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Create 3D Text Effects in Procreate

Create 3D Text Effects in Procreate main article image
Posted on September 14, 2021 by Becky Liddle

Procreate is a very versatile program, and alongside creating beautiful works of art, we can also create lettering and cool text-orientated pieces. You may have heard of lettering in Procreate, as a lot of people specialise in it and create some amazing digital artworks.

In this tutorial we’re going to create some basic lettering using fonts and layers to give a 3D effect. It’s super easy and so effective, learning how to do this will really expand the range of Procreate techniques in your repertoire.

I’m going to create an Autumn themed piece, however, you can write anything you want, and use whichever colours and fonts you want. In case you want to follow along, below are the downloads which you’ll need, all available from Creative Fabrica:

Below is how the end project will look:

Our first step is to create a new canvas. Open up Procreate, and tap the + in the top right hand corner. Select the first option, screen size.

Now, we need to add text. To do this, select the settings tool in the top left corner and then insert text. Type and size your desired wording, ensuring you have space around the text to add the 3D effect.

I’m going to add two lines of text in my project, however, to show the technique, I’m only going to work on one line. We’d advise only using one line and then repeating the tutorial if you are wanting to add more text, when you have the hang of it!

Tip: to resize text easily, tap the select tool (which looks like a cursor) and then resize as you wish.

You’ll see that a new layer has appeared containing your text. Tap on this layer, and in the menu select rasterise. This will enable us to edit the wording.

After you’ve rasterised the text, tap on the layer again, you should now see different options in the menu. Select alpha lock.

Tip: using alpha lock ensures that any colour or painting only applies to the parts of the canvas which already contain elements.

Click here if you’d like more info on how to use masking techniques in Procreate and how they differ from one another.

Choose which colour you want your text to be, bearing in mind that this will be the top layer of your text and the main colour on show. I’m going with an autumnal shade of orange.

Once you’ve chosen your shade, drag it from the colour circle in the top right hand corner into your text, you should now see it change colour!

Next, open the layers panel and swipe left on the text layer. Select duplicate. You should now have two layers the same.

Ensuring you’re working on the original layer (the one nearest the bottom, and it should be highlighted), select your next colour from the colour palette and drag this into the text. Double check that alpha lock is still applied.

You’ll now have two layers the same, but each with different coloured text. Click on the bottom text layer as we’re now going to work on this.

Even though we’re working on the second colour text layer, you should still see your original text colour on the screen, so for me it’s the orange.

As you’re on the second colour layer, so, red for me, we need to move it. Tap on the select tool and you should see a box appear around your text.

In the selection menu, tap on the first option – freeform. In the pop up menu, ensure that both magnetics and snapping are toggled to “on”.

Note: if you have a different version of Procreate, your magnetics option may be in the main menu rather than within the freeform menu.

Next, move your text slightly out from the original writing, so for me, I am moving the red text into the shadow of the orange text.

We’re going to create a few layers, so don’t move it too far out, but far enough out to have a few gaps showing.

Open the brush library, and under calligraphy, select the monoline brush.

Ensure you’re still on the layer which has the second coloured text on, and tap this layer. Select alpha lock so that this setting is switched off.

The next part is a little tricky at points, but stick with it and go slow if you need to. You may need to undo and redo to get this perfect.

Fill in all of your white gaps so that your second text appears joined to the original one, and on the edges of words we need to smooth them out so that it looks “layered”. If it helps to visualise, I always think that the text looks like layers of a cake!

If you need some extra understanding with what I mean, compare the below pictures of my text to the one above where we dragged the second layer out, and look closely at the corners and curves. We basically need to draw straight lines and smoothen curves.

Tip: to undo something, tap two fingers on the screen, and to redo, tap three.

Once you’ve filled in the gaps and smoothed the edges, we’ll add another layer (although if you want to leave your text like this, feel free – the effect looks cool even with one layer!).

Swipe left on the layer containing your second text, the one you’ve just used the monoline brush on, and duplicate it.

Ensure alpha lock is set on this layer, and then hide your two oldest layers. You can do this by unchecking the box to the right hand side of each layer, within the layers panel.

Select your third colour, and drag this into the text.

Open the layers panel again, and re-tick the boxes so that all layers are showing.

Use the select tool to reposition the third layer, and then use the monoline brush to fill in the gaps and smoothen the curves, like we did previously, so you will have three coloured text layers. Ensure that you’ve turned off alpha lock to do the editing!

Once you’re happy with this layer, duplicate the original one again.

Repeat the steps above. Hide all layers apart from your newest one and switch on alpha lock.

Choose a final colour, and drag this into the text.

Open the layers panel, and ensure all layers are showing again, and then reposition the final text layer as you did with the previous ones, but making this final layer a little further out.

On your final layer, switch off alpha lock and then fill in any gaps and smoothen the text, for the last time!

Your text is all finished! You could leave it here if you want, or you could amend colours or add more lines of text.

I’m going to add a little texture to my top layer. If you want to do this, create a new layer above your original one (so the top layer of text).

Tap on the new layer and select clipping mask. You’ll then see that the new layer has attached to the one below.

I’m going to add dots to my text. Under the textures section of the brush library, select rosette – this is a preset brush in Procreate.

For even more brushes, check out Creative Fabrica’s selection available for download.

Choose any colour you want, you may want to play around with different tones. I’m going to select a light orange as I want the effect to be subtle.

As you use the brush, you’ll notice that it only applies to your top layer of text.

Again, you can stop anytime you want as these steps are now optional.

If you want to reposition or resize your text, you’ll need to group the layers together.

To do this, open the layers panel and then swipe right on each layer so that they’re all highlighted blue. Select group in the top right hand corner.

You can now use the select tool to move the entire 3D text around or resize it.

Create as many lines of text as you want, or add your own elements or backgrounds. For my digital artwork, I’ve added a floral design from the Autumn elements clipart download, and I’ve also added a watercolour paper effect to add texture.

I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial and please let us know how you get on in the comments!

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