Create 3D Images and Scenes
The extended version of Photoshop CS5 includes 3D tools with which you can turn 2D images into 3D objects, manipulate their shape and position, apply textures, add lights, and render out a high-quality, color-managed image. However, the feature requires a fairly powerful graphics card to work. The Nvidia GeForce 8400M GS in our test laptop didn’t qualify and even with the ATI Radeon HD 4600 in our test desktop rendering wasn’t fast. Adobe also suggests working in 64-bit on a PC or Mac. Photoshop falls back to software-only rendering but this wasn’t always successful with the beta software.
For simple 3D, you can take text and vector objects (for the best results they need to be on their own layer) and use the Repoussé effect to extrude them into 3D. This gives you a significant range of controls such as being able to change from a simple 3D version to dragging the object through 3D space, bending it in the middle, or twisting it around itself, applying textures to every surface independently, and controlling lighting effects.
Photoshop Extended will make some common 3D shapes, so you can wrap a photo around a wine bottle as a label. If you have a proper 3D model with which to work that you have built up in layers, you can style every element, choose the texture and the color of the texture, set the lights, and control the reflections. Applying photos as textures means you can get a 3D look with realistic images and you can use a photograph to mimic the lighting of a real scene–impressively, it works for HDR images. For speed, you can work with a basic level of rendering and switch to the final, high-quality version when you’re done.
Once you get beyond Repoussé and making standard shapes, you need to learn how to use the 3D features in Photoshop. This is where the features are definitely aimed at professional designers who need powerful control rather than simplicity.