Photoshop tutorials. Topic 3. Improving photos. Lesson 8. Creating a volumetric ”three-dimensional” photograph in Adobe Photoshop (Topic)

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Photoshop tutorials. Topic 3. Improving photos. Lesson 8. Creating a volumetric ”three-dimensional” photograph in Adobe Photoshop


Adobe Photoshop is a powerful graphics editor that allows you to create amazing compositions from ordinary photos. The technique of creating volumetric photos using Photoshop tools is one of those. Having studied the proposed topic, you can quickly add volume and dynamics to your photos yourself using standard Adobe Photoshop tools. This lesson is applicable to any version of the program. From Adobe Photoshop 5.5 to Adobe Photoshop CS6.

Create a 3D photo in Photoshop.

About Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is one of the most popular packages for processing bitmap graphics. Despite the high price, up to 80% of professional designers, photographers, and computer graphics artists use the program. Due to its enormous functionality and ease of use, Adobe Photoshop has a dominant position in the graphics editor market.

Rich tools and ease of use make the program convenient for both simple photo correction and for creating complex images.

Topic 3. Photo enhancement. Lesson 8. Creating a volumetric "three-dimensional" photo in Adobe Photoshop.

Photos are undoubtedly important for each of us. This is a memory and, if I may say so, an illustration of the brightest moments of life. But the image has one drawback. The picture, both on the computer monitor and in the "paper" print, is flat.

And often I want to emphasize the dynamics, drive, mood. Is it possible to return the volume to our photo? With the help of Photoshop - no doubt. In the last lesson, methods of enhancing the volume of photos were considered. This lesson is a logical continuation. Based on the studied basic tools of Adobe Photoshop, we will create a bright, dynamic and three-dimensional photo in 10-15 minutes.

The following methods will be used for work:

  1. Select part of the image and copy to a new layer
  2. Enhancing the volume of an image using Adobe Photoshop filters
  3. Photoshop Blending
  4. Layer Blending Styles.

The first three topics have already been covered in this Adobe Photoshop course. The text will contain links to already posted lessons.

For now, let's talk about how we perceive volume. Any object interacts with those that are behind it. At the very least, it shades them. The task of making a photo three-dimensional comes down to two methods:

  1. Working with shadows, outlines of objects: enhancing the boundaries of light and shadow
  2. Working with sharpness and blur in different parts of the photo

How it looks in practice, we began to study in the framework of the lesson "How to quickly and easily increase the volume of a photo in Photoshop." But then the work was carried out with the entire image. Now let's work with the fragments.

Practical part.

Selecting a fragment of a photo, clipping it from the background is an effective way to draw attention to an image. Such photos look bright, impressive, and are well remembered. The technique is often used in advertising, periodicals. And in home collections.

For work, let's take a photo of a horse familiar to the topic of "selection". As a "victim" could be a portrait of any person. By the way, which you can try to do with your photos.

Working with a horse photo

First, the horse needs to be selected and placed on a new layer. How this is done is described earlier. You can use any tool. Starting from "selection with paths", ending with "selection through channels". The latter is perhaps the most justified, since allows you to highlight the area of the mane as accurately as possible.

So the algorithm of actions

  • Select a horse in any of your usual ways
  • Copy it to a new layer
  • Make 1-2 copies of the horse layer (no background).
  • Select part of the image in the background and delete it. To do this, just press the button " Del "

Hint: it is advisable to "release" the layer before removing part of the background - remove the lock. To do this, double-click the left mouse button on the lock icon on the left side of the layer plate on the layers palette.

As a result, you should get something like this:

Photo preparation for work

Next, go to the second layer (with a horse without a background). As you know, objects in the foreground tend to shade the background. Adding shadows around the horse is done using the Layer Style palette tools.

Calling the Layer Style Palette

To call the layer blending style:

  • Select the layer to which you will apply the effect
  • From the Layers menu, choose Layer Style
  • Next - any of the options in the drop-down menu. A common palette of settings for all tools will open.

Effects are enabled by ticking the checkbox on the left side of the palette (opposite their name). To adjust the effects, go to the corresponding tab. This is done in the same way as switching between layers - by left-clicking on the corresponding line.

Briefly describe the main parameters of the layer styles

  • The Drop Shadow tool block adds a drop shadow from this layer. In this case, the color of the shadow, its properties and blending mode can be adjusted to your liking.
  • Inner Shadow tool. Works like the previous tool. With one difference - the shadow is cast inside your image. This creates a "sunken" or "sunken" edge effect.
  • The Outer and Inner Glow blocks are responsible for highlighting the outer areas or inner edges of the image. At the same time, if you look closely at the tool settings, the glow and shadows are one and the same. It's easy to transform tools into each other - just change the blend color and blend modes.
  • The Emboss tool works with the edges of an image. Its algorithm is similar to the embossed filter that you learned in the previous lesson. Embossing adds light and shadow to borders, creating a volumetric effect.
  • Gloss. As the name suggests, the task of this tool is to add highlights and the so-called glossy effect.
  • The Color Overlay, Gradient Overlay, Pattern Overlay tools fill the image area with color, gradient, or texture. In this case, you can achieve both complete replacement and alignment in modes similar to layer blending modes. Color, texture and gradient can also be adjusted by transparency.
  • The Stroke tool adds a path around the layer. In this case, you can outline the object with color, gradient transition or pattern. Looks very impressive when applied to regular geometric shapes or, for example, text.

Note: If your layer is locked or is in the background (which is basically the same), layer styles cannot be applied to it. To fix the situation, remove the lock (convert to a regular layer). To do this, select the layer, double-click the lock icon.

Tip: You can also add a layer style from the " Layers " panel. To invoke tools:

  • Select a layer in the Layers panel.
  • At the bottom of the Layers palette, click the f(x)
  • icon
  • Select the desired style from the drop-down list

When the style is set, additional icons will appear under the layer icon. There are two ways to edit the applied effect (or cancel it altogether):

  1. Double click on the name of the effect. The corresponding settings panel will open
  2. Select a layer. Then go to the settings panel through the menu " Layers " - " Layer style ".

For further work we need only two effects - " Shadow " and " Emboss ". They have similar basic settings. Let's go through each of them:

tool palette shadow and embossing set layer style

Setting the Drop Shadow

  • The Overlay menu is completely identical to overlaying layers. To the right of the drop-down list, you can select the color of the shadow. To do this, just double-click on the black square.
  • " Opacity " - a complete analogue of transparency when overlaying layers - adjusts the level of overlap of the underlying pixels (information on the lower layers).
  • "Angle " - adjusts the angle of incidence of light. The shadow is cast in the opposite direction. A very important tool. The mismatch of the angles of light on the effect with the illumination of the picture always produces an unsuccessful collage.
  • "Offset " adjusts the distance from the object to the shadow. Specified in pixels. Excessive displacement can result in a "blank" border between the object and the shadow.
  • "Swing " - adjusts the size of the shadow itself. Considering that the shadow is a gray area, which is then blurred, then "Swipe" describes the size of the initial area of the shadow. The larger it is, the larger the shadow
  • "Size " is responsible for the blur level of the shadow. The action of the algorithm completely repeats the operation of the Blurring mechanism. To understand the principles, just repeat the lesson "selection with blur"
  • The "Outline ” block is responsible for the outline type at the edges of the image. In fact, this is the structure of the bevel when creating a volume effect.
  • The item "Smoothing " controls the effect of "blurring" the extreme pixels. It is useful for shadowing a selection with sharp edges.

Setting the " Emboss " effect

Drop-down menu style. Adjusts the way the border is formed and on which pixels it is formed: inside the image or outside. Let's briefly describe each of the options:

  • " Inner Bevel " creates a face at the inner boundaries of the layer
  • " Outside bevel " affects the underlying layers: the face is formed from the matte pixels.
  • " Emboss " - imitation of pressing a layer into the image lying below. A typical example is volumetric (letterpress) printing in the printing industry. Or, for example, Braille for the blind.
  • " Outline Emboss " is the same as the previous tool. With one exception: the extreme pixels of the selected layer are involved.
  • " Stroke Stamp " only works in conjunction with the Stroke effect. Limits the bevel to the area of the stroke.

Choice of method . The next block is responsible for the method used to create the bevel. The following options are available: "Smooth", "Hard cut", "Soft cut". The Inner Glow and Outer Glow effects have options for Soft and Precise. Let's dwell on each of them:

  • "Smooth" method - blurs the edges of the matte. The method is applicable regardless of the selected effect. Very efficient when working with small chunks.
  • Hard Cut sets a hard bevel, similar to, for example, cutting a face with a knife. Works efficiently with objects of correct geometry and text.
  • Smooth provides better detail on small objects.
  • " Soft cut is a method similar to hard cut. With one "but" - forms smoother bevel angles. Good for bringing out details at the edges.
  • "Soft" method. The name speaks for itself. A soft bevel, similar to the drip of wax on a candle.
  • "Exact" is an extremely tough method. Forms a very precise, contrasting border. Apply to "non-living" objects. It looks unnatural when emphasizing natural forms.

The "Depth" parameter is responsible for setting the bevel depth: the number of pixels from which the edge will be formed.

"Size" and"Offset" are the same as for the effect " Shadow ".

The Shading toolbox allows you to set the color of the shadow and matte. In fact, it illuminates the bevel edges on which the light falls. The settings are the same as for " Shadow ".

Continue practice

Back to practical work:

  • If you haven't made a copy of the horse layer yet, it's time to do it
  • Go to the bottom of the cut animal layers
  • Now with the parameters, form the horse's shadow. Try to make the shadow fall in the direction of the light of the main photo, or at an angle of 90 degrees to the light vector. In all other cases, the result will not look natural.
  • To accentuate the volume of the horse, set small embossing levels. Considering that the photo posted on the site has only 800 pixels horizontally, the size options are limited to 10-15 pixels. And softening - 10th.

However, the presence of a bevel around the horse and the "flat structure" of the image itself look unnatural.

  • In order to improve perception, remember the previous lesson on increasing volume.
  • Select the layer above the one you just worked with (horse copy).
  • Apply one of the filters to this layer. For example, " Emboss " (" Filter " - "Styling " - "Embossing ")
  • Then adjust the blending method and opacity of the layer.
Working with image structure (volumes)

As a result, the layer style is responsible for the bevel around the edges of the horse shape.

And the structure of the skin and the volume of the figure are formed by overlaying a copy.

Form the inner volume of the horse with a new layer

If necessary, you can additionally apply the volume effect to another copy. And also play with blending modes.

But, as you can see from the previous picture, playing with volume led to unpleasant effects: there is a white edging around the horse's legs (on the grass).


To get rid of it:

  1. Select an eraser with soft edges and low opacity and pressure
  2. Erase the edges from the bottommost layer
  3. Repeat on all horse layers (except for the background layer)
  4. Repeat steps 2-3 until the unpleasant effect disappears or satisfactory results are obtained
  5. Use a layer style to emboss and shade the background
  6. Place another image under the background image or add a layer below and fill with color. (for clarity, the author deliberately "turned" the shadow from the background to the other side).

The result will be approximately the following image (or superior in quality):


Successful work!

The Topic of Article: Photoshop tutorials. Topic 3. Improving photos. Lesson 8. Creating a volumetric ”three-dimensional” photograph in Adobe Photoshop.
Author: Jake Pinkman