Everything a Photoshop User Needs to Get Started in 3D with Adobe Dimension

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A Photoshop design, visualized in 3D using Adobe Dimension.
Everything a Photoshop User Needs to Get Started in 3D with Adobe Dimension

If you’ve been using Adobe Photoshop for a while, chances are that you’re familiar with a lot that it has to offer. In that case, now’s the ideal time to take your designs to the next level with 3D, which offers a whole new range of possibilities. With Adobe Dimension, our new 3D design tool, you can take images you’ve created in Photoshop and create realistic, high-quality 3D visualizations, and you don’t even need any 3D experience to get started. This is ideal for designers working with packaging design, visualizing spaces, and creating product shots for advertising materials.

Dimension Product Manager Jeanette Mathews says the 3D tool was built from the ground up with Photoshop users in mind. Below, she shares how you can bring design assets straight from Photoshop into Dimension, work with these visualizations in Dimension to create the perfect photorealistic scene (with no photography involved), and drastically increase your design productivity while doing so.

Why 3D? Because it’s the future, of course

Photoshop is already a powerful tool, the industry-leading software for design, compositing, and photography workflows, so what else do you need? By using Adobe Dimension as well you’ll see there are major advantages when designing. Doing so means embracing a major trend in the design industry; 3D is rapidly becoming a necessary skill for designers, especially in packaging and manufacturing industries. “3D as a medium is becoming an artistic style all its own, used for visual communication and expression that captures a unique blend of things that can’t possibly be real, but really look it,” said Jeanette.

Above the Lake by Cinniature on Behance.

“It isn’t a new medium, either. It’s been around for decades in industries like fashion, manufacturing, and advertisement. That’s because it’s powerful, expressive, and has many practical benefits like saving time and money. So why isn’t everyone using it? The fact is; it’s just hard. Dimension was built specifically for today’s designers, so you can take the knowledge you already have of Adobe tools like Photoshop and add 3D as a natural extension of your workflow,” she added.

Getting started: Bring Photoshop Images into Dimension

  1. Download Adobe Dimension.
  2. Take the image designed in Photoshop and drag and drop it onto one of the dozens of readymade 3D models within Dimension. The image will wrap around the object.
  3. Click and drag your image to move it around your model and position it the way you want.
  4. Preview your model in real-time 360 degrees. Then add further elements like textures, lighting enhancements, new backgrounds, and more.

Dimension is designed to get you up and running immediately. “The barrier to entry is very low, and we include in-app tutorials to walk you through concepts like moving objects and staging your view, and customizing the look of objects,” said Jeanette.

Next steps: Lighting and texture enhancements for photorealistic visualizations

Once you’ve brought your image into Dimension from Photoshop, you have many extended features you can use to make your new object look very realistic in 3D. Designers working in Dimension gain complete control over two vital aspects of 3D design that’ll help bring your new model to life with greater realism than ever: lighting and materials.

Lighting

Lighting is critical for realism. The human mind is programmed to understand lights and shadows; it’s how we interpret the world around us, so we’re really sensitive to when it’s wrong. Lighting, reflections, and shadows are also some of the most complex things to try to fake in a purely 2D workflow. In Dimension, lighting is incredibly realistic because 3D is basically the same as the real world.

So how does lighting in Dimension work?  You have two kinds of light, the environment light and the sunlight, and you can choose different lighting presets, or customize the lighting yourself.  You can also use the Match Image feature, powered by Adobe Sensei, to display your object inside of a photograph for a full photorealistic visualization, background and all.

“You can take a background photo, any photo, bring it into Dimension, and we will analyze that background, find the perspective and horizon, find the light sources, and match your scene to that image,” remarked Jeanette, adding that it’s a powerful indicator of the level of realism designers can quickly achieve with Dimension.

3D models have custom textures and images applied and are inserted realistically into a background in just minutes.

Match Image helps you get started quickly, but artists want freedom and precision, so if you’d like to dive in deeper and fine tune your visualization, you have full control over your lighting including, including intensity, height, rotation, and colors

Materials

Thanks to the free content that ships with Dimension, designers have access to exact types of materials to build models out of. Not only do you have a say about what material your model is made out of, but you can get very specific with how that particular material shows up in your visualization.

A model can be instantly turned into any material and presets from Dimension and Adobe Stock get you started quickly.

“You can tweak things like whether your model is made of plastic, rubber, or wood, and you can get really granular with those details. You can say you want a particular area to be rougher, or glossier. You can add a lot of textural details to your designs. This can make a huge impact on how a design is going to appear, which is the value of using 3D to mock it up! If you print a glossy label, how will that look different than a matte label? A metallic label?” said Jeanette.

Materials allow you to quickly visualize things like matte, gloss, and metallic foil effects.

The integrations with other applications through Creative Cloud make working on editing materials, logos, and background images really seamless.  Using the Edit In feature, you can instantly take any image back to Photoshop, make your changes, and then once you save the updates are reflected back in Dimension instantly.  That makes working on your design and visualizing it in real time very powerful.

 

Processing your files after the visualization is complete

Dimension comes with an impressive rendering engine, which you can use to turn your new model into a photorealistic image in the form of a .PSD file with different layers. One layer is your background, another is your 3D model, and yet another is a selection layer. This makes it easy to render out a more complicated model with lots of patterns or textures.

It’s then possible to send all of this data to Photoshop, where you can do all sorts of compositing and post-processing without having to worry about re-rendering your visualization.

The end game: Increased productivity, more time to be creative

Adobe Dimension can be a considerable productivity booster, whether you’re a freelancer army of one or part of a larger enterprise.

“If you had a product and wanted to put a label on it, you’d have to buy a product and print out a label. You’d then have to attach it to the product, do a photoshoot, and then go into Photoshop to do post-processing. Or you have to find a 2D mockup template and then you’re really confined to the choices the mockup creator made. Doing it in Dimension gives you much more control over the end result. We found that Dimension does the same work at a higher quality result, about five times faster,” added Jeanette, pointing to a new Pfeiffer report, “The Productivity of Design Visualisation”, the looked into 3D workflows.

Because of this fivefold productivity increase, designers have the luxury to be more flexible in how they spend their time. As we all know, more time means more freedom to be creative  instead of just moving through workflows.

Succeeding with Dimension and Photoshop

At the end of the day, Photoshop and Dimension are apps that complement each other wonderfully. Since designers enjoy the smoothness of going back and forth from one to the other for final touches to their designs, you can tap into the benefits of both simultaneously.

“Sometimes it’s Dimension saving you from having to do extra work in 2D that would take you longer, and sometimes it’s Photoshop doing texture work, compositing, or other edits. Having each tool be really good at what it does, and talking to each other seamlessly, is really the power of Creative Cloud,” said Jeanette.

Try Adobe Dimension free with your Creative Cloud subscription. Share your work on Bēhance or Instagram with #adobedimension, and check out the incredible work created with Dimension, too.

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