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Although it's not technically painting, another way that we can get textures onto 3D objects is by merging 2D layers onto 3D objects. In this project, I have two layers. I have first this, 2D decal. This does have some 3D looking text. It's something I created in Cinema 4D but it just is a static 2D layer. I also have a 3-dimensional cube I created in Photoshop. If I select the cube layer and move this around, you'll see that it is, in fact, a 3D layer. I'm going to undo that. Now again, this 2D layer, I don't want to throw you off just because it has some 3D stuff on it. I mean I could select the Paint Brush tool and maybe a standard brush here. If I just painted some squiggles on it, and now that's our layer.
The point is it doesn't matter what the layer is. It just has to be a 2D layer. With that layer selected, the 2D layer on top of the 3D object, I'm going to go to the Layers panel fly-out menu and select Merge Down. Incidentally, you'll notice that the 2D layer has changed color because it is now being influenced by the light that we're lighting the cube. If I select the cube layer and select the Rotate 3D Object tool and move this around, you'll now see that this texture is part of our 3D object. Now this is really a helpful feature. Let's say you had a logo that you wanted to put onto a box or maybe a CD cover that you want to put onto a CD case; or perhaps you're working with another artist and they did something in Adobe Illustrator, maybe they made a scar or some other decal, you can use this to merge onto your 3D objects in Photoshop without having to paint it on there.
Now you also notice that before I merge this layer, some of these paint squiggles actually went outside the boundaries of this cube. For those pieces of the layer that you are merging that go outside the boundary of the 3D object, they are just cut off. So that paint squiggle did not finish wrapping around the 3D object. It was just cut off where it went outside the boundaries, where that 3D object was. Now, of course, my squiggles look awful but this feature is a great way to take the standard boring objects you could make in Photoshop, like spheres and cubes, and turn them into something really wonderful with wider application that you could use all over the place.
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