Join Tim Grey for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating blocks with Extrude, part of Photoshop: Creative Effects and Filters (2012).
Some of the filters in Photoshop, utilize geometry for their effect. And one of the perhaps more extreme variations on that is the Extrude filter, which creates three dimensional geometric shapes out of a photo. Let's take a look at this very interesting filter effect. I'll start off by creating a background copy layer, by dragging the thumbnail for my background layer, down to the create new layer button at the bottom of the layers panel. And then I'll turn that background copy layer into a smart object by choosing Filter Convert for Smart Filters from the menu and clicking OK on the Confirmation dialog.
And then I can choose Filter > Stylize > Extrude from the menu in order to bring up the Extrude dialog. For this filter we don't get a preview of the effect which is one of the reasons that I'm using this filter as a smart filter. Because that enables me to go back and fine tune the settings based on the result I get initially. I'll go ahead and leave these options set as they are. The type is set to Blocks, my size is at 30 pixels, the depth is at 50 with a random setting. I have the Solid Front Faces checkbox turned on and the Mask Incomplete Blocks option turned off. I'll go ahead and click ok and that will apply the effect to my smart object layer and then we can go back to this filter and further analyze a little bit exactly what's going on.
I'll double-click on the Extrude filter on the Layers panel. That will bring up the dialog once again. I can choose whether I want to work with blocks which is what I have here. The square shapes that have risen up out of the photo or pyramids which produces a similar effect but with pointed blocks rather then square blocks. I can also change the size of course. I'll go ahead and make these blocks a little bit larger. I'll set this value to 40. I can adjust the depth, in this case I'm at a value of 50, but I can adjust that if I'd like. Perhaps, for example, I'll use a value of 30 to create a little bit less dramatic effect.
And I can choose to have the size or the height of those blocks be random. So you'll see random variation here in the heights or based on tonal levels within the image. I'll go ahead and switch that option to Level Based and then I can turn off the Solid Front Faces checkbox. That's creating the solid color at the top of each of these geometric shapes. With this check box turned off, we'll see the original image at the top of each of those shapes. And I can also turn on the Mask Incomplete Blocks checkbox. And what that means is if any of the blocks are partially outside of the image, then the original image will be revealed in that area instead. So, I'll go ahead and click OK, and you can see that now I have a significantly different version of the image.
The blocks are not as tall. And we're also seeing the original image in the face of it. I don't personally care for this effect as much. It just looks like a grid line pattern was painted over the image. I'll go back to the Extrude filter in order to adjust those settings. I think that depth needs to be a little bit higher. I'll take it up to 60, which is even higher than it was originally. I'll turn on the Solid Front Faces checkbox, because that creates I think a little more itneresting effect. And I'll leave the depth option set to random as well. I'll go ahead and click OK. And you can see now a much different variation on the image. And notice, by the way, that in the areas where those blocks are not entirely within the photo, we have the original image showing through. Through, a somewhat subtle effect, but that helps to prevent a situation where the blocks essentially look like they got cropped off. So, with just a few adjustments to the settings, you can get very, very different results.
I'll go back to Extrude one more time and perhaps use the Level Based option with the depth back down to 50, and I'll click OK. And you see now quite a different interpretation of the photo, since it now is based on the actual tonal values within the image. So, all sorts of different possibilities. It's one of those filters that you can really play with quite a bit and find a wide variety of different interpretations for the image. In fact, we haven't, yet, looked at the actual effect of that Pyramids option. So, I'll go ahead and use Pyramids, I'll change the Depth option to Random, and I'll click OK.
And now, you see a spiky interpretation of the photo, these pyramids rising up, out of the image, at us. I generally prefer the Blocks option, I'll go ahead and switch that back, in the Extrude filter, and click OK. But again you can get a wide variety of different interpretations of the image with just small changes to the settings that you use for this very unique filter.
- Working with the Filter Gallery
- Creating a black-and-white effect
- Applying a vignette
- Adding motion blur
- Creating a painterly effect with Find Edges
- Smearing with Liquify
- Mapping the image with Trace Contour