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In this exercise, we're going to generate a couple of masks, and we're going to do so early, because the earlier you can get your masks out of the way, the better. And it's always easiest to lift those masks when you have plain letters without any diffuse textures. I have saved my progress as Original gray letters.psd, found inside that 04_grunge folder. We need two masks. We need to be able to mask the entire letters; that is the face, the beveled edges, and the extruded sides. And then I need another mask for just the faces, independent of the bevels and the extrusions.
So let's get to work here. I'm going to start things off by blacking out the background, and you can do that, in the case of this image, by turning on that original shape layer right there. And then go ahead and Shift+Click on the Vector Mask to turn it off, and now you're covering everything, except for the 3D object, with black. Now I'll double-click on the thumbnail for the 3D object to bring up the 3D panel. And let's go ahead and turn off the ray tracing for a moment by clicking on Scene, and then changing the Quality back to Interactive (Painting). Now turn off the light source; we're not going to need it. And we want to set the illumination options for the Front Inflation, the Front Bevel, and the Extrusion Material all to 100%.
So go ahead and click on that first material, the Front Inflation, and then click on the Illumination swatch, and let's go ahead and take that brightness value up to 100%. Press the Enter or Return key in order to light up those faces. Now click on the next material down, click on its Illumination swatch, change the brightness value to 100%. Press the Enter or Return key in order to escape the dialog box. Click on the Extrusion Material, click on its Illumination swatch, change the brightness to 100%, click OK, and we've got our letters. Now then, we need to render them so that we don't have the jagged edges.
Go ahead and click on the Scene item at the top of the panel, and change the Quality setting to Ray Traced Draft. And Photoshop should rip through the rendering process fairly quickly. Because we haven't done that much work inside this image, we're just going to go ahead and take the masks, and put them in this image, as opposed to creating a special mask file as we did in the previous chapter. So go over to the Channels panel, and grab the Blue channel, just because it's the nearest to the bottom, and drag it and drop it onto that little page icon in order to create a copy of that channel, and let's go ahead and name this one all letters.
So we've got an Alpha channel; you can see I've got another Alpha channel that I've created for you. We'll come back to that one later. Now return to the RGB image, and then back here in the 3D panel, go ahead and restore the Quality setting to Interactive (Painting), and let's also restore the illumination values for the extruded sides, as well as that contoured bevel. Go ahead and click on Extrusion Material, click on the Illumination swatch, reduce that brightness value to 0%. And then click on the Front Bevel, click on its Illumination swatch, and reduce that brightness value to 0 as well, then click OK.
All right, we haven't quite gotten rid of everything. We're still seeing dark gray versions of those beveled edges, as well as the extruded sides, and that's because we have a little bit of ambient light going on. So click on Scene to make it active, then click on Global Ambient Color. Let's go ahead and take that guy down to 0%, bearing in mind that we'll need to restore it to 50% before we're done. Now click OK in order to accept that change, and then, with Scene selected, let's go ahead and render out the scene by choosing Ray Traced Draft.
Again, Photoshop should fairly well rip through this process, so it should take about 30 seconds; maybe a minute. But go ahead and let it finish so you get the smoothest results possible. All right; now let's, once again, create a copy of that Blue Channel by dragging it down onto the page icon. I'll rename this new Alpha channel faces only. Press the Enter key, or the Return key, in order to accept that change. Now, notice here inside the image window that we do have a few sort of corner artifacts going on. And that's because, for whatever reason, that face extrusion material is showing up in the very corner of the letters.
We need to get rid of those little dots there, and the easiest way to do that is to select the Eraser tool, and then change the mode up here in the options bar from Brush, to Block. Block is great, by the way. Notice that the size of the block stays the same even if you zoom out. Or if you want more control, then you can zoom in, and you have a tinier block, at least with respect to the size of the image. All right, I need my background color to be black, so I'll press the X key, and then I'll go ahead and just paint these little guys away, and it's just a matter of clicking on each one of these little items.
It's fairly mind-numbing work, quite frankly. Now it looks like I've got everything. I'll press Control+0, or Command+0, to zoom out, and then zoom back in a little bit. Switch back to that RGB image; click on the Layers tab to switch back to the Layers panel. All right, so we have our mask. Now the image is kind of a mess, but we'll solve that problem, as well as assign a couple of materials, in the next exercise.
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