When you look at the original photo you’ll see that the lens used is quite wide. We can only see so much of the tree and the windows in the ruins look quite distorted. Next let’s change our camera to 17mm. Select Current View in the 3D panel and change the FOV (Field of View) to 17. You may need to resize your text a few times throughout this process and position the text back into the scene. Use the 3D mode tools and pan back.
Refine the composition by trying different angles for the letters. The trick here is to imagine how heavy letters made of stone would behave in the real world with gravity. By moving the letters around we can pull them forward, backward and rotate every angle. Add light by selecting the 3D layer and click Infinite Light in the 3D Layer panel. Move the light around until it looks like the shadows are realistic. Set the Color to white and the Shadow Softness to about 16%.
Another way to help with letter positions is to go to View>Show>3D Secondary View. A top-view window will appear in the top-left of the workspace. Now that we are happy with the various letter placements, camera and lighting, let’s use our Photoshop magic and really get stuck into the scene. Turn off all the layers except the Background, which can be flattened. It’s a good idea to keep a copy somewhere. Cut out various ground stones with the Selection tool and keep them on separate layers. Think about how the letters interact and lean against the stones. You will need to use the masking tools and the clone tools to get a good result.
The texture needs to work better, so to replace it, select each face separately and in the Materials panel go to Diffuse>Replace Texture. Insert ‘Base Texture_Type.jpg’ supplied. This texture works better with the ruins. For fun, try a few other textures or create your own. Refine the stones with your Photoshop skills by placing them around and in front of the type. Cut out some of the tree roots and place on top of the letters 3D.
To change the Render settings go to Photoshop>Preferences>3D. For maximum renders change the Ray Tracer to 10 in the 3D Preferences – this will increase the rendering time. Duplicate the 3D layer so you have a copy and make one invisible. When the Type layer is rendered, Cmd/Ctrl-click the layer and select Rasterize 3D. Try lowering the Render settings at first and see what your computer can handle. Obviously more RAM will give you better performance handling and increase the render speed.
It’s now time to spruce up the image and really make the type seem ancient. Browse through some of the wall textures supplied and copy it into the scene. Experiment with different layer blend modes. We found that the Overlay setting works really well, so mask it to the type. We’ve supplied more textures for you to use, so have fun and experiment with the other letters.
When you’re finished with all the letter texturing and have placed the stones around the scene, it’s now time for finessing and grading. Since the scene is old and ancient, some Noise and High Pass filters will work really well and add texture to the image. Use dark colours to overlay and paint into various areas of the scene to create shadows and make the type pop out a little. Add a layer on top, fill with white, add noise and set to Multiply.