The Making of “Climb” – An Awesome 3D Text Composition in Photoshop

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Using textures applied to text is an effective way to create dynamic looking text, and even creating 3D style text effects solely in Photoshop.  Using some photomanipulation techniques, textures can be applied and blended together to create a surreal work with a realistic feeling.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to create 3D text within Photoshop, along with a nice stylish background, and then apply textures and bring out some awesome details in your work.

Let’s get started.  If you have any questions or feedback, please let us know in the comments!

Tools Used:

  • Adobe Photoshop

Final Image Preview:

Step 1

Open a new document (mine is 2400×1082,we will resize everything in the end, to have better views of details during the work) filled with black.  Take a big soft brush, paint a circle on the left to create the source light.

Go to Layer>New adjustment layer>Color balance and do the same as show below:

You’ll have now something like this:

Select a hard brush, low dimensions, and paint a white circle in the middle of your source light, now increase dimensions of the brush, reduce its opacity(you can find opacity percentage on the upper bar), paint another circle.  Repeat this process again and again to have a result similar to this:

Step 2

Select, now the text tool (the “T” in the sidebar on left) and write something.  In my work i used the word “climb”.  Right click on the text level and choose “rasterize”, then press CTRL+T or cmd+T to edit dimensions. Use the warp tool to warp the text (you can find it on the upper bar of PS and it is symbolized with the little figure in Image 1),and try to get a similar result as image 1, shown below.

You have now to apply a nice wall texture you can find on many sites such as CGtextures.com. To apply it to the text you have to create a new level and move the texture on the level above the text, now right click->create clipping mask, and you should get what is shown below:

Many people prefer to use a 3D program for this sort of thing, but I honestly don’t like it, as I want to give an artistic and imperfect style to my works.  So, to create depth for the text we will just create a new level, put it in the below to previous text layers one, and paint with an hard brush the various sides of the letter with any color, like below:

After that, we will apply the same wall texture on this level with the same technique we previously used.

This time just use any adjustment such as curves or levels to make the sights brighter since they’re “touched” by light more than the front part.  Lighting is key in these artworks.

Use the dodge tool (on the left sidebar), set to “midtones” in the upper bar,to make some parts lighter, just painting where you need light.

Step 3

Make a new layer, take some bricks stock images and put them into the new layer,try to give them a direction with the transform tool (you get it with CTRL+T or cmd+T), so it seems like they are moving all together because of an explosion as like as in Image1.  You can either paint this using your mouse, or duplicate and smudge, or duplicate and apply a motion blur.

Burn the ones which are more distant from the light, to create more depth.

Create some colored shapes as in Image 2, using your pen tool:

Simply using the pen tool to make these shapes, duplicate them and put one on each other as in this detail screenshot:

Create different types of them, rectangular, rounded, whatever you want…reduplicate everything, move it a little bit (CTRL or cmd+click and drag) and lower layer’s opacity,you’ll get the “move” effect as in the detail shot above. To create the stroke and the outer glow, just click twice on the shape layer and you’ll get a window, thick “stroke” and chose white as color, thick “outer glow” and choose white again, play with the settings to have a nice result.

Step 4

Burn all parts which aren’t exposed to light,and dodge the ones which are, using burn and dodge tool in the sidebar.

Go to the textures’ layers, make a new layer, right click on the layer and choose “create clipping mask”, as like as “blue blending” in my image.

Set it to “Overlay” and paint some blue parts,to blend the text with the background, reduce layer’s opacity if necessary.  This will help the lighting match a bit more.

You will now have something like this:

Step 5

Here we are to the final step, we are going to add grass the same way we created the wall text: paint some grass in a new layer of any colour (in my PSD it’s white).

Next, add a clipping mask and the grass texture:

You’ll have a result like shown below.  I also adjusted something with brightness and contrast,increase lights and shadows’ strength.

Our work is almost finished!! you can add details as like trees, windows and ladders, they are just stock images cut and pasted with some blending adjustments.  You can also give a final adjustment with curves or levels or whatever you want, image 4 is my final result.

When you’re sure your work is finished reduce the size (800900 px wide), make a new layer->image->apply image,and after go to filters->sharpen, to make details more visible.

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