Wrapping an Image around a 3D Shape

I've long maintained that three-dimensional drawing programs would catch on better if they were sold as plug-in utilities for Photoshop. Imagine being able to import DXF objects, add a line or two of text, move the objects around in 3D space, apply surface textures, and then render the piece directly to independent Photoshop layers. After that, you could change the stacking order of the layers, edit the pixels right there on the spot, or maybe even double-click a layer to edit it in 3D space. Virtually every digital artist working in 3D visits Photoshop somewhere during the process, so why not do the whole process in Photoshop and save everyone a few steps? Experienced artists would love it and novices would take to 3D in droves.

Frankly, my little fantasy isn't likely to take form any time soon. Photoshop would have to modify its plug-in specifications, and some brave programming team would have to spend a lot of time and money producing an aggressive suite of plug-ins. Even so, Adobe seems to share my dream. Filter ^ Render ^ 3D Transform lets you wrap an image around a three-dimensional shape. Although the drawing tools are rudimentary, the spatial controls are barely adequate, and the filter lacks any kind of lighting controls, 3D Transform is a first tentative step in the right direction.

Figure 11-43 shows exactly what 3D Transform can do. In each case, I started with the brick image shown in the upper-left corner of the figure. Then I wrapped the image around the three basic kinds of primitives permitted by the 3D Transform filter — a cube, a sphere, and a cylinder. 3D Transform lets you add points to the side of a cylinder, as I did to get the hourglass shape. You can also mix and match primitives, as the final example in Figure 11-43 illustrates.

Notice that in each case, 3D Transform merely distorts the image. It has no affect on the brightness values of the pixels, nor does it make any attempt to light the shapes (which is why I'd prefer to see it under the Distort submenu as opposed to Render). I added the shadows using Layer Layer Style Drop Shadow.

Note To be perfectly fair, 3D Transform is not the first three dimensional plug in for

Photoshop. That honor went out years ago to the Series 2: Three D Filter from Andromeda {www.andromeda.com). Even now, Series 2 offers features that Photoshop's 3D Transform plug-in lacks, including a wider range of numerical controls and lighting functions — but 3D Transform is easier to use.

Original image Cylinder

Wrap Image Around Shape Photoshop

Figure 11-43: The 3D Transform filter lets you wrap an image (upper left) around each of three basic primitives (cube, sphere, and cylinder), a modified cylinder (hourglass), or several shapes mixed together.

Contact Sphers Cylinder Figure

Figure 11-43: The 3D Transform filter lets you wrap an image (upper left) around each of three basic primitives (cube, sphere, and cylinder), a modified cylinder (hourglass), or several shapes mixed together.

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