Catalog > Free Tutorials > How to Create 3D Textures in Photoshop

How to Create 3D Textures in Photoshop

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Learn how to convert any photo into a 3D Texture and apply it to Text and photos. This technique will allow you to change the lighting direction of any texture!

Get Started Here: Download the Sample Image

Create a Pattern from a Photo

The first step to apply a 3D Texture to a photo is to convert a photo into a “PATTERN” in Photoshop. To convert any photo into a pattern, open the image and select all by pressing CTRL/CMD+A then go to ‘Edit – Define Pattern.’ This Pattern is now stored in Photoshop’s library and can be accessed by going to ‘Edit – Presets – Preset Manager.’

After creating a pattern, it will be stored in Photoshop for future use.

Layer FX – Bevel and Emboss + Texture

To apply the pattern to Text or a photo, click on the desired layer and go to ‘Layer – Layer Style – Bevel and Emboss’ and select ‘Texture.’ Next, in the Pattern editor, select the pattern you just created, it will be on the bottom of the Pattern list.

Then in the properties make sure to click ‘Snap to Origin’ and select 100% Scale and Depth.

Layer FX – Pattern Overlay

After applying the Pattern to the Bevel and Emboss Layer FX, add a ‘Pattern Overlay’ by going to ‘Layer – Layer Style – Pattern Overlay.’ In this dialog, be sure to select the same pattern used in the Bevel and Emboss layer FX. Click ‘Snap to Origin’ and select 100% Scale.

Now, the Pattern Overlay and the Bevel And Emboss will be aligned and applied to the current layer.

To adjust the lighting on the pattern, go into the settings for the layer FX Bevel And Emboss, and change the ‘Shading Angle’ and ‘Shading Altitude.’ You will see a live preview of the lighting direction change on the pattern.

How to Use this Technique

This technique can be used to add realistic texture to any object in Photoshop. For instance, if you want to Add Texture to a wall, you will be able to adjust the direction of Light to make the effect seamless!


  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    Love it! As a favor to a friend, I recently did mailers for a political candidate with little experience using the Text Tool. Ugh! I do digital composite art and rarely used the Text Tool. OMG! how helpful this would have been along with the 3D Watermelon tut. What fun! I’ll be finding plenty of ways to use these artistic 3D tool. PS is so! powerful with so! many different tools … How did someone ever develop such an awful piece of software. THANK YOU! Arron. You taught me how to use PS. I’ve been along for ride on your PhLearn journey almost from your beginning. I remember you and your parents going on a trip together … I believe it was Mexico. I purchased PS when it first came out but never learned how to use it until I started watching Arron … that’s about seven years ago.

  2. Rated 5 out of 5

    Thanks PHlearn- this is the first tut I have watched after signing up as I really need to go through things a few times and with as much detail as possible. I am disabled with neurological problems and had a brain operation a few months ago- so my memory is still coming back – though getting better. I have been wathing the free tuts on youtube – and wanted more- though I was not sure how much more my £6 would get me. It is phenomenal! I am so happy – I can rerun things whenever I want and there is so much more than in the freebie, though they are so good. I have seen this effect used with text before and didn’t have a clue how to do it- now I feel confident and am creating some great pics for use with a community film we are making about the glass industry. If I get to be proud of any- I’ll send them – Ella

    PHLEARN Staff
    That is so awesome that you are getting a lot out of your new PHLEARN PRO Subscription! Thank you for subscribing 🙂 Keep on PHLEARNing!