Have you seen some great business cards or logo designs with a 3D text effect and wondered how it’s done? This method, known as letterpress, is a traditional print technique that produces an artisanal 3D effect. Unlike on paper, though, creating a letterpress effect in Photoshop is extremely easy.
Let’s start off with a simple background. I chose a textured background to simulate a real letterpress effect on paper, but any background will do just fine.
Next, type out your text to be pressed. This effect works well on logos, button graphics and header images.
Double click the text layer to open the Layer Style properties and add an Inner Shadow. This simulates the effect of a shadow cast onto an inset shape. Adjust Distance, Size, and Opacity according to the color of your text – greater Distance produces a deeper letterpress, but the resulting effect should be subtle.
Now, add a Drop Shadow that’s a few shades lighter than your background. Adjust accordingly so that you create a thin highlight at the raised edges of the text, where it catches the light. Don’t forget to check Use Global Light – this ensures all the shadows are cast at the same angle.
You can set the shadow to a contrasting color to properly place the shadow before changing it to the correct colour.
By now you should have a nice, clean letterpress effect and you can stop here if you’re working on a modern or futuristic design.
It still looks unnatural and out of place, however, on my textured background. To make the effect more realistic, let’s add a very slight Bevel and Emboss to the text. Adjust the shadow opacity to soften the edges.
Finally, I added a Pattern Overlay to replicate the paper texture. It’s not discernible here but try it yourself in Photoshop and you’ll see the difference in a higher resolution image.
After adding a few decorative touches, here’s the final result. Time for some coffee – the favourite drink of creative folks.
You can also letterpress shapes and icons to create a 3D effect – for example, the border around the “paper” here was also given the letterpress treatment. Have fun!
Enjoyed learning how to make letterpress effect in Photoshop? Check out more easy Photoshop tutorials for beginners.