff map is a basic gradient that we can edit to cast reflections, where black is flat or no reflection at all and pure white is 100% reflective.
Now we want to scroll down on the falloff parameters to where it has a “MIX CURVE”, this is how we will create our gradient. Click the icon 3rd over that looks like a line exploding, that will be the ‘add point’ icon. Click in the middle to add the point, once the point is added right click and choose “Bezier-Smooth”. Click the first icon, that looks like a move tool and grab the points of the “Bezier-Smooth” and move them around until you have a similar curve, but make sure the points of your curve touch the top and the bottom of the mixer. Now under “Falloff Parameters” select a almost white and a almost black. With the checkboard selected we can now see the reflections of our material.
Now we want to click the button on the corner right, directly beneath the grid that looks like a arrow. This is the “return to parent” button and it will take us back to the beginning where we selected our diffuse color. Once at this screen click and hold your white sphere in the top left and drag it over the sphere to the right. This will duplicate our material. Go down to diffuse on the duplicated material and select a pastel blue, like I did in my screenshot. Once you have done that rename the material to “Blue”. The rename dialog box will be to the left of the large button that says “Raytrace”.
Step 1-2: Creating The Text and Beveling.
Now we can close out our material editor and go way over to the right and click the icon that looks like a square, a circle and a triangle all arranged behind one another. It should be in the middle of the sphere and light icon. This is the shapes icon. Once that is selected, go ahead and click the text button.
With the text button selected, the toolbar on the right should now have new tabs on it, “Rendering”, “Interpolation” and “Parameters”. We will go to the “Parameters” tab to edit our text.
Choose to align to the left and select your font, which will be “Palatino Linotype Italic”. Set your size to 100 and put a capital “F” in the text box. Now, just click on the screen to drop your text. Since we will polymodeling, beveling and arranging our text all independently, its a good idea to do each letter by itself. This means that we will repeat this process for each letter in the word “Flow” independently.
With the “F” selected, choose the arc shaped tab on the right hand side entitled “Modify”. It should be the the right of the arrow button. This will allow us to change the settings for our text. We won’t be changing any settings, but we will add a “Modifier”, so click the drop down menu entitled “Modifiers” and select “Bevel”.
With bevel selected, we can change the parameters of the bevel itself now. Beveling the “F” will create a 3D “F” rather than just a group of splines. So we want to go down to the “Bevel Values” tab and make our adjustments. You want to leave the start outline at 0 and only adjust the “Level 1:” sections, in this section we will increase the height by 6.5.
Your “F” should look something like mine, if it is a different color go ahead and press “M” to open our material editor again and click and drag the white sphere over the letter “F”. This will apply our custom white material.
Step 1-3: Poly Modeling
Now we can right click our “F” and go down to “Convert to > Editable Poly”.
This will break our object up into selectable and editable polygons. When we have done this go back to the “Modify” tab on the right hand side and set yours up as mine is.
Being sure to click the bright red flat square, the fourth icon over and going down to the “Edit Polygon” tab and selecting the “Bevel” button.
Now, this is where it gets tricky, with the bevel button selected, you can now click what will be the top face of the “F”. Once clicked it should highlight the polygon we clicked in red as seen here.
Now, click the polygon again and drag it up, making the “F” taller. Just make it about a inch taller like mine looks, you don’t want to wind up with a 10ft “F”. Once you release the mouse button it will allow you to “Taper” the polygon, making it bigger or smaller, try to keep it the same size it was to begin with. If you mess up, just right click to end the beveling process.
With that done and the face of the “F” still bright red press “M” to bring up the material editor and drag your blue sphere on top of the red polygon. This will apply the blue material to just that polygon, leaving the rest of the letter white.
Now, we will bevel the “F” again. This time you will see that where it is getting taller, it is now blue. This time make it about as tall as mine looks and taper it smaller, but be careful! Tapering the “F” to small will result in some crazy shredded looking polygon, so keep at it until you get something you like.
Now that you have successfully beveled the “F” again, go ahead and apply the white material the same way we did before to the new top polygon. If you were unable to taper the top polygon as much as you wanted, don’t distress, just right click the polygon and select scale. With scale selected go ahead and shrink it to something that looks better to you.
Step 1-4: Arrangement
Go ahead and repeat the previous steps for each letter until you have spelled the word “Flow” (or whatever word you want). Once you have done this, arrange the letters as I have.
Step 1-5: Final Modifier and Render
Now we can select all of our letters and go back to the modifier tab and select “Bend” from the drop down menu. This will simply bend our word “Flow”.
Once clicked, go ahead and set your parameters to what I have set mine to in the screenshot. If you have strayed from the tutorial at all, be sure to keep an eye on the word “Flow” to the left, it might become deformed if you bend it to much, and pinch on one side, which we don’t want.
Now your word should look something like this:
Once you have bent and made all the text all the hard work is over. Just simply press “F10″ on your keyboard once again and change your render size. I set my render output size at 4950*4950. Once you have set yours to the same size, click render and sit back… it may take a while!
Step 1: Closing Notes
If your render looks dull or lackluster, go ahead and select the spotlight icon on the right hand side and click the omni button to drop a omni on the scene to brighten things up a bit!
Bare in mind that the beveling process can become quite the headache, keep at it and you will get it in due time.
Be sure to experiment, just because I only used the bevel tool on the front polygon doesn’t mean you have to! The possibilities are endless, you can apply a stripe all the way around you letters if you want. Play with it and have fun.
Always save your render as a PNG, this way the background will be isolated from the render, so you won’t have to fool around in Photoshop for that.
Step 2-1: Document Setup, Render Arrangement and Background Creation
Start up your copy of Photoshop, if you have set up your render such as mine, then go ahead and create a new document at 3000*2000.
Now create a new layer and click and hold the paint bucket icon, this will display another icon called the gradient icon. Click the gradient icon and select your colors, go with a light blue to dark blue and fill the layer going from one corner to the other. To ensure your top left corner is the darkest go ahead and do a edit rotate 180, rotate horizontal or rotate vertical if need be.
Now create another layer a fill this layer with another gradient. Set up your gradient as a dark blue (not as dark as the first layer) to white to the same dark blue. Once you fill the layer, set it up as a “Multiply” at 19%.
Go ahead and locate your render and open it up and pull it into the new document we have created. Place it somewhere in the center as I have done. If your render is a little gray go ahead and duplicate the layer by right clicking it and then clicking duplicate layer. On the duplicated layer set it as “Screen”, with a range around 20-30% opacity depending on your render.
Double click your render layer to open the “Layer Styles” dialog window. In this dialog you can set up inner and outer shadows as well as bevel and emboss and much other things, but for this tutorial we will create a drop shadow. So click the checkbox for “Drop Shadow”, it should be the first option on your layer style screen. Set the opacity of your drop shadow around 45-50% opacity, I prefer about 47% because we don’t want anything bulky. Set the angle at -114 with a distance of around 60-65px depending on your gradient. keep in mind you want it to look as if it were natural. Keep the spread down to a 0px and set your size to around 45-50px. I prefer to have the size at about 46 or 45 so it looks nice and fluffy but not like some strange gaussian blurred blob.
If you have looked at the screenshots and noticed this strange thing around my render, its where i have used a displacement filter atop the render and then used the edit > fade option. I won’t go into the details of how I did this yet, because looking back it wasn’t something I would suggest doing. I will however go through the displacement filter later on in depth in regards to displacing leafs as well as the geese. It’s always important to experiment with your techniques, and investigate what looks good and what doesn’t.
To increase the light in the scene we will go atop the render layer and create a new layer. Use the paint bucket to fill this layer with a solid black color. Next go to “Filter” > “Render” > “Lens Flare”. This will open a dialog box allowing you to customize your lens flare to your liking. We will be choosing the first option “50-300mm Zoom” with a brighness around 80-85%. I chose to use it at 85% just because I thought it looked better, but if you did create a screen layer for your render, or you used lights when rendering the render you might want to tone it down to around 70-75%. If your render looks bright enough all ready or you don’t like the lens flare effect this step may be skipped.
Once the filter is applied, grab the soft 150px eraser from your default brush set. Set the opacity of your eraser to 60% and start erasing the extra parts of the lens flare, all we are really after is the light circles that look like light bokehs. So gently erase all the outside edges and anything that looks off as I did, you may also want to use a low % smudge tool set as the same brush to feather the light a little more.
Now you can set your black layer to screen and place it to where it appears as if the light it hitting the corner of your render. I placed mine at the top point of the letter “W”. You should try and keep in away from the darker side of the gradient. You’re trying to give it a look as if the light is coming from one distinct side and not from every which way. If the lens flare creates a unpleasant amount of brightness when set to screen at 100% opacity go ahead and knock it back down to about 75%. You don’t want to ignore anything in the beginning because it could be a hassle to backtrack one your done to try and figure out why it looks so bright, or any other problem for that matter.
Now we can simply duplicate the layer and drag it beneath the render layer. Set this duplicated layer to “Linear Dodge” at around 85%. Since mine didn’t looks as bright as I wanted I bumped the opacity up to a mere 87%. This layer might make the lens flare look exceptionally bright but its okay. The idea is that this lens flare will be both beneath and atop our clouds, flowers and leafs. This way everything looks as if it is in the light in some regards. So if it looks ghastly go ahead and turn the layer off but don’t delete it just yet. Keep it hidden until the end of the tutorial and then once all the layers have been placed and its time for some merging then go ahead and turn the visibility back on to see if you like it. If you still don’t like the duplicated flare layer its no big issue, you can now delete it.
Step 2 – 2: Cloud Isolation
Proper cloud isolation is a key to keeping this looking good, and if you do it as I describe here its a simple technique that will look like something that took hours to complete. We will start off by going to http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1193812
SXC is where I got all the stock images for this piece, I will be posting more links to clouds later on in this section as well as links to flowers and leafs in the sections to come. So its a good idea to go ahead and set up an account there if you can, its free so why not.
Once you have the cloud image go ahead and paste into your Photoshop document, I have placed another layer beneath it filled with black to ease in the isolation.
Once you have the layer in and the black layer beneath it we will go to “Select”>”Color Range”. The color range function select a range of colors and isolates what was not selected. So once its clicked go ahead and use the eye drop tool and select the blue close to the cloud, this will select all the blues in the photo. Set the fuzziness to 200%. The fuzziness is basically the same as using something like the marquee tool with a feather option, or a soft eraser/brush on a mask layer. This prevents getting hard edges in your isolation. Make sure you check the invert box as well so that we will be selecting everything that is not blue, rather than selecting everything that is blue. Once you have everything set up as I do in the screenshot, click okay.
Now that ‘okay’ was selected, you can see that you have a nice selection around your clouds. It will look like your not getting all of the cloud selected, just the inner most cloud will look selected. But that’s ok since we have chosen to have the fuzziness set to 200%.
Now we will copy our clouds using “CTRL C”, or “Edit”>”Copy”. I choose to copy in case I make a mistake, that way I still have the original and won’t have to go looking for it again. Once you copy it hide the original layer and paste your clouds. Press “CTRL SHIFT U” or choose “Image”>”Adjustments”>”Greyscale”. This will grey scale our clouds so we don’t get any strange saturation issues later on. Also, most clouds are strictly white with only a glimmer of color anyway.
After this you can press “CTRL SHFT L” or go to “Image”>”Adjustments”>”Auto Levels”, this step isn’t necessary but it usually will create a better looking cloud. If your familiar with the level settings you can adjust them your self, for the sake of this tutorial will not go into depths about how it is used.
After the autolevels go ahead and set this layer to a “Screen” at 100%. You can see they look really rather grey in my screenshot as they will in yours, this is ok since they aren’t 100% opaque. They are showing some of the black from the layer beneath it which is exactly what we want, that way later on it will be showing the blue from our sky layers.
Once you have done that your going to want to go ahead and grab the eraser tool, set it up as a soft eraser with these settings:
- Size : 271px
- Hardness : 14%
- Opacity: 45%
We will use this eraser to clean up the edges of our clouds, which should be fairly easy to spot out on this black background. Usually the corners and sides of the document retain some strange edges so those are always a good place to start. But since this brush is not 100% opaque or hard, it will aid in creating “Fluffy” clouds, so any strange parts of the clouds you don’t like go ahead and erase them now as well.
If you have a Wacom or are just really good with a mouse, you can set the size of this brush to about 15% with a size jitter on set to brush pressure and zoom in to erase out circle motions and areas to create something that will look like “fluff marks”. If you don’t then don’t despair they aren’t as visible after we finish the piece and size it down as you would think, they become tiny details that are nice for large resolutions or prints. Once you are satisfied go ahead and hide the black layer, bring the cloud layer down beneath the render layer and play around with its placement.
I chose to use a marquee tool with a feather of about 25% and free transformed a segment of the cloud so it looks like the screenshot but that’s just out of taste. You have to remember once we have all the cloud layers down things like this won’t be all that noticeable, its just something I wanted to do.
You should also think about using the brush we just created as a smudge brush to help smooth out the outside of the clouds and feather them a little more, but be wary of having your strength over 25%. Using something around 20% and smudging it properly could definitely help to create a better blend with the other clouds later on.
If you have followed the tutorial so far your cloud should look something like this now:
Some examples of using the smudge brush to fluff the edges can be seen below:
You can also see where I have used my tablet with the eraser mentioned above to create some “Fluff marks” here:
You can see i have also varied opacity of some the clouds, particularly the clouds that i have “fluffed” a great deal with my smudge tool. I have also moved a few of my newly created cloud layers beneath the second gradient we created. It was set to a multiply in step 1 remember? Since I only moved the fluffier clouds and since I adjusted the opacity on some of the clouds it creates a sort of depth of field. It’s not the best but it looks better than if we pasted all the clouds atop one another at 100%, it makes it look a little bit more realistic. When you look up not all the clouds are big white fluff balls, some are narrow and darker.
Now you need to repeat this process, til you have a significant amount of clouds. If you created or have an existing SXC account, here are links to more clouds I used in mine, I used the same techniques described above to isolate and stylize all of the clouds in the final piece.
After using the above techniques along with the above clouds, varying opacity and layer order I came up with an arrangement that looked like the following screenshot.
Step 2-1: Closing
Its important to realize that the isolation of clouds can become cumbersome if you choose images that appear as if they will be hard to isolate. In the beginning its best to start off with limited interference, don’t choose images that have planes, birds, trees or power lines on your first few.
Also if you choose a image and it has a landscape in it go ahead and crop that out before you continue, it can save a lot of extra time.
For some additional “fluff” use different smudge brushes, not settings but shapes that is. The standard circle brush doesn’t provide any textures or variations so its a good idea to try out some other things.
Keep in mind that you don’t need 30 different clouds, I used the same clouds a good bit. Sizing clouds down and varying different techniques such as your smudging, blurring, layer placement and changing directions of a single cloud can yield 3 or 4 different looking clouds.
Also for extremely noise looking clouds its a nice effect to use “Filter”>”Stylize”>”Diffuse” set to “Anisotropic” after it has been isolated. This is also a nice effect to use on non-noisy clouds, just be gentle with it, you don’t want to use it on every cloud or on other layers like your render for instance.
Step 2-2: Leafs
Ok, to start the next part of the tutorial we will go yet again to SXC to get a stock image of a leaf. http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=download&id=225311
Now that you have it go ahead and drop it in your photoshop document and press “W” on your keyboard or click the “Magic wand” icon which suprisingly looks like a wand. Set your tolerance to 33% and keep the rest of the settings the same. Now just click and you should get a selection like this.
Now that we have our isolated leaf we can do two major things, one being to create a layer mask by going to “Layer”>”Add layer mask” > “Reveal selection”, or just press delete. If you’re worried about deleting out portions of your leaf, its best to go with the mask option. But for the sake of the tutorial I won’t bother. Either way, you want to zoom in and use the same wand to grab all this ugly bits of white that are hiding in there. Despite the fact that they might not show up due to the clouds its still best to keep all of our elements as clean as possible. A trained eye can see all your defects in Photoshop and you don’t want someone pointing out that you forgot to clear out a tiny corner of white, do you?
Once you have deleted all those tiny portions and you have cleaned it up so its all nice a proper, your leaf should look something like mine here:
Now we can contemplate placement, and this is where it gets fun! No one wants to isolate leafs all day anyways, so create a duplicate layer of your leaf and hide it (you may want it again later), drag the unhidden layer way down beneath the render but not below any clouds and size it down some. This is what mine looked like, and so should yours after you have placed it.
And it looks nice doesn’t it, but its a little bit dull. So we will create a new layer under our and fill it with black just so its easier to see what exactly we are doing. Click and hold the marquee tool, which will look like a dashed line box until the options for it come up, when they do choose the circle shaped marquee and set your feather to 25%. Make a semi small circle and place it just barley over your leaf.
Now, with the selection still intact, we will go to “Filter” > “Distort” > “Displace”. The displace filter is one of the strangest filters Photoshop has to offer. It can be used to add texture, wrap objects, distort them as we will here and much more. It basically moves the pixels in your PSD file based off of the black and white values of another image. So once we have opened set your values “Horizontal scale” to “-250″ and your “Vertical scale” to “150″ then press ok.
Now it will want you to choose a source file, the source file will be what Photoshop uses to reference the black and white values from. Since we are using this to create abstract effects it really doesn’t matter, just choose a random PSD file you have lying around and press “Open”. My source file looks like this:
Because of how we are using this filter and how it works, the placement of the leaf will dramatically effect the filter. For instance if you rotate the leaf 90 counter clockwise and apply it the result will be different. As well with moving your marquee, so this is something your going to want to play with. You should be careful with this however, you want it to still like a leaf in the end after all! My result looked like this :
Its a subtle effect, but when done properly it can yield wonderful effects. You can also use a layer mask to isolate out certain parts of the effects. And keep in mind what was said above, your displacement will most likely NEVER look exactly like mine. Just try to get something similar, a subtle effect that.
We can use the same leaf numerous ways, for instance we can displacement filter in different ways or not use it all on one of the leafs. You can also press CTRL+SHIFT+L to do a auto adjustment of the levels to create a slightly different look. Or you could play with the hue and saturation values by pressing CTRL+U, not all leafs are exactly the same tint of green anyways. Another easy and effective way to change how the same leaf looks is to create a duplicate layer and desaturate it by pressing CTRL+SHIFT+U and then setting the new leaf layer as a overlay or soft light layer with a opacity to aroud 30%.
Examples of these effects can be seen below, but also keep in mind that just changing the size and direction of your leaf along with were you place it dramatically. For instance a smaller version placed beaneth the clouds will still be seen, but it will be much harder for the viewer to recognize that the leafs are one in the same.
Its important to vary the size and saturation of your leafs to prevent it from looking to uniform, so even though we can use the same leaf and make it look like 4 different leafs I prefer to only make 2 or 3 leafs from the original. Also, keep in mind that we don’t want 10 leafs all the same size, so try creating some smaller ones and try and vary your displacements.
More leaf images that i used in the creation of this piece can be found here:
After I isolated more leaves, displaced them, arranged them, adjusted there levels and hue I wound up with this.
You can see I have filled it up quite a bit, but not all the way, and a lot of what is filled will soon be covered with our flowers. You can also see I have placed some leafs underneath the clouds, this helps to add a 3D look to the final outcome.
Step 2-3: Closing
You should try and experiment with the displacement filter, try to combine it with leafs to create strange textures and odd looking leaf explosions.
Remember the Diffuse filter I explained before? Its also a neat filter to try out on your leafs, it creates a soft almost blurred looking image but used only once and it should never make the layer out of focus. So its a good idea to try it on some of the leaves that are beneath your cloud layers.
Vary your colors, don’t have 15 leafs all at super saturated forest green or the end result will look horrid, play with removing saturation, levels and slight decreases or increases to hue.
Try throwing the same layer style from the text layer to a leaf or two (the drop shadow), it can help in your creation of a 3D looking piece. A lot of mistakes people make when they create something like this is failure to add some sort of depth, it winds up looking like 3D text slapped atop flat stocks. So layer arrangement and drop shadows will aid in decreasing this, but try and keep the shadows soft, you don’t want any big clunky shadow. And if your leaf was poorly cut it you will see it 1000 times more once the drop shadow is applied so try and only use it on the smaller leafs or the leafs the look as if you cut them out properly.
Step 2-4: Flowers
So to create the flowers we will once again go back to SXC, http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=download&id=211686 . Once you have downloaded the daisy, go ahead and grab your magic wand tool again and isolate it out the same way we have isolated out the leafs in the previous steps.
Once you have isolated it switch to your circle marque with a 25% feather and make a lasso around your daisy as I did.
Now with this selected we will press CTRL+SHIFT+I, to select the inverse of what we have selected. Now with the petals selected and not the pretty yellow section press CTRL+SHIFT+U. This will desaturate the petals, making them a pure white rather than having the pink tips. This is important because we will use this stock over a lot with different saturation and we don’t want any odd color combos throwing it off.
You can press CTRL+SHIFT+I once again and use the displacement filter if you like. But keep in mind everything I said above, keep it random and keep trying until you get something you like. I used the PSD for our flow piece as the source with a horizontal scale of 88 and a vertical scale of -198. Don’t distress over the numbers, I just came up with them randomly when applying the filter. My result looked like this:
However I didn’t like my result so I kept at it with different source files until I got something that i thought looked good. Once you get something you like you can press CTRL+SHIFT+D to deselect the pretty yellow section. After you have deselected the screen press CTRL+U to adjust your hues, decrease your hue value by -52% as I have done here.
After making the daisy red, its time for placement, the flowers are especially important because they are your last filler object. We want to layer them in between and atop the leafs, as well as adjusting sizes and hues. I placed my daisy around the top where I placed my first leaf, I like to start there and work my way around.
More flowers can be found here:
Now repeat the steps the same way you did with your leafs until you have a bouquet of flowers all over, never put any atop the text and try and put some under the clouds. As you can see below I used the star flower along with the original daisy the most, however I kept trying different hue adjustments, size variations and placement to keep things interesting.
Step 2-4: Closing
Try and make sure to play with the flowers, displace single petals and keep some flowers in their original state. Keeping the variety up will keep the viewer interested for longer.
Try copying the layer style (drop shadow) from the leaf and text to your flower. Don’t place it on all of them but to have one or two flowers casting shadows on leafs will make a huge difference.
Be careful with your hue adjustments, try and stay within the realm of sanity when it comes to this. The fact of the matter is there just aren’t any neon green daisies, and over saturation of something as small as a daisy can ruin an other wise beautiful picture.
Step 3: Extra Additions and Closing
Step 3-1: Abstract Lines
For a nice effect you can create a new layer, grab the marquee tool and make a long thing white stick. We can use this to make the crazy abstract lines you see coming out of either side of the finished product.
Once you have a nice skinny line go ahead and go to “Filter” > “Distort” > “Shear”. The shear filter is one of the funner filters in Photoshop, its great for doing things like this. Once it opens click on the line to add points, move these points into a “S” shape and press ok. Your end result will look something like a “S” as mine does below.
Now, we can press CTRL+A followed by CTRL+C, this will select the entire canvas and copy the line. Now press CTRL+V to paste a duplicate line onto your document, do this about 5 or 6 times. Then arrange your “S” lines into a nice shape, merge the layers and use the soft eraser from before set to 100% opacity, to clean off the edges, try and get your to look like mine does here.
As far as placement goes, size it down to about half the size and then squish it and make it thinner. At this point you could experiment by pressing CTRL+A followed by CTRL+C once more and paste the finished “S” multiple times to make a more complex looking design. Drop it beneath all your layers and position it as i have done here, be sure to put the best looking side sticking out!
Step 3-2: Everyone loves ladybugs.
We can go ahead and grab a lady bug at: http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=download&id=513002 Once you have it crop out the out of focus lady bug and isolate it the same way we have isolated the flowers and leaves, keep in mind that you may need to adjust your magic wand tolerance, I kept mine at 20 for this part.
Once you have it isolated go to “Filter” > “Stylize” > “Diffuse” and set it to “Anisotropic”. Due to the terrible quality of the image we will apply this filter twice and then press CTRL+SHIFT+L to auto level the lady bug. Size it down dramatically, then you want to go to “Edit” > “Transform” > “Flip Horizontal” followed by a “Edit” > “Free Transform” to make it appear as if he ladybug is going up something.
Now we can drop it on top of our text and give it a drop shadow, keep in mind you don’t want it gigantic. So if you didn’t size it down enough now is the time to do so, try and keep it in relation to how big a ladybug would look in real life compared to a leaf or daisy. Now grab your lady bug with the drop shadow and put it crawling up the backside of the letter “F” as I have done here.
Step 3-3: Drips
If you choose to create drips as I have (which is voluntary), then go ahead and create a new brush with these settings and with your shape dynamics set to pen pressure.
Next, just use your Wacom tablet or mouse to paint out your drips, keep in mind to have the same hue on the drip as the flower. Be sure to paint on some highlights and then apply the same layer style (drop shadow) as we have done before. Try and get yours to look as fluid as possible, my end result looked like:
Step 3-4: Geese
The geese were another stock, but not from SXC as all the others have been, I believe its a affiliate of SXC called StockXpert, for that reason I don’t have direct link to it. However, any bird will do in this situation because the steps are identical to the steps we took when isolating the leaves. You want to isolate the bird or birds and then use a circle marquee with a 25% feather. Once you have a grabbed a piece of the bird just displace as before!
Step 3-5: Closing
Now we are done! All your hard work has finally paid off with a wonderful typography experiment. Once you have finished be sure to save (CTRL+S) and then merge the layers down (CTRL+SHIFT+E). After you have merged it you can add some sharpness, for this go to “Filter” > “Sharpen” > “Sharpen”.
Sharpen your final out come and size it down to 1200*800, you can size yours down by going to “Image” > “Image size”. Once it is sized down you can press CTRL+F to re-apply the sharpen filter. Your final outcome should look similar to mine here: