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Deke's Techniques is a collection of short Photoshop and Illustrator projects and creative effects that can be completed in ten minutes or less. The series is taught by computer graphics guru Deke McClelland, and presented in his signature step-by-step style. The intent is to reveal how various Photoshop and Illustrator features can be combined and leveraged in real-world examples so that they can be applied to creative projects right away.
In this movie, I am going to show you how to adjust 3D light sources inside Photoshop CS5 Extended. Now, it's a little bit tricky, as you're about to see, and it's the kind of thing that will become easier as you gain more experience with the program, but it's incredibly important. Just as photography is ultimately the art of capturing light, so, too, when you're trying to create a natural credible 3D scene inside of Photoshop, the success of that scene really hinges on how you light it. So I am going to be showing you ultimately three things: how to convert the default infinite lights that Photoshop gives you to more dramatic spotlights, how to move lights in 3D space-- that's the tricky part--and then finally, how to adjust the softness of shadows.
And over time we'll take this scene that we've managed to create so far, with these very hard shadows--notice that-- to this much more dramatic scene I think, with these softly dropping off shadows that also do a great job of communicating the texture in your materials. All right! So I am going to switch to our image at hand here. I am going to go ahead and press the F key in order to switch to the Full Screen mode, so that I have a lot of room to work, because I am going to need it, because your lights are going to be way out there. Then I am going to press Shift+Tab to bring up my right-side panels and double-click on the thumbnail for my 3D layer in order to bring up the 3D panel.
Notice down here at the bottom, I've got a handful of lights, three lights in all. These are the default lights that Photoshop gives you, and they are all infinite lights, as you can see. I've got one of them turned off currently. Now, first thing I need to do is go ahead and switch out of Ray Tracing, because if I try to edit my lights while Ray Tracing is on, then I am going to have a ton of delays. So I'll go ahead and scroll up to the top of the list, click on Scene, then change the Quality Setting from Ray Traced to Interactive (Painting). All right! Next, I am going to go ahead and scroll down the list and click on the final light, Infinite Light 3, and I am also going to turned off Infinite Light 1, just so I can focus on this one and only one light, so I can figure out what I'm doing here.
Notice if I go ahead and switch to one of the lighting tools--so this is the Light Rotate tool by default, and this will be the fourth tool in the list. That's where your Lining tools are. Go ahead and click on that guy in order to make it active, and you will see your light sources out here in the Image window. I am going to go ahead and collapse the Layers panel here so I have a little more room to work, and this guy, I am not even sure where it is. Oh, it's this one right here, and I can tell because it's the only one that's turned on. It has this ray coming out from it, which shows me that it is the active light right now.
I am going to go ahead and switch the Light Type from Infinite to Spot, so I have got a spotlight going, and spotlights give you the best interaction when you're working with them, inside of the Image window. So that you can see how they're actually hitting the object itself. You can see how the light is ultimately intersecting with the object to a point. Now, we are not getting too much light on the scene. We'll address that in a moment. Let's go ahead and increase that intensity value from 0.3 to 0.6, and I'm also going to change the softness. So, I'll click on the word Softness there to highlight that value, and I'll change it to 22%. These are just values that I came up with as I was working inside the scene.
Feel free to go your own way. Then I'll press the Enter key to accept that setting. Now this guy is way out here, over to the side. I am going to have to zoom out a little farther to even find it. There is my spotlight, and right now I have got my Light Rotate tool. And so I can drag around in order to rotate that light if I want to. I can also try to move it using one of these tools up here, either the Drag tool or I can use the Slide tool instead. And Drag, as you may recall, that tools can let you move the light back and forth, so left and right, as well as up and down.
So I will go ahead and try to drag it around and see what I come up with. That's better, but I really want it to be highlighting the left side of the scene. So I am going to try using the Slide tool for a moment here, and I'll go ahead and drag it either forward in order to bring the light out, or I could move upward in order to bring the light in, like so. You can also use this widget if you want to, either by dragging on the cones in order to move the light, or you can drag on these little arcs right here in order to rotate the light. What I am going to tell you is that you'll get a lot of use out of the X-rotate, which is the red one, and the Z-rotate, which is the blue one.
Those are going to produce pretty big effects. You are not going to see much if you use the Y-rotate, which is the green one, because you are just basically rotating the light around in a circle there. Anyway, I came up with some numerical values, just to try to get the same results. So with either the Drag or the Slide tool selected here, I'm going to change the X value, for starters, to 400, and I will press the Enter key to accept that value. I'll click on Y to make it active, and I will change this value to -700, and press Enter again, and then I will click on the Z value and change it to -50.
And I'll end up getting this placement right here. Now, the light is not rotated in the right position, so I will switch over to the Rotate tool here in the options bar, and then I'll click on the X value once again. It's a little bit ponderous, I have to warn you, but if you've ever lit a real-life scene, you know how much time you spend doing it. I'll go ahead and change that X value to 0 and press Enter once again. I'll click on Y, and I will change that guy to 1200, and then I'll click on Z, and I'll change this one to -600, and in case you're wondering where in heck I got these values, of course, trial and error. I just worked with the scene in order to figure this out. All right! Now, let's go ahead and turn on what is called Infinite Light 1.
We are going to switch it to a spotlight. I'll go ahead and click on the eyeball to turn it on there, and there is that light. Let's go ahead and switch it out to a spotlight as well, like so, and its Intensity is just fine, but I am going to change the Softness value to 28 for this guy. And then notice Hotspot, notice what happens when I hover over the Hotspot value. See that little icon over here to the right-hand side. It shows you what the hotspot is. If I just hover over Falloff, it shows me what the falloff is. So just pay special attention to that. I am going to raise that Falloff value to 55, in order to create a wider arc for that light, and then I'm going to enter some values up here in the Options bar once again.
I am going to click on that Slide tool-- or the Drag tool, either one--and I am going to enter an X value this time of 1,000. And for Y, I'll change that value to -550, and then for Z, let's go ahead and try a value of 200 here. And I am working from piece of paper, of course. I wrote these things down, so forgive me. Now I am going to switch over to the Rotate tool, because I want to enter the position, the coordinates for the Rotation. And I'll change that X value this time around to -100, and you can see that I went ahead and rounded off these values, just for the sake of convenience.
What little convenient it provides. I'll change the Y value to 500, and then I will go ahead and click on Z, and I'll change it to -500, like so. We end up getting some pretty good coverage on both the far left-hand side of the scene and the far right-hand side of the scene. We need a fill light for the middle, and it's going to be, of course, what was formerly Infinite Light 2. I will go ahead and turn that on. Now, this guy is in totally the wrong position. He is down here at the bottom of the scene. He's backlighting the scene as well, and that's not what we want. I want it to be coming down and in from the top, so I am going to have to do a fair amount of work here.
I will go ahead and change the Light type once again to Spot, and this time I am going to raise the Intensity to 0.8, and I'll change the Softness value to let's say 25%, and I'm going to slightly increase the Falloff from 45 degrees, which is the default, to 50 degrees. Now, comes the fun part. We have got to drag this guy around to figure out where in the world it is. Currently it's shining toward us, and that's not really very easy to figure out, but now he's I think he's shining away from me now, if I just kind of rotate this guy around.
I am just dragging around with the Rotate tool. I am not sure I am doing the scene that much good, but let's go ahead and try to drag it to a different location. I'll go ahead and get that Drag tool up there in the Options bar, and I'll move this light upward, and notice it's rotating around as I move it, and now let's go ahead and try to work with the Slide tool. See if we drag it forward or backward, that's going to do any good. This guy is a problem so far, so I'll go ahead and rotate it around using the widget here. So I just did an X-rotate. Now let's try doing a Z-rotate and see if that gets us anywhere.
The light is too far out is the problem. So it's too far away from the scene. Let's go ahead and change its positioning here. So notice that my Slide tool is active. I will go ahead and enter an X-value this time around of 600-- let's try that out--and a Y value of -650. Then finally, watch me jump in the air there. Now, I have got the Z value selected, and I'll change it to 0 and see if that brings it down to earth a little bit. It does. I'm very optimistic at this point. I'm going to go ahead and switch over to my Rotate tool, and I'll highlight that X value, and I'll change it to 0, and then I'll highlight the Y value, and I'll change that guy to 600.
That should help us out, and then I'll go ahead and click on Z to make it active. And I will change this value to -300, and we end up lighting the middle of the scene. That's awesome. All right! So at this point if you want to, you could tidy things up by renaming your lights. They shouldn't be called infinite lights really, because they are not. They're all spotlights. So you could just double- click on one of these guys. It's just like renaming a layer. Just change this one. I will go ahead and double-click on the words, and change it to spot 1 and then I will double-click and the other one and change it to spot 2.
So it's up to you if you want to do this kind of housekeeping, but it might help you out in the future if you're trying to keep track of what's going on. So I will change this one to spot 3, and then I will scroll up the list to the top here, click on Scene, and of course what we need to do is ray trace. So I am going to switch to my Rectangular Marquee tool to get rid of those wireframes that indicate my lights. And now I'll go to the Quality Setting and change it from Interactive to Ray Traced. And you can see now as Photoshop is going through in ray tracing the scene, that we are getting these nice diffuse shadows.
It's a much better effect. I also think it's a more dramatic effect and a more credible effect as well. Now, as usual, ray tracing takes a few minutes, so you'll just have to sit back and watch it happen, or leave the room and get a cup of coffee. We, of course, are going to go ahead and speed up this process. And here is the final ray tracing according to Photoshop. Now, it still needs a little extra drama in my opinion. I'll go ahead and zoom in here. I would like these shadows to be a little darker. Not quite as gray, either. So I am going to hide my 3D panel, bring back my Layers panel here, and notice that I've gone ahead and created a gradient overlay effect in advance.
And I find effects and adjustment layers to be exceedingly useful in combination with these 3D effects. So I will go ahead and turn on the gradient overlay and notice that we get these very nice dark shadows as a result, and that's it. I'm going to press the F key in order to switch to the Full Screen mode, and here is my final 3D scene with more dramatic spotlights--differently positioned lights of course, as well--and finally, softly focused shadows, here inside Photoshop CS5 Extended.
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