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3D in Photoshop: The Ultimate Guide for Creative Professionals

fig step figure texture select layer car add image
In this book chapter excerpt, artist Stephen Burns walks you through painting, texturing and lighting techniques with Photoshop CS5

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[heading]10.2. Creating the Layout[/heading]

Now we are going to position the 3D models to be in line with the concept of the car speeding through wet streets.

Step 1: Create a new document with the dimensions of 8” x6” with 150 ppi resolution. This resolution is just for tutorial purposes so that we can work quickly together.

Step 2: Place both the car and the skyscraper objects in the new document. Each 3D object will occupy its own layer as shown in Figure 10.5 .

Step 3: Access the 3D Mesh panel (Window > 3D) (Figure 10.6). Along the top of the panel click the first icon on the left to display the 3D Mesh options. On the bottom right of the panel click and hold on the icon on the far left to see the visibility options for the varied 3D components. Select “Show All” and instantly you can see outlines that represent 3D Axis, 3D Ground Plane, 3D lights and 3D Selection. This will help you to keep track of where things are as we navigate our scene to compose and texture it.

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Fig 10.7

Zoom out of the document just to observe the changes to how we view our 3D space. CS5 will keep all 3D elements visual even beyond the borders of the document (Figure 10.7).

Now zoom in a little closer to get a better view of the streets. We will set up the scene for the car to be placed on one of the roads surrounded by the buildings (Figure 10.8).

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Fig 10.8

Note: CS5 has the ability to merge both objects into a single layer using the Merge 3D Layers command so that both can be lit with the same light source, with the shadows and reflections affecting one another. However, third party models created by a community of artists are not always reliable. This could be due to how well the mesh of a 3D object was constructed, so to keep matters simple let's keep each object on its own 3D layer.

Make sure that the skyscraper layer is selected and navigate the Camera (N) so that it is close to street level with the front of the buildings in the background, as shown in Figure 10.9 . Select the Camera Zoom option on the options bar. This is where we will set the focal length of the camera. To consolidate the field of view for both you will need to adjust the focal length of the camera toward a unified focal length so set the Focal Length to 100 for both objects. Now select the car layer and access the 3D navigation tools (K) and navigate the 3D object itself to be positioned over the street. Try to get something close to what you see in Figure 10.9 .

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Fig 10.9

Note: As with many Photoshop tools, the Shift key can be used to limit interaction to one axis at a time. This will help you better control the interaction when getting used to the 3D tools.

Step 4: CS5 generally allows for the shadow of the 3D object to appear on the ground plane of the 3D model. But keep in mind that this is not always the case with third party 3D objects like the ones that we have just downloaded from 3DVIA. These models have been created by individuals and submitted to the website so, depending on the settings as well as the 3D application that created the objects, CS5 may or may not recognize the ground plane as in this particular case. So, to give our concept car a sense of placement on the ground plane, add a shadow on a separate layer beneath the car as shown in Figure 10.10 . Change the layer's blend mode to Multiply and reduce the opacity a bit and let's continue on.

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Fig 10.10

Step 5: Now let's add the sky to the background. This is done with gradients situated on their own layers; and initial light to darker blue is established on one layer. On top of that create a reddish gradient that falls off to 0% Opacity toward the top of the composition. Create another layer on top of the red gradient and create a dark blue to 0% Transparency toward the lower 3/4 portion of the image. Use Figure 10.11 as a guide.

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Fig 10.11

Step 6: Next, let's add some clouds to add some interest in the sky. Access the downloads folder and open the clouds.jpg and place it above the blue gradient. Resize and place them into the sky behind the skyscrapers and reduce the opacity to allow some of the sky colors to come through. In this example a duplicate is also applied and resized larger to imply depth (Figure 10.12).

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Fig 10.12

Step 7: Now, focus on the layer titled “City Block” and take notice of the textures associated with it. If you place your cursor over the second one down, with “road straight” in the title, you will get a thumbnail view of the texture (Figure 10.13). Double-click this texture to edit it.

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Fig 10.13

Step 8: By default, many of these textures will have a resolution of 72 ppi. To get more details we should redefine the texture to be a higher resolution. Change the Resolution in the Image Size properties (Image > Image Size) to 200 ppi instead and save the document (File > Save) (Figure 10.14).

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Fig 10.14

Step 9: When we resized the texture in Step 8, we have essentially interpolated the image giving it a low resolution look. This is okay because we are now going to customize this texture at the higher resolution, starting with vector shapes.

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Fig 10.15 Place “concrete.jpg” into a new layer.

Recreate the orange and yellow paint guides using the rectangular vector tools (U) (Figure 10.16). Simply match the original lines colors. In this example, each vector shape is on its own layer. Select File > Save to see the 3D model update.

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Fig 10.16

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Fig 10.17

Step 11: Use the Stamp Tool and the Patch Tool to get an even consistent texture (Figure 10.17). Select File > Save to see the 3D model update.

Step 12: The goal is to use the new texture to match the size of the texture information in the base image. So, use Free Transform (Ctrl-T/Cmd-T) and resize it, and then select it and create a new pattern as shown in Figure 10.18 . Select File > Save to see the 3D model update.

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Fig 10.18

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Fig 10.19

Step 13: Fill the layer with the newly defined pattern and add some noise (Figure 10.19). Select File > Save to see the 3D model update.

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Fig 10.20 Change the blend modes of the vector shapes to Overlay.

Fig 10.21 Apply dirt to the road.

Step 16: We are going to use another texture to add more detail to the street. Open “wall texture 002.jpg” (Figure 10.22).

Use the Patch Tool to make a seamless texture similar to what was done in Figure 10.17 (Figure 10.23). Select File > Save to see the 3D model update.


Fig 10.24

Change the blend mode to Overlay to increase the contrast so that the texture integrates with the road harmoniously underneath it (Figure 10.24). Place the texture to one side of the composition and duplicate it to cover the other side. Use layer masks to seamlessly blend the two. Select File > Save to see the 3D model update.

Step 17: The car will be driving along a rundown part of town and the roads will be in need of repair so let's further illustrate this. Select a portion of the “wall texture 002.jpg” that represents the long crack and place it in a new layer of the street texture. Change its blend mode to Hard Light and place it along the double yellow line (Figure 10.25). Select File > Save to see the 3D model update.

Fig 10.25

Use the layer mask to soften the edges to blend into the scene (Figure 10.26).

Fig 10.26

Fig 10.27 Apply additional texture to road.

Now, click Ctrl-S/Cmd-S to save the texture (Figure 10.28) and take a look at the 3D object to see the result.

Fig 10.28


Feb 15 2011 09:41 AM
This is a fantastic article, exposing various techniques all of which I found very useful, as well as the integration and manipulation of 3D models, Bravo!
May 19 2011 05:03 AM
great job! I really liked it

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