I’ve been getting really into Photoshop‘s 3D tools recently. They’re fantastic for creating simple 3D models with ultra realistic lighting and materials like metals, plastic and wood. Chrome is one effect that is often mimicked in Photoshop with various gradients and layer styles, but the 3D feature in versions CS6 and CC allow you to achieve results that surpass the traditional techniques. In today’s tutorial we’ll use Adobe Illustrator to design a cool badge or emblem design, then we’ll take it into Photoshop to turn it into 3D with a rad shiny and chrome finish.

Realistic 3D Chrome Badge in Photoshop

The artwork we’ll be creating is this chrome car badge for ‘RocketEagle’, a fictional brand with art deco inspired wings and patterns. We’ll make use of Illustrator’s powerful shape tools to construct the flat design, then transfer the graphic over to Photoshop to model the emblem in 3D with multiple extrusions. Then comes the exciting part where we set up the lighting and materials to produce a stunning chrome effect.

The basic badge design could certainly be made in Photoshop, but I find Illustrator’s vector tools are much easier to use when constructing logos. Draw a circle then make a couple of duplicates and scale then down towards the centre. Add the initial(s) of your brand in the centre. I’m using a cool art deco style font named Metropolis 1920. Convert the text into a shape by right clicking and selecting Create Outlines.

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  1. Wow, this is a crazily detailed guide to making great use of the Photoshop 3D tool! I’m eager to experiment with this technique, and probably will try it with some other materials. I think the 3D function will use much more resources of your PC. Perhaps I’ll need a more decent computer to try it out!

    • It does get pretty CPU intensive, especially during the render. 3D is fun to play with for effects like this. It’s not quite as powerful as dedicated 3D software, but it’s handy being built right in!

  2. Although I’m not familiar with Photoshop’s 3D features, I’m an experienced Illustrator and Photoshop user. Yet I was not able to follow this tutorial, especially the part about using 3D — I couldn’t find some of the settings.
    It would be super helpful to have a video of these instructions.

    • Make sure the 3D and Properties panels are open from the Window menu. Pretty much all the settings can be found under the various sections of those two panels.

      If you look in the top right corner of Photoshop you’ll also see a dropdown that allows you to change the workspace from Essentials to 3D, etc to lay out all the tools you might need.

  3. And once again Chris Spooner has blown my mind. Thank you soooooo much for this. It’s just what I need.

  4. I’m running into problems with the Live Paint tool – once I’ve applied Live Paint, none of the steps that you specify seem to work – I can select the Live Paint object and change its color, but then all the expand options are greyed out in all the different menus. Any suggestions?

  5. Awesome PSD Designs which gives very creativity and elegant look of that badge or we can say logo. You can also use it in PSD web design that gives very attractive look of your web site.

  6. Ive Done a few 3D things in photoshop but this is just madness will sit and follow this and get it right. brilliant work Chris keep it up.i love it.

  7. That’s incredible. Thank you so much for shareing this tutorials with us. I’ve learn a lot fom you, you are one of my greatest teachers!

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