advanced photoshop

Tutorial preview: Striking type effects in Photoshop

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Magazine previews, by Julie Bassett

In this tutorial we show you how to combine photos and 3D type to create stunning compositions in Photoshop

In this tutorial we will combine a basic 3D render and composite an entire wildlife scene in Photoshop using a variety of royalty-free photos. Your final image will probably look quite different from ours depending on what sort of photos you choose to use, but the steps you take to create your composition will remain the same.

It’s important to try to match your light source in the pictures you use. Most of the pictures used in this composition were taken on an overcast day where the shadows were very soft. If you are able to find overcast shots, it will free you up to composite the pictures without having to be too concerned about matching a strong light source and shadows. Photoshop is the weapon of choice and the app where we will spend most of our time.

We will also be creating a very basic 3D render of typography using Cinema 4D R12, however you can download 3D renders online to work with in your piece.

01 Create 3D type in Cinema4D

Cinema4D allows you to type 3D text live and update without needing any other software. You can access the fonts that are active on your system. Within the Attributes Manager, you can control the depth of your text along with the size. You will want to create a Fillet Cap using the Caps tab of the Attributes Manager. You want a larger Radius than what looks natural because it’s going to serve as outer layer of bark on our tree typography. The actual Radius size will vary depending on the font size.

02 Create tree textures

Start with a photo of tree bark and use Photoshop to create a duplicate image that will serve as a ‘bump map’. Convert the image to black and white and adjust the Levels so that the darks are very dark and the whites are very white. This mono version of the bark will be used to displace the textures applied to the type in C4D. Create a new material in C4D and apply the photo of the bark to the Color channel and the mono version to the Bump channel. Adjust the height of the bump to suit.

03 Apply tree textures

First you will want to make your Motext editable. You will notice the text is separated into five parts: Cap 1, Cap 2, Rounding 1, Rounding 2 and P (or the letter you made editable). Apply your texture to the outside pieces of your letter leaving the front Cap. Once you’ve applied the texture, you will want to adjust the Projection (in the Attributes Manager) to Cubic and adjust the scale by choosing the # of Tiles for U and V until the bark is the size you want it. Create and apply a new texture to the face of the P by repeating Steps 2 and 3.

Read more in issue 92 of Advanced Photoshop, on sale from 26 January 2012 via

Tutorial preview: Striking type effects in Photoshop