Typography is huge at the moment in illustration, and 3D text is a big part of that. It literally gives the artist another dimension to play with, and the power of 3D programs provides a sense of realism that 2D typography just can't match. This allows for seamless blending with photos and other renders.
This tutorial explains how to create very simple 3D text that can be generated in minutes in any 3D package - or even in 2D software such as Illustrator - and give it life in Photoshop. The advantage of using Photoshop is that changes in texture, colour and lighting can be achieved much more quickly than in a 3D package. In a 3D program you're constantly changing things, re-rendering to see the effect and then going back to make more changes. In Photoshop there's none of that waiting around, and if you know what you're doing the effect can be just as impressive.