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How to Create a Retro, 3-Dimensional Text Effect in Photoshop

How to Create a Retro, 3-Dimensional Text Effect in Photoshop

A lot of fonts look great right after you install them, but if you want to create something really eye-catching, you need to put in a little bit of work.

In this tutorial, you'll learn how to create a retro, 3-dimensional text effect using nothing but the Photoshop basics and some clever creativity.

This tutorial uses the font TM Stanley from our 14 Font Family Monster Pack (Plus Webfonts) deal.


What We'll Be Creating

How to Create a Retro, 3-Dimensional Text Effect in Photoshop


Step 1

Create a new document at 1920 x 1280 pixels using the background color #DADADA.

Create some text using the color #2D649C at about 220pt in size. Again, we're using the font TM Stanley.

With the Type tool still selected, click the "Create warped text" button in the top toolbar. Set the Style to Flag and the Bend to 25%.

Important: Right click the text and Convert it to a Smart Object before moving on, that way you can change the text later without having to start over from the beginning.

How to Create a Retro, 3-Dimensional Text Effect in Photoshop


Step 2

Duplicate your text Smart Object and move it just below your original text layer. Double click the layer name in the Layers palette and apply the following layer style settings.

How to Create a Retro, 3-Dimensional Text Effect in Photoshop

Move your new, white text down 2 pixels and to the right 2 pixels.

How to Create a Retro, 3-Dimensional Text Effect in Photoshop


Step 3

Create a new Layer Group, name it "Black" and move it beneath both the blue and white text layers.

Duplicate your blue text and move it into the "Black" group.

Holding ALT, press the down arrow once. This will duplicate your blue text layer and move it down 1 pixel. Release ALT and press the right arrow once. Your duplicated layer should now be 1 pixel down, and 1 pixel to the right from your original text layer.

Repeat this process 19 more times. You'll have 20 duplicates in your "Black" group, each one being 1 pixel down and 1 pixel to the right of the previous layer.

Apply the following Layer Style settings to the "Black" layer group, using the color #333333.

How to Create a Retro, 3-Dimensional Text Effect in Photoshop
How to Create a Retro, 3-Dimensional Text Effect in Photoshop


Step 3

Duplicate the "Black" layer group and rename it to "Shadow". Move it beneath your "Black" layer group.

Holding Shift, press the down arrow twice and the right arrow twice to nudge the "Shadow" layer group down 20 pixels and to the right 20 pixels.

Set the "Shadow" layer group Opacity to 25% in the Layers palette.

How to Create a Retro, 3-Dimensional Text Effect in Photoshop


Step 4

Create a line of secondary text using the color #666666. We're using the font Market Deco. We increased the tracking to 50 to increase the spacing between all the letters.

Apply the following Layer Style settings.

How to Create a Retro, 3-Dimensional Text Effect in Photoshop
How to Create a Retro, 3-Dimensional Text Effect in Photoshop
How to Create a Retro, 3-Dimensional Text Effect in Photoshop


Step 5

Create a new "Grunge" layer group and move everything into it except the very bottom background layer.

Open up a high contrast, black and white texture like these from Design Panoply.

Press CTRL + A to select the entire texture, then press CTRL + C to copy it.

Back in your working document, add a Layer Mask to the "Grunge" layer group.

ALT + click the Layer Mask thumbnail in the Layers palette to load it into your canvas, then paste your texture into the Layer Mask.

Finally, ALT + click the Layer Mask thumbnail again to return to your document. This will add some grunge to everything inside the "Grunge" layer group.

How to Create a Retro, 3-Dimensional Text Effect in Photoshop


Step 6

Create a new layer at the very bottom of the "Grunge" layer group and fill it with the color #E6E6E6. Now you'll have a slightly speckled background.

How to Create a Retro, 3-Dimensional Text Effect in Photoshop


Step 7

Create a Curves adjustment layer at the very top of your document. Move the middle of the curve down and to the right a bit.

Add a white Layer Mask to your Curves adjustment layer if it doesn't already have one. With a large, soft brush, paint the color black in the center area of your Curves Layer Mask so that the Curves adjustment only affects the edges and corners of the image.

How to Create a Retro, 3-Dimensional Text Effect in Photoshop


Final Design

You can repeat this process using different 3D perspective, textures, and fonts to create a whole bunch of different looks.

This text effect works best with high quality vintage fonts like these.

Click the image below to view it full size.

How to Create a Retro, 3-Dimensional Text Effect in Photoshop


Show Us What You Got!

Did you make the same thing or something a little different? Share your version in the comments below.

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