#CreativeFriday – Painting across seams and UV islands on 3D models in Photoshop

A comment appeared on one of my Photoshop 3D Painting YouTube video earlier in the week, so I wanted to address the basic concept this in a post.

When painting 3D models there is always a challenge when the designer/artists reaches the edge of a seam or a UV island and would like the texture to be carried over to the adjoining seam or UV island.

What does this mean. Typically when you view a 3D object on the screen you see the whole object in it’s entirety. Once you start painting things can go a bit wry. For example, paint may end up somewhere else on the model, of even in multiple places at the same time. Or depending on which mode is being used for painting (projection or texture), you may get a warning to suggest that the paint brush has hit a seam. The first example is pretty simple, and can typically happen when a UV island is overlaying another UV island (Remember UV references are just coordinates of a flat 2D reference to the surface of the 3D object. I’ll cover this in a separate post, then we can look at how to correct it).

This post will focus on the tools needed to paint across seams or UV’s islands. I’ll write another post about strategies on how to get continuous texture across a seam soon.

Let us take this example. Here we have a custom built chameleon (by Jon Reilly) and we would like to paint it. Understanding how the UV islands work, can be important for more complex painting and to get full control of the job in hand.

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When the UV texture is opened you will hopefully the black lines. These lines represent the polygons that make up the model, but are laid down flat. To do this, the geometry of the model needs to be unwrapped and laid down flat. Obviously, this requires the polygons to be cut, which creates seams (i.e. take a tin and unwrap it, will at some point need to put the physical object at specific points to do it, this is the same concept). We can see that in this example Jon really knows what he’s doing and has taken lots of case to lay it out in a very logical way. However, as you can see on the diagram, when it’s examined more closely there are well placed seams that enable the textures to support the painting process.The area that we will focus on in this case, is the join between the tail and the body.

On the 3D model it looks like it’s on one piece (i.e a single shell), which it is! And this is great and will talk about it a little later on. When the 2D UV map/texture is opened, it’s clear, and it turns out that there are many individual connected parts. The joint area that we are focusing on, is less logical. In fact there is a connection between all of the UV Islands, just it’s not logical where, unless we understand how the UV map was created. To see how the seams work and put it into practice, select the 3D object window, and make the brush active (using the B key), then select a foreground colour. Within the properties panel of the brush, make sure that Projection mode is selected.

PaintProject 1

There are two modes :-

Projection mode

Projection Painting is suitable for painting multiple UV islands and  across seams simultaneously or for painting the seam between two textures. However, in general, it is a lower-performance painting method and may result in cracks when you’re painting complex 3D objects.

Texture mode

Texture painting is targeted to single islands / seams, but will improve the painted texture quality.

Then select the 3D model window and paint directly on the model. You will hopefully see that the paint flows on the model and across the UV islands on the UV mode

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This will demonstrate where the seams connect, and where Photoshop will lay the paint down and make the connection for you. As you know, both sides can be painted on, and the paint will appear automatically on the other view (if for some reason the paint is not updated, Photoshop lost the connection to the other canvas. Best thing to do in this case is close the texture down and re-open it from the model).

You can see that trying to do this direct on the 2D UV map will be challenging, and the UV map is laid down really well.

To put this into context, below is the UV before it was laid out properly in Zbrush. This is typically how UV’s are laid out. Imagine painting on this ! So the lesson is to have good and well laid out UV’s it will help in the painting of a model.

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OK, so why is this important. Well it allows us to paint directly on a model without worrying about seams. And allows a continuous painting experience. This is even more important when working with textures, which I’ll cover this in another blog post very soon.

I hope you enjoyed this and it makes sense for painting on a 3D model with UV’s.

Other links – Photoshop Painting page

Full chameleon painting video

Inspiration for this post



#CreativeFriday – Handling RAW and JPG’s in Lightroom

One question that i get asked a lot is, “How does Lightroom separately manage the RAW and JPG files, when the RAW and JPG are recorded for a single picture in the camera”. This scenario happens when the photographer shoots both in the camera (which is usually a setting within the camera’s menu system). Shooting RAW and JPG can be beneficial, the reason that I shoot both, is that I tend to turn on Black and White processing on the preview in the camera, and therefore my JPG will be recorded in Black and White, and I see the black and white version on the back of the camera. This technique can help when correcting/perfecting compositions in the camera (covered in blog post from 2013). This change won’t affect the RAW file (as the RAW file doesn’t record this type of data), but will obviously affect the JPG. Doing this gives me a different way to compose the image in the camera, as well as allowing me to re-create the in camera JPG look once in Lightroom later on.

When both of the files come into Lightroom, we need to know how to manage them, either importing them as a single RAW+JPG file, or as a two single files. Both of these scenarios are managed from the preferences panel within Lightroom (Lightroom preferences can be found in the Lightroom toolbar menu under Lightroom / Preferences (on a Mac), and Lightroom / Edit / Preferences (on Windows)). Within the Import options, there is an option to “Treat JPG files next to raw files as separate photos”.

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When this option is turned off, the RAW and JPG file will be treated as a single file, and merged together. You will see this on the import screen.

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Once imported, there will be a single representation of the image.

The initial preview and image within the Development tab will be settings from from the RAW file plus any changes that may have been previously made (it may have come from another photographer with Lightroom metadata changes, blog post on this here).

If both files are needed as separate RAW and JPG files, then the check box should be turned on (as below)

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This time, when importing, there will be two files in the import dialog, the RAW and the JPG.

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Once imported, there will be two files within Lightroom

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Hopefully this post has de-mistified how to work with both RAW and JPG files within Lightroom and has added a little extra knowledge to your Lightroom workflow.


#CreativeFriday – Google Nik collection now available for free.

This week Google released it’s Nik Collection for free. This is a wonderful move by the software company and will be a fantastic option for all Lightroom and Photoshop users to further enhance their images. Google Nik Collection, is available for download now, from it’s Nik collection site.

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#CreativeFriday – The Photography show Adobe Slate Project winner

Adobe UK attended the 4 day Birmingham Photography show (highlights here). I would like to thank all of our customers that came to the seminar room and that came and spoke to us on the stand. We all had such a wonderful time meeting all of our customers and presenting new technology for Photographers within the Creative Cloud.

Throughout the event Adobe UK held an Adobe Slate competition with a final winner that would receive a 12 month complimentary Creative Cloud Photography plan subscription, as well as a Microsoft Surface 4.

I would like to congratulate Calvin Chinthaka in his submission. We thought the project and idea was a stunning use of Adobe Slate.

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You can see Calvin’s completed Adobe Slate submission here.

#CreativeFriday – Lightroom Web – Technology Preview – Search

Lightroom web is a great way to see and work with your images when you are near a browser, be it on the phone or on an iPad/tablet device.

Technology previews are now available in Lightroom web, the first one is the natural search. To turn on Technology previews, choose ‘Open Technology Previews’ on the main Lightroom web Welcome screen.

Technology preview can be turned on with the slider, once set, click Apply.

Once Technology preview for search is turned on, you will see a Search bar in your Photos. Your collections will be indexed by the Creative Cloud, once it’s complete, you well see a blue banner under Search bar.

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 21.58.14In this early stage of the technology preview, you can search for things like Animals, food, people, bridges, tigers etc. Have a play and see what comes back.

Here are some examples that i found today. We hope you enjoy this Technology Preview in Lightroom web.

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#CreativeFriday – Creating your first Adobe Slate Project

If you are a Photographer, then getting your work out there for everyone to see is probably your highest priority (after taking the pictures in the first place). Adobe Slate is a perfect way to get your work out there, as well as looking amazing and more engaging for your viewers.

This post is tied in with the UK Photography show (March 19 to 22 near Birmingham), where Adobe will be having a seminar room with a free talks, as well as a daily competition to win a 12 month complimentary subscription to the Creative Cloud Photography plan. N.B. Also, Adobe has a discount code for your ticket, just use “ADOTPS16” in the discount code box when purchasing your ticket, and it will take the single ticket price from £13.95 to £10.95.

So how does Adobe Slate it work? To give you an idea, I have created two projects from previous photography trips, that you can view :-

To start, just login with your Creative Cloud Adobe ID. If you don’t already have one, you can get one here, alternatively you can download a trial of Creative Cloud Complete or the Photography plan and give Adobe Slate a go.

Once you have your Adobe ID, just login at slate.adobe.com to get going.

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Once you have logged in, you will see lots of samples, as well as a plus button on the top left of the screen. Clicking on the samples will give you some content ideas.

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This will create you a new project.

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The first thing is to choose a theme, you can do this by clicking on the “Themes” text at the top right hand side. A theme can be changed anytime, even after a project has been published.

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To give impact to your project, you can add a front page or initial image as well as some text. Do this by clicking on the plus in the white circle at the bottom of the page. To add text to the title just type the text where the title/subtitle is located. Once you have done this, then click on the plus in the white circle at the bottom of the page, then you are free to choose where the photos come from.

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I use Lightroom and Lightroom mobile for my source of work and images. You can also choose Dropbox, your local computer or the Creative Cloud, as well as Google Photos. Once you have your source, click it and the contents will be shown.

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To add the image, just click it and it will be added to the page.

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As of version 1.3, Adobe Slate now includes the option to add an embedded video from sources like Adobe Voice, YouTube and Vimeo.

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(Quick tip, just put the URL in and not the full embedded code).

Paging up will take you to the next page, as well as the narrative/story part of the project. For me, the fastest way of doing this is by using a word processor to get the main story written (this will do basic tasks, like spell checking etc). Once this has been done, it can be copied and pasted into the document.

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At each insertion point in the Slate project, the plus button can be pressed, which allow you to add text / photo to tell your story.  If a photo is chosen, the the image panel (same as the above will be shown).

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If text is chosen, the text formatting mode is shown.

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You can also make lovely transitions using Glides with a text insert, as below.

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There are controls for this mode as well, and these can be updated by clicking the picture. Focal point allows you to move the top start position of the picture during the glide.

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At any point you can review your story, by clicking Preview at the top of the screen. This will be how others see your work, once it’s published.

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Once you are ready to publish live, you can click Share at the top of the screen. Then, clicking Publish, will process the request and give you options to share across social networks.

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Here you can copy and paste the short URL, as well as post to other social networks.

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We wish you the best of luck with your project and look forward to seeing your results! Please feel free to see what’s on at the show at the Adobe Seminar room, the schedule of talks can be found here.


More about Adobe slate 1.3, is available here.

Introducing Video for Adobe Slate 1.3!

#CreativeFriday – Controlling dry down/darkening of prints from Lightroom or Photoshop CC

If you have ever made a print, either by inkjet or an alternative process (like Van Dyke, Platinum, Cyanotype) then you may have noticed that the image comes out a little bit darker than how it was displayed on the screen. Looking into this, the main reason (especially for inkjet) is that screen is back lit and the print isn’t, therefore the perceived level of luminosity is different. For an alternative process (i.e Chemistry based), this is likely to be the same, also, the print can become darker due to the drying down process (even after calibration of the negative to the chemistry).

The main driver for this post is to document a dry down issue with an alternative printing process with chemistry. For this purpose, the Lightroom way of controlling the output isn’t precise enough, there for Photoshop CC is the only way to control the output. I thought i’d write a post on different ways in both Lightroom and Photoshop CC to solve this problem and then to correct the image before the print is made.


Printing from Lightroom is super simple and works really well for Inkjet prints. When printing from Lightroom within the Print module, there is a slider that can be changed before you print, called Brightness.  This will adjust the brightness of the print to counteract the reduction of perceived brightness in the print. This is great and highly useful, but i’d advise you to make a few prints first to understand how it will affect the physical output.

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Photoshop CC

Photoshop has much more control over this phenomenon and suits specific types of printing, including inkjet printing and alternative processes.

In Photoshop CC there are three effects/controls that can be used to manage the output, Exposure, Brightness and Gamma.


Exposure is one that i’ll touch on first, as this is the one that is most synonymous with Photography. It would make sense that exposure would be a way to control the amount of light within an image, as this is the way that a camera works and ‘exposes’ the final image. Adding 0.3 of a stop to the exposure value on this step wedge (i’ know it’s not very exciting, but it does show the new distribution of values across the gray scale).

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It turns out that when the Exposure modification is mapped to a curve, we can see what it’s actually doing to the image.  Exposure seems to affect the highlight values much more than shadow values. To apply Exposure it is available from the Photoshop toolbar menu, under Layer / New Adjustment Layer / Exposure.


Brightness is another way to altering the relative values of the output. Brightness is available from the Photoshop menu under Layer / New Adjustment Layer / Brightness and Contrast.

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What brightness actually does to the values is

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The brightness control actually increases the highlights gradually, then tails off through the midtones and hardly affects the shadows.


The gamma control is available under the levels adjustment layer, and can be found under Layer / New Adjustment Layer / Levels. In the example below, a value of 0.10 has been added to make the image lighter.

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The Gamma actually controls the gradual equal lift of both highlights and shadows as well as increasing the mid tone values.

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Based on this, i’d recommend looking into the Brightness or Gamma for the control of the dry down/dark prints, these seem to have much more control of the shadows and highlight areas and won’t make a big difference to the contrast of the desired image.


#CreativeFriday – Starting out with painting in Photoshop CC with Stratasys Creative Colours

Last week we started to look setting up the painting environment within Photoshop CC for working with the Stratasys Creative Colours, see the post here. In the post, we introduced the concept of a new colour gamut for some of the colour combinations that can be loaded into the  Connex 3. This post will show how to move to the next step to start the painting on a 3D model using just Photoshop CC’s 2D tools, by making sure that the environmental lights are turned off and the correct colours are being shown on the model (during the painting process).

Let us take the simple moustache once again,

In this document, you can see that the colour gamut/profile is set to Pure White / Magenta and Yellow. These are the colours that will need to be loaded into the Connex 3 to ensure that the correct colours are used during the printing process. Photoshop’s Color picker will show the continuous colour combinations that will make sure that the printer is able to process and print the colours correctly.Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 14.33.56

At the current time, and by default, Photoshop has lights turned on. This is great when rendering and making a scene for a 2D print. But in 3D print world, the lights are going to get in the way and provide you with incorrect colours on the model/screen. Turning the lights off is particularly useful when you needed to sample a colour that was previously used on the model, even more important to pick up a blended colour.

To turn off the lights, make sure the 3D panel is open (it can be opened from the Photoshop’s toolbar menu and navigating to Window / 3D). Selecting this will show the 3D panel.

Once the 3D panel is open, select the “Scene” (marked in red below). Once the scene has been selected, the properties for this will be shown in the properties panel. To turn the lights off, make sure that the “Surface” check box is turned on and the style is set to “Unlit Texture” and Texture is set to “Diffuse”.

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At this point Photoshop’s lighting mechanism will be turned off, and the RAW colours will be shown. Having the lights turned off will allow sampling colours from anywhere on the model, without picking up colours that have their hue values changed by any lights or shadows, which can/will result in an incorrect colour being selected.

That’s all for this week, but hopefully this demystifies how to correctly set up your colour environment in Photoshop CC for painting on a 3D object going to the Connex 3 for printing.

#CreativeFriday – Getting ready to paint with Stratasys Creative Colours and Photoshop for the Connex3

You may have seen last week that Stratasys released the Stratasys Creative Colours painting system with the Stratasys Connex3 printer inside of Photoshop CC. I wanted to get you up and running with this exciting technology in small steps, over a series of blog posts. This one is around making sure that you have the correct colour palette selected inside Photoshop CC.

Before you start to paint in Photoshop CC, you need to tell it how to represent the colours which the painting engine will use. Before you start to paint, you will need the Photoshop profiles and install them, the profiles can be found here and should be fairly straight forward to install by following the guide on the website.

First things first, open the model that you wish you paint on. In the example below, it’s a simple fake comedy moustache.

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The next step is to select the colours that are loaded in the printer, ultimately this colour set will determine the colours used by the printer to print the painted 3D object.

To make sure that Photoshop knows about the colours of the materials loaded into the printer, the working profile of the current environment will need to be changed.

  1. Select from the Photoshop Menu / Edit / Assign Profile
  2. Once selected, Photoshop might say that the colours can change the appearance, click ok
  3. Choose Profile from the next dialog, then choose the colour combination that is loaded into the printer. The one selected here is Pure White, Magenta and Yellow.


Once selected the 3D view port inside Photoshop will change to represent this colour profile.

(N.B. When using RGB colours, either sRGB or Adobe RGB and interchange between them, you most likely won’t notice much of a difference inside Photoshop. In this instance you will, due to the 3 colour range, as opposed to the complete colour range in RGB + white and Black. Also the Connex colour are not a direct map to the RGB colour range. This is why this stage is extremely important when painting in Photoshop for the Connex3).

Everything turns a bit strange (as shown below), because in this case of the white and black mappings. White and Black are at the extremities of both ends of the colour spectrum, therefore in this case white will stay white and black will turn red. Some profiles will show different colour ranges here. The best thing to do next is to selected a colour for the background, so you can see what you will be painting on.


In this case the white areas will stay white (because white is within the profile range), however Black will be turned to red (this is because there is no black in the profile and it’s nearest neighbour is red).

You can test this by resetting the foreground and background colour swatch by pressing the ‘D’ key. You will see the lower and upper most (white and black) range.

Some times the white might not be present, therefore the background might obscure the object. In this case i would create a new empty layer behind the 3D model (by using a new empty layer), and painting it a different colour to the model (as below)

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Now you can carry on painting, using the foreground and background colours with the paint brushes of Photoshop. We will get on to painting next, but for know, please experiment with this setup to get comfortable.

#CreativeFriday – Adding a Photoshop Group to a Creative Cloud Library

I was working on a demo this week, and found a much better way of applying a standard set of Photoshop Adjustment layers to an image. I’ve been working for a while on a certain look to my images that I always apply at the end of a Lightroom edit, in Photoshop CC. Historically to apply the effect, i’ve opened up a previous .PSD file with the same adjustments and dragged the adjustments across manually. Doing this takes a little bit of additional time, as the file is over 600mb.  Also, the files exist on my Photo computer, but sometimes need to use another computer as well (this means i need to copy the file across, which also takes time).

You can see below that there are multiple Layer Adjustments with defined groups in the layers panel (two groups). These are the effects that I use for my images to give a platinum and palladium effect. Most of my images come into Photoshop from Lightroom, once the basic image balance has been achieved. Once in Photoshop CC  and the effects have been added, i then use the Lightroom Smart Object and re-adjust the Lightroom settings using the Camera RAW engine inside Photoshop CC.


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Ideally I would like to store the layer adjustments centrally, in their defined groups. CC Libraries now allows me to do this.

(CC Libraries can store a multitude of things, from Layers, to shapes, 3D objects, Fuse animations etc etc)

In the example above, each group can be dragged to the Library and Photoshop will automatically store this data for me (as a Smart Object, see below). These groups are clearly labeled in the Libraries panel, using the name of the group that was added.

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Of course, with a system of more than one group, it can lead to confusion (especially if i shared this technique with another Creative Cloud member). So a better way would be to store a single group with these groups inside of it.

I can place these two groups inside another group, by selecting them using the CTRL (PC) or CMD (mac) keys and select “New Group from Layers” (Pink), (from the fly out menu, marked in yellow), then give the new Group a meaning full name (red).

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A new single Group layer, containing the adjustments in the correct order will be shown, called in my case “Platinum Palladium Tone”. Once this has been created, it can be dragged to the Libraries panel. Once it’s been dragged, Photoshop will automatically place it into a Smart Object (for safe keeping) and will be available where ever this library is (either private, or shared with collaboration, or shared by a link to another person).

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To use this effect on another image, the object can be just dragged whilst holding down the ATL key into the canvas, Photoshop will automatically extract the contents and place the groups and adjustments into this document (ALT must be used to apply the layer adjustments, because by default a Smart Object will be used to apply the adjustment, however, layer adjustments can’t be applied outside of a Smart Object).

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This is a another great feature that is available as part of the Creative Cloud subscription (Photography plan and Creative Cloud Complete).