How to Make a 3D Graffiti Piece – Tutorial


Author: jeya. with 28 Comments

In this tutorial you will learn how to use Cinema 4D and Photoshop CS4 to make some graffiti letters. We will extrude the letters and tweak them out. After the baseline render is done we will import it into Photoshop and add some outer strokes and grime.


Step 1

To create a cool 3D Graffiti render, we are going to start inside of Cinema 4D. Open Cinema 4D and click on Objects > Create Spline > Bezier. Then switch to the top view port by chossing Cameras > Front

Note: We used version 10. Your version might differ but you should be able to do that same thing…

Step 2

Start off by drawing letters that resemble a graffiti piece. You can get some inspiration from the following sites: Art crimes or asddas. You will want to keep the whole bezier segment together and closed by doing one letter at a time. In my example I created the letter J.

Step 3

At This step, to see what it will look like in 3D, go to Objects > Nurbs > Extrude Nurbs. Make spline a child of Extrude Nurbs by dragging spline on to Extrude Nurbs until a down arrow appears.

Step 4

At this point switch to perspective view (Cameras > Perspective) to get a better view of the final piece. Click on Extrude Nurbs and change the Object Properties – Movement to the following -19m, 0m, 73m. Then use the buttons in the top right of the viewport to move around till you are satisfied with the look.

Step 5

Switch back to the Front View. Continue the process of making letters and adding an Extrude Nurbs object to them. Remember to keep switching to Perspective to see how it is turning out. Once you complete the other letters you should have something similar to the image below:

Tip #1) If you need to knock a hole out of your letter (i.e. a lower case "e") select both the spines and choose Function Combine.

Step 6

Now it’s time to make it a little bit more funky. Add some bend modifiers and make them children of the Spline letters. Use the object properties to bend them the way you like. I didn’t add it to every letter just some. I also used the move and rotate tool to add some more depth to the letters.

Step 7

In the Materials area, choose File > New Materiall (or double click in the blank area). Reference the below images for the settings:

Step 8

Now you need to add the material you just created to each letter.

Step 9

To get some really cool effects, select all your letters and then right click on one of them and choose Group Objects. Add a Twist Deformation to all the layers Objects > Deformation > Twist). I added a light to the scene as well to make it have more of a glow. Make sure your stack looks somewhat like the image below with the correct children and parent setup.

Step 10

Now we can export the render. On the main menu go to Render > Render Settings. Click on Save and change the settings to the following:

Step 11

Make sure your camera is on perspective view and it looks the way you like it. Once it is, choose Render > Render to Picture Viewer. Then choose File > Save Picture As. Verify the settings and choose OK.

Step 12

Open you exported render into Photoshop. On the menu bar choose Select > Load Selection. Verify the Alpha 1 Channel is selected and click OK.

Step 13

Create a new layer for you selection by going to Layer > New > Layer Via Cut. Name this new layer “Graffiti Render“. Double click on the layer, Graffiti Render and make a stroke of 8px – White. Finally, fill the Background layer Black.

Step 14

We are going to use the Pen tool to make every letter pop with a stroke. Grab the pen tool with the Paths option selected. Trace the first letter. Then create a new layer and on the paths pallett choose Load Path as Selection. Then go to Edit > Stroke. Choose a 3px Width with the color set to black. Location should be set to outside. Then click on OK.

Step 15

Repeat Step 14 for your other letters. Each on a separate layer. Erase the parts of the stroke that you don’t like. You should now have something like this:

Step 16

Now to add some color to this piece. Create a new layer called color. Then CTRL (CMD) click on the Graffiti Render and click on the Add Layer Mask Icon on the bottom of the layers pallet. This will restrain our coloring to only the Graffiti Render. Change the Layer Blending Options to Overlay, I choose a really soft brush and painted on different colors that I wanted it to look like.

Step 17

Create a layer called “Bling” and set the layer blending to “Overlay”. Grab the line tool and set it to Fill Pixels -10px. Then create lines at different areas or your letters. Do it on about 50% of the layers or to your liking.

Step 13

Open the Water Color Image from the Water Colors Pack and scale it down to fit your document. Change the Layer Blending Mode to Screen. Then De saturate that Layer by Pressing CTRL + Shift + U.

Step 13

Now Open up the Levels and drag the left slider over You should end up with something like this:

Step 13

Open up this image from our Spray Paint and Drips Pack. Change the Layer Blending to Screen. Inverse the layer by going to Image > Adjustments > Invert. Put this layer right above the Background layer in the layers pallet by dragging it downwards.

Step 13

Move the layers around to your liking. I duplicated the layer again (Layer > Duplicate) and moved it around.

Step 13

I added some misc. images from our packs. Stencils, Hand Drawings, and Spray Paint are great for this.

As always, you can download this PSD file for free. Hope you enjoyed this tutorial…..

About The Author: jeya

My name is Jeya and I am one of the founders of Media Militia. I enjoy writing new content and designing something fresh! I currently live in beautiful Reno, Nevada. If you have any ideas or comments, please send me an email at

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There are currently 28 Comments on How to Make a 3D Graffiti Piece – Tutorial. Perhaps you would like to add one of your own?

  1. nice…

  2. Amazing work. !! man

  3. Hi, gr8 post thanks for posting. Information is useful!

  4. really nice one. and easy one. i will download the trial version of cinema 4d. soo and try understand clearly.

  5. I have been looking looking around for this kind of information. Will you post some more in future? I’ll be grateful if you will.

  6. sooo cool! Thanks for sharing.

  7. coooool!! thought ud use a font-gr8 result!!!

  8. cool job man

  9. whad up i grew up in LA pretty much my entire and been in the graffiti scene, but one thing that amazes me is people like you who are wicked smart and use there skills with Computer Graphics to make something bomb like this! i been looking all over the internet for a website like this! keep it up look forward to more bombs, hmm… maybe i can post a few?

  10. Hey, I can’t get the part on how to make a whole on the letter, please help me!!

    • hey did u figure dat out… i really wanna make a graffiti of my own..n am stuck i.e. cant make holes in da letter.. :(

  11. that really hepls me , thx dude!

  12. hell yeah men. it’s so amazing. what software did you use in the first party JEYA?.

  13. i’m sorry i didn’t read the description. it’s really awesome men.! continue doing it. and more power to your web site!

  14. SICK!!!!!

  15. awesome post, thanks much.

  16. Wicked tut.
    But I do not have C4D, so I have to create and extrude the letters in Illi or something.

    Why do you have so many “Step 13″ ? ;)

  17. You could actually get very awesome results, and even use fonts if you did this in illustrator then imported in c4D. Ai provides much more control over the belziers, and allow you to use any fancy fonts you want (though propably a good idea to keep an eye on the number of anchors you generate). You will need to convert any text to outlines then save as an Illustrator 3 file to
    minimise compatibility issues.

  18. eyyy men hablo poco ingles but its beautifull is magic very very very exellent

  19. incredible work! thank you a lot!

  20. It’s insightful albeit simple. Preferably, I’d use GI illumination/shading over the default settings but to each his own.

  21. Best you should change the webpage subject 3D Graffiti Piece | Media Militia to something more generic for your content you write. I liked the post withal.

    • I agree. Thanks! I changed it.

  22. I am not kidding, I was thinking 2 days ago, “it would be cool to do a 3D graffiti piece in C4D, but I don’t know it well enough to know how to do it.” Now I can give it a shot! Thanks!

  23. he man…its really awesum but i didnt get da making a hole in the letter…plzz help if sum1 knows….

  24. Your knowledge is very useful and I love it
    I could ask you the video version
    thank you
    Greetings from Indonesia

  25. I draw my spline freehand, but once I drag the extrude to the spline and change the values, nothing seems to be changing. Using cinema 4d version R13. Ideas?

  26. I was wondering if u know if there are any other websites/apps that u can use instead of Cinema 4D?

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