This popular style allows you to blend typography and photography together, creating a beautiful and immersive 3D drop cap effect. We’ll look at how you can edit photos and textures in a program like Photoshop (or an alternative, like Pixlr Pro), before creating the drop cap effect with InDesign. This effect looks fantastic when used on posters or brochures, or why not share the result on Pinterest or Instagram?
What You’ll Need to Create Your 3D Drop Cap EffectAs well as access to a creative program, like Photoshop and InDesign, you’ll also need a suitable photo and font to create your effect. This effect tends to work best with portrait photos which have a background (i.e. not white), and Modern serif fonts which have striking uppercase letters, such as Didot or Bodoni. You may find it helpful to create the 3D drop cap effect pictured here first to pick up the technique, before selecting your own photo from the 123RF library, to create a unique result. To create the effect pictured here you’ll need to download:
How to Edit Your PhotoStep 1 Open up your chosen photo in Photoshop. In the Layers panel, duplicate the Background layer, and switch off the visibility of the original layer, preserving an intact copy of the photo. Working on the new Background layer, select the Lasso Tool (L) and zoom into the top of the photo. The aim here is to remove the background from any parts of the image which will fall outside of the drop cap, in this case, this will be on the right side of the model. Trace around one part of the subject’s outline (here we focus on the top of the head and hair), then loop off a section of the background around it. Click on the Refine Edge button on the top Controls panel. In the window that opens, check Smart Radius and slide the Radius and Shift Edge sliders until you’re happy with the selection. Click OK to exit the window and hit Delete on your keyboard to remove that section of background. Step 2 Select the Blur Tool from the Tools panel. Stroke your cursor along the edge of the model’s silhouette to soften any hard lines. You can increase the strength of the blue if desired, by increasing the Strength percentage in the top Controls panel. Step 3 Use the Lasso Tool (L) to section off another area of background, before using the Refine Edge window, as before, to make the selection more accurate. As before, delete the selection and use the Blur Tool to soften the edge of the silhouette. Continue to work your way around the silhouette of the subject, selecting, refining and deleting the background. Step 4 When you’ve removed the background from either the whole photo or simply the side which will be emerging out of the drop cap, make sure only the top layer in your Photoshop document is visible. Then go to File > Save As. Save the image as a Photoshop (PSD) file, naming it ‘Photo_no background.psd’.
How to Create an Elegant Backdrop for Your Text EffectStep 1 Open up InDesign and go to File > New > Document. You can create your text effect to any size, but here I’ve opted for an A3 Landscape page size, and added a 5 mm Bleed, as I’m planning to make the text effect the central feature of a sales brochure. Click Create to exit the window. Step 2 Expand the Layers panel (Window > Layers), and double-click on the Layer 1 name. Rename this Background and click OK. Click on the Create New Layer button at the bottom of the panel, and rename this layer as Type. Then lock the Type layer, working on Background for now. Step 3 Expand the Swatches panel (Window > Color > Swatches), and choose New Color Swatch from the panel’s top-right drop-down menu. Set the CMYK levels to C=90 M=78 Y=62 K=96, click Add and then OK. Repeat to create three more CMYK swatches:
- C=34 M=30 Y=31 K=9
- C=40 M=31 Y=32 K=10
- C=4 M=4 Y=4 K=0