We’ll use Photoshop to create 3D art in an existing photo. The goal is to make it as seamless as possible.
New Document Setup
Create a new, empty Photoshop document with these settings. This will be your project file.
Save it in a Photoshop 3D folder in your Computer Graphics Five folder.
Sourcing a Photo
We need to find a source photo of a scene to build our 3D shapes in. Either do a search for something like a room scene. You could also do a search for a street scene. Your photo choice and composition needs to make sense.
Download the photo to the project folder you’ve created. Choose a photo that’s at least 1500 pixels tall or wide.
I suggest you print your photo on the classroom printer. Use tracing paper to create a rough sketch of your 3D shapes on an overlay. Once you’re satisfied, you can start building it.
Creating Your Type
Create type in the scene. Use the 3D panel to extrude the type. Adjust the colour and lighting to make it integrate into the scene. You can use bevels to add interest, but go easy. They get cheesy really quickly.
The Properties Panel has four modes when you’re working with extruded type.
- The Mesh mode affects the physical shape of the type.
- The Deform mode affects transformations, like revolving or twisting objects.
- The Cap mode deals with the front surface of the shape.
- The Coordinates panel is all about measurements. You can scale, rotate and move by the numbers. It also shows the very useful Move to Ground
Create an Object From a Vector Path
Next, we’ll build our 3D object that’s based on the path you’ve drawn in Illustrator. This is like the chess piece we built in class. This could be a revolved shape, like a wine glass or a dinner plate. It can also be an extruded shape, where the result is more cubic.
- Keep your shape simple — all one piece.
- Make sure you close your path.
- Fill and Stroke properties are irrelevant in your Illustrator file.
Once your path is drawn in Illustrator, save it to your project folder in case you need it again. Copy the path from Illustrator. Go to Photoshop to create a new empty path in the Paths Panel. Your Illustrator path will appear there.
When you paste in Photoshop, it will ask you which type of path you want. Choose simply Path. This has no stroke and no fill. It only appears in your Paths panel. If it’s not selected, it doesn’t show on your canvas.
Now that you have a path in Photoshop, it’s time to make it three-dimensional. Choose the options shown below in your 3D Panel.
Go to your Properties Panel’s Deform mode to change the extrusion appearance.
Adding Materials from a Photo
Adding a material to a 3D object simply means that we’ll map an image to its surface. We did this in class with the chess piece.
You’ll need to find a texture photo online. Make sure it’s large enough. Save it to your project folder.
To apply the texture, target the object’s material in the 3D Panel. In the Properties Panel, you can add a new Texture as shown above.
Once you are done, make sure to render your work. Don’t touch it after that, so you don’t lose the render quality.