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How to Create a Snowy Winter 3D Text Effect in Photoshop

How to Create a Snowy Winter 3D Text Effect in Photoshop

Some design resources pop out and immediately give you ideas on how they can be used. Other times, you have to play around for a while until you come up with something cool looking. Either way, they're only as flexible as your creativity.

To honor the nearing end of winter, this tutorial will show you how to combine some amazing textures from Go Media with the 3D tools in Photoshop to create a snowy winter text effect. Let's get started!


What We'll Be Creating


Step 1

Create a new document at 1920 x 1280 pixels and fill the background with the color #2B3B4B. You can also use a Solid Color Fill Layer as your background to make the color easy to change later on.

Place a grungy looking texture that is darkest around the edges on top of your background and set the Blend Mode in the Layers palette to Overlay with the Opacity at 25%. We're using the texture "gma_tex_herbal-organic_07" in this deal from Go Media.

Place another grunge texture that is mostly black with flecks of white on top of your previous texture and set the Blend Mode in the Layers palette to Linear Dodge with the Fill set to 15% in the Layers palette. We're using the texture "gma_tex_herbal-organic_08" from the pack mentioned above.

You should have something similar to the image below.


Step 2

Create a new layer and fill it with black. Click Filter > Filter Gallery and under Textures, highlight the Stained Glass effect.

Use the following settings: Cell Size - 25, Border Thickness - 4, Light Intensity - 10.

Change the Blend Mode of this layer to Linear Dodge and set the Fill to 15% in the Layers palette. This will give us a subtle "cracked ice" effect in the center of our canvas.

You should have something similar to the image below.


Step 3

Create some white text in the center of your canvas. We're using the font Franchise at approximately 460pt in size.

Open the 3D palette, choose 3D Extrusion, and click Create to turn your text into a 3D object.

We won't be covering the very basics of working within the 3D interface in this tutorial, but it's very straightforward. You'll need to know how to move your text, move/rotate your camera, move your light source, and apply materials.

Click the Environment layer in the 3D palette and use the following settings in the Properties palette.


Step 4

Select your 3D object layer in the 3D palette. The Properties palette will pop up some settings, along with a few buttons at the top that will open up more settings.

Apply the following settings to your 3D object layer by adjusting them in the Properties palette.

You may also have to rotate your 3D object 90 degrees so the back faces of your text are touching the "ground".

Note: You need to have the regular Move tool selected in order for the 3D tools to show up in the top toolbar.


Step 5

Select the Current View layer in the 3D palette and, using the Rotate tool in the top toolbar, rotate your camera around by clicking and dragging on your background until you're looking down on your text.

With the Current View layer still selected, apply the following settings in the Properties palette.

Select the Infinite Light layer in the 3D palette. Rotate your light around using the handle until it's coming from the direction you want. Ours is coming from the bottom right and casting shadows above and to the left of our text.

With the Infinite Light layer still selected, apply the following settings in the Properties palette.

You should have something similar to the image below, but keep in mind that we've already applied our materials so your text may look slightly different.


Step 6

Click the arrow to expand the sub-layers under your 3D object in the 3D palette. Hold shift and click to select all five of the material layers.

In the Properties palette, click the down arrow next to the material preview sphere and scroll down and select "Glass (Frosted)".

Decrease the "Opacity" from 24% to 20% and click the Render button at the bottom of the 3D palette.

Since we're using semi-transparent materials and a fairly large canvas size, the render may take up to an hour, but you can hit Esc to stop the render at any time to use the currently displayed image if the quality looks good enough for you.


Step 7

Once your 3D layer has finished rendering, switch back to the regular Layers palette.

Press CTRL + A to select your entire canvas, then CTRL + C to copy your 3D layer contents, and CTRL + V to paste them. This pasted copy is not a true 3D layer, but simply a 2D copy.

Set the Blend Mode of this copied layed to Linear Burn and the Fill to 50% in the Layers palette. This is just to help us darken the shadows a bit.

You should have something similar to the image below.


Step 8

The textures used in this step are key to the final look of our image. Go Media has created some of the only textures I've seen like this, and they are perfect for the effect we're going for.

Place a floating dust texture on top of your other layers and set the Blend Mode in the Layers palette to Linear Dodge with the Fill at 50%. We're using the texture "gma_tex_dust20" in this deal from Go Media.

Place another, similar texture on top of the previous one with the same Blend Mode and Fill. We're using "gma_tex_dust27" from the pack mentioned above.

You should have something similar to the image below.


Step 9

Create a Levels adjustment layer and set the black point to 25, and the white point to 210 to increase the contrast of the image.

You should have something similar to the image below.


Step 10

Create a Curves adjustment layer and drag a point from the center of the line down and to the right to create an upward curve that darkens the overall image.

If it doesn't already have one, add a Layer Mask to the Curves adjustment layer, and using a large, soft brush, paint black in the center area of the canvas so the Curves adjustment only effects the corners and edges of your image to give the design a vignette.

You should have something similar to the image below.


Final Design

You're done! You can now easily go back into the 3D palette and change the font and text of your design to create an unlimited number of revisions.

Click the image below to view it full size.


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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