Create a 3D Text Effect Using Photoshop Layer Styles

Create a 3D Text Effect Using Photoshop Layer Styles

Photoshop layer styles are the first tool beginners learn to enhance text effects. In this tutorial I’m going to show you how powerful and flexible this tool is. We will go beyond the overused gradient overlay and 1px stroke effects. We will use patterns and some useful tricks to create a 3D text effect!

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3d text effect using layer styles


3d text effect using layer styles

For Mac users:


Step 1

Create a new document in Photoshop. The size I’m using is 1920×1200 pixels. Fill the background with a color of your choice.

3d text effect using layer styles

I want to create a grunge background for the text. There are several ways to create a grunge background. I generally use a texture set on overlay, with the layer immediately below filled with a dark color, as you can see in this tutorial.

Today, I will use a pattern. In my last tutorial I explained how to create a custom grunge pattern from scratch. For the background of this tutorial I’m going to use use a dark pattern from the Tileable subtle grunge patterns set.
Just double click on the background layer to open the layer styles window, click on “pattern overlay” and select the pattern you prefer. If you don’t like the patterns visible in your library, click on the arrow near the pattern thumbnail and select another set from one available in the library. If you want to install a the new set, click on “load…” and select the new set just downloadeded (.pat file).

3d text effect using layer styles

Step 2

Create a new layer, set black as the foreground color, grab a large soft brush with hardness 0% and gently paint over the edges of the canvas. This way we focus the attention to the center, by eliminating the grunge effect from the edges.

3d text effect using layer styles

Step 3

We need a bold font with keen forms/edges. Download the free font Ash, and write something. In my case size is 140pt. Remember that layer styles vary in according with text size, so if you want to obtain my same results, use the same text size.

3d text effect using layer styles

Step 4

From the layers window, right-click on the text layer and select Blending options. We can now start playing with layer styles.

The first thing to do is add a gradient overlay going from a dark purple (#700760) to a lighter one (#b827a2), just to give it some color.

3d text effect using layer styles

Now select Satin, set its blending mode to overlay to add a glowing effect to the text:

3d text effect using layer styles

Finally, select inner glow to lighten the edges:

3d text effect using layer styles

Step 5

I want to create a large stroke effect and apply new styles to the stroke too. If I simply select “stroke” from the layer styles window of the text, I only have a few options to edit. The best solution is to create the stroke shape in a new layer, then play with it.

Duplicate the text layer (ctrl+J), then remove all the styles and reduce fill opacity to 0%.

3d text effect using layer styles

Add a 7px inner stroke.

3d text effect using layer styles

Now here is the trick to create a layer with only the stroke. Create a new blank layer, select both the layer with the stroke effect and the blank one, then press ctrl+E to merge them. Title this layer “Stroke”. It contains only the stroke shape.

3d text effect using layer styles

Step 6

We can play with layer styles again. Double click on the stroke layer and start by adding a gradient overlay. I chose a default metal gradient from the Photoshop library.

3d text effect using layer styles

Add a 1px stroke going from black to white and black again. You can see how the stroke starts to look like metal.

3d text effect using layer styles

To add depth, add a crisp drop shadow:

3d text effect using layer styles

Finally, add a thin inner glow to enhance the metal effect:

3d text effect using layer styles

Step 7

The text effect already looks nice at this stage. In the screenshot below you can see that we used only few layers to achieve this result:

3d text effect using layer styles

However, we can add even more details using patterns with layer styles. There’s one small problem, though. If we open the styles window of the text, for example, and select a pattern, nothing will happen. This because the gradient overlay is above the pattern so the pattern is not visible.

We need to create a duplicate of the text layer (Press ctrl+J). Open the blending options of the new layer and remove all the styles. Make sure fill opacity is 0%. Now you can apply the pattern you prefer. By switching the color mode from normal to another value, you will combine the pattern with the text colors. You already know where to find patterns! Just surf our resources. We release a free item with each pattern set.

In this case, for example, I used one of our Book cover patterns with the blend mode set to Color burn.

3d text effect using layer styles

Step 8

Using the same method, you can add even more patterns. In the screenshot below, for example, you can see how the text looks after applied one of our Tileable grunge patterns.

3d text effect using layer styles

Step 9

The same grunge pattern can be added to the stroke layer too. The details will match the metal gradients:

3d text effect using layer styles

Step 10

The last touch to give depth to the text: duplicate the stroke layer and move it below the original text layer. Move it 3-4 px down.

3d text effect using layer styles

Remove all the styles and add a black color overlay:

3d text effect using layer styles

Add a white drop shadow too:

3d text effect using layer styles

Step 11

The text is now complete! Create a new layer, grab a large soft white brush and add more light to the center. Reduce the opacity and change the blending mode to soft light if the effect is too strong.

3d text effect using layer styles

Step 12

If you want to modify the color combination a bit, add a gradient map layer by going to Layer>New Adjustment layer>Gradient map. I added a default Photoshop gradient going from purple to green to orange. The layer is set to overlay with the opacity around 40%.

Finito! Here is the result:

3d text effect using layer styles

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Howdy! I'm a self taught graphic designer who loves to create amazing stuff using every kind of media. I'm currently living and working in Italy.


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  1. Gerry Button

    Now that’s a sweet tutorial Well written with a great outcome. Good job. I am wondering now how good this would look for the header of a poster header.

    • Yes Gerry,

      Try using different patterns and color combinations and you’ll certainly obtain great results

      • Nice tutorial thanks for sharing


  2. Great tutorial and techniques , especially for the stroke effect, thanks a lot for sharing, here is mine ,
    3d text using layer styles

  3. jake carvey

    To keep this whole thing editable, use a Smart Object to hold a duplicate of the text layer.

    * Before applying any styles, duplicate the text layer, and convert it to a Smart Object.

    * Inside the new SmartObject, apply the 7px stroke effect to the text layer, and set its fill to 0%

    * Close the SmartObject

    * Apply the additional styles to the original text layer and the new Smart Object per this tutorial (you can skip the step to create the rasterized stroke layer)

    You can now resize and edit the text at will (you will need to edit the original text layer, as well as the text layer inside the Smart Object, but it should all line up nicely)

    - jake

  4. Nice one.
    I keep saying to myself that I need to practice more in Photoshop but I always end up in Illustrator. Maybe this tutorial will help me to get over my addiction.

  5. Brad

    Great tip on creating a fully edible stroke from a layer style. Thanks for sharing.

  6. gr8 combination of colors and patterns…
    the final result is really awesome… you rock dude!

  7. Miguel

    Great tutorial!!!

    Always want to know how to edit the stroke. Fantastic trick isolate in a layer.


  8. usman


  9. Great tutorial ! I’m gonna try it it’s an awesome effect !

  10. Hmmm. I think I’ll be using an ocean background. Thanks for the tut.

  11. Beautiful lettering! Well described. A good tutorial. Thanks!

  12. Super tuts! Thanks! Nice and usefull!

  13. Lacey

    Very nice and easy to follow, great results!!

  14. Your tutorials are great!
    God bless u :)

  15. Something i made for my brother’s Game :)
    Just a Desktop Background, but i really like it, Wow, Such a great And easy to follow Tutorial!

    I Learnt a lot too :D


  16. Will

    Great tutorial, Simple to follow and the end result looks so real!

    One question though. On your example the E for instance has square edges but when I try and make the stroke it comes up with rounded edges. I know I’m missing something here but I can’t figure out what.

  17. Sagar

    Nice Work,
    And Very Natural pic

  18. Kau Hau Jie

    Can i have your background?? i mean Pattern … its nice pls email me …attach it pls …

  19. Amit

    Awesome… you rock dude!

  20. naved

    excellent :)

  21. he man, thank a lot and bundle o fthank fo rthis tutorials. keeep it continue and goooooooooood. why u dnt make tutorial for stationary like letter head, envelop, etc

  22. Wonderful, I have applied to the logo of our website. But do not get an expected result.
    Thanks again.

  23. dizo

    Thanks…you really help me with the magazine im desiging.

  24. Aidan

    Thank you very much for sharing, this is a VERY nice text effect, Only thing I can think of to make this better was if the Grunge pattern (background) and book covers where free. But anyway, 10/10 Stars for you!

  25. Very nice ! check also this 3d text effect, its so realistic :

  26. Having trouble and not sure where. I’ve added the stroke, but whenever i create the new layer then merge that with the stroke layer, the stroke disappears. An answer would be helpful. Thank You

    • Nevermind. I figured it out. I was merging down, and that deleted the storke. I just regularly merged the layers and it works now. Great Tutorial By the way!

  27. How i could get that pattern ?

  28. Enerel Gereltsogt

    How did you make a stroke’s all corner look like 90 degrees sharp. My stroke’s some corners’ look like rounded.

  29. Daniel

    Very useful tutorial, easy to understand for a beginner ( like me ). Got the result I wanted.


  30. Good idea. Very easy step by step explain.

  31. Pslover

    Nice tutorial.. But one question..After merging stroke layer with blank layer , stroke color remains white..but ur tutorial it looks reddish..How did you change the color.


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    you have use the gr8 combination of colors and patterns…

    the final result is really awesome… you rock dude!

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