How To Create a Vintage Marquee Bulb Sign in Adobe Photoshop

everyone this is Chris from Spoon Graphics back with another video tutorial. Today I’m going to show you how to create
a vintage style marquee bulb letter sign in Adobe Photoshop. We’ll use Photoshop’s 3D
feature to quickly build each letter with realistic depth and shading, then also add
realistic surface materials and illuminated bulbs using photographs of real world objects.
The result is a great looking effect you can use to add broadway style type to your designs. Since this tutorial makes use of a number
of resources, you can find links to the font, textures and photographs I’ve used in the
description area below. So begin by opening up the image of the wooden
panelling into Adobe Photoshop to use as a background for the marquee sign artwork. Double click on the background layer to convert
it into a normal unlocked layer, then add a new empty layer. Use the CMD+Backspace shortcut to fill it
with black, then click and drag this new layer below the wooden image. Select the wood image layer and reduce its
opacity to around 30% to darken it, but so you can still see the texture emerging from
the black background. Switch to the Type tool and set out the first
letter of your chosen word. I’m using the free font Bebas Kai, but you could also experiment
with Slab Serifs and even script fonts for some cool results. Change the fill colour to white, then scale
up the letter so it fills the canvas area, leaving enough space for the other letters
in your chosen word. Go to the 3D menu and choose New 3D Extrusion
from Selected Layer to convert this text into a 3D object. The workspace will switch over
to Photoshop’s 3D mode. Now the reason we’re working with each letter
individual is if you set out the full word in one go, the 3D model will be created in
perspective, which in a sense is more realistic, but it makes adding the bulbs in a later step
much harder because the letters at each end of the word aren’t viewed from straight on. In the Properties panel, change the Extrusion
Depth to zero. Navigate to the Cap section by clicking the
third icon at the top of the panel. Change the Bevel Width setting to 10%, then
max out the Angle at 85 degrees. Click the contour graphic to create a custom
profile. Click on each point and check the Corner setting. Drag the second point down towards the bottom
right, then add a new point and drag it towards the top left. Check the corner setting for
this point too. Alter the values to move it as far along the graph as possible, using
the figures 2 and 100. Add another point, check the Corner setting
and drag it to the top right. Edit the values to 98 and 100 to push it as far as it will
go. Back in the 3D panel, click the Infinite Light
to edit its settings. Soften its shadow by moving the slider to 100%. Alter the angle of the light by moving the
smaller handle on the on-screen widget to alter its direction. Aim it vertically, then
position it depending on the size of the shadow you want to be cast across the letters. Click on the Front Inflation Material layer
in the 3D panel to begin editing the surfaces. In the Properties panel, click the little
folder icon next to the Diffuse option and select Load Textures. Navigate to the red
metal texture image you’ve downloaded from the resources mentioned below. Alter the Shine setting to 100%, then click
on the next material in the 3D panel, which is the Front Bevel Material. In the Properties panel, select a preset from
the menu with the sphere icon. I’m working with Metal Steel. If you don’t have this particular
option on your list, you can download a pack of extra materials from the Adobe website. Increase the Reflection setting to around
20%, just so this metal rim reflects the red centre a little more. Switch back over to the Layers panel and drag
the 3D object layer onto the new layer icon to make a copy. Turn off the visibility of
the original layer. The live preview of any 3D model in Photoshop
looks terrible. You need to render it to see all the realistic shading and texturing. To
speed this process up, draw a marquee around the letter to restrict the size of the render
area, then click the little Render icon at the bottom of the 3D panel. You’ll notice in my example there’s a strange
glitch that occurs with the rendering. If this happens to you, a quick fix is to select
the main 3D object in the 3D panel and edit the Extrusion Depth by adding a couple of
pixels to the value. In turn this also resets the cap settings,
so switch over to that menu and replace the figure to 85 degrees. Click the render button
to try again! After a few passes you’ll begin to see the
3D model come to life. You could leave this to render fully for the best result, but I
find the quality suffices after 5-6 passes, so you can hit escape to save some time. Switch over to the Layers panel and right
click on the 3D layer. Select Rasterize 3D. Open up the bulb graphic in Adobe Photoshop,
which is a quick little snap I took on my iPhone at a Christmas market a couple of years
ago. Select the Elliptical Marquee tool and draw a selection around the main bulb. Hold
the ALT and Shift keys to draw a perfect circle concentrically from the centre. Go to Edit>Copy, then close this image.
Paste the graphic into the main document and press CMD+T to Transform. Scale and position
it within the letter outline. Double click the layer to add some layer styles.
Begin with an Outer Glow. Change the settings to Color Dodge and sample a light yellow colour
from the bulb image. Play around with the Size and Opacity sliders to find a nice balance
to form a vibrant glow emitting from the bulb. I ended up with the figures of 60px size and
70% opacity. Next add an Inner Glow. Use the Color Dodge
blending mode again, this time with white as the colour. Edit the Size and Opacity to
form a illuminated ring around the bulb. I settled with the figures 30px Size and 30%
opacity. Finally add a Drop Shadow. Use the default
black colour, but change the blend mode to Overlay. Edit the Angle to 90 degrees, then
a distance of 8px, size of 30 pixels and an opacity of around 80%. With the Move tool selected, hold the ALT
key while dragging the layer to make a copy. Continue dragging out additional copies and
space them around the letter. Hold the Shift key when duplicating along a straight edge
to keep the bulbs in line. To space out the bulbs perfectly, shift and
click them all the select all the layers, then click the Distribute Vertical Centres
button in the top toolbar. Select any bulbs that also need placing on
the other side, then hit CMD+J to duplicate the layers. Press CMD+T to Transform, then
select Flip Horizontal from the right click menu. Move these duplicates into place. Scroll to the top of the layer stack, select
the last bulb copy layer, then click the new layer icon to add an empty layer above it. Select the brush tool and set up a standard
round tip with zero hardness, then sample an orangy-yellow colour from one of the bulb
graphics. Increase the brush tip size so it encompasses
one of the bulbs, then place a dab of colour over every bulb around the letter. Change the blending mode of this layer to
Overlay to add a warm illuminating glow to each bulb. Scroll right down to the basic letter layer
in the Layers Stack, hold Shift and click it to select all the layers that make up this
complete letter, then press CMD+G to Group. Rename the group to identify which letter
it represents, then toggle off the visibility for now. Turn on the visibility of the original 3D
layer again. Select it and switch over to the 3D panel. Select the 3D object from the
list, then click the Edit Source button in the Properties panel. Edit the text element to another letter from
the word you want to build, then Save and Close this PSB file. Switch over to the Layers panel and make a
duplicate of the 3D layer so you still have a copy of the original to edit for the next
letter. Draw a marquee selection around the letter
and render this updated 3D model. Don’t forget to follow the steps to fix the
glitch if you experience it again, by increasing the extrusion depth by a couple of pixels
and reset the cap value. Once the render has reached the desired number
of passes, hit Escape to finish it. Right click on this duplicate 3D layer in the Layers
panel and select Rasterize 3D. Open up the Group from the previous letter
and duplicate one of the bulb layers. Drag it out of the group then position it over
the new letter. Hold the ALT key and continue making copies
of this bulb to fill out this particular letter, using the distribute centers button to even
out all the bulbs. Add a new layer at the top, then dab those
orangy-yellow spots over each bulb and set the blending mode to Overlay. Group all the layers, rename the group, then
toggle off the visibility to do it all again with the next letter. Follow this same process of editing the source
of the 3D model to reproduce the effect for each letter you need. Remember to keep a copy
of the original 3D layer before rendering and rasterizing so you don’t lose the ability
to reproduce more letters. Make copies of the bulb graphic around the
letter shape, then group everything together to keep the document organised. Once you’ve completed all the letters you
need, turn on the visibility of all the groups. Select each one in turn and press CMD+T to
Transform, which will allow you to move the letters into place to spell out your desired
word. The final result is a really cool vintage
style marquee bulb sign. Thanks to Photoshop’s 3D tools the letters look pretty realistic
with natural perspective and shading. The addition of an actual bulb photograph also
keeps the lights looking as real as possible, while a few layer style effects help to enhance
the glow a little. If you enjoyed this tutorial, or learned anything
new, a thumbs up to spread the word would be really appreciated. If you want to show some Love yourself, why
not pick up this exact design on a t-shirt from my little merch store? I’ll probably release a full character set
of these marquee letters over on my website as a freebie, so be sure to join the mailing
list to be the first to get your hands on it in the coming weeks. Subscribe to the Spoon Graphics YouTube channel
to stick around for all my upcoming tutorials, otherwise thank you very much for watching,
and I’ll see you in the next one!

30 Replies to “How To Create a Vintage Marquee Bulb Sign in Adobe Photoshop”

  1. Thanks for sharing your videos. I've been using Abode for two years now and learning more each day with videos like these. Keep it up!

  2. Thanks Chris, great stuff.  I slowed the speed of the video down to .75 to make it a bit easier to follow, it worked well!

  3. It dosent work for me. No matter what i do the shadows wont come up and the texture is always messed up. The glitch dosent go away. It does look great on your tutorial but it dosent work on my computer…

  4. I really enjoyed this toturial! Thanks for the tips and the help. For me it worked exactly as I wanted! P.S: There are some steps that you explain very fast, if you can improve this aspect, great! Thank you

  5. Very cool tutorial and great methods. I don't even use photoshop, but I've been making some theater signs for a friend and even though I use gimp, I was able to translate 🙂 Thank you!

  6. Hey I'm trying to fix the glitch at around 4:25 but PS won't let me use pixels in the extrusion depth field—only inches. I have tried changing my units in preferences, but that won't change. The result is I get a much more dramatic shift because inches suck.

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