Create a Stylish Grunge Poster with 3D Typography in Photoshop

Create a Stylish Grunge Poster with 3D Typography in Photoshop

In this tutorial I’ll show you how to create a cool grunge poster in Photohop. We will play in particular with blending modes to mix stock images and with some filters to create nice effects. Also I’ll show you how to integrate 3d text into your compositions and how to replace existing colors using adjustment layers.

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I was searching for a way to promote WeGraphics Premium Membership and what’s better than a cool Photoshop tutorial? I think it’s a good idea to start introducing myself: my name is Sebastiano Guerriero and I’m the author of this site. I’ve studied graphics by myself for the last 2 years. WeGraphics was born as a chance to show my works to the design community and to share high quality resources. After 1 month and half I have achieved satisfactory results: 390 twitter followers, 400+ rss subscribers and more than 2000 unique visitors per day. Also I’ve got in touch with some great designers who have appreciated my works, like Jacob Gube, Steven Snell and David Leggett. And all this thanks to the support of nice folks who everyday visit WeGraphics to download design resources and to learn something from our tutorials. From here the decision to bring WeGraphics one step further. I will create on weekly basis premium resources that can be downloaded paying a low fee of 7USD per month. For each set there will be 2 possible downloads: a free version which is available to everyone and a premium version for subscribers only. If I’ll publish a new brush set composed by 30 items, for example, the free version will contain 10 items, while premium members can download the entire set and will get the commercial license too. Sounds good? Take a closer look to WeGraphics Premium.

Preview of the result:

Click on the image for a larger preview


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Step 1

Let’s start creating a new 1200×1700 pixels document in Photoshop

Step 2

Grab the gradient tool (G) and add a radial gradient going from a light brown (#ddc083) to a darker one (#927538).

Step 3

Download a texture from our “old dirty paper set”. Paste it into the canvas, desaturate it (shift+ctrl+U) and set the layer to overlay with opacity 50%.

Step 4

Now that we have created a nice grunge background, we can add natural elements to the composition. Photoshop give us the opportunity to mix elements using layers blending modes. I will show you how to achieve beautiful results using this tool. Paste in the mountains image, place it at the bottom of the canvas and set the layer to overlay. Now use the erase tool (E), or a mask if you prefer, to delete the upper part of the mountains image. Use a large soft (hardness 0%) brush for this purpose

Step 5

Paste in the image of the tree. Flip it vertically (Edit>Transform>Flip Vertical) and place it at the top of the canvas. Set the layer to overlay with opacity around 70%. Now once again use the erase tool to remove unwanted pixels (the bottom of the image and the meadow). There is not a specific reason to rotate the tree, simply I like these kind of surreal effects into my works. Also notice how blending options allow us to create beautiful colors mix.

Step 6

I want to create a light effect around the tree. Create a new layer below the paper texture one and use a large soft white brush to create light. Reduce the opacity of the layer until you’re satisfied with the outcome

Step 7

At this point I created 3D text using Xara3D, which is a super easy to use 3d tool for windows users. All what I made to add a grunge style to the text was to apply this cool texture. If you haven’t xara3d, you can create 3d text in Illustrator, or Cinema4D, or Photoshop CS4 (I haven’t again updated my version). Anyway you will find 3D text into the source file available for premium members at the end of the post.

Step 8

There’s nothing better then a lens flare to enhance your text ;-). Create a new layer above the text and fill it with black. Now go to Filter>Render>Lens Flare. In the option window select “movie prime”. Then set the layer to screen to eliminate black parts.

Step 9

Let’s Analise together our work. It’s evident that it needs more contrast, more color harmony and more details. My first idea was to introduce 2 animals into the composition because I believed they could perfectly match with the natural landscape. This is why I put in a bear and a tiger. But after a coffee break I observed my work and I wasn’t satisfied. So I decided to firstly focus my attention to color adjustments.

Step 10

The first thing to do is to strongly decrease saturation. Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Hue/Saturation and set saturation to -60.

Step 11

Use curves to increase image contrasts. Create a new adjustment layer and this time select Curves. Create a “S” using the curve to give vividness to the image:

Step 12

I always end up color adjustments with a gradient map. This is a step I love because I have the impression to have full color control and my images achieve more harmony. Try this exercise: open some of your old Photoshop works and create a new gradient map adjustment (Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Gradient Map), then choose a nice gradient, set the layer to overlay and reduce opacity to around 70%. Isn’t it nice? Try different gradients until you find the best one. In this tutorial, for example, I have in mind 2 colors I’d like to enhance: blue and yellow. So I create a gradient map layer going from blue (#080d4e) to yellow (#f6f091). And this is the result (my layer’s opacity is 40%):

Step 13

Open in Photoshop the image of the dude and extract it using the pen tool. Paste it into our document (below adjustment layers). You need to resize it, so click ctrl+T to select the transform tool and make it smaller.

Step 14

There’s a dude and a light source: we must add shadow behind the dude. So duplicate the dude layer and select the distort tool (Edit>Transform>Distort). Now select the top-left and top-right anchor points and drag them below the bottom-left and the bottom-right. Then click enter to apply the transformation. Use the screenshot below as a reference:

Step 15

To make the shadow more realistic, let’s apply a gaussian blur (Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur) with a radius around 5 pixels and reduce the opacity to 65%

Step 16

I want to enhance the dude with a kind of light effect that surrounds him. So right-click on its layer and select Blending Options. Then apply an outer glow with the following settings:

Step 17

The work is almost complete. At this point I decided to add another detail: flying birds. You can use our flying birds vector set.

Step 18

As a last touch we can place a nice linear pattern over the canvas. This effect will be visible only if you see the image in its real dimensions. Take a closer look:

Create a new 5×5 pixels document and fill it with black.

Now make sure to have white as foreground color and use the line tool to create a 45° line of 1px. Place it at the right of the square diagonal.

Tip: if you press shift while drawing the line, it will be easy to create a 45° line.

Duplicate this line (select the line layer and press ctrl+J) and move the duplicated one to the top-left corner:

Go to Edit>Define Pattern and choose a title for this one. Return to your canvas, create a new transparent layer and place it immediately below the adjustment layers. Select Edit>Fill and choose the just created pattern.

Step 19

All what remains to do is to set the layer to screen and reduce the opacity to 20%. Done!


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(+add yours)
  1. Another well explained tutorial. Thanks..

  2. amazing design with tutorial using Photoshop, i really like your work and first seen your website.

  3. Great read here, thanks for the post

  4. iceman

    U are one hell of a DUDE… love your style!!!

  5. very nice thank you

  6. following the blog, great stuff!

  7. nice text. i have xara 3d and i think than u was make a tutorial to get the text on xara 3d

  8. Brian Jones

    Love the tutorial and thank you for sharing! An aspiring designer – I just found out about the gradient map on a recent tut – you are correct – very nice touch. Keep up the great work.

  9. Very Nice Tut! Well Done!!!

  10. Patrizia Parca

    Hi! this tutorial is amzing… but i realized something using some ideas from another your tutorial…

  11. Celtic

    Thanks a lot !! greaaaaaaaaaaat tutorial !! i’ll use it for a birthday gift ..
    thanks alot

  12. Beautiful, beautiful work. Loved the linear pattern touch at the end. Really inspired. Thanks so much for sharing.

  13. The final result looks great, and the tutorial is very easy to follow. Thanks!

  14. Thanks Alot Great Tutorial

  15. Paul Bennings

    Thanks a lot, man…I love when I come across easy to read/follow tutorials. This one was one of the best.

    Best wishes!


  16. Grate tutorial, have to try it, I love the graphics effect you use here.

  17. Alex Molett

    Where do you find all of your stock photos from?

  18. my “lens flare” is never highlighted no matter what i do! I even went through PS5 instructions and my document won’t allow it. am i missing something?

  19. First of all I want to say great blog! I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your head prior to writing. I have had difficulty clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas out there. I truly do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are usually wasted just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or tips? Appreciate it!

  20. I’ve lost my language to praise the tutorial. Actually, I become curious when I find any tutorial with step by step image instruction. For this, I’ve already bookmarked the rss feed on my browser lest I should not miss any future posts. Thanks.

  21. Your report offers verified useful to myself. It’s very informative and you’re simply certainly really knowledgeable in this area. You have got exposed our sight to various views on this specific topic along with intriguing and solid written content.

  22. Hiya! I simply would like to give a huge thumbs up for
    the good info you??ve right here on this post.
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  25. Finished it in about 2 hours… including the search of new photos like the loch landscape, the dude (that I changed for a girl), and the birds. I used for the 1st time the 3d extruding layer tool, awesome! Thanks for this tut, I learnt again new stuff and that’s what we all love! You’re awesome dude!

  26. Just desire to say your article is as astonishing. The
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  27. Amr

    that is a very great tutorial to put you on the right track i learned a lot of stuff in a very simple steps ,,,,,, Hailz from Egypt :D

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