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A 3D Summer Text Effect Just In Time For Hot Season!

Level: Advanced.

Program: Photoshop CS6

Time: 45 min

What We Will Be Learning: In this tutorial we will be learning how to create a 3D summer text effect without using Photoshop 3d capabilities! This effect is great for summer party invitations or cards, and can be easily changed to fit any season or holiday! This tutorial assumes you have advanced knowledge of basic Photoshop functions such as adjustment layers and layer effects. There are quite a number of steps involved so just hang in there, patience breeds results!

Final Effect:

123rf stock photos summer text effect photoshop tutorial

Images Used:

Note: At the end of each step there is an image of what my layers look like at the point of that step in case you get lost!Let’s get started…

Step One: Background

First, we will create our base. While you could always hand paint this, we just be blurring out our main beach scene. This will ensure we have matching colors.

  1. Paste your beach scene into a new document.

  2. Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and blur it a substantial amount. Essentially it should look like a gradient.

  3. Using the Move Tool and Transform Controls pull your background stretching it up.


  1. Create a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer above your background and set it to Brightness: 9.

  2. Above your B/C layer create a new layer and set it to “Soft Light”.

  3. With a very large, soft round brush paint back on the corners of your canvas and white in the middle. Set the layer to around 25%.

  4. Create a new layer and set it to “Multiply”.

  5. Paint black on the corners of your canvas with the same brush as before again. Set the opacity to 45%.

  6. Group all layers so far together and name it “Background”



Step Two: Summer Font

Next, we will be creating the “face” of our font, otherwise known as the “front”. Think of this as the 2D version of our soon to be 3D text.

  1. In a Large think font, I am using “Bebas”, type out the word “Summer”.

  2. Take your original beach background image and clip it into the font.

  1. Create a new layer and clip it above your beach image. Set it to “Soft Light”.

  2. With a large, soft, round brush paint the bottom of your text black to darken the sand.

  1. Clip a new layer above that and set it to “Soft Light”.

  2. Paint a light blue (#0090ff) on the sky and water to make it more vibrant. Set the opacity to 70%

  3. Clip a new layer above the last layer and with a large, soft, round brush paint white in the sky of the beach to brighten it. Set the opacity to 56%

  1. To finish the coloring, create a clip a Color adjustment layer and set it to Red -31, Green -48, and Blue -100.

  2. One the layer adjustment’s layer mask, mask out the top half of the mask so that it is only coloring the sand.


Now we are going to create our text “indent” effect using layer effect.

  1. Copy your “Summer” text layer and clip it into the original text, above all other clipped layers.

  2. Set the layer fill to 0%.

  3. Hold down the Ctrl key and click on the text layer in your layer panel to create a selection of of the text.

  1. Go to Select > Modify > Contract and set it somewhere between 3-6 pixels (possibly more). This will depend on the size of your image and personal taste.

  1. With the the selection still active, create a layer mask on the clipped “Summer” text layer.

  2. Add an “Inner Shadow” layer effect. Here are the settings:

  1. Add a “Drop Shadow” next with these settings:


Group all the Summer text layers together and name it “Summer Front”


Step Three: Making the Summer Font 3D

Now, we are going to make our 2D text into 3D.

  1. Duplicate your Summer text layer and bring it below the original Summer text. Set the font color to black.

  2. Move the duplicate black summer text to the left a small amount.

  1. Using the Rectangular Marquee Tool select the first “M” and move it to the Left a few pixels to shorten the “side”.

  2. Do the same with the second “M”, only this time move it so the black is now on the left of the “M”.

  3. Move the “E” to the left even more than you moved the second “M”.

  4. Move the “R” to the left the same amount you moved the “E” Basically you want the S, U and the first M to have black on their right side, and the second M, E and R to have black on their left side.

  1. To bring color into the sides of the text copy the ocean image into the now “sides” of your text.

  2. Go to Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast and bring down the brightens to around -30.

  3. Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and give it a medium level blur. The amount will depend n your image.

  4. Clip a black and white Gradient adjustment layer above your darker ocean layer and set it to 37%

  5. Group all the Summer Text side images together and name it “Summer Side”



Step Four: Shadow

Now, we are going to create the shadow out 3D text is casting.

  1. Duplicate the Summer text layer again and bring it below both the Summer Front and Summer Side groups.

  2. Change it to a brown color (#815935).

  3. Using the Move and Transform Controls pull the text down so it appears almost completely flat.

  1. Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and blur out the shadow slightly. Just enough to soften the edges.



Step Five: Sand

Next, we are going to lay beach sand onto the ground.

  1. Get an image of sand, and using the Move and Transform Controls pull the top of the sand down like you did the shadow.

  1. Add a layer mask to the sand and using a large, soft, black, round brush mask out the edges of the sand so it fades out.

  1. To darken the sand, clip a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer into the sand and set it to -26 Brightness.

  2. Clip a Color Balance adjustment layer into the sand and set it to Red 21 and Blue -36.

  3. Create and clip a new layer above the Color Balance layer and set it to “Soft Light”.

  4. Paint black where the summer text meets the sand.


Now, we are going to make it so the summer text is slightly behind the sand.

  1. Go back to your Summer Front and Summer Side groups and group them together. Name the group “Summer”.

  2. Add a layer mask to the group Summer and using a medium, hard, black, round brush mask out some of the bottom of the summer text. What I masked out:




Step Six: Gradient Text

Next we are going to add a year to our image using only layer effects.

  1. Type put the year 2016 in a hand drown font, I am using “Simply Glamorous”. Place it on the upper left side of your summer text.

  1. Add a “Gradient Overlay” layer effect with these settings:

Add an “Outer Glow” later effect with the Blend Mode set to “Soft Light”, Opacity 100%, Color white, and a large Size. Add a “Drop Shadow” next. Set to Blend Mode normal, Opacity 100%, Color #8b3535, Angle 39, Distance 2, and Size 0.



Step Seven: Scenery

Now we will be adding some scenery. Here we will learn how to combine layer modes to create shadows using the already existing shadows the original image has, thus creating a natural more real looking shadow. This works best with images that either have the same color/texture as the pl;ace you are putting them or a flat white background.

  1. Grab a object to place in front of your text, I will be using a “sand”man. Extract and postilion the sandman, do not remove it’s shadow.


  1. Duplicate your sandman and bring the duplicate layer below the original layer. Set it to “Multiply”.

  2. Go back to your original sandman and remove the shadow.

  3. Go to your sandman duplicate. Go to Image > Adjustments > Brightness Contrast. And up the contrast and brightness until you can only see the sandman’s shadow, no white border/background.

  1. Add a layer mask to your sandman shadow layer and mask out any hard edges, and the sandman’s body, as we only need the shadow part.


Do this with all your items.





Remember, all you are doing is creating a duplicate layer of your item, bringing it below your original item, and setting it to multiply so that only the shadow shows.


Step Eight: Color Correction

Finally, we are going to do some color correction using adjustment layers. We will be using a total of 6 to bring the all the different images together and give a since of unity and atmosphere. These are listed from bottom to top. Gradient Map: Black and wet, 15% opacity Color Lookup: Crisp Warm, 23% opacity Color Lookup: Edgy Amber, 15%


Color Balance: Red -11, Green 7, Blue 36 Curves: Shown below


Color Lookup: Abstract- Pastel Hues, 21% Group these 6 layers together and name the group “CC”.

Final Layers:


And that’s it! Well done for making it through. It’s perfectly alright if you have difficulties the first time, I am sure you will nail the techniques with time! Do comment below if you need more guidance, our creative guys are always ready to help!

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