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Another great thing about Photoshop CS6 where 3D is concerned is its ability to preview shadows and reflections, before you render the scene, particularly those that are cast onto the ground plane. Let me explain what I mean. I have this 3D bull layer selected here in the Layers panel and the only thing it contains is this bull mesh. So, just as single object in the scene and yet it's casting a Shadow. In truth, there is really nothing to cast this shadow onto except this Invisible Grid Called the Ground Plane, and you can see the Ground Plane by switching over to the Move tool, which is your primary 3D editing tool in Photoshop, and it's that grid that the bull is standing on.
And that Ground Plane can accept both shadows and reflections inside Photoshop CS6, and to see what that looks like, I'll go ahead and switch over to a 3D panel. Make sure my Environment is selected at the top of the list and then in the Properties panel I'll scroll down. And you could see this item called Ground Plane and it lists both Shadows and Reflections and you can determine the degree to which those shadows and reflections are visible by changing these Opacity values over here on the right-hand side. In addition, you can move the shadow around, so currently we have a couple of light sources.
One is Reflected Light. I'm going to go ahead and move this preview up so that we can see it. It's down here and it goes ahead and shines light on the underside of the bull. If I turn it off you can see what the scene would look like without it, and now I'll turn it back on. So the idea is the light is reflecting off the ground and then onto the bull, and its angle is just fine but this sunlight angle right here, if I turn it off, and then turn it back on, you could see that it's responsible for very little action. A little bit of light up here at the top of the bull and then this shadow that's coming down and into the foreground.
That's not what I'm looking for at all. So I'll go ahead and click on the Sunlight to make it active and then I could drag this widget around right here, if I want to move the light in 3D space. Or, I could directly drag the shadow, in order to move the shadow to a different location and that's going to change the light source and kind and relight the scene as you see here. So really couldn't be more intuitive. Now I'm going to go ahead and increase the Softness value. Now there is a tendency in this build for soft shadows not to preview correctly.
That should be addressed by time you see the software. All right, now I'm going to go ahead and render the scene by clicking on the Render button down here at the base of the Properties panel, so that we can see the final ray tracing. Now we're going to speed these renderings up, just so that we're taking up less of your time. Once the scene is finished, you can press the M key to switch back to the Rectangle Marquee tool, which will hide the ground plane and the other 3D folderol. All right, now let's tale a look at another lighting trick that's available to you. I'll switch over to this image and I'll go ahead and zoom out and you can see that we've got quite the problem, where the lighting of the scene is concerned.
Somehow we need more light and we could add a light source--we could do that in Photoshop. However, what I'm going to do is take my existing Spotlight, which is listed way here at the bottom of the 3D panel and I'm going to switch over to the Move tool once again and I will now see the spotlight right there. And in addition to my many controls where adjusting the position and the direction of the spotlight are concerned, I also have these controls right there-- the Hotspot Angle and the Cone Angle. Now the Hotspot represents the area of primary focus where the light is concerned, and then it drops off to the Cone Angle here.
So if you want to increase the area of the light, you start things off generally by increasing this Cone Angle value and I'm going to ahead and take it up to something in the neighborhood of� 80 degrees should work out pretty well. And then, you might also want to go and increase the hotspot and I'm going to take that guy up to just beyond 40 degrees, and we end up getting this effect. So we can see how that opens up the light source dramatically and we are now lighting all of the letters. All right, now I'm going to go ahead and zoom back in here. The other thing I want to do is cast a reflection onto the ground plane and I'll do that by scrolling up my 3D panel list, clicking on the Environment, and then scrolling down to my Ground Plane options right here.
And I'm going to increase the Opacity of the reflection to 50% and you can see that we can preview that reflection on the fly. All right, now I want to preview my shadow again. So I'm going to go ahead and click on that spotlight, even though the light itself is way out of frame, I have this little icon I can click on to select it. And then in my Properties panel, I'll go ahead and reduce the Softness value to 0%, so that I can see it. The thing is, the shadow is black. Now, that's the only Shadow Color option you had in CS5. But in CS6, you can change that shadow color.
I'll click on the environment, so I can gain access once again to my Ground Plane options and then I'll click on that little color swatch and instead of black I'll dial-in Hue value of 210 degrees for blue, Saturation of 100%, and the Brightness of 15%. And that gives us this blue shadow that's more organic to the scene. Then I'll click OK. I'll go ahead and switch back to my light and I'll once again increase the softness value back up 100%. All right, now I'll press M key to switch away from the 3-D scene and I'll press Ctrl+Shift+Alt+R or Command+Shift+ Option+R on the Mac in order to ray trace those letters and render out the shadow and reflections in better detail.
All right, now I want to take that reflection and match it to the surface of this image in the background and I'm going to that using plain old 2D Photoshop magic. Start by switching over to Layers panel and then with the waterdrops layer selected, I'll go to the Layers panel fly- out menu and choose Convert to Smart Object. Then I'll go up to the Filter menu, choose Distort, and choose the Displace command. And the default values are just fine for this effect, so I'll click OK to bring up an open dialogue. And I've created the displacement map in advance. It's just a grayscale version of that waterdrop background, and then I'll click the Open button to apply the displacement map.
Obviously I don't want to reflect the letters themselves. So I'll go ahead and click on this Filter mask to make it active, and then I'll switch over to Lasso tool, and then I'll press the Alt key here, the Option key on the Mac, So I get the Polygonal Lasso function. And I'll just click pretty widely around this text as you see here. And I'll go upto Select menu, choose Modify, choose the Feather command. And I'll apply a Feather Radius of 4 pixels, click OK, and then I'll press Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete to fill that selection with black. All right, now I'll press Ctrl+D or Command+D on a Mac and that is the finished effect with ground plane shadows, ground plane reflections, and better lighting controls, here inside Photoshop CS6.
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