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Love The Sun Poster: Combine Paths and 3D effects in Photoshop, Part 1
Martin Perhiniak on Tue, April 23rd 0 comments
It feels like summer may almost be upon us here in Europe... and to celebrate, Martin Perhiniak shows how to use 2D and 3D techniques to design ornamental patterns for a poster in Photoshop. (Part 1).

Creating something new is always about combining techniques used in the past separately. The number of combinations in Photoshop is endless and that is why you should never stop exploring and experimenting. In this tutorial we are going to combine 2d and 3d design techniques to create ornamental elements and make them look realistic. We will start with one photo and add type, ornaments and effects to it. The most time-consuming part of this tutorial is drawing the paths for the ornaments, but it is also a great way to practice working with vector shapes and the Pen tool.

Step 1 - Choosing font and composition


First we need to decide what should be our message and how should it appear on our design. I chose 'Love the Sun' to emphasize the warmth and joyfulness of the photo. I chose Helvetica Neue Bold and created a rectangular shape for my title to make it stand out from the curved decorations we will later add onto the wall.

Pic 1

Step 2 - Add 3d effect on text

Select the type layer created in the previous step and choose from the menus 3d > New 3d Extrusion from Selected Layer. When you set the angle and depth of your 3d shape, try to make it look like it is part of the wall on the photo. Useful advice to turn the type layer's color to grey and set a strong light source directly from the front to turn that side completely white. This will make it easier to separate the front plane from the sides.

Pic 2

Step 3 - Rasterize 3d text

Now that you created a 3d text, you need to make it work as part of the whole composition. First of all, you need to rasterize the 3d layer by right-clicking on it in the Layers panel and then choose Rasterize 3d. Once you have a normal layer, you have to separate the front of the text and the sides into two layers by using the Magic Wand tool. Click on the front of the first character and then keep clicking on the other characters while holding down Shift to add them to the selection.

Pic 3

Step 4 - Separate text into two layers

Once you have the front of text selected, you can choose Layer > New > Layer Via Cut. That should separate the depth of the text and the front face into two different layers. Now you can use a duplicate of the original photo's layer on top of the front type layer as a clipping mask (Option/Alt-click between the two layers in the Layers panel). This will add the texture on the 3d type. 

Pic 4

Step 5 - Add more depth by coloring the body of the text

To make the 3d effect more realistic, lock the Transparency for the layer with the body of the characters and fill it with a dark brown color, which fits into the whole composition. I choose R125, G55, B20. I also added some shading with the Brush tool onto a separate layer clipped onto the body layer of the text. I used around 5-10% opacity for the brush and used a soft edge to slowly add some darker parts emphasizing the depth. Take a lot of the result and the layers next to each other to understand these steps:

Pic 5

Step 6 - Colorizing words with Adjustment layers

After this, you can colorize the words '˜LOVE' and '˜THE' differently to make them stand out. To do this, make a selection around a word and create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer with blend mode set to Colorize. Make sure you also clip the adjustment layer to the layer with the front of the text. Place the adjustment layer on the top, select it and then press Command-Option-G (Mac) / Control-Alt-G (PC).

Pic 6

Step 7 - Adding highlights on the edges

You can also use a separate layer and draw over edges of the text with a small white brush to add some highlights and emphasize the 3d effect. This layer should also be clipped onto the same layer as the other clipped layers to assure that the highlights will only be visible on the front of the text.

Pic 7

Step 8 - Creating drop shadow

Last but not least, we can create a drop shadow effect, but we have to make sure it is subtle enough. The fastest way to create the shadow is to duplicate the layer with the front of the text and then reduce the opacity down to around 30%, set the blend mode to Multiply and then add a Gaussian Blur filter from the Filter menu. It doesn't have to be blurred too much, just use around 2-3 pixel Radius. Once the effect is ready, you just need to offset it from the text a bit. It should be based on the direction of the light source, which in this case is the sunlight. I shifted the shadow layer slightly to the right and down:

Pic 8

And this is how it looks so far:

Pic 9

Step 9 - Planning the decoration

Now that the 3d looking type is ready, we can start thinking about the surrounding decoration elements. I imagined a dynamic, funky and colorful design so I decided to use lots of curves and incorporate some abstract sun symbols in it. At this stage, it is useful to do some sketches on paper first just to have an idea before starting meticulously draw paths with the Pen tool. Sketching and free hand drawing always helps to get a natural flow for your design and keep it unique. Once you have some good quick sketches, you can use them for your design. We will continue from this step next time, but till then let's have a look at the final design:


To be continued...

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