Can I do 3-D effects with Photoshop?
Adobe Photoshop is the perfect 2-D image editing program; however, though
limited, you can do some 3-D effects or actions in Photoshop.
First there is the Filter: Render: 3-D Transform (in Photoshop 7). This
will allow you to create simple 3 dimensional shapes or wrap an image in a 3D
shape. There are three kinds of 'primitives': sphere, cube and cylinder.
Using 3D transform will simply distort the pixels and you may have to add a drop
shadow to see the effect.
In the 3D transform editing box are your primitive tools to create basic
shapes and also basic editing tools; Select and Direct Select. Select
moves the entire object and direct select allows you to drag the anchor points
to make adjustments. You have viewing options such as the pan camera and
trackball. These allow you to preview and move the 3-D render around from
Remember that whatever filter you run (such as 3D transform) is going to
apply to the layer that you are currently on. If you wanted to create some
3-D shapes, first create a new layer and fill it with a color. Then you'll
still have to create some drop shadows or darker shades of color fills on the
3-D shapes layer.
The rest of your options come down to the Edit: Transform function.
Here you can create some 3-D effects with text really well. All you have
to do is use the different transform functions. It's easiest just to free
transform by using shortcuts: Alt (Opt) E: F (Edit: Free Transform) and then
holding down the Ctrl (Cmd) key while you drag any of the 'handles' in any
direction you want.
If you are going to add filters or layer effects with a 3-D transform you're
going to want to rasterize your text layer first. Right click on the layer
in the layers palette and choose 'rasterize layer'. This will convert your
text into a normal 'layer' which you can then do anything you want to it (as
with normal layers vs. text layers). After rasterization, you can't edit
the text again so make sure to make a backup copy or be ready to retype your
text with the text tool.
Here is an example of a "3-D" transform. This image
is available as an iPSD Flyer Series file. You can get it with the
Photoshop Designer Package
The 3-D options are hardly anything compared to Alias Maya or other 3-D
programs, but then again, Photoshop isn't meant to be. We should be
grateful there are some 3-D effect options available. With all of the file
format options you can import and export 3-D files created in other programs for
further image editing in Photoshop and you can still do some nice 3-D
perspective transformations on your layers.
- Orion Williams copyright 2004