Monday, 9 September 2013

A Simple Three Dimensional Looking Text With A Stroke

In this tutorial i will show you a simple yet effective 3Dish effect and some variations.
Its basically just a Gradient, a Stroke and an Inner Shadow,
later modified with an small Bevel and some decorational elements like a Dropshadow an an Outer Glow.

01. Start with a canvas 700x450px.

02. Type your text in a medium 50ies grey. Align and center - i also rotated my text.
Font is Argel 300px.

03. Create a new transparent layer. Name it 'Gradient'.
Alpha select your text and save it to a channel for future use.
Fill the selection with a gradient: #807f80 - #d8d8d8.

04. Next we duplicate the gradient layer, rename it 'Stroke', open the 'Hue/Saturation/Lightness Tool' and make it darker. I reduced the Lightness by -80.

05. Alpha select the text, shrink by 4 and on the 'Stroke' layer, apply a 'Layermask From Selection', but make sure 'Invert Mask' is ticked. We want everything inside the selection to be transparent !

06. as you can see, the lower gradient is bleeding at the edges of the stroke. 

We fix that by applying another layermask. This time we alpha select the text, shrink by two and apply 'Layermask From Selection'. 
Make sure the 'Invert Mask' box is unticked this time, because we want everything inside the selection to stay visible !

07. Now for the killer-feature !
We add an inner shadow to make it look 3D.
Create a new transparent layer on top of the Gradient layer, but under the Stroke layer. Name it 'Inner Shadow'.
Alpha select your base text, shrink it by 4px (same as Stroke) - invert the selection and fill it with a dark colour (i used black).
Then deselect.

07.a. Gaussian Blur the layer. I used a value of 10px.
Then offset the layer, depending on your lightsource.
I went for a simple 3/3.

07.b. To get rid of the black outside the textboundaries, apply a 'Layermask From Channel'.
I also changed the Mode to 'Multiply' and the Opacity to 85%.

08. Next, i want to add an Outer Glow. That always looks good.
Create a new transparent layer underneath your basetext layer, name it 'Outer Glow'.
Alpha select your text and fill it with white then blur it (i used 8px).

09. As you can see, this Outer Glow changed the overall look, now we see that our edges are quite jaggy. I fix that by giving the stroke-gradient layer a Blur of 2px and the layermask a Blur of 1px.
Also i decided to make my Outer Glow a bit stronger. So i used an alpha curve to expand the blur a bit.

10. There are several ways to finetune the Glow.
One possibility is to use the Mode 'Screen' at 55%, that will give you a white glow, like this:

Or, and thats what i will go with, is changing the Mode to 'Value at 90%. That gives me a red shine.

11. For a Dropshadow, i create a new transparent layer on top of the Background, alpha select the text and fill it with black.
We offset that shadow according to your imaginary source of light with the Move Tool (i used 21/21) and reduce the Opacity (i used 60% with 'Grain Merge').

I also give my shadow a blur: Horizontal:15px, Vertical 30px (you need to unlink the chain to be able to do that).

Thats the basic effect. I changed the Opacity of the Inner Shadow to 70%, to make it blend better.

Now we can add some more effects.
I will give the Stroke a bevel. 
Fire up layerfx and try a small bevel.
I used a Size of 1. If its looks jaggy, apply soften.
I also used shades of red, instead of black and white. The default Depth of 3 was good, but i made it a bit stronger, so its 5.

11.a. For some reason the highlights made with layerfx, tend to bleed over the textboundaries. Sometimes that looks good, but in this case i want to fix it, so i apply layermasks from channel to the shadow and highlight-layer.
Looks a lot crisper like that !

Now for some variations

Turn off all layers except for the Stroke, and the Bevel highlight and shadow.
Make a 'New From Visible', then turn on all the layers again.

Apply chrome-curves. I alpha selected the base text and applied a Blur of 5px to the New from Visible Stroke, to make it smoother. That was better for the chrome-curves-process, but its optional depending on your text.

I also changed the Brightness to 31 and the Contrast to -18.

Here are two more variations with curves:

For my final variation i changed the gradient to almost black.
Tweaked the Stroke some more with Contrast/Brightness, Levels and Colorize. Then shaped the Outer Glow into a ring.

Also added a bit of Noise to the Background, because that makes it look less clinical.

Here is another variation, where i more or less just deleted the highlight and added another (=second) Outer Glow, this time blurred by 16 and extended with a curve.

And thats it. Hope you found it interesting !


Anonymous said...

It's the most beautiful 3d looking text I've seen. Congratulations. I'll waiting more tutos from you

Espermaschine said...

Thanks Carlos, im a bit uninspired at the moment but i will continue to write tutorials when i have an idea !
Its good to see people find my stuff useful.