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Elegant 3D Text Effect in Photoshop

In this tutorial you’ll learn how to create an elegant 3D Text effect using simple the shape tool, layer styles and paths.

Step 1: Setting Size

Make a new document. I’m choosing a standard desktop resolution of 1280×1024 so this can be used as a wallpaper.

Step 2:

Now press "U" and select the rectangle tool. Create a rectangle that is the size of the document. Name this rectangle layer "Gradient". Now apply a layer style with a gradient overlay using these colors #af1854, #f0d6c0 and #ffffff. Be sure the gradient is set to Radial.


Make sure to turn on the "Shape Layer" instead of the default path layer when using the Rectangle Shape Tool.

Step 3:

Now transform the rectangle named "gradient" and increase it’s size from all sides. The gradient will stretch along with rectangle and the background will look like this:


Step 4:

Now click on type tool and write "Think" on a new layer. Name this layer "Think". I used Helvetica Neue 75 bold. Apply an inner glow with these settings:

Blend Mode: Multiply
Color – black
Opacity – 8%
Size – 13 px
Note: These values may change depending on the size of your font. Use the image below for reference.

The text will look like this:

Step 5: Creating 3D Text

Duplicate the text layer and position it behind "Think" layer. Name this layer "3D". To give it a 3D look, we need to extract all the highlighted 3D faces of text . Let’s start with letter "T".

Press "U" and create a rectangle of equal width above the letter "T". Don’t forget to turn on "shape layer". Fill this rectangle with any color and give opacity 20%.

Press "A" and select the direct selection tool. Select the upper two anchor points and align them by pressing the right arrow to give the top of your "T" a 3D look. Name this shape "T1".

Create other faces shown below using the same process. Name these T2 and T3.

Step 6: Giving Shadows

Select the face T1 and change it’s color to white. Hold Ctrl and click on layer T1 to get selection of layer. Create a new layer and name it "T1shadow". Select a brush, and using the color black, hardness 0% and size 50 px. Drag from left to right to give it depth.

Step 7:

Repeat step 5 & 6 to the rest of the characters. Give shadows to other letters carefully. If everything is done correctly, the result will look like this.

You may decide to apply your shadows differently. I’ve applied shadows that gives the text a bit of a soft glossy feel.

Step 8:

Select all layers except the background layer, group them and name the group "Think". Copy the group and merge all the layers of this group copy. This layer will be automatically named as "Think". Duplicate the Think layer and change the blending mode to multiply with 50% opacity.

Step 9:

To create a perfect shadow we need to establish a perspective viewport. Create a new document of size 900 x 600 px. Press ctrl + " to show the grid. Press print screen to copy the entire desktop. Open new document, paste the image and remove the area without the grid.

Copy this grid and paste it in our work document. Change it’s blending mode to multiply to see through it. Transform it to create a plane on which the shadow will fall.

Step 10: Shadowing

Duplicate the Think layer and fill it with black. Transform it to make it fall onto our grid.

Fill in empty spaces where we added extra faces on our characters with black and merge them with the think shadow layer. Now our shadow will look like this:

Step 11:

Apply a Gaussain Blur to our shadow layer "think shadow" and change it’s blending mode to multiply. Now add a layer mask to the “think shadow” layer to fade out the shadow using a gradient (or use a soft eraser).

Step 12:

Looking pretty good! Now let’s add some lighting effects. Press P to select the pen tool and create a Path like this.

Now select a brush of size of 5px with 100% hardness. Select White as your foreground color. Select the pen tool again—the path you drew before should still be there. Right click and select "stroke path" tool. Select Brush from drop down menu and turn on "stimulate pressure". You will get stroke like this:

Step 13:

Name the this stroke layer as "Wave 1" and duplicate the layer. Go to filter > Distort > Wave and apply filter with these settings:

This will give an extra wavy look to the stroke.

Step 14:

Create some more waves by following the steps 12 & 13 and arrange them around the text. Apply a light gussian blur to some waves to give them a sense of depth. If everything is done correctly then it will look like this:

Step 15:

As an optional step, we can add some stars to our text. Press "U" to select the custom shape tool and select 5 point star.

Make a new document of size 100 x 100 px and make a star with the 5 point star shape. Fill it with black and then ctrl + click the same layer to get selection of star. Go to Edit > Define Brush Preset, create the brush and name it star brush.

Step 16:

Press F5 to access the brush panel and apply these settings:

Brush tip shape – spacing 30%
Shape Dynemics – size jitter & angle jitter 100%
Scattering – 578% on both axis
Other Dynemics – opacity 100%.

Step 17:

Select this star brush and keep its size to 15 px. Set foreground color to "#ff62ad". Create another path with the pen tool, right click to select "stroke path". Turn on stimulate pressure and create a wave of stars. Name this new layer something like “Star Wave”.

Step 18:

Now we just need to hide this star wave layer from some places to make it seem as if it is passing through layers. I prefer to use a mask, and manually filling in the areas I want to hide.

Download the PSD (or source files)


  1. Add point Subtract point

    How to checked Email Address in my Database had already. Please show me the source Code php connect with Database. Thanks……

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  2. Add point Subtract point
    Muzammil (1 Point) January 23, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    itx looking very nice effect…

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  3. Add point Subtract point

    Photoshop tutorials, from beginner to advanced. photo manipulation, icon design, text effects, interface, layout, painting, photo effects, psd tuts, maxon cinema 4d, designing.

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  4. Add point Subtract point

    hi can u plz do me a same 1 but with “Fashion Forward” to my webcast !!!

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  5. Add point Subtract point
    daisy lacsamana (2 Points) September 29, 2010 at 1:35 am

    Very nice. Have been looking to work on a tutorial just like this one.

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  6. Add point Subtract point

    Great tutorial, love the the sparkly stars effect at the end :)

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  7. Add point Subtract point
    PSD Style (1 Point) September 10, 2010 at 7:26 am

    Very nice. Have been looking to work on a tutorial just like this one. Of course you probably make it look easier than it really is.


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  8. Add point Subtract point

    Thank you for the informative post :)

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  9. Add point Subtract point
    roneybalack (1 Point) August 8, 2010 at 3:37 am

    In this photoshop tutorial we will learn to design a clean website layout. … This photoshop tutorial show you how to design a very beautiful and shining …
    thanks.. find more best tutorials here

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  10. Add point Subtract point
    Alan (2 Points) July 29, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    Just excellent, i love it, thanks for all.

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  11. Add point Subtract point
    Sander (1 Point) July 20, 2010 at 5:31 am

    I really love this page, but you must explain better. When you told me to copy the group and merge the layers and copy again…blablabla. It wasn’t good enought

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    Company Logo Design (1 Point) July 10, 2010 at 6:30 am

    I really thanks to you because you are really giving very informative and useful content free.

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  13. Add point Subtract point
    Monkol Yean (1 Point) July 10, 2010 at 3:04 am

    Dear Sir or Madam;

    I really enjoy with your effect. and I have one more thing to ask you. if your could help me please E_mail me?

    1- How to repair a old picture to be a new beautiful one.
    2- How to be your chatting friend

    Thank you


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      Narendra (1 Point) July 16, 2010 at 2:08 pm

      I didn’t got your email address so if you want to talk to me just shoot a mail to me, I usually check it within 24 hrs. Here is my email address.


      (do replace the words with appropriate symbol in email)

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  14. Add point Subtract point
    Bryam Ñahuiña Balbuena (2 Points) July 7, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    I love this page … the way a little
    ingenuity can do many things. part of a good style.

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  15. Add point Subtract point
    Bugsy (1 Point) June 26, 2010 at 4:30 am

    Excellent tute.
    This was great for a base to an idea I had and it implemented perfectly. I did use a script type font so it made for a slightly more difficult 3D effect…I used the pen tool and adjusted the curves to join the front text to the back. Time consuming but worked well.

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    Bilal KHETTAB (1 Point) June 25, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    Thanx I Love It .

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  17. Add point Subtract point
    KPatM (1 Point) June 24, 2010 at 5:24 am

    I’m having trouble with step 6. I’m not sure how to move the grid so it’s on the angle for the shadow. Does anyone know how?

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      Narendra (1 Point) June 29, 2010 at 2:22 pm

      I didn’t got understood your problem. In step 6 there is only an area is selected where shadow has to be given. Probably you are talking about the lower grid where shadow of text has been created. I just kept visible grids on a blank document and pressed print screen button and isolated this grid for setting proper shadow.

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  18. Add point Subtract point
    altaf (1 Point) June 24, 2010 at 4:40 am

    i love all of ur tut

    i want to know that may i share these on my forum?

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  19. Add point Subtract point
    Peter (1 Point) June 22, 2010 at 1:32 am

    Thanks for the good tip and posting

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  20. Add point Subtract point
    finalcross (1 Point) June 21, 2010 at 11:55 pm

    What a nice tutorial. Luv the last step. ;p

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  21. Add point Subtract point
    Gebel Scarduzio (1 Point) June 19, 2010 at 5:10 pm is a graphic designing website. photoshop tutorials.

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  22. Add point Subtract point
    GFX Tut (1 Point) June 19, 2010 at 3:32 am

    wow, this is actually really cool, i like your attention to detail.

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  23. Add point Subtract point
    Ozkan (1 Point) June 19, 2010 at 2:46 am

    Thanks.How do you get good results so I’m wondering

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  24. Add point Subtract point
    Peter Nagy (1 Point) June 18, 2010 at 10:28 am

    Good Stuff! Thanks a lot in sharing!


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  25. Add point Subtract point
    WebGuide4U (1 Point) June 16, 2010 at 4:18 am

    Thanks a lot in sharing this great tutorial with us. Love this one

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  26. Add point Subtract point
    ThePlayern (1 Point) June 15, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    Thanks, You couldn’t make it look more easyer

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  27. Add point Subtract point

    Really great looking Font, seems simple to re-create thanks to your instructions, I’ll use this tutorial in the near future. Thanks

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  28. Add point Subtract point
    Dwi Wahyudi (1 Point) June 13, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    Friendship greeting from Indonesian bloggers, particularly bloggers from borneo country. I am currently interested in entrepreneurship and is trying to practice it. Btw, your blog link on my post on my blogroll. Had pleased to exchange links, I’ll be delighted. Thank you very much …

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    Herbig Raduenz (1 Point) June 12, 2010 at 6:07 pm is a graphic designing website. photoshop tutorials.

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  30. Add point Subtract point
    Narendra Keshkar (1 Point) June 12, 2010 at 2:04 am

    In curvy letters like “h” & “n” I just added some shadow and lighting effect by simply brushing the area. I brushed some grey to darken the area and some light color to highlight it. Simple.

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  31. Add point Subtract point

    Great tut. But I think the “T” letter somehow is different from the rest (The edge color is not as contrasted, and it seems “blueish” to me, i’m not sure if it’s my screen or something)

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  32. Add point Subtract point
    Melody (1 Point) June 9, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    It would be great if you showed how to do the curved letters. Those look a lot trickier than the plain old straight ones!

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  33. Add point Subtract point
    Emir (1 Point) June 9, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    the 3d text its a lot easy to do with Repouseé in SC5

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  34. Add point Subtract point
    Tara (1 Point) June 8, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    WOW! Stunning is all I can say, simply stunning.

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  35. Add point Subtract point

    Nice tutorial! looks very elegant!

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  36. Add point Subtract point
    Mehdi Rizvandi (1 Point) June 8, 2010 at 8:03 am

    ilike the step 13, creating wave lines!
    thanks for sharing!

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  37. Add point Subtract point
    Comunicarte (1 Point) June 8, 2010 at 5:19 am

    Nice tutorial! Thanks! Best Regards…

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  38. Add point Subtract point
    bineesh (1 Point) June 8, 2010 at 4:43 am

    very good work ..thank you .. i am a graphic designer ….doing in flex work….

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  39. Add point Subtract point
    Faisal Salim (1 Point) June 8, 2010 at 2:00 am

    Nice effects… u r job is superb….

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  40. Add point Subtract point
    cannasky (1 Point) June 8, 2010 at 12:41 am

    good.thank you for sharing.

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  41. Add point Subtract point

    It’s so beautiful!!!
    I like it
    Thanks a lot

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  42. Add point Subtract point
    Speliers (1 Point) June 7, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    Awesome tutorial! Love how the shading and shadows look very realistic. Thanks for this tutorial.

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  43. Add point Subtract point
    Martin (1 Point) June 7, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    I am stuck on step #5. I selected the direct selection tool but his doesn’t seem to do anything. Can anyone point me to what I might be doing wrong?

    Also it would have been nice if this tutorial would have shown how to create the 3d effect in the rounded letters like the h and the n.

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      Narendra Keshkar (0 Points) June 8, 2010 at 1:43 am

      You are facing problem because all edges of rectangle is already selected. When we click with “selection tool” it selects whole path or shape and hence needs to deselect the shape before or after selecting “direct selection tool”.

      Select direct selection tool then deselect the rectangle by clicking anywhere outside the rectangle. and after that select the edges of rectangle. This will work.

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    Linus (0 Points) June 7, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    Thx alot, great tut’. But with Ai it’s alot easyer :D

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  45. Add point Subtract point
    Olle (2 Points) June 7, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Wow, thank you!
    Great Tutorial! :D

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