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In part 1 of 3D in Photoshop, we covered a lot about the interface itself and how each setting affects how your 3D object will look. It is important to understand how these pieces relate to each other and how they actually work. This understanding will help you when learning how to use some of the more advanced techniques, like the one you will be seeing today. Create a new document in Photoshop. The one I created is 1024px x 768px. Fill the background layer with black.

Next, select the Type Tool, select white as your color, and choose a good font (I am using Mensch) and create your message.

Next, hit Command + E to merge your text and background layer. The next step depends on the effect that you want to create. If you want a smooth edge coming from your type, you will want to use Gaussian blur to blur the layer so that there is a grey area of transition between the type and the black background. If you want a hard, chiseled edge, then you won’t want to blur the image at all. I am choosing to blur the image by going to Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur. The higher the amount of blur that you apply will make the transition between the type and the background more rounded. Set the Gaussian Blur to 1.5px and click OK.

Next, go to 3D> New Mesh From Layer> Depth Map> Plane. Essentially, what this does is that it processes your image and takes everything that is black and leaves it in the background, and anything that is a lighter value than pure black is raised on the 3D plane. The whitest point will be the tallest. You can do a lot with just this area of 3D in Photoshop. I tilted the perspective so that you can see how the shade of the original image has affected the behavior of the mesh.

Just like in 3D in Photoshop Part 1, we can control how far forward the text is extruded. The easiest way is to use the red, green, and blue 3D tools directly on the canvas. Click and drag on the cube for each direction to scale or resize the object in that particular direction. Green controls the vertical sizing of your 3D object. Red controls the horizontal scale and Blue controls the size from front to back. Click and drag the blue cube on the controls to scale the text and make it thinner from front to back. This is also referred to as the z-value.

If you go into the 3D Panel under Depth Map and select Layer 1, then options will come up where you can control the mesh, colors and the overall appearance of your object. Notice in the mesh that the materials are set up the same, but the defaults are a little different. The opacity already contains a texture, and so does the diffuse area. If you click on it and choose edit texture, it will be the same black and white image that you had before you changed it into a 3D mesh. If you want to colorize your 3D Depth Map, then you will need to go down to environment and click on new texture, then edit texture, and in the document that opens, fill it with a different color. I chose a purple, so you could see the effects.

All of the other settings, such as reflections, refractions, opacity, and bump are the same. They affect the overall appearance and textile quality of the final rendering, just as they did in Part 1 of our series on 3D. Adjust these to give the appearance of a reflective surface or a refractive one. You can also apply textures and patterns to your 3D mesh as well. If you right-click on the 3D object, the menu set pops up where you can apply textures via the materials window. To apply textures or patterns, click diffuse. Choose to edit the texture and the base image that we started with will come up.

Create a new layer above the background and hit Shift+Delete to bring up the fill menu. Choose pattern and select any pattern or texture that you’d like. I chose to use diagonal lines. Click ok to fill the new layer with your pattern. Then, hide the pattern layer, and use the magic wand tool to make a selection of the white text. Make sure contiguous isn’t checked, so it selects all of the white text. Then, go back to the pattern layer, make it visible again, and click the layer mask icon to mask out the text. Save the temporary document.

To adjust the lighting, click the menu under the 3D Panel labeled infinite light and you can click and drag around the canvas, you will be able to adjust the angle of the light. Adjust the lighting to make your 3D object look its best. When you are finished, render your 3D Mesh to see the results.


Photoshop has added so much to their 3D capabilities in the last couple of versions. You can create 3D mesh renderings that add a great dimensional quality to your work. Adding texture and lighting can really make your work stand out.