3D, Text Effects

Create a CMYK 3D Text Effect in Photoshop and 3D Studio Max

3D Text effects are highly popular, and we’ve published a few tutorials on them before.  There are almost endless possibilities, with glossy or reflective 3D text, or grungy, dark text, or intricate and ornate 3D text.  However, some of the power in 3D text effects can be created by utilizing the paths of the text, and then decomposing the letters into smaller shapes.  This results in a unique and stylish text effect that you can apply to a large number of situations.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to use Photoshop and 3D Studio Max (though any 3D program will work) to create a unique 3D PS text effect using fundamental shapes.

If you need more text effect tutorials, check out these other tutorials, some of which are 3D Studio max 3d tutorials as well:

Enjoy the tutorial and please share it with your friends and share your results with us in the comments.

Tools Used:

  • Adobe Photoshop
  • 3DS Max
  • Stock images

Final Image Preview

Step 1: Text creation and additional ball creation

So to start off we will begin by opening up 3DS max and starting a new scene.

Once you have done that we can head over to the create toolbar on the right hand side of your screen. You will want to select the spline tab and then choose text as I have done in the below screen shot.

Now just drop it into your view port!

Once you have done this we can head back over to the modify tab and adjust our settings for our text. I will be leaving the font, size and kerning all the same but you can modify these if you like. If you do not want to adjust any of the above discussed settings then just proceed by changing the text. I went with CMYK but any text would work. I would go with lower letter words or abbreviations thought. In the end, the longer the word the more balls that you must use which means more lag and more chance of your scene crashing.

Your scene should look something like the below screenshot.

Now we can move on to our material editor to create the materials for our balls. If you are familiar with our past tutorials you will remember this screen. If you are not familiar all that needs to be done here is to select one of the balls and then choose a new diffuse color and your done! I made my colors CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) to correlate with the typo but any colors will do.

If you want to add a reflection and are using mental ray/Vray you can place a falloff map in your reflection map section just like we did in the Hello Color tutorial.

Now its time to start making spheres, so head over to your create tab and select sphere, set yours up as mine and drop one into your viewport.

As you can see in the last image, I’m working in the top viewport (you can access this by pressing T on your keyboard), this makes the entire design much easier by allowing you to keep all of your balls on one plane. I would suggest doing this the entire time up until you start building up your letters.

Once you have placed your first sphere you can press M on your keyboard to bring the material editor back up. This time you will want to click the material sphere (I went with blue) and drag it onto your sphere in your view port. Once you have done that your first sphere should be colored!

Now we can click our viewport sphere, while it is selected switch over to your move tool and move it over while holding shift. A dialog like the below one should appear. This in turn will create a duplicate of the first sphere.

Once you click ok you will see your duplicated sphere appear.

Once you see it you can place it and color as we did previously.

Now continue duplicating your spheres and coloring them. Be sure to stay inside the lines for the most part!

You will notice that this is a somewhat tedious procedure however we can speed it up once you reach a point similar to mine in the below screenshot.

Now select all of your balls and duplicate these as we have done the others.

Next we can switch over to our rotate tool and turn these until they are lined up with the typo outline.

You may need to move some balls around and recolor them so they don’t appear too clustered (a lot of blues in one spot for example) but once that’s done you have saved a ton of time!

Now just continue on until you have filled up all of your letters! Be sure to stay in the lines and avoid clustering colors as much as possible!

My type looks like the below screenshot.

Once your type is done just delete the typo outline and we are done! Well, not quite, we still need to render it. To render your typo press F10 on your keyboard and input your desired size, you can use any size you like but obviously the bigger the better!

Now that your render is finished you can create a new scene (or hide your type). Once you have done this just drop in some large balls and color them accordingly to your previously used colors.

Render these and we are done with all of our 3DS work!

Step 2: Back ground creation and typo implementation

The first thing we need to do is open up our text in photoshop. Mine looks like the below screenshot.

I did not like the fact that it was horizontal so I used the marquee tool (M on your keyboard) to move the C and the M above the Y and K. You do not have to do this but if you want it can help create a bit more flare to your type.

Now its time to create a document for our newly created text .So depending upon your type size, set up a new canvas (CTRL N on your keyboard). I went with a 3000*2000 sized document but you can use whatever you like, remember to keep the size of your type in mind!

Once you new document has been created grab the fill tool (G on the keyboard) and fill the canvas with pure black.

Now we can create a new layer (Ctrl shift n on your keyboard) and doodle a random shape in white with the paint brush (B on your keyboard).

Once you have done this merge the two layers (CTRL SHIFT E on your keyboard) and apply a Gaussian blur with a radius of 250px. Apply this blur about twice and your document should look similar to mine in the below screenshot.

Next just drop your text in and place it so it appears as if the light is shining from behind the text.

Now we can drop in a ton of the orbs we created in the end of the 3DS section. If you don’t have enough that’s ok! Just hold ALT on your keyboard when moving the orbs to duplicate them, then all you need to do is free transform them and before you know it your canvas will be filled with orbs!

However, if you duplicate them or you just drop it in be sure the sizes of your orbs vary a little bit.

Step 3: Ray creation and additional background elements added

Our next step is to create the rays of light coming off the orbs. These are quite easily created using the radial blur filter in your filter>blur dialog.
So start off by duplicating your small orb layer. Once that is done drag it beneath the original small orb layer and apply a filter blur>radial blur. Once the dialog comes up crank it up to 100% and set it to radial blur zoom. Apply the filter to get an effect similar to the below screenshot.

Right now its very faint but we can fix that! Press CTRL SHIFT F on your keyboard to fade the last applied filter (the radial blur), set the blending mode for this to screen and press ok. Once you have done this apply the filter again and fade it again. Do this about 4 times and the effect should now look like the below screenshot.

The above screen shot is very grainy and is not what we want at all. To fix this we will apply a Gaussian blur which is found in the filter drop down under blur. Set yours up as mine is in the below screen shot and hit ok.

The effect now looks like the below screenshot.

But we don’t want the trails in front of the orbs only behind them. To fix this we can grab a standard eraser (Press E on your keyboard to select the eraser tool) and erase out the streaks in front of the orbs.

Now we need to spruce up the back ground a tad before we move on. To do this create a new layer under everything except your gradient layer, fill this layer with the fill tool like we did previously but this time use something like blue. Se this layers blending mode to overlay and set the opacity to about 50% opacity. This should create a slight blue hue for our background making it much more vibrant.

Now we can grab some more orbs (larger this time) and place them all over the edges/middle of the screen. These will be blurred to create a sense of depth. To do this simply apply the same Gaussian blur that we applied earlier however this time set the radius to about 10px and hit ok.

Now to spruce up the background some more!

To do this we will create a duplicate of our text layer and drag it down so it is only above the blue overlay layer and the gradient layer. Once you have done this apply a few Gaussian blurs with a radius of 250px.

Now we can grab a free cloud stock image (or a purchased one) from a stock site such as Sxc.hu or deviantart.com I will be using the below image.

Now all we will do is drag this layer in place it beneath the orb layers and set it to overlay at 100% and we are done!

You could continue to add to the piece if you wanted to by adding in stars/nebula pieces etc… but you don’t have to. My final image looks like the below screenshot.

I hope you enjoyed reading my tutorial and wound up with an image you like! Or came out with knowing a few new tricks! If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask.

Also, if you have any ideas for future tutorials please say so!


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