If you’re looking to make a visual impact in your web projects, 3D text effects are a surefire way to do so. They can turn an ordinary website headline into a can’t-miss work of art.

The great thing is that a wide variety of 3D effects can be created using CSS and JavaScript. When thoughtfully implemented, this enables text to stay accessible and responsive. It’s a far cry from the days when such effects were only available through the use of images.

Today, we’ll take a look at some snippets that feature beautiful 3D text effects. They run the gamut from calm-and-classy to outrageously-animated. There’s something here for just about every need.

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Letters on a Shelf

Here’s a fun example that shows off the power of the Three.js library. 3D text appears on a series of shelves – but there’s more than meets the eye. Click or touch a letter and it goes tumbling to its imminent doom.

See the Pen Interactive 3D-Letters using Three.js & Cannon.js by Angela Galliat

Dot Matrix Signage

This text snippet simulates the look of a dot matrix sign, and even lets you input your own custom text. As the sign rotates horizontally, note the subtle changes in hue. It nicely mimics the type of shading effect you’d see in the real world. Moving your cursor up and down also tilts the viewing angle.

See the Pen Pseudo 3D text by JK

Comic Book Heroes

The use of a cartoonish font and CSS animation make this example stand out. Rather, each word “jumps” at you in staggered intervals. Text outlines and shadowing help to bring out that third dimension.

See the Pen CSS 3D Text Effect by Kyle Wetton

Wavy Words

Amazingly, this 3D wave effect is done with pure CSS (and just over 50 lines, to boot). A unique layered look is combined with a blend mode to add a touch of mysticism. The gentle animation means that you can call attention to text without overwhelming users.

See the Pen Only CSS: Text Wave by Yusuke Nakaya

In the Shadows

Perhaps it sounds simplistic, but CSS shadows offer an effective way to add a 3D effect. Here we have a demonstration of two different ways to achieve three dimensions. Using the CSS filter property allows some of the page background to come through, while text-shadow provides a more traditional look.

See the Pen 3D effect with shadows by zastrow

Going Retro

We admit that this particular effect may not be appropriate for most projects. But it’s still great fun. The retro video game vibe and pulsating text go together like PAC-MAN and dots. It may even make you want to pull that old Commodore 64 out of storage.

See the Pen ’80s Inspired Pure CSS graphics by CurleyWebDev

The Strokes

3D doesn’t have to mean undignified. Take this stroked text for example. It offers plenty of multi-dimensional impact but is designed to blend in. This minimal effect could be great for article headlines or page titles.

See the Pen YPZJQz by @TimLamber

Set In Stone

Want even more subtlety? This engraving effect adds dimension and a bit of class. The styling was crafted with CSS, while the current date is generated via JavaScript. It’s going 3D without getting into anyone’s face.

See the Pen CSS only 3D engraved stone by Michael Burridge

Add 3D Text Effects with CSS and JavaScript

Whether you’re looking to add movement and interactivity or subtle decoration, 3D text effects can help. They call attention to important content and allow you to break out of the mundane.

What’s more, you don’t necessarily have to write a massive amount of code to create something unique. Some of the examples above were built with a relatively small bit of CSS. You can start small and work your way up to something grander if need be.

Looking for more 3D text snippets? Take a look at our CodePen collection for inspiration.

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