Solution

What could be more innovative than a lighthouse-in-a-box? In this solution, I'm going to place a picture of a lighthouse onto the side of a box to simulate the packaging of my fantastic new product.

The box and the lighthouse

As you can see from the example at left, I've got two documents open: one is my box, and the other is the lighthouse (the image I'm going to place onto my box).

The box and the lighthouse

Select the box document. The first step is to measure the size of the box's surface. We'll do this using the Measure Tool (/), which can be found in the flyout menu of the Eyedropper Tool. With the Measure Tool selected, click and hold the mouse down on one corner of the box, then drag the cursor along the edge to measure it, as shown at right. The measurement will be displayed in the options bar.

My box measured as follows: ■ top edge: 175px ■ right edge: 250px Measuring the distance of an edge bottom edge: 180px ■ left edge: 240px I'm going to use 250x180pixels as the base dimensions for my lighthouse image. However, instead of cropping to these values, I'm going to crop to an area that's 1.5 times larger (270x375 pixels). This will give me the ability to preserve image quality if my image stretches when I'm distorting it later.

Select the Crop Tool (C), and enter the dimensions of the cropping area into the options bar, as shown below.

Setting dimensions for the Crop Tool

Select the lighthouse document, and click and drag within the document window to define the crop area of the image, as shown at right. Double-click in the bounding box when you're ready to crop the image.

Make a selection of the newly-cropped document using Ctrl-A (Command-A on a Mac), and copy it using Ctrl-C (Command-C).

Cropping the image

Setting dimensions for the Crop Tool

Cropping the image

Creating the vanishing point layer

In the Layers palette of the product box document, create a new layer and give it a relevant name. I've called mine vanishing point.

Select Filter > Vanishing Point.

In the dialog box that appears, make sure that the Create Plane Tool (C) is selected, as shown below.

Using the Create Plane Tool in the Vanishing Point dialog box

Click on the four corners at the front of the box to define the perspective plane, as illustrated at right. Zoom in and adjust the corners if you need to.

Creating a perspective plane

While still in the Vanishing Point dialog box, paste the copy of your cropped image using Ctrl-V (Command-V).

Pasting the cropped image in the Vanishing Point dialog box

While still in the Vanishing Point dialog box, paste the copy of your cropped image using Ctrl-V (Command-V).

Pasting the cropped image in the Vanishing Point dialog box

Drag the picture onto the perspective plane, as shown below. It will snap into place.

Image snapped to perspective plane

Press T to until they transform the shape. Drag the edge and corner control handles inwards are aligned with the edges of the box, as shown overleaf.

Transforming the shape

Click OK to commit the transformation and exit the Vanishing Point dialog box.

Applying the transformation

In the example above, the product box has a slight reflection. We'll create a reflection of the photo to match. In the Layers palette, create another new layer and name it reflection.

Bring up the Vanishing Point dialog box by selecting Filter > Vanishing Point. You should see the grid you created earlier. Press Ctrl-V(Command-V) to paste another copy of the cropped image into the document. Repeat the transformation, but this time, check the Flop checkbox to turn the image upside-down, as shown below.

Vanishing Point

Vanishing Point

Transforming the reflection layer

Click and drag the image to move it down so that the top edge of the flipped image meets the bottom edge of the box, as shown below. Click OK to apply the transformation.

Creating the reflection

Add a layer mask to the reflection layer by clicking on the Add layer mask button at the bottom of the Layers palette. Select the layer mask and use the Gradient Tool (C) to add an angled black-to-white gradient to fade out the reflection from the bottom-left. The results are shown at right.

With this solution, you're not confined to adding images to the surfaces of boxes. You could also put images onto an image of a computer screen, add posters and paintings to images of walls, place your own photos on the covers of books,

The completed product box

and even replace someone's picture in a magazine—the possibilities are endless!

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