#CreativeFriday – Animating a Rigged Character for Photoshop CC using Mixamo

Creative Cloud 2014.2 update that was released at AdobeMAX introduced lots of enhancements to the Creative Cloud desktop apps, as well as the introduction of new tablet applications, all of which enable the Creative user to extend their creative identity and to create content on a mobile device. Photoshop CC 2014.2 had some amazing enhancements, with the inclusion of the ability to import Collada models and to play back the animation on the Photoshop timeline. To create the rigging and animation, there are special tools, like Cinema 4D (as one example). Rigging can be quite time consuming, to support this new feature, Adobe have also partnered with a company called Mixamo. The Mixamo service has been designed to allow anyone to automatically rig and animate a model and then bring this into Photoshop as an animated Collada file.

Mixamo can be found at Mixamo.com.


Let us focus on rigging a character that already exists in Mixamo, its a fast and reliable way to have a fully animated rigged model. Before you do anything, you might want to create a new account to get started.

Rigging of a character in Mixamo can be found under the Create menu and selecting Character Collection at the top of the screen.

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 Lots of standard rigged models will be displayed and are selectable for animation.

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Once you have chosen a model from the huge selection that Mixamo provides, then the model will be shown in the animation grid, at this point various pre-built animations can be selected for a wide range of actions. Before any animations can be added you will see the starting animation screen. this is show the initial model, and in this case, no animations have been applied, so nothing will happen.


Once a new animation is selected, the right hand screen will turn into a search panel, this can be used to find a pre-built animation.  Words like   walk, jump, attack etc can be used to filter the list.

In the following screen shot, the keyword fall has been used and a range of different animations are shown. If you hover over the thumbnail, the animation will play on the canned charter, to give an idea of the movement.In the following example, 5 animations have been selected.


Each animation can be customised by using the right hand panel, once the animation has been selected.

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Once the animations have been added (in the screen shot below, a few have been added for the animation that is required), the file can be paid for and downloaded in the required formation, for Photoshop DAE will need to be used for the animation to be supported. The beauty of this system is that you just pay for the animations that have been applied to the model.


The system will keep previous animations for you on your account, ready for download. Also this panel is useful to specify the quality of the textures, as well as other model properties for the download. At the bottom of the screen, an output format will need to be selected( for Photoshop Collada will need to be selected).


Once downloaded the object and materials will be stored as a DAE file as well as associated model textures. At this point, the DAE file can be logged into Photoshop CC 2014.2.


once the file is loaded into Photoshop, the new canvas dialog will be shown.



Once the file has been loaded, the timeline panel will open and the model will be displayed on the canvas. At this point, the space bar or the play icon on the time line can be selected.



To see the final animation, you can play the following video (there is no music to the video, but it’s not very long).


Once the animation is in Photoshop the file can be combed into a scene
Also, the model can be printed in a pose along the animation. To do this, just move the playhead (blue element on the timeline, within the red marked area) and print the menu option 3D / 3D Print Settings (marked in yellow below).
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Once the Photoshop Print pipeline has completed, the Photoshop 3D Printer preview will be displayed (in the example, a ZCorp full colour sandstone printer has been chosen).
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There are many other things you can do with the Maximo service, one of them is upload your own rigged character and animate it. This will be covered in a future post. Why not have a trial with the Mixamo site.
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Photoshop CC 2014.2 Update

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CC 2014.2

Today Adobe released Photoshop CC 2014.2, this post covers the updates to this amazing release, there will be upcoming posts covering some of the items in much more detail.
Creative Cloud Libraries 

This new addition to the Creative Cloud will allow you to download graphics from the Adobe Market and have them available to inside both Illustrator and Photoshop. The Libraries panel also allows you to add fonts, graphics, PSD’s, colours etc all within the Photoshop and Illustrators. Any content here will be synced automatically to your Creative Cloud storage area. This feature is a wonderful enhancement if you have ever wanted to have a global set of favourites to your workflow. Of course you can create new libraries at any time to organise your content based on your preference

New Welcome screen

Have you ever wanted to learn new features and techniques straight from within Photoshop? The new welcome screen will present videos to you based on the activities and features that you use.

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Extract Assets

There is a new menu option called Extract Assets, this option is available under the File menu. The primary use for Extract is to pull assets from the PSD comp, especially usefull for Web designers.

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Improved Guides

The new guides feature enables new guides to be created from existing shapes on the canvas, or the ability to create new guides from a template that can be designed on the fly.

New Guides from Shape is available from the View menu option

If all layers are selected, then associated shapes will be included.

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If just one is selected, then the menu item will create guides from just that one

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New Guides Layout is available from the View menu option

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Windows Touch

The experimental touch features have now moved into the main line and will be enabled for touch based systems. This includes the Microsoft Surface Pro 3.
3D Printing

Photoshop now has the ability to read COLLADA rigged and animation data. This feature is available on the timeline, it allows you to pose the model at a certain point, then print it. This feature will be covered in more detailed in a later post.


Photoshop CC also supports the option to export 3D PDF’s. The Export 3D PDF option is available from the 3D menu. Selecting this option will output a PDF with all of the 3D PDF controls enabled.

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Focus Area

The Focus Area feature has had a performance boost, which is down to the Mercury Graphics Engine

Other feature improvements and JDIs 

Scripted Patterns

Scripted patterns have been moved to the Filter menu (Filter / Render / ). The different options have the same names as before Flame, Tree and Picture Frame.

The Flame option is a new addition and allows you to create a flame on a path or multiple paths..

Fill and Fill Path

Both of these options have had the UI improved.

Default Settings for Layer Styles

So that Photoshop CC makes objects more realistic and modern, default values for Layer Styles have been changed to be more conservative. This will give you a great look of elements like drop shadow out of the box.

Updated and new document presets and default document size


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Mobile app design

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Film & Video

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Updated default Pattern presets

You can find the new and updated patterns under Layer Styles.

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Move Tool

Holding the CMD (Mac) /CTRL (Pc)  with Move tool selected toggles Auto-Select for objects on the canvas


If this change does not suit your workflow, there is a workaround which should support the previous behaviour.

-Uncheck auto-select, don’t hold down CMD to select items In the current layers… just use CMD click to define the’ layers you wish to select.
‘We used to select our layers in the layers panel, and then use the move tool while holding CMD to drag them all at once without needing to actually target the layers with the mouse.’
So in the case above… you CMD select your layers… then DON’T hold CMD to drag them all at once. No arrows required.


Locking and unlocking layers shortcut keys have been added

  • New keyboard shortcut to toggle lock selected layers (CMD/CTRL + “/”)
  • New keyboard shortcut to unlock all layers (CMD/CTRL + Opt/Alt + “/”)
  • New keyboard shortcut to show/hide selected layers (CMD/CTRL + “,”)
  • New keyboard shortcut to unhide all layers (CMD/CTRL + Opt/Alt + “,”)

New menu item to collapse all Layer Groups.

You can find this option in the fly out menu of the Layers panel

Save operation now recorded in the History panel

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New Preference to enabling overscrolling 

This feature allows you to scroll past the usual borders of an image when it’s in full view.

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Overscroll = OFF

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Overscroll = ON, the additional scroll bars are shown in red below.

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Improved display of Properties panel for Live Shapes
Added transparency support for copy/paste from Photoshop to other applications (Mac only)

New edge padding option for Select > Modify commands

This option allows you to choose if the selection modification will go outside of the canvas edge or not. There is now a check box controller on each of the participating options under the Select /Modify option. The check box is turned off by default.

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Adaptation and Structure for Content-aware Patch and Move have been moved from a combo box to inline

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Structure adaption for Content-aware Patch and Move have been increased from 1-5 to 1-7

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Adobe Color panel (formerly Kuler) is now included with the shipping version

Size of the Preferences, Keyboard Shortcuts and Menus dialogs have been adjusted to fit wide-screens 

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#CreativeFriday – Introduction to 3D and 3D Printing with Photoshop CC

Adobe Photoshop CC is a well-known, best in class solution for designers and artists in their 2D work.  Photoshop touches every element of the creative process, and is used world over for everything from photograph retouching, image compositing, finishing 3D models created in traditional 3D software applications, as well as digital art work and web site design. Photoshop CC includes a 3D component, which can be used for importing 3D models, creating 3D models from a variety of 2D tools, and since January 2014 includes ability to make watertight 3D printable object and print.

3D capabilities were introduced in Photoshop in CS3, and in CS6 the Photoshop 3D engine was enhanced to include more robust technology foundation to address modern expectations, as well as a more intuitive way for Photoshop professionals to work in 3D.

When Adobe released Creative Cloud, a market shift in the 3D printing world was starting to happen. Desktop 3D printing began to explode and initiatives like Rep Rap and companies like Makerbot were growing in popularity – they had found a way to bring this technology to the desktop of the creative or the home user. At the same time, service bureaus like Shapeways, Sculpteo and others were growing with requests from creative professionals, but experiencing a large number of models that needed additional work to allow them to be printed, or in the extreme case, were not printable and had to be sent back to the designer.

Over the last few years, there have been amazing advancements in innovation, both in the hardware and in materials used in 3D printing. However, the software tools that enable 3D printing had not advanced in the same way and, in particular, weren’t meeting the expectations of a new breed of customer, namely the creative professional. Advancements in the 3D printing industry are moving at a rapid pace, and as the creative professional becomes fully engaged at the start of the process; the demand for full colour 3D printing is growing. The industry already has some full colour capable printers i.e. the ZCORP full colour sandstone printer, the MCOR paper based printer, and more recently the Connex 3 full colour plastic printer from Stratasys. Still, ensuring amazing colour results on these printers can be difficult.

Adobe had seen this type of issue before. Prior to 1982, printing anything other than text on paper was a challenging and expensive task – specialist companies were needed to print graphics and artwork. In 1982 Adobe released PostScript, which revolutionised the printing industry and allowed anyone to print visually rich documents reliably to a wide range of devices and technologies whilst maintaining the high quality and performance.

In 1993 Adobe Systems released the Portable Document Format (PDF), which is now an open standard for electronic document exchange maintained by the International Organization for Standardisation (ISO). The beauty of the PDF format is that when a document is converted to PDF, they look just like they would if printed. But unlike printed documents, PDF files can contain clickable links and buttons, form fields, video, and audio — as well as logic to help automate routine business processes. When you share a PDF file, virtually anyone can read it using free Adobe Reader® software or the Adobe Reader mobile app.

As of January 2014, the 3D printing challenge was the same as the paper printing problem back in 1982, especially for the creative professional. So much is possible, but achieving high-quality results requires specialised knowledge and time to get a 3D designs in a state that they are ready to print. In January 2014 Adobe released Photoshop CC with a built-in 3D printing engine, with the objective to make 3D printing as easy as printing in 2D, trying to replicate CTRL+P for 3D print. Also, with an industry that is innovating as fast as the 3D printing industry is, having an application delivery model like the Creative Cloud, to bring new technology, features and software updates to the subscriber is a requirement to keep pace with the activity and advancements in the industry. This approach to software delivery enables the creative professionals around the world to keep up with and exceeds their client and customer demands, as well as bringing their designs to life.

The primary objective for including 3D Printing in Photoshop and enabling a CTRL+P for 3D print, is to make the model preparation easy and provide an automated approach to model repair. Just to highlight a few of the elements that need to be validated with a 3D model before it can be printed: –


  • There maybe no open holes in the mesh
  • The walls that have been created must be thick enough for the printer / material combination
  • There can be no floating polygons
  • There can be no inverted normals
  • In many 3D printers, such as desktop FDM-based devices like the MakerBot, supports might need to be created to support the model during the build phase.
  • Models can only have one mesh
  • Models need to be of a maximum size, depending on the printer.
  • Model must be watertight
  • + Others

All of this needs to be worked out before a successful print can be made. Unless these criteria have been met, it may take numerous attempts to achieve in a fully printable model.


The Photoshop platform has a unique way of solving complex problems with an intuitive interface, powerful and elegant controls and a philosophy for simplying the creative process. The 3D printing engine inside Photoshop has been created to support printer profiles (similar to the way that 2D printer drivers), which describe the specific printer and material attributes. Once a model is loaded into Photoshop CC, it can then be processed and fixed with the Photoshop 3D printing pipeline and an output file created. Each printer and material combination may have a specific file type that is needed for a print. I.e. some printers need just an STL file, whilst colour printers might require a VRML or a WRL file. Photoshop CC is able to create the exact file type that the printer requires to correctly build the model and hold any additional information (like colour and textures).

One of the main reasons that Photoshop is used the world over, is the full colour engine in combination with the powerful 2D imaging and editing tools and brushes. These powerful 2D tools can be used directly on your 3D models or on the unwrapped mesh to paint, repair textures and make your models look even more amazing. Photoshop CC comes with full colour profiles for the ZCorp and MCOR printers, as well as the full colour printers available with the Sculpteo and Shapeways service.

At the London leg of the 3D Printshow, Adobe showcased some experimental technology that its scientists are working on in the lab. This experimental project has the ability to enable the artists to paint in continuous full colour using the brushes as well as the other tools, including colour gradients and output to the Stratasys Connex 3.

The 3D Printing industry is moving and innovating extremely quickly, especially in the areas of hardware and materials. With the emergence and growing requirements of full colour, as well as a growing and accessible range of content for personalization, Photoshop CC is one of the best tools to load your models, paint and personalise them using the familiar Photoshop user experience and make them looking even more amazing.

The video accompanying this article shows how a model can be imported into Photoshop CC, then printed to a local desktop printer, output as a standard STL file, but also print to a Shapeways or Sculpteo service.


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Lightroom Mobile – Iceland by Aaron Grimes

A great video showing Lightroom mobile in use in Iceland, Aaron Grimes.
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‘You Are How You Eat!’ A 3D design contest.

We’re excited to announce the ‘You Are How You Eat’ 3D design contest from Design Milk, co-sponsored by Adobe! This contest challenges designers to think past the traditional knife, fork, spoon (or even chopsticks) utensils and re-imagine how we eat our food. The designer who designs a more efficient, more imaginative or more beautiful way to put food in our mouths with a 3D printable design will win $1,000, a 1 year subscription to the Creative Cloud and a $200 credit to Shapeways so they can 3D print their new-school utensil(s) and be the first to use them!
NOTE: This contest is open only to U.S. residents.
More information can be found by following this link.
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Are you attending Adobe MAX? No, then why not join the live stream.

As you may probably know Adobe MAX 2014 (The Creativity Conference), is just around the corner and it looks like it’s going to be another amazing event.

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If you are not able to make it in person, then you do have the opportunity to join in wherever you are by signing up for the live stream here.

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Hasselblad ShootLDN – Adobe mini theatre talk schedule

The Hasselblad ShootLDN event is back again this year. ShootLDN will be up and running 22nd and 23rd October at the Truman brewery, London (address details at the end of this post and on the ShootLDN event page).

We have been working hard to make sure that our talks are relevant to today’s photographer, with some other exciting advancements built in as well. The Adobe mini theatre will be at the event and will be running a range of talks on both of the days. All talks are free and will run for 20 to 25 minutes, and are a first come first served basis.

Adobe Mini Theatre Schedule (subject to change)

11:00 – Lightroom and Photoshop retouching workflow

11:30 – Wacom tablets with Photoshop and Lightroom 

12:00 – What is the Creative Cloud Photography Plan?

12:30 – Raising your game using Creative Cloud and Behance   

13:00 – Lightroom and Lightroom Mobile

13:30 – 3D Printing for Photographers

14:00 – Colour Management – Perfecting your workflow

14:30 – New features in Photoshop for Photographers

15:00 – Video Editing in Photoshop 

15:30 – Lightroom and Photoshop retouching workflow  

16:00 – Colour Management – Perfecting your workflow with DataColor

16:30 – Beauty retouching with Karl Taylor  (Wednesday only)

16:30 – Lightroom and Photoshop retouching workflow (Thursday only)

17:30 – What is the Creative Cloud Photography Plan?


Talks are 20 minutes each with 5 mins for Q&A

Lightroom and Photoshop retouching workflow.

In the past few releases in the Creative Cloud, Lightroom and Photoshop have seen workflow improvements for Photographers. This session, hosted by a re-touching expert, will look in detail at the new tools and explain how to improve your post production/re-touching workflows, to create even more beautiful images. 

Wacom tablets with Photoshop and Lightroom. 

A Wacom tablet can be essential to the modern way of editing photographs and working with your images. The Wacom tablet offers lots of control, elegance and precision when working with your photographs and allow you to spend less time in post production and more time behind the camera. This talk will explain how the Wacom tablets can be configured and used, to allow you to work faster with more precision in your Photoshop and Lightroom workflow.

What is the Creative Cloud Photography Plan?

The Adobe Photography Plan includes more than just Lightroom and Photoshop. In fact, it has been designed to include all the tools required to survive in the modern photographic world. This talk will demonstrate and break down what is included as part of the Adobe Photography Plan and explain how it works, as well as some of the new features that are available in Lightroom and Photoshop and new opportunities for both the Professional and Amateur photographer.

Raising your game using Creative Cloud and Behance.

Online portfolios, mobile devices and social networks are a great way to show case your work as a photographer, as well as engaging your audience and building your photographic brand. The Adobe Photography Plan contains all of the tools you need to make your images look great, as well as including modern ways of showing off your work, either on the web, using social networks or on mobile devices. The Behance platform is part of the Adobe Photography Plan, and a great way to show off your work, as well as an way to engage the existing community of image makers of all disciplines. This session will walk you through how the system works, how to place content in Behance from Photoshop and Lightroom, and how you can use it to raise your profile as a photographer or digital artist. 

Lightroom and Lightroom Mobile.

Lightroom mobile is a new addition to the Adobe Photography Plan and is available free for both the iPhone and the iPad. Mobile viewing, as well as editing your photographs, without being tied to the desktop version of Lightroom is enabling photographers to work in very different ways. This talk will walk you through how to set up and configure Lightroom mobile, as well as how it can be used as part of your editing workflow.

3D Printing in Photoshop for Photographers. 

3D Printing is taking the world by storm, and this technology is opening up new creative ideas for Photographers. In early 2014 Photoshop gained the ability to create/print 3D objects using a variety of printers, materials and services. This talk will walk you through 3D printing in Photoshop with examples of how Photographers can embrace it in their work.

Colour Management – Perfecting your workflow with DataColor

This session is brought in conjunction with Adobe and Datacolor and will provide an end to end solution for colour management.  We will explain how colour management can easily be incorporated into your workflow from ‘in the camera’, to the screen and finishing at the printer and transform your workflow forever. This session will ensure that you are able to make perfect looking prints every time.

New features in Photoshop for Photographers

In the Creative Cloud, Lightroom and Photoshop updates have both seen the addition of new tools for Photographers. This session will look in detail at the new tools and explain how to improve your post production/re-touching, to create even more beautiful images. Photo editing and retouching techniques can always be improved by embracing new innovation that is available in software. 

Video Editing in Photoshop. 

We all have cameras that are able to create stunning photographs, and many can now record stunning HD quality video too. This session will show how you can import your video clips into Photoshop and use your existing Photoshop skills to edit and create a compelling short film. 

Beauty Retouching and workflow with Karl Taylor.

In this one hour presentation Karl Taylor shares his workflow and techniques for beauty retouching. In particular he will share the importance of burn and dodge techniques as well as high frequency and low frequency layers for skin repair work. He will also describe the importance of evaluating your image and identifying what is important and what is not.


The Hasselblad ShootLDN event was an amazing success for everyone last year and we think that this year will be even better. The whole event is free, so why not come down and see what’s going on. There will be lots of people to talk with, including an amazing range of talented photographers, Wacom, Data Color and of course representatives from Adobe will be there as well. 


Event Location

F Block – G4

Ely’s Yard
Dray Walk
The Old Truman Brewery
Brick Lane
London E1 6QL

More travel information, can be found on the ShootLDN  Travel Info page.

Specific Dates & Times to help your planning :

Wednesday 22nd October 2014 – 10.30am to 6pm (plus Social Evening – 6pm to 8pm)
Thursday 23rd October 2014 – 10.30am to 6pm


Related Posts.

ShootLDN 2013 Overview video

ShootLDN official website

All Lightroom and Photoshop posts now have their own index pages.

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#CreativeFriday – Creating long hard shadows in your designs.

There have been a lot of images over the past year or so that contain lots of hard shadow work, i.e. (https://www.behance.net/gallery/7360109/Record-Label-Rebrands and https://www.behance.net/gallery/7850589/Boston-Magazine). So I wanted to write a post on the way that i might do this in Photoshop, using the 3D capabilities and explore the benefits of 3D over 2D for work like this.


In this post, I’ll work to create this image from scratch and see where we end up. You can see that it’s a very simple design, with just the shadow adding great impact to the image.



To start, we will just take a simple character, in this case a tilde sign ‘~’, place it as a text element on the canvas and extrude it as a 3D object. Once the text has been entered, the 3D button (marked in red) can be clicked.



You will see that the object has been placed on the ground plane (the grid). Photoshop has automatically created the ground plane as well as a simple infinite light source for you. Photoshop has also  automatically  created basic textures and faces of the object. In the image that we are trying to re-create, there is a nice textured background that will be used for the shadows  and interest as well as a place holder for the object.


To create a background, insert (either by using Place Linked or Place Embedded (available in Photoshop CC), a background texture. I am just going to use a picture of  some concrete (just a simple JPG).


This is then placed in Photoshop onto a separate layer and extruded as a postcard (using a postcard is the most simplest 3D object  and is perfect to be used as a background). The postcard extrusion is available on the Photoshop menu 3D / New Mesh from Layer / Postcard.


Once the conversion has finished, the new 3D layer (marked red below) will be created and Photoshop will move into 3D mode.

N.B. 3D in photoshop navigation and tools are available on the Move tool, you can also access this by pressing the ‘V’ key at any time.


You will notice that there are now 2 3D layers, and the top layer is obstructing the view of the other(s). To create a single 3D layer that will contain both objects, select the first 3D layer*1, then select the new 3D layer to be added.

*1 : The order by which the layers are added is important. The first layer selected will be the one used for any lighting rigs and IBL (Image Based Lights) within the final scene. Which means, if you have a lighting rig set up in the first layer, then you may want to use this lighting rig, as opposed to a new 3D layer. In this case, the layer with the lighting rig will need to be selected first.

Once the layers have been selected (marked red and in the correct order), choose from the Photoshop menu  3D / Merge 3D Layers (marked yellow)


A single 3D Layer will exist the Layers panel which contains both 3D objects in this example.

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Obviously in the final comp the white areas won’t be needed, therefore we can move the camera backward and forwards by using the ‘Dolly camera’ marked red below (the tool marked in yellow will move the camera up and down. The tool on the left of these tools is used to orbit the camera around the scene. In this example below, the camera was moved to the right and then dolly’d (a little bit of playing around here might be needed to get the object in the right place).


As well as the ability to move the camera,  the objects can be moved independently as well (or as a whole). Selecting just the tilde ‘~’ object by clicking directly on it, will bring up a navigator tool and allow you to freely move it up, down, left, right, forward and backwards in the scene (more on this later). In the following example the tilde object has been selected and moved to a better position by using the on canvas widget/navigator.

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Lights exist around the perimeter of the working space, and can be selected by clicking on them (marked in red below). In the example below, an infinite light is used, moving the light around can be achieved by clicking on the light icon, then grabbing the on canvas widget marked yellow and dragging it. This will allow the light to be moved freely around the scene, also, by holding the SHIFT key and dragging directly on the canvas is another way of moving the lights (Holding the SHIFT key will allow you to position the light and shadows directly where it needs to be).


Within the screen shot shown above, the shadows are highly pixelated. So that Photoshop is not having to render high quality shadows and only when it needs to do (i.e. on the Render), I have the shadows as low quality. I find this setting gives me a balance of performance  and ability to see where the shadows will be in the rendered. The Photoshop 3D Preferences are available from the Photoshop menu.

The area marked in yellow tells Photoshop how much video RAM to use, remember in Photoshop CC you will need at least 1GB of VRAM to run the 3D engine. The Shadow quality is configurable in the area marked in red.


Once the images are placed into a single 3D layer, you may have a couple of issues to contend with. Based on one model size to the other can result in models being located nearer or further away than initially expected. Also, as in the example here, the objects are straddling the ground plane. The ground plane intersection will show up on the renderer, so the objects ideally need to be moved about the ground plane. First thing is to position the 3D objects above the ground plane. To do this, hold the SHIFT key down and selecting the objects that need to be moved (in this case the tilde and the background). Then choose from the Photoshop menu 3D / Move objects to ground plane. The objects will snap upwards/downwards spending where the ground plane is.


Then using the 3D navigation tools, move the camera (marked in red) or the objects back into place (don’t forget that the on canvas navigation widgets can be used either on all objects, or individually by directly selecting each one). If for some reason when you select the objects, the widget (as below) is not shown, then press the V key until it’s shown.


As we start to work on the lights, it might be worth while improving the materials used in the background. For this I am going to try something of medium reflective quality, some thing bright and something that will be enhanced with the concrete texture. To do this, i need to remove the existing texture and replace with a base material.

To add a new base material, click on the background object (the concrete in this case), until the navigation widget is shown. Click again to access the material properties, once there, a new material can be selected (marked pink) from the properties of the 3D object’s face that was clicked (remember this object is a postcard, but has a front, back and side (these are faces)). Then I have chosen the Gold Material (marked green), the effect on the background  can bee seen below.


Once the base material is there, the texture can be replaced with the concrete texture by clicking on the texture options (marked red) and choosing replace texture (marked yellow), then choosing the appropriate texture (concrete for this example). The colour of the diffuse property can be changed by clicking on the colour selector (marked blue), then choosing a colour from the colour picker (marked green). Also, as there will be a light in the scene, depending on what the final effect needs to be, a white light might be needed, or a in fact a colour one. In the following example, I want to have the yellow colour to be used for any specular display. The new background, material and colour can be seen below.

The lights can be move to a better position to create the hard shadow(s) from the tilda object. As the infinite light is moved, the shadows will be seen in realtime, and will be cast across the background. To create a long shadow, the light needs to be moved near to the surface of the ground plane, however, the scene might go very dim when this is done. This could be down to a few things :-

In order to create the long shadow the light needs to be lowered/heightened in relationship to the height of the tilde (don’t forget we are in 3D space here, so the tilda has a Z height, which is not visible from this top view).


As in the example the viewer will not see the height of the Tilde in the final scene, therefore, it doesn’t matter how high or low it is from the ground plane (as long as it has a long enough Z extrusion to create a full shadow and not have any gaps). The light can then be moved higher in the scene, which will brighten the background, but reduce the length of the shadow, move the light source to where you are happy (we will re-visit this during the moving of the objects, as this might take a little bit of playing with to get right). Try and get the end of the shadow to where you would like it. When the light is in the right place and the shadow length is good,  the background may still be a little dark, in this case, you can increase the intensity of the light (or change the colour) within the properties panel of the light (marked in red).


One common issue is that the background is bright enough and the shadow is in the right place but there is a gap between the object and the start of the shadow. In this case, it may be that the extrusion (Z height) is not long enough. By clicking on the 3D Object, the navigation widget will appear. Once the widget is shown, clicking the ‘V’ key will bring up the second widget (there is a series of 3 widgets on the ‘V’ key), this is marked red, and is used for extrusion, bend, twist etc. The extrusion of the 3D Object can now be increased (if required), so that it intersect with the the background (remember in 3D space objects will interact with each other). The extrusion length can also be changed by using the properties panel (extrusion), marked in yellow. You should see the shadows move in real time (unless shadows have been turned off on the light properties).


Let us test the outcome and hit the render button.

Render is available in many locations, however, the main ones are marked in red (from the 3D menu / Render, on the properties panel in 3D mode and on the 3D panel, as well as others).


The quality of the renderer can be controlled by the Photoshop 3D properties menu option. A value of 5 will produce lovely results, but will take quite a long time, depending on the complexity of the models, lights etc.


Once the render has completed, you should see the shadows in place.

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 17.36.50

At the current time the top face of the tilde is flat, this can always be rounded or beveled at a later date, depending on what is required. By clicking on the object until the widget appears, then pressing the ‘V key twice, the widget for modifying the bevel and it’s strength (right) and the inflation and strength on the left will be shown.

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 17.39.08

The result can be more impactful, but will depend on the effect that is desired.

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 17.44.40

If the whole scene is inspected (by using the orbit camera option, marked in red) you will see how the models are working tougher to create the final effect.


The beauty of working in 3D is the opportunity that the camera brings. Different views (closeup or far away from the objects) can be controlled by the camera position, then rendered.

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 17.51.24

Because the lights and background are already configured, anything else in the scene will have the same effect.

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 17.58.59

There are so many other things to try in 3D. There are different colours, textures, camera positions, lights etc, can be applied to this image and it will look completely different.

PSD for download

Hard Shadows Project on Behance

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Adobe Max 2014 Mobile App Now Available

Are you heading to Adobe Max 2014 ? If you so, then you may want to arm yourself with the Max Conference Guide Mobile App, available at an app store near you!

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Adobe Talk at the Paris 3D Printshow

This talk at the Paris 3D Printshow will explain why are customers are using Photoshop as part of their 3D print workflow and will identify the areas of the pipeline that Photoshop streamlines.

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