This is a little trick that i’ve been using recently. The problem that I had was that I needed to create a mirror image of an element on a piece of 3D art work that I am working on. For example take this 2D shape that has been created with the pen tool.
Then if it’s duplicated, by holding down the ALT key and dragging it into the new position (or by pressing CMD+J(MAC), CTRL+J(PC)), will create the same shape.
To create a mirrored shape, it needs to be flipped on the vertical. To do this, Photoshop’s free Transform tool can be used, by pressing CMD+T(Mac) / CTRL+T (PC).
To make the mirror, the width can be changed from 100% to -100%, this will flip the shape.
Now, how does that help with 3D?
Typically 3D elements in Photoshop CC are created direct from the path / shape. In this case, once the initial shape has been drawn it can be extruded. To do this, Once the layer is selected, menu item 3D / New 3D Extrusion from Selected Layer can be selected to convert the shape to a 3D shape. Because the layer is transparent, the extrusion will just be for the shape and won’t include the background.
This will create the 3D extrusion. Once 3D extrusions have been created, clicking on them until the move widget appears (once is normally enough), will give access to it’s basic properties, including an option to edit the original source document.
Once in 3D it’s simple to create a duplicate 3D object, by opening the 3D menu from the Window menu item. Selecting the main object, in this case Layer 1 (Marked in Red), then by right clicking and choosing ‘Duplicate object’. This will create a second 3D object within the same 3D environment.
When the front face of the new object is selected, the font face inflation will be selected in the 3D menu.
To get a mirror of the 3D object, it can be rotated by 180 and achieve the same effect, however, the face that will be shown to the camera is the back face.
So, the thing to do is to flip the source in the same way as the 2D shape in the initial part of this blog
Reverting back to the front inflation view of this object, then selecting it until the move widget is displayed. The basic shape properties along with the ‘Edit Source’, will be shown in the properties panel (Objects will need to be created from Photoshop CC or Illustrator CC for the source to be editable. If Illustrator files are used as a source, then ‘Edit Source’ will open up the 2D Photoshop element, the illustrator file can be accessed by double clicking on the Smart Object Layer , then the original vector can be modified).
Once this has been chosen, the original shape (as in the first section of this document) should be displayed. Following the same principles, CMD+T(Mac) or CTRL+T (PC) (to enter free transform) can be used. The original value of the width is 100%, a new value of -100% in the width parameter will mirror the shape.
This action will flip the shape on the vertical. This change can then be saved and committed to and the document closed. The 3D shape should also be updated and now be an exact mirror image of the original.
This has been very useful when creating mirrored parts of my personal Photoshop CC 3D model project (Behance – Work in Progress).