Create a realistic wooden 3D text image

There is a lot of typography-based artwork recently with more people getting their hands on 3D programs. However, creating 3D text with just Photoshop takes a certain amount craftsmanship and skills, leaving all the little details in your hands instead of letting the computer do all the work. So, in this tutorial we are going to take a few 2D textures as well as a few Photoshop techniques to create a realistic 3D text image. Use this photoshop technique for all your print design needs such as UPrinting brochure printing



Wood Texture by kovik
Wooden Plank by Image*After
Red Brick Wall by Image*After
Lonely Tree by Image*After

Step 1: Sizing the document

Let’s start off by opening up Photoshop and creating a new document with a size of 1200x600px.

Step 2: Sizing Our wood image

Open up our Wood Texture image in Photoshop and go into Image > Image Size and change the width to 1200px, while making sure that the resolution is at 72 pixels/inch.

Bring the wood image into our original document. Save the file as “wood_front.psd”, as a Photoshop document file somewhere where we can get back to it later on.

Step 3: Adding in the text

Now we are going to add in our text. The font I am using is Chunk Five, but any bold font will work.

We are going to use the wood as the face of our text, so select the text layer and go to Select>Load Selection. A marquee outline of the text should appear. Click on the wood layer and go to Layer>New>Layer via copy to get the selection on a new layer. Now you can just delete the original text layer and wood layer.

Step 4: Creating the text edges

Let’s duplicate the wooden text by going to Layer>Duplicate Layer. Load the new layer by going to Select>Load Selection and fill it with black (Alt+Delete). So you should now have one layer that has the wood texture and one that is black.

Move the black text layer behind the wooden text layer. Using the transform tool (Ctrl+T), hold down Shift and Alt, move the anchor points inward. You should end up with something like what I have below.

Step 5: Making the text 3D

To create our 3D effect we are going zoom into our text and using the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) we are going to connect each corner of the wooden text with the corresponding corner of the black text. We are going to fill these shapes with black on the black text layer.

Step 6: Displacing the texture

Click on the wood text layer, then go into Filter > Distort > Displace. Change the horizontal and vertical scales each to 1 and click OK. This will open up a file browser, where we can open up the Photoshop file we created in step 2. Repeat this for the black text layer also.

This should give the text a more natural edge that goes with the grooves of the wood.

Step 7: Color correcting the second wood texture

Open up the Wooden Plank image in Photoshop. We are going to do some color correction to this image to make it darker for our text sides.

First let’s open up our Curves (Ctrl+M), change the Input to 187 and the Output to 77.

The color is really bright, but we are going to change that by going into Hue/Saturation (Ctrl+U) and change the Hue to +15, Saturation to -44 and Lightness to -24. This should give us a dark brown color.

Step 8: Adding the second wood texture

Go into Image > Image Size and change the width of the text side texture to 1200px. This will make it easier to adjust the size, rather than starting out with a huge image we have to shrink down.

Now we can bring the wood texture into our document.

This wood layer is going to go below the text face and in front of the black text sides. To get rid of the excess wood texture we are going to click on the black text, then go to Select>Load Selection. We are going to get the inverse selection by going to Select>Inverse and delete. This should leave us with just the texture where the black text is.

Step 9: Color correcting the brick wall

Before we go any further with the text we are going to work on our Red Brick Wall background. So open up the brick wall image and bring it into Photoshop.

Now this brick wall has kind of a faded look to it. We want to make it more vibrant, at least for now to have consistent color intensity throughout all of our images.

Open up your Image>Adjustments>Levels (Ctrl+L) and adjust the arrows so they are at the start and the end of the graph like I have done below.

Now bring the brick background into our document so that it is just above the background layer. Now using the Transform tool Edit>Free Transform (Ctrl+T) change the vertical and horizontal scale to 75%.

Step 10: Adding a bevel to the text

Let’s continue working with the text. Click on the text face layer and go to Layer>Layer Styles>Bevel and Emboss.

Change the depth to 1000% and the size to 2px. We also need to change the angle to the top right because that is where our light source is going to be coming from.

Finally, to get a little warmer edge to our bevel (rather than using the black and white default colors), we are going to change the highlight color to #FFCC33 and the shadow color to #663300.

Step 11: Adding an inner shadow to the text

Next we are going to go into Layer>Layer Styles again and this time go into Inner Shadow. This will make the bevel stand out more and make our text look less like a texture laid over text and more like each letter is wooden.

Step 12: Adding a text shadow

Now we want to start working on the shadows. Click on the text face layer and go to Select>Load Selection to get a marquee around the text face. Next click on the shadow text layer and go to Select>Load Selection and select Add to Selection.

Create a new layer by going to Layer>New>Layer (Ctrl+Shift+N) and fill the selected area with black. Move this layer down so it is just above the brick wall layer.

Go into Filter>Blur>Motion Blur and change the Angle to 20 degrees and the Distance to 200 pixels.

Step 13: Masking and blurring the shadow

We need to get rid of the shadow we just made on the top right area of the text because the light will be casting a shadow toward the bottom left. So go into Layer > Add Layer Mask > Reveal All, this will add a layer mask to our layer. Click on the Brush tool (B) and using a black brush at 100px wide with 0% hardness and 50% opacity, start painting away the shadow areas on the top and right part of the document.

The Motion Blur also gave us some harsh edges that we want to soften. So go into Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and change the Radius to 8.5 pixels.

Step 14: Adding a shadow part 2

We are going to repeat steps 12 and 13, except this time the Motion Blur is going to have an Angle of 15 degrees and Distance of 240 pixels.

Step 15: Adding a shadow to the text sides

To give the text sides some shadow, we first want to darken the texture a little bit, so go into Curves (Ctrl+M) and adjust the Input and Output to 147 and 117.

Now to get the shadow on the text, we are going to select the text side wood texture layer and go to Select>Load Selection to get a marquee around it. Create a new layer by going to Layer>New>Layer (Ctrl+Shift+N), get the inverse selection by going to Select>Inverse (Ctrl+Shift+I) and fill with black. This should fill the entire area except where the text side wood texture is.

Make sure you deselect the marquee tool by going to Select>Deselect (Ctrl+D) and go into Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and change the Radius to 6 pixels.

Select the wood side texture layer and go to Select>Load Selection then get the inverse selection by going to Select>Inverse (Ctrl+Shift+I) and delete. This will get rid of all the black area except where the blur went on the text, making our shadow. Now duplicate the shadow layer with Ctrl+J to make it darker.

Step 15 Alternate: Refining the shadows

The previous step was just a quick way to make the shadow, but if you want to go into more detail you can create a new layer by going to Layer>New>Layer(Ctrl+Shift+N). Start lightly painting the areas that would have a shadow (like the bottom and left sides of the letters). Also use the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) to get the straight edges on the hard corners.

Step 16: Lighten the text face

Now we are going to lighten up the text face. Click on the text face layer and go into Image>Adjustments>Curves (Ctrl+M). Change the Input to 107 and the Output to 150.

Step 17: Adding a natural element

We are going to add some realism by adding a tree shadow on the left side of the text. So we are first going open up our tree image in Photoshop. Now, go to Select > Color Range. Click on the dark areas and change the Fuzziness to 200.

The Color Range will create a marquee around the dark areas. Take the dark area that we selected, create a new layer by going to Layer>New>Layer (Ctrl+Shift+N), fill it with black and drag it into our document.

Step 18: Tree shadow

To give our tree that shadow look we are going to go into Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Drop the opacity down to 50%.

Step 19: A little bit of lighting

To give a little bit of light inconsistency to make it more natural looking, we are going to create a new layer and bring it just above the brick wall layer. Now, using a white to 0% opacity gradient, click and drag a circle from the middle left part of the document out.

Change the Blend Mode to Overlay.

Step 20: Color correction with a gradient map

Now we are going to do some quick color adjustments. First go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Gradient Map and click on the yellow to red gradient. Make sure the reverse box is checked. Drop the opacity down to 10%.

Step 21: Color correction with a hue/saturation

Finally, go into Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Hue/Saturation. Drop the Saturation to -40.


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1 Comment

  1. Tutorial Lounge

    excellent result and i learn new techniques. thanks