Bright, pastel 3D typography is one of this year’s awesome trends, and it’s such a fun style to create and include in projects. This tutorial will show you how to use Photoshop’s shape and 3D tools and settings to create a trendy, abstract pastel text effect. Let’s get started!
The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial:
1. How to Create a Wave Shape
Create a new 500 x 500 px document, and go to Edit > Preferences > Guides, Grids & Slices.
Change the Gridline Every: value to 50 Pixels, and the Subdivision: to 5.
Go to View > Show > Grid.
Pick the Curvature Pen Tool, and make sure to choose the Shape option in the Options bar.
We will be creating the shape over 10 vertical subdivisions and 25 horizontal ones.
Drag a guideline to the bottom of the second subdivision from the top, and drag another to the top of the second subdivision from the bottom.
Click once where the top guideline intersects with the left gridline of the area in which you want to create the shape.
After that, you’ll need to click once to create alternating peaks and troughs on the gridlines you have.
The peak points should intersect with the top gridline, while the trough points should intersect with the top guideline.
Once you reach the horizontal end of the shape area, double-click to add corner points and create a straight line which ends at the bottom guideline.
Repeat the steps to create the bottom part of the wave shape.
2. How to Create a Simple Pattern
Create a new 500 x 500 px document, and copy the wave shape to it.
Press Command-T to enter the Free Transform Mode, and resize, rotate, and move the wave shape to start creating the pattern.
Hit the Return key when done to commit the changes.
Pick the Move Tool, press-hold the Option key, and click-drag the wave shape to duplicate it.
Then, press Command-T to transform the duplicated shape as needed.
Once you have a couple of wave shapes scattered all over the document, you can add other shapes as well—just have fun with it!
Make sure that you keep enough empty space near the edges of the document, because this will be used as a pattern later on.
Once you’re done creating the shapes, pick a pastel color palette you like, and change the shapes’ Fill Colors.
The Colors used here are
When you’re happy with the outcome, save it as an image with the name Pattern.
3. How to Create a Simple Background
Create a new 1400 x 1400 px document, click the Create new fill or adjustment layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel, choose Solid Color, and set the Fill Color to
Use the Rectangle Tool to create a rectangle shape that covers around two-thirds of the document, and fill it with the Color
Then, pick the Direct Selection Tool, select the rectangle’s top left corner point, and drag it to the right to create a diagonal line.
4. How to Create and Work With a 3D Text Layer
Create the first letter of the text you want in All Caps using the font Montserrat Black, and set the Size to 350 pt.
Go to 3D > New 3D Extrusion from Selected Layer to convert the text layer into an editable 3D layer.
To access the 3D mesh settings and properties, you’ll need to open two panels: the 3D panel and the Properties panel (both found under the Window menu).
The 3D panel has all the components of the 3D scene, and when you click the name of any of those, you’ll be able to access its settings in the Properties panel. So make sure to always select the tab of the element you want to modify in the 3D panel before you change its settings in the Properties panel.
Rename the 3D layer to Text.
If needed, you can show/hide the 3D ground plane by going to View > Show > 3D Ground Plane.
Select the Move Tool to access 3D Modes to the right of the Options bar.
When you choose one of those, you can then click and drag to perform changes (on the selected element in the 3D panel).
Use those modes to change the Current View into an angle you like.
5. How to Adjust the 3D Mesh and Cap Settings
Select the letter’s mesh tab in the 3D panel, and change its Extrusion Depth in the Properties panel to 70.
Click the Cap icon at the top of the Properties panel, change the Sides to Front and Back, and set the Bevel Width to 1%.
6. How to Create a Simple 3D Material
Select all the text mesh’s Material Tabs, and change the Shine value to 80%.
Select the Front Inflation Material tab, click the Diffuse folder icon, and choose Load Texture to open the Pattern image you saved earlier.
Click the Diffuse texture icon and choose Edit UV Properties.
Change the Offset values to 0, and adjust the Tile values until the pattern fits well within the text.
Select the Extrusion Material tab, click the Diffuse folder icon, and select the Pattern name from the list.
Select the 3D mesh tab, and change the Texture Mapping to Tile.
Select the Extrusion Material tab again, and edit its UV Properties.
Apply the same pattern to the Back Inflation Material, and adjust its UV Properties to match those of the Front Inflation.
7. How to Duplicate and Edit 3D Text Meshes
Select the 3D mesh tab, click the 3D panel menu icon, and choose Duplicate Object.
Rename the duplicated mesh to the letter you want to create next, and click the Edit Source button in the Properties panel.
Once the text file opens, change the text to the letter you want to add, and save and close the file.
This will update the mesh in the original document.
Repeat the same steps to create the remaining letters you need for your text.
8. How to Transform 3D Meshes
Select the first letter’s mesh tab, pick the Move Tool, and use the 3D Axis to move and rotate it as you like.
The arrows at the ends of the axis move the mesh, the part below them is used for rotation, and the cubes are used for scaling. The cube in the center is used to scale the object uniformly. All you need to do is click and drag the part you want to use.
You can also click the Coordinates tab in the Properties panel to use numerical values. Make sure to make the changes after deciding the final camera view you want.
When you’re done placing the meshes in the scene, select all their tabs, click the 3D panel menu icon, and choose Group Objects.
Rename the group to Text. This will help keep things organized.
9. How to Create and Add 3D Shapes
You can create any shapes you like, but we will add a triangle and a circle for this tutorial.
Pick the Polygon Tool, and click anywhere in the document to get the Create Polygon box.
Set the Width and Height values to 100, change the Number of Sides to 3, and make sure no boxes are checked.
Click OK to create a rectangle.
Pick the Ellipse Tool, click anywhere in the document to get the Create Ellipse box, change the Width and Height values to 50, and click OK.
Move both shapes to the center of the document and hide the 3D Text layer temporarily to work on the shapes.
For each shape layer you have, select it and go to 3D > New 3D Extrusion from Selected Path.
Select the Polygon layer, and select the 3D mesh tab to change its Extrusion Depth to 15.
Click the Cap icon, and change the Sides to Front and Back and the Bevel Width to 1%.
Select the Ellipse layer, and select the 3D mesh tab to change its Extrusion Depth to 300.
Click the Coordinates icon and change the X Rotation Angle to 90.
Click the 3D panel menu icon and choose Move Object to Ground Plane.
10. How to Create, Save, and Reapply a Basic 3D Material
Select the Polygon layer, select all the Material tabs, click the Diffuse texture icon, and choose Remove Texture.
Change the Specular color to (80, 80, 80) and the Shine value to 15.
Select the Front Inflation Material only, click the Material Picker box, click the pop-up menu icon, and choose New Material.
Set the Name to Shapes and click OK.
Select the Ellipse layer, select all the Material tabs, and choose the Shapes material from the Material Picker to apply it.
11. How to Add 3D Shapes to a 3D Scene
For each 3D shape layer you have, select it, select its Current View tab, and choose Text from the View menu to match the camera view with that of the original 3D Text.
Select all the 3D layers you have, and go to 3D > Merge 3D Layers.
Once you have all the 3D elements in the same scene, you can resize the shapes as you like.
If you are using the Coordinates values, make sure to click the Scale icon and uncheck the Uniform Scaling option if you don’t want to scale the shapes uniformly.
Duplicate and place the shapes around the text to get a result you like.
Make sure to group the duplicated objects to keep things organized.
Once the elements are in their places, you can start coloring them now.
To do so, select all the material tabs you want to have the same color, and assign a Diffuse color to them.
The colors used here are: (255, 139, 95), (255, 238, 120), and (100, 255, 25).
Feel free to change the Specular color to make it darker or brighter so that you get the best result with the Diffuse color you apply.
12. How to Adjust a 3D Scene’s Settings and Lighting
Select the Scene tab, change the Surface Style to Lighting Only, and check the Linearize Colors box as well as the Remove Hidden boxes.
Select the Current View tab, and click the Orthographic icon.
Make any final changes to the scene before you adjust the lighting.
Click the Infinite Light tab, change the Intensity to 60%, and uncheck the Shadow box.
Use the Move Tool or Coordinates values to move the light until you like the outcome.
Select the Environment tab, and change the Ground Plane Shadows Opacity to 0%.
Click the IBL texture icon and choose Edit Texture.
Add a Levels adjustment layer, and change the Output Levels’ Shadows value to 50.
Save and close the file.
13. How to Render and Adjust a Rendered Scene
Go to 3D > Render 3D Layer and wait for the scene to be fully rendered, which shouldn’t take that long.
Once the rendering is finished, right-click the 3D Text layer, and choose Convert to Smart Object to avoid accidental changes.
Add a Levels adjustment layer, clip it to the 3D Text layer, and change the Gamma value to 0.90.
Add a Vibrance adjustment layer, clip it to the 3D Text layer, and change the Vibrance to 55 and the Saturation to -10.
Add a Selective Color adjustment layer, clip it to the 3D Text layer, and use the settings below:
- Cyan: -30
- Magenta: 50
- Yellow: -35
- Black: -10
- Cyan: -60
- Magenta: -85
- Yellow: 70
- Black: 50
- Cyan: 50
- Magenta: -10
- Yellow: -60
- Black: -11
- Cyan: -100
- Magenta: 100
- Yellow: -10
- Black: 6
14. How to Add Background Elements
Use the shape tools to add a couple of different pastel-colored shapes behind the text, and place them in a group with the name BG Shapes.
The colors used here are
Open the Tropical leaf of Monstera plant image, pick the Magic Wand Tool, click the Add to selection icon in the Options bar, and check the Contiguous box.
Click on each white area to select it, and go to Select > Inverse.
Go to Select > Select And Mask, and change the View to On Black and its Opacity to 100%. Increase the Smooth value slightly to soften the edges, and decrease the Shift Edges to move the selection inwards a little bit.
Check the Decontaminate Colors box and click OK.
Convert the resulting layer to a Smart Object, and copy it to the original 3D Text document.
Duplicate and transform the leaf as needed to add it behind the text, and place the leaf layers you have in a group with the name Leaves.
15. How to Make Global Adjustments
Create a new layer on top of all layers, name it High Pass, and press Command-Option-Shift-E to create a stamp.
Convert the layer to a Smart Object and change its Blend Mode to Soft Light.
Go to Filter > Other > High Pass, and change the Radius value to 1.
Create another new layer on top of all layers and name it Noise.
Go to Edit > Fill, change the Contents to 50% Gray, and click OK.
Convert the layer to a Smart Object and change its Blend Mode to Soft Light.
Go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise, change the Amount to 3 and the Distribution to Uniform, and check the Monochromatic box.
Congratulations! You’re Done!
In this tutorial, we created a simple pattern and a basic background.
Then, we created a text layer, converted it to a 3D mesh, adjusted its settings, and created its material to duplicate it and create more letters.
After that, we created and added more 3D shapes, adjusted the scene settings and lighting, and rendered it.
Finally, we added some more background elements and made final global adjustments to finish off the effect.
Please feel free to leave your comments, suggestions, and outcomes below.