3D Alphabet

As part of a challenge to design, photograph, and post-produce a printable 3D font out of a non-traditional material, I created this all caps, sans-serif font out of light.

The challenge started with an allotted time to brainstorm a concept for what objects we would use to create our fonts, and how we would shape and photograph that object. My idea was to use a light painting photography technique to shape my letters out of light trails, then edit and invert the photos so they could be printed on regular white paper.

When I started shooting the photos, I realized that while my camera could see the path of my letters while I shaped them, I could not. I had expected this, but it was more difficult than I thought to accurately dot my I’s and cross my T’s. To make things easier I moved my camera to have a window behind it which reflected enough light for me to more accurately trace my letters, but not so much that I was visible in the photos. This also helped me ensure I had my light source aimed at the camera while I shaped the letters.

Then I came to post-production. In order to save time, which I was beginning to run out of, I saved my Camera Raw adjustments in Photoshop on the first letter, applied it to the remaining 25, and inverted the colours to show black letters on a white background. The result of which didn’t have the semi-transparent 3D look the letters had before being inverted. To me it looked like someone had just done a poor job of writing letters in black ink. So back to the drawing board!

I went back to the photos before I had inverted them, added a colour cast over the highlight areas of the photos and then inverted them. Success! My orange cast was now a blue letter with a bold outline and semi-transparent body. I now had a 3D font that I could easily change the colour of.

3D Font Colours

3D font in white by Jordan Jamieson
3D font in blue by Jordan Jamieson
3D font in green by Jordan Jamieson
3D font in yellow by Jordan Jamieson
3D font in red by Jordan Jamieson
3D font in purple by Jordan Jamieson
Long exposure photo of the letter C by Jordan Jamiesonthe long exposure photo inverted

The final result of photoshopping the photo by Jordan Jamieson

A few examples of the colour changing on the font

3D Font Colours

3D font in white by Jordan Jamieson
3D font in blue by Jordan Jamieson
3D font in green by Jordan Jamieson
3D font in yellow by Jordan Jamieson
3D font in red by Jordan Jamieson
3D font in purple by Jordan Jamieson