#CreativeFriday – Creating 3D Extrusions from Paths

This post starts off from last weeks post, where the birdhouse has been created using a circle and a polygon. Now to create the roof. A new path will be created using the pen tool. A simple path which follows the natural lines of the top of the current structure. When creating a new path, you should make sure that the path is created on a new empty layer, (shown in in red). Once the path has been made and closed, then a right click will bring up the context menu and ‘Convert Path to Extrusion’ should be available.


Once the 3D extrusion has been made it will be shown on a 3D canvas. Note, that there are now two 3D canvases and they are not interacting with each other yet. The 3D object can be moved about by clicking it once or until the move/navigator widget is displayed (as shown below).


To put the roof into the same 3D canvas as the bird house, select the bird house first (as we want to use the lights and ground plane configuration for the whole scene, and selecting it first will give it priority of the merge), then select the new 3D layer. From the menu item 3D, select Merge 3D Layers.


Once the objects have been merged, the objects will interact with each other, and can be moved into position by using the move / navigator tool widget.


If the shape that has been made needs adjusting, then Photoshop stores the original shape along with the 3D object. This source shape can be changed at any time by selecting the 3D object, or by selecting the object in the 3D menu (not the material). The properties panel for the 3D object will be show, and the ‘Edit Source’ button should be available (see below).

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 02.54.07

Clicking the Edit Source will open up the original path for editing. The direct selection tool (black arrow) can be used, as well as the other path modifier tools (ALT and CMD(MAC)/CTRL(PC)). If the shape is changed, the 3D object will reflect the change as soon as the source is changed (it can also stay open while it is refined. Also, moving back to the 3D object panel will cause the original shape to save and the update should be seen automatically).

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 02.54.14

To get the roof into the correct position, the camera may need to be moved around, this can be done by using the three icons down the left hand side (just above the coloured navigation axis). Whilst the move widget is in position, pressing the V key once will take the tool into the modified mode (twice into inflation mode). The middle section will extend/reduce the current extrusion, in this case it might need to be extended, depending on the size of the bird house below it (there are other options to play with outside of the extrusion (extrusion is shown below).


The camera can be moved around to make sure the roof fits nice and snug.


Texturing the surface is quite easy, in the 3D menu the Front inflation of the object can be selected (applies to all Photoshop created objects). The objects surface can be selected directly as well. The same as last week, choose the material(red and yellow) or make a new texture.


The extrusion (pink) can be selected as well and a new texture (red) applied or a new texture created (blue). In this example the texture actions will be used to create an asphalt type surface.


The asphalt is available under the textures actions (see last weeks post).


If a new Bump is required to give the surface a real world quality, then select a new bump mat (green) for the extrusion material for the surface (yellow). A dialog will appear (red) and notice, it’s the same size as the diffuse material.


If the same texture is to be used for the bump map than the diffuse texture, then as a quick solution. I tend to keep the diffuse window open and drag it to the side, and have the bump map canvas behind it, then select the diffuse layer and drag the layers into the bump canvas.

Then the bump can be  increased by moving the slider to increase the amount of bump texture.14

If the lights need to move to show the house in it’s best light. Click on the light in the 3D panel (yellow), then look at it’s properties. The light intensity can be increased or reduced using the slider in the green box (also the colour of the light). The light position can be moved by dragging it with the red handle. The shadow can be turned off as well by un checking the check box for shadow (sometimes a shadow isn’t required)


You may have noticed that the floor is shiny and has a wonderful reflection on it. This is configured in the environment properties (yellow). The Ground plane shadow is set to 60%, the reflections opacity is set to 67% and the roughness is set to 60%. These figues may not work for you, but experiment with them and see which effect you like. The reason that the shadow has been removed from the light, is that it doesn’t like quite right with the reflections, but you may like it, so by all means turn it on.


The last step is to render the scene, by clicking the render button (they are everywhere, but in the example above, it’s next to the delete icon on the properties panel and in the middle of the bottom of the 3D panel.

birdhouse v2.5

Here is the PSD file if you wanted to start with the finished item.

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