In today’s Adobe Photoshop tutorial we’re going to have some fun replicating the classic film title styles from old black and white movies of the 30s and 40s. Three dimensional effects were often used, along with low key lighting. To replicate these aesthetics in Photoshop, we’ll make use of the 3D feature available in version CS6 and beyond, which will automatically generate realistic lighting and shading to our text.

How To Create a Vintage Film Title Text Effect in Photoshop

The artwork I’ll be creating for this tutorial is based on the fictional movie title “The Phantom”. Most of the hard work is done by Photoshop’s 3D functionality. Just some configuration of the settings is all that’s required to produce the three dimensional effects and the chamfered text face, along with the associated lighting and shadows. These effects would otherwise have to be created from scratch, but the 3D features provide a quick and easy way to produce the effects with life-like illumination.

Begin by creating a canvas at your chosen dimensions. I’m working with a document of around 3000x2000px. Change the background colour selector to a dark grey, such as #181818, then use the CMD+Backspace shortcut to fill the Background layer.

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  1. Hi, I’m trying to follow the steps in this tutorial, and I got stuck at the part with the Infinite Light. When I select it in the 3D-panel, no graphic appears. I work with CC2017, (the interface seems to be a bit different at the caps part too).

    • I had the same problem, Photoshop wasn’t picking up my graphic card. try: Edit > Preferences > Performance, and make sure “Use Graphics Processor” is checked. That worked for me…

  2. Awesome tutorial! Easy to follow and I love the effect. This one will be fun to play with – thank you!

  3. Easy and to the point. Thank you also for doing a step by step as opposed to a video ;-)

  4. Without the doubt, this is beautiful vintage film title! You have quite an eye for creativity, and I’m thankful for this step by step tutorial you have shared with us.

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