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In this installment of his Photoshop CS5 Extended One-on-One series, Deke McClelland shows how to draw six varieties of volumetric objects and manipulate them in 3D space. The course covers how to make 3D objects from 2D layers, work with predefined 3D shapes such as spheres and cubes, import 3D models drawn in other programs, and maximize the power of the Repoussé feature. Exercise files are included with the course.
Here is the effect we're going for in the second project of this chapter. The name of the file Stars & Stripes abide.psd found inside the 10_depth_map folder and I don't know what happened here but the good news is we must have won. Now, those of you who are moderately experienced Photoshop users, you may have seen different methods demonstrated for creating waving flag effects, probably employing a displacement map. What I want to get across here is that a depth map is essentially a 3D version of a displacement map.
So as you may know, I'm going to switch down here, by the way, to the bottom layer in the stack, and go up to the Filter menu, and choose Distort and choose Displace, and then you can load a grayscale image, very much like the depth maps that we've been seeing so far and you will go ahead and distort the image in 2D space. The big difference between a displacement map and a depth map is the depth map really does the same thing except in a 3D space. So you also project the image forward and backward, plus you have the advantages of working in 3D, that is, you can light the scene, you can cast shadows and so forth instead of having to manually render the highlights and shadows as you do with a displacement map.
Now I also have at work an opacity mask, by the way, that's responsible for these frayed edges and these holes that are riddled inside of this flag, and we're going to end up creating that Opacity Mask, in part based on the image and in part using the Fibers Filter. So let's get started. Here is the starting point image, it's called Sky and flag.psd inside of that 10_depth_map folder, and we've got a dramatic sky in the background and this grunge flag illustration in the foreground. They both come to us from the Fotolia Image Library. And, by the way, if you ever have a hankering to integrate one of these images into your own art, then you can find the file numbers for downloading purposes because all the images I'm giving you are pretty darn low-res and they're not licensed for private use.
Go to the File menu and choose the File Info command and you'll find the file numbers that you can use for searches inside the Fotolia Image Library and artist credits as well. I'm going to go ahead and cancel out, that's just so as you know, all right, we're going to start off by selecting the grunge flag layer. Now, it's telling you when you're projecting an image in a 3D using a Depth Map, Photoshop goes ahead and double purposes that layer that you start with both as a depth map and as a diffuse texture. It's as if it doesn't know which one you're going to do, so it gives you both.
Well, that means we can work either direction. So in this case, we're going to start up with the thing we want to project as opposed to the thing that we want to use for the purpose of the projection. So select grunge flag, bring up your 3D panel, make sure 3D Mesh From Grayscale is selected, make sure Plane is selected, click the Create button and you will use the flag to effectively displace itself. And we end up getting this pretty wild effect frankly. If I grab my Object Rotate tool, and drag it around, you can see that we have these fluffy marshmallow stripes and we've got these stars that are just creating absolute spikes in the Bluefield.
Now, I say, as long as we're here let's just go ahead and get all that object positioning out of the way and so these are the values I came up with. Where Orientation is concerned, I entered an X value of 22.5, a Y value of 0.2, and a Z value of -24. And then I switched over to the Drag tool, so I could get to my Position options, and I change the X value to 0. 075, then the Y value to -0.095, and then the Z value to +0.093, like so.
Then I also adjusted the Scaling values quite a bit actually. Go ahead and select that Scale tool and I change the X value to 1.62 and the Y value to 1.21, and then the Z value to 1.46, and I ended up coming up with this base effect. Now it may need some adjustment after we apply our real depth map, but this is a good starting point. You don't have to do any work with the camera. That's the good news. The straight on view is just fine because we're not trying to cast the shadow onto the sky. That won't even make any sense.
However, the rows in the flag are actually going to cast shadows onto each other, and so you'll see that happen when we ray-trace the image. But for now, we've got ourselves this fluffy American flag that's displacing itself. In the next exercise, I'll show you how to create a flag rolling depth map.
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