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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.
Hey gang! This is Deke McClelland. Welcome to Deke's Techniques! This week I've got a special treat for you. We're going to take this simple gradient pattern right here, and we're going to express it as a 3D depth map in order to create this photorealistic temple--and we'll be doing so entirely from scratch. All I've got to work with here is this photographic background; otherwise, we're going to build this whole thing in this movie. Now, a couple of things to note. I'll be working in Photoshop CS6 Extended. You'll need that version of the program as well to follow along with me.
If you have Photoshop CS5 Extended or earlier, and you're a member of the lynda. com online training library, which well you should be, then you can check out Chapter 10 of my course Photoshop CS5 Extended One-on-One: 3D Objects. Otherwise, if you've got CS6--Extended of course--and you're ready to create a wicked-cool 3D piece of artwork, then here, let me show you exactly how it works. So I'll say it again: I'm working inside Photoshop CS6 Extended, which you'll need as well if you want to follow along with me.
We're going to be building this alien temple here, and we'll start off inside of this image from the Fotolia Image Library, about which you can learn more at fotolia.com/deke. Notice I've got this layer called gradient combo. If you go ahead and turn it on, you'll see what we have here is a network of gradients, stretching all the way from black up to white at various points here. They're fairly basic gradients that are collected inside of rectangular marquees and polygonal lasso outlines. But here's the important thing.
You want to be working inside the 16-bit per channel mode before you create your gradient. So if you're working inside of an existing image, you go up to the Image menu, you choose Mode, and then you choose 16 Bits/Channel, that won't change anything about the existing colors in the image, but it will give you a wider range of luminance levels to work with when you're creating gradients, and that's very important if you want smooth results out of depth maps inside of Photoshop. Now, bear in mind that when we convert this gradient to a 3D object, the white areas will go up and the black areas will go down.
So let's go ahead and covert the gradient by clicking on it here inside the Layers panel, and then I'll go up to the Window menu and choose 3D to bring up the 3D panel, which I've separated away from the panels over here on the right-hand side of the screen. Now, what you want to do is select Mesh From Depth Map from this list right here and make sure that the setting below is set to Plane, as it is by default, and then click on the Create button, at which point Photoshop may ask you if you want to switch to the 3D workspace. It's fine if you want to; that's just going to rearrange your panels. I am going to say no, however.
And a moment later, you'll see the temple coming out at you, essentially. So again, the white areas are on top; the black areas are on the bottom. Now, this grid in the background here is what's known as the ground plane and it represents the ground going toward that gray line, which is the horizon. What we're seeing is the temple sitting on its side. Obviously that's not what we're looking for. So go ahead and double-click on the word Depth Map to bring up the Properties panel and then switch over to the second icon, which shows you the coordinates for the shape.
The first thing you want to do is select this X value in the second column and change it to 90 degrees, and that will go ahead and position the temple upright. Now, at this point, you can see that the temple is descending below the ground plane; we don't want that. So go up to the 3D menu and choose Snap Object to Ground Plane in order to move the temple upward like that. The problem is, the temple is way too tall. So notice the Z value in the third column. These are the Scale values right here, and you want to change that Z value, which represents the height of the object, to 52%.
And what Photoshop ends up doing is scaling the temple with respect to its center, so we need to drop the object down again by going back to the 3D menu and choosing Snap Object to Ground Plane. And we end up with this effect. Now we need to adjust our view of the object, and you do that by clicking on Current View in the 3D panel. And now, assuming that your Rotate the 3D Object tool is selected up here in the options bar, you just want to drag around, like so, in order to reposition your view of the object.
And this is a nice jaunty angle here, but I'd like the object to be higher. So I'm going to switch to the Drag the 3D Object tool, which is the middle tool in this group, and I'm going to drag upward in order to move the temple up, like so. Now, you should still see the Coordinates values here inside the Properties panel, and just so that you and I get the exact same results, I am going to dial in some coordinates, which at first are going to mess things up. But I am going to change that first X value to 146. You can see it goes way too far off to the right; we'll get it back in a moment.
Change that first Y value to 102, and change that first Z value to 203. Then tab your way to the second X value and change it to 12 degrees, and then tab to the Y value and change it to 12 degrees as well. The Z value should be 0 degrees. And you'll come up with this camera angle right here. Now, I recommend you go ahead and save this camera by clicking on the little 3D camera icon and clicking on this View option and choosing Save, and I'm going to go ahead and call this guy Primary view and click OK.
Because then from now on you could go ahead and switch between the default Camera view if you wanted to, and the Primary view in order to, for example, adjust your lights and that kind of thing. Now, what I've done is created some lighting in advance for this scene. To load those lights, go ahead and click on the little flyout menu icon here in the upper-right corner of the 3D panel and choose Replace Lights Presets. That way you'll get rid of the existing infinite light. And if you downloaded my exercise files, you'll see one called Desert lights-CS6.p3l. That's what you're looking for.
Go ahead and click on the Load button in order to load it on up. Now click on the word Environment here inside the 3D panel, and that will switch you to the Environment options in the Properties panel, assuming that panel is still open. Go ahead and drag down on the base of the panel so that you expose all the options, and click on that little Global Ambient swatch right there, and then knock the Brightness value down to 30%, and click OK. Next, drop down to the Shadow option and you'll see this Opacity value. I want you to take it up to 100%.
Now all we need to do is adjust the material so this temple looks like less of a blob and more like a real object, and you change the materials by clicking on this item that says gradient combo. Let's go ahead and change its name to materials, so we recognize its purpose. And when you click on materials, you'll see the Materials options listed in the Properties panel. And the first thing I am going to do is change the diffuse texture by clicking on this little page and choosing the Replace Texture command, and then you can load up this file that I've created for you called Stone texture.jpg.
Click the Open button and that will go ahead and apply the texture. We also get this weird fading effect, and that's because for some reason Photoshop automatically applies the gradient that we use to create the depth map as an opacity mask as well. So everywhere the mask is white, the object is opaque; everywhere it's black, it's turning transparent, and so forth. What you want to do is go to the Opacity option, click on that little page, and choose Remove Texture in order to make the entire temple opaque. All right! Now, we want to add a bump map.
So go to the Bump option, click on that little folder icon right there, choose Load Texture. You'll find a file called Brickwork.jpg. Click on the Open button in order to open it on up. Now, obviously those bricks are way too big, so we want to resize them by clicking on this little page icon again and choosing Edit UV Properties. And what you want to do is you want to increase both the U Scale and the V Scale values to 500%. That will jam in five times as many bricks as before, in both directions.
Then go ahead and click OK. Now we want to do the same thing for the diffuse texture. So go up to the word Diffuse, click on that little page icon, choose Edit UV Properties, and change both of these guys--U Scale and V Scale--once again to 500%, and click the OK button once more. And now in order to get rid of the ground plane and get a better view of your image, press the M key to switch to the Rectangle Marquee tool. If you ever want to come back to the 3D tools, you just switch back to the Move tool, or you can press the V key. [00:08:34.1] And now we want to render the scene, and you can do that by clicking on this little Render button at the bottom of the Properties panel.
And that will run the Ray Trace. Now, this is not a fast process in Photoshop; it's better than it was before, but it's still pretty sluggish. It's going to take you a minute or so for your entire scene to render. So we're going to go ahead and speed up the process inside this video. Now that the render is complete, I'll go ahead and close the Properties panel. I am going to close the 3D panel as well, because we don't need it anymore. And I wanted this temple to look like it was interacting better with the sand, so I've added a mask, which you can get to in the Channels panel. And it's this guy right there; it's called sand mask.
So you can see it's a fairly basic mask. I just went ahead and painted some blobs here and there in order to move the sand inward and outward. I'll go ahead and load up that mask by pressing the Ctrl key or the Command key on the Mac and clicking on its thumbnail, and then I'll switch back to the RGB image. I'll switch to the Layers panel as well, make sure that this gradient combo layer is selected. That's not what it should be called; it should be called temple at this point. And then drop down to the Add Layer Mask icon and click on it and that will go ahead and create that interaction. And then finally, I've got this little layer called visitor which contains this guy that I subtracted from a different photo. I went ahead and gave him a shadow as well and set him, as you can see here, to the Multiply blend mode.
And that's how you create and employ depth masks to create architectural elements out of whole cloth here inside Photoshop CS6 Extended.
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