Photoshop users no longer need to spend their time divided between Photoshop and third-party 3D software. Photoshop 3D for Animators, written by Rafiq Elmansy, closes the gap and explains the 3D tools provided in Photoshop software. His guided instructions help users create their own 3D content, add 3D content to Photoshop, edit content, transfer content to other sources, and create animation with your own Photoshop timeline.
Elmansy starts out with the basics – explaining the importance of configuring your computer system and identifying elementary 3D concepts and terminology. It’s important to configure your computer system to work specifically with your Mac or PC and get the absolute most out of your Photoshop workspace. Understanding the relationship between Photoshop and your computer hardware is the first step to enable you to get the most of your project requirements and your computer’s capabilities. And equally important, is understanding what is being said in the 3D world. These fundamental basics give you the edge needed to get the best performance available for your project needs.
Adobe Bridge, a key tool for working with Photoshop 3D, is the integration concept between all Adobe products. This central location makes it easy for all file formats and project files to come together in one setting. With Adobe Bridge, you can manage your various Adobe files, 3D models, textures and materials, view them in one location, and arrange them according to your project needs. The integration allows all Adobe files from all Adobe products to be worked on together in one location. The most effective solution to utilizing Adobe Bridge is to understand the anatomy and structure of the program as a central workstation. Features and Panels are strategically arranged for a more effective user-friendly interface with six main segments, each with its own specific features:
- Main Menus and Top Features Panel – Located here are the main Adobe Bridge commands
- Folders and Favorites Panels – Browse and access your files in local drives in your folders and create your own Favorites by adding your most used resources in the panel.
- Filters and Collections Panels – Under Navigations, these panels are available to filter and organize your saved images.
- Content Panel – Users can browse and view files, images and videos in this location.
- Metadata and Key Words Panels – These panels are for editing the metadata within image files. Keywords panel is useful when adding keywords to your images.
- Adobe Bridge Preferences – Your preferences can be set for a more personalized experience – the appearance, program behaviors, default folders, specify thumbnail size, adjust and configure settings for the different settings, creating labels and rename files.
Photoshop has the ability to import external 3D objects and models from other various formats and applications. Rafiq Elmansy translates the structure of 3D models through the 3D panel and explains how to best edit the properties in the models. While it’s important to understand the properties of the 3D image, it’s equally as valuable to understand the tools available and the method to working with 3D models. There are many tools offered to help with the editing of your 3D model, including:
- 3D Object Control Tools – rotate, roll, pan, slide and scale
- 3D Camera Control Tools – orbit, roll, pan, walk, and zoom
- 3D Axis Tool – moving, rotating, and scaling
- Rotate View Tool – the ability to rotate the image on your screen to work and edit from various angles
- 2D Tools – These tools are used to edit 3D images using 2D tools: object selection, magic wand, quick selection, painting, and eraser
In addition to transferring objects, you can also create models in Photoshop 3D. Emansay explains wach method and its intended use and specific features.
- 3D Postcard – How-to tutorials to create a 3D postcard from a 2D layer and change its 3D properties
- 3D Shapes – A 3D library of basic shapes to use for a model base
- New Volume of Layers – Ability to create a 3D model from a 2D image by layering and adding volume
- 3D Meshes – Navigation of a mesh using rotate, scale, position, roll, drag, or slide
- Repoussé – Ability to create and modify 3D text and 3D content from 2D paths and selections
After creating the model from existing images or constructing a completely new image, is texturing and painting. This process creates a more realistic and higher quality image. Working with light is another important aspect of bringing your image to life. Lighting reflects the image’s volume, texture, and enhances color schemes and materials. Elmansy describes in detail the different types of light and how to best use them to achieve the finest desired effects. Those light options are infinite light, spotlight, image-based light, and point light.
The final process is the rendering process – converting the 3D scenes to images and video animations, based on the render settings – presets, quality, paint-on, global ambient and cross-section. These settings help set the render options.
- Face-Style – How to produce the polygon faces into its final shape
- Edges Style – Controls the edges of the object
- Vertex Styles – Identifies the vertex and finds the errors in the vertices
- Volume Styles – Creating the volume within the object through layers
- Stereo Styles – Prepares the model for illusion
Having knowledge of the many rendering methods helps users gain a better understanding of this process and be able to export your 3D model with quality effects, which is the exact goal when working with and creating unique 3D objects. Rafiq Elmansy walks through the render settings and options for the 3D model as well as integrating the animations created into other applications such as Adobe Flash, Adobe Creative Suite, and Adobe Effects.