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Not Just for the Faint of 'Art': Learning 3D Basics in Photoshop CS4

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Andrew Faulkner, part of the Adobe Creative Team that produced Adobe Photoshop CS4 Classroom in a Book, presents this tutorial on how to use the 3D capabilities of Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended.

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Adobe Photoshop CS4 Classroom in a Book

Adobe Photoshop CS4 Classroom in a Book


Importing 3D Files

Importing 3D Files

In Photoshop CS4 Extended, you can open and work with 3D files created by applications such as Adobe Acrobat 9 Professional Extended, 3D Studio Max, Alias, Maya, and Google Earth. You can also work with files saved in COLLADA format, a file interchange format that is supported by Autodesk, for example. When you add a 3D file as a 3D layer, it includes the 3D model and a transparent background. The layer uses the dimensions of the existing file, but you can resize it. In this procedure, you'll create a new 3D layer from the 3D file of a pyramid and scale it down.

  1. In the Layers panel, hide the Brick layer so that only the sky is visible.
  2. Select the Sky layer, and choose 3D > New Layer From 3D File. Double-click the Pyramid.obj file. (In Windows, choose All Formats from the File Type pop-up menu to see the file listed.)
  3. A pyramid appears in the image window, and Photoshop adds a 3D layer named pyramid above the Sky layer in the Layers panel (see Figure 16). When you create a 3D layer from an imported file, it's always added above the selected layer.

  4. In the Layers panel, make sure that the pyramid layer is selected, and then choose Linear Light from the Mode pop-up menu. Lower the Opacity value to 85% (see Figure 17).
  5. Select the 3D Scale tool, hidden under the 3D Rotate tool in the Tools panel.
  6. Click above the pyramid and drag toward its center until the pyramid is half its original size. The X, Y, and Z values in the options bar should each be 0.5, as shown in Figure 18.

Congratulations—nice work! You've learned how to do all of the following:

  • Create a 3D shape from a layer
  • Manipulate 3D objects
  • Use the 3D panel to adjust lighting surface and texture
  • Merge 2D layers onto 3D layers
  • Import 3D files

This ends the web tutorial. If you'd like to learn more about the 3D features and capabilities of Photoshop CS4 Extended, you can continue with Lesson 12 in Adobe Photoshop CS4 Classroom in a Book.