Since its inception, artists and designers primarily have used Photoshop to manipulate pixels and vector graphics on the 2D plane. For some users that can see the advantages of using 3D to enhance their 2D work, the only course of action was to learn a huge software program or depend on someone else who already had. Starting with Adobe Photoshop CS3 Extended (and refined in subsequent releases),, users became able to now venture into the realm of 3D in a familiar environment. Not trying to go up against the applications that are completely about 3D, Adobe has tried to slowly add basic features that are understandable, but not overwhelming. The challenge comes in making those features known to the user base at large.
3D in Photoshop is written for just this type of designer that primarily works in 2D but could see the benefit of leveraging some 3D to enhance their work. This book has the sense of being both a primer to the basic elements of 3D and an extended manual for the 3D portion of Photoshop CS5 Extended. It is the purpose of authors Zorana Gee and Pete Falco to demystify the unknown of the third dimension as well as provide seeds of inspiration for designers to envision the possibilities for the inclusion of 3D in their own workflow.
Regular text in Photoshop CS5 can be used as a starting point for building a 3D title.
Multiple images can be extruded and transformed in Photoshop using Repousse.
3D in Photoshop is broken down into 3 parts: Introduction to 3D Concepts, 3D in Photoshop, and Workflows. The first section illuminates the 3D fundamentals to the un-indoctrinated. The very basics of 3D such as scenes, mesh, vertices, cameras, lights materials, etc. are broken down into their base definitions. This portion of the book in particular is an excellent starting point for getting to understand 3D whether your aspirations in 3D remain in Photoshop or grow to learn a more complex 3D application in the near future. The middle segment is transitional between teaching 3D concepts and how they are represented in Photoshop. Various Photoshop windows and operations are presented here in correlation to more 3D concepts, easing beginners into making connections between what they have just learned and how it applies in the field. Finally, the book rounds out the experience by giving tutorials from vetted Photoshop trainers that offer practical uses for this evolving tech.
Throughout 3D in Photoshop, the explanations given for 3D concepts are fairly straightforward and easy to grasp. The basic elements are parsed out in small, digestible bits—an approach that's appropriate for anyone that has never looked at a 3D program before. For the seasoned veteran, the first third of the book will be old hat. It isn't until the last two thirds will artists, experienced or not, be able to see how Photoshop defines their 3D functionality. The last part, which presents the tutorials, takes the time to describe the objective, how they would have achieved the outcome using 2D techniques, then finally explaining the efficiency of executing it in 3D. When you're finished reading the book in its entirety, the foundation for working with 3D inside of Photoshop will be sufficiently laid.
Shapes and text can be combined to make interesting graphics for promotional resources.
Depth of Information
3D in Photoshop is all about making the 3D functionality and their possibilities available to avid Photoshop users. The information is very basic if you are seeking a deeper understanding of 3D beyond the general, but it is just enough to work with 3D in Photoshop CS5 Extended. The book covers the assets being used, the operations that can modify it, and even the underlying preferences to manage the program's performance. Everything you need to know to best plan how to include Photoshop's capabilities into your workflow is presented in this manuscript. Anything beyond that would be superfluous.
3D objects and background plates can be brought together using Photoshop's 3D toolset.
This book takes the user by the hand and guides them through the general facets of 3D in a way that holds your interest. For artists that already know what is being talked about, they can quickly scan through the text and information and still have a decent gist at what's being explained. If you have never used 3D in Photoshop, then the explanation combined with relevant imagery makes for a fast and compelling read. The dialogue from the trainers is especially interesting because it gets you thinking about where you can speed up your own production by taking advantage of what 3D has to offer.
The book can kind of be seen as a manual for the 3D portion of Photoshop. So as a reference guide, its good to have to refer back to. For experienced 3D practitioners, it isn't very complex, but educates you on what the program is capable of. It seems like the focal goal of 3D in Photoshop is to educate and push artists out into the world to use and learn the 3D techniques now possible in Photoshop. After reading, people will get more through practice rather than continual review of the material in order for it to be retained. Considering that the text can also be purchased as digital download, that may be more advantageous to have directly on your computer rather than carry around as a physical paperback.
Depth of Field can be set in an image to help blend your 3D imagery with the 2D scene.
Value Vs. Cost
At full price for the paperback, this book may cost a little much for someone that understands the basics of 3D and just wants to know how Photoshop uses it. If you are new to 3D and have been apprehensive about even trying to work with it, then getting this book would be extremely helpful to get you used to the basics. If this book succeeds in getting you started on the long climb up the learning curve of becoming a 3D artist, then it's definitely worth the cost.
Overall Comments There isn't really any comprehensive documentation about using 3D that comes with Photoshop and what is possible to do with it. This book definitely fills that gap and hopefully inspire people to come up with new ways of utilizing the technology. For new users, they will probably have this book close to them as they try to make sense of 3D. When they are done, most artists can expect to have learned how to use 3D for a final 2D graphic layout. This material would come in handy for anyone making graphics to advertise their film work via posters or graphic designs for the web. As the technology progresses, I hope we can look forward to more offerings for experienced 3D artists both in future versions of Adobe Photoshop and books like 3D in Photoshop.
Michael Muwanguzi is a graphic artist and web designer currently living in Los Angeles, CA. Apart from working on print ads, web-related advertising, and 3D design work, he is currently working on new film production work and is designing a 3D adventure game from scratch.