Category Archives: Art & Design

Photoshop : Creating 3D Objects and Environments

Intro to Three Dimensional Space

Three dimensional (3D) space is what we experience on a daily basis in real life. Unlike two-dimensional (2D) photographs and drawings on a flat picture plane, three dimensional space occupies a third dimension of depth. Both 2D and 3D space utilize the x-axis (horizontal plane) and the y-axis (vertical plane), but only 3D space utilizes the x-axis (depth plane).

When using perfect geometry, these three planes can be viewed in separate, flat 2D views referred to as “orthographic” or “orthogonal” views. For instance, a 3D object can have a top, bottom, left, right, front, and back view that give us an idea how something will look from specific angles. It is common for 3D software to provide both interactive (3D and orthographic 2D) views of the objects in the 3D space so that the designer can better visualize what s/he is working with.

Basic Photoshop 3D Tools

3D Workspace

First, when you use 3D tools in Photoshop, it is extremely beneficial to switch to the 3D Workspace. To do so, go to Window > Workspace >3D. This will give you access to all of the panels that you will frequently need while modifying your objects.

Layers Panel

Layers Panel with 3D layer selected
Layers Panel with 3D layer selected

The Layers panel will still be available, and other options in some panels will change depending on which layer you have selected. Once you have changed a layer’s contents into a 3D mesh or extrusion, you will see a little cube shape appear in the layer’s thumbnail.

3D Panel

3D Panel with extrusion selected
3D Panel with extrusion selected

The 3D Panel is crucial in working with 3D objects in Photoshop. In this screenshot example, a 3D extrusion called “logo” is selected so that it can be manipulated. Notice that the “logo” is made up of materials, or meshes, in the drop-down menu below. These extrusion edges create the faces of the 3D object.

Properties Panel

The Properties Panel will make different properties available relative to the object that is currently selected in the 3D Panel. Depending on the object selected, you might see completely different property options appear in the Properties Panel. The example below is displaying properties based on the “logo” extrusion’s selection in the 3D Panel illustrated above.

3D Properties Panel relative to selected item
3D Properties Panel relative to selected item

Moving 3D Objects in Photoshop

Standard Photoshop Move Tool
Standard Photoshop Move Tool

To move 3D objects in Photoshop, you need to first select the traditional Move Tool in the normal Tools Panel.

Once you have made that tool selection, you will see the tool options in the Options Panel change. If you have also selected a 3D object in the 3D Panel or in the Layers Panel, then the Move Tool’s options will also give you 3D Options. These 3D options are as follows: Rotate, Roll, Drag, Slide, and Scale. View the screenshot below to see what these tool icons look like.

3D Move Tool Options
3D Move Tool Options
Photoshop move and scale 3D tools
Photoshop 3D move and scale tools, from: https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/using/tools.html

To read more about Adobe’s 3D tools and space, you can read their Essential 3D Concepts page.

For a very quick overview tutorial using Photoshop’s 3D tools, you can watch a short tutorial on creating 3D models.

Instructor Tutorial

For a more in-depth tutorial on how to create a more complex scene, you will see how to do the following:

  • Setting up the basic scene elements
  • Creating 3D “Postcard” Mesh to use as a mapped material
  • Creating 3D “Postcard” Mesh to use as an object in space
  • Creating 3D extruded object
  • Creating and mapping custom materials to objects
  • Moving object to the ground plane
  • Merging 3D objects
  • Setting up different types of light sources
  • Using move and scale tools to manipulate the scene
  • Placing 3D objects into a photographic environment to look natural
  • Rendering and output

Playlist of 6 videos (~67minutes total)

If you want to follow along, you can download the 3D Photoshop Demo Starter Files.

 

Primary Colors of Light and Pigment

How We See Color

The inner surfaces of your eyes contain photoreceptors—specialized cells that are sensitive to light and relay messages to your brain. There are two types of photoreceptors: cones (which are sensitive to color) and rods (which are more sensitive to intensity). You are able to “see” an object when light from the object enters your eyes and strikes these photoreceptors. Continue reading Primary Colors of Light and Pigment