Advanced Photoshop Tutorials - 3D Effects
by Piero Desopo

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Part 2: working with the layers.

With the previous example we have made a simple 3d shape, and it looks nice. But we can still improve it.

For example you can add a shadow:

Better. But the shape can be improved with a texture! Since the shape is just finished you can add a texture using the layers's features.

So make a new layer on the Shape layer and fill it will a texture (or make a texture on it or copy a texture from another image).

(I've made this simple texture in only three moves: Difference Clouds, Difference Clouds, Chrome).

Now load the Shape layer selection (press CTRL and click on the shape layer). Invert the selection (CTRL/i) and then press Delete.

Now the texture has the shape of the Shape layer. Try to change the mode of the texture layer. In the next image I've used the Soft Light mode:

The good news is that now you can change the color of the texture (and so of the entire shape) simpy with CTRL/u, Hue Saturation (make sure that Colorize is checked).

Good! are you tired? don't worry, the first once is a bit difficult but after some experiment you'll be a master! so, if you aren't tired ;-) we can continue adding other elements, for example a sphere and - why not? - in the hole.

Firstly you need to have the hole selection. To do this go to the channel and select the shape channel. Press W to select Magic Wand Tool and click in the hole.

Save the selection. By default this is channel Alpha 2.

Make a new layer and the load then Alpha 2 selection (you can load the channel selection also from Select Menu/Load selection: Channel).

Now select a dark color, press X and select a light color.

Now you should use the Gradient tool: for this step you need the radial gradient and you'll find it in the Option window (Photoshop 4) or simply pressing SHIFT/g so many times until you can see the radial gradient (Photoshop 5).

Ok fill the selection with the gradient tool. Point the mouse in the top area of the selection and then drag the mouse to the bottom.

Here's the sphere (but you should improve it):

To give a better spherical look I like to use again the layer.

Make a new layer, load the Alpha 2 selection. Press M and with the cursors keys move the selection on the left side and near the top.

Select Menu, Feather: 5.

Invert the selection (CTRL/SHIFT/i and CTRL/h to make the selection invisible).

Press D and then press X. Press G for the Gradient Tool. In the option menu use foreground to transparent. Make a gradient fill on the layer.

As you can see the white color don't fill right the sphere. So reload the Alpha 2 selection invert it and then press Delete.

The advantage to use the layers for these operations is that you can modify all adds by several ways: opacity, mode and so on.

I've changed the opacity layer to 70.

You can improve this sphere adding with the AirBrush Tool some sprinkling using the white color. Make this on the top layer (that with the gradient fill): change the opacity of the AirBrush tool in the option window (press enter to see the option window).

The last step is correct the shadow (it has a hole!).

Well it could be a good idea to clear the shadow layer and make a new shadow.

Now press hold the CTRL key and click on shape layer, then press hold CTRL/SHIFT and click on the sphere layer.

By this way you have added a selection to another! make the shadow.

WOW! Here's the first image and the final:

Do you see some difference? ;-)

The layers are a great Photoshop' features, yet!

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