In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to create 3D objects using the 3D option in Photoshop CS4. For the sake of this tutorial, I’ll create a 3D image of earth using 3 images (an earth map, earth bump and clouds) to teach you how to use some of the options related to 3D. You can find these images online or you can use your images. Result of our efforts should look like this:
To get started, open the earth map picture in Photoshop. Then go to 3D, choose New Shape From Layer and select Sphere.
You might get a notification like the one below. Just ignore it. Your 3D rendering will be slow and it might take some time but it works. If you’re working on heavy projects, update your video card. Press OK, and now it will render and you’ll have a 3D image of the Earth.
Choose the 3D Rotate Tool, to rotate the earth as you like.
After you rotated the Earth the way you want, double click on the 3D rectangle on the layer to open the 3D scene window to edit the Earth.
Go to Sphere Material and add some glossiness to the earth to make it nicer.
Set the Infinite Light 1, 2 and 3 to the values set below to lighten up the image a bit.
Next thing we’ll do is add the bump and clouds. Make sure you have the images that you’ll use ready. Again, go to Sphere Material > Bump Strength and click Load Texture:
This is how you’ll earth will look like now. You can increase the strength, by changing the number gradually. It all depends on the look you’re after.
But here you’ll notice that the earth edge is very sharp. We need to make it softer. Go to Scene, and in the Anti-Alias choose Best. This will make it smoother and better looking of course to blend with the background later. Also set the ambient color to 40% gray to lighten up the image.
Now to add the clouds, duplicate the Earth layer and name it Clouds, to be easier to work with. In the Clouds Layer, go to Sphere Material, remove the Bump and Diffuse Textures and set the diffuse color to white. Go to Opacity and click on Load Texture to add the cloud image.
After you add the clouds, you’ll notice that it’s all covered. That’s because the opacity layer covered the wrong parts. What we need to do is click on the Texture icon and click on Open to open a separate tab. Once opened, go to Image > Adjustments and select Invert. Just save it, close it and go back to your 3D image, and you’ll find that it’s automatically updated.
Here’s how my image looks like now.
For even better results, set all three infinite lights to white and reduce the opacity to make it fewer clouds.
Now, we’ll merge both layers. When you merge them, you won’t be able to rotate them anymore, so make sure that this is the final look you want and then select both layers and press Ctrl + E. Now we’ll add inner shadow to darken the bottom part, so the reflection would look better.
Here are the values for the inner shadow:
Add a new layer, and go to Edit > Fill and choose black to create a black background. Then drag it below the earth.
With the move tool, select the earth and bring it up a bit so we can create the reflection. With the Move Tool still selected, press Alt and click and drag the earth to create a duplicate. Bring it down and press Ctrl+T. Then right click the image, and choose flip vertical.
Add a Mask Layer, and select the Gradient Tool. Choose A black to white gradient and drag it from the bottom to the top to create some kind of transparency in the reflection. Reduce the opacity to about 50% as well. You can tilt the reflection a bit as shown below using the Transform Tool (Ctrl+T).
Now all that’s left is some text and we’re done. Have fun.