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Photoshop CS4 Compositing: Combining 2D and 3D, Part 3 of 3


  1. Introduction
  2. Lighting the 3D Object
  3. Adding Texture to the 3D Object
  4. Conclusion

Article Description

Concluding his three-part series, Dan Moughamian, coauthor of Real World Compositing with Adobe Photoshop CS4, uses Photoshop CS4 Extended to finish his seamless composition of 2D and 3D elements.
Lighting the 3D Object

Lighting the 3D Object

Next, I needed to modify the default lighting options to create a more realistic-looking "overhead light" to mimic the sun's general properties in this scene. I clicked the Filter by: Lights button (the icon is a light bulb) and removed the default Infinite Light 1 and 2 lights. I modified the remaining Infinite Light by changing its intensity to roughly .5, which created a very bright highlight—but not so much that everything on the orb was washed out.

Another important step was to set the color of the light to the same bright sky blue and then position the actual light in the scene. Since this light was mimicking the sun, I wanted it to occupy roughly the same "position" in the composite as the sun does. Using the clouds and shadows from the rocks on the ground, I could get an idea of exactly where that would be (overhead and to the left).

To move a 3D light's position, I used the Rotate Light tool (circled in Figure 2) and then clicked the document canvas. As I did so, I watched the 3D object and dragged the cursor until I found a good lighting angle.

Figure 2 Use the 3D panel's Filter by: Lights view to customize the lighting qualities that affect your 3D shape.

Once the general lighting looked okay, I needed to add some material properties to the surface of this orb. A bit of texture and a lot of reflectivity would give the orb an almost mirror-like quality. To handle these surface properties, I clicked the Filter by: Materials button (third from left at the top—it looks like a square grid). Unlike the light properties, I switched the Ambient color of the material to black; this helped with the mirror effect in the finished image.

3. Adding Texture to the 3D Object | Next Section Previous Section