Fantasy images don’t need to include cheesy damsels, dragons and generously proportioned elves. What they do need, however, is carefully considered, painterly colours, moody lighting and detailed texturing.

In this tutorial, Fabio Sasso shows you how to achieve that glossy, detailed fantasy look through careful compositing, and control of layers and blending modes. You’ll extrude type in Illustrator and then composite on textures and other details in Photoshop.

Finally, you’ll add the stranded princess figure and a couple of details so that she fits seamlessly into the image.


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Step 1
Open a new document in Illustrator and type ‘DA’. Helvetica Black is a good font to use. Go to Effect > 3D > Extrude & Bevel. Set the axis to 23º, 25º, and -45º respectively, set the perspective to 145º and the extrusion to 865 points.

Play with the lights until the sides of the extrusion have good clear light and dark areas.



Step 2
Copy the 3D text from Illustrator and paste it into a new Photoshop document. Position it so that the DA is in the middle of the document. Next, import a brick texture; this one is from Shutterstock (tinyurl.com/fabiosbricks), but you can download free versions from tinyurl.com/bricktextures and tinyurl.com/bricktextures1. You’ll need to duplicate it to make it tileable and fit the height of the 3D.