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3.4 Blocks of Ice

Now let’s venture into the exciting world of 3D in Photoshop as we transform these letters into blocks of ice and use some custom texturing to create the semitransparent effect.

3.4 Blocks of Ice

Hello, everybody, Kirk Nelson here. Welcome back to Nature Inspired Text Effects. This is lesson 3.4, where we explore how to create blocks of ice from the letters that we just created. When we last left our icy text effect we had just completed the ice textures to fill out these letters. In this lesson, we're going to transform these letters into 3D objects and use the 3D tools in Photoshop to render them out, so they look like they're actual blocks of ice shaped into the form of these letters sitting here in our scene. First thing we're going to need to do is convert this to a single layer. Now I don't really want to merge this all together. But I want to create a single layer from it. So I'm gonna hold down the Alt key, or the Option key on a Mac, while I go to Layers > Merge Group, which also could have been done with the Ctrl or Cmd+E key. And that creates a merged layer of just that group. So now I can hide this original construction group here, and work solely with the merged layer. Go to 3D > New 3D Extrusion From Selected Layer. Photoshop warns us about switching to the 3D workspace and that's fine. And then the program actually extrudes this text for us and so it has some depth to it. And you can see in the secondary view that it does have quite a bit of depth to it. You can adjust how deep that goes with the slider over here on the extrusion depth. I'm setting my extrusion to 1448 pixels. I think that's got a good depth to it. You can tell it's a 3D object, but it's not too excessive. And I'm going to the Deform settings and I'm gonna set the Taper to 102%. Then let's go to the Cap properties, I'm gonna set the Contour to a Half Round. Now I clicked on the Contour thumbnail itself to get this Contour Editor. If you just click the down arrow key, you can select from the presets. I'm changing my bevel width to 15%, keeping the angle at 45 degrees and putting the inflation angle at 33 degrees. And the strength, I'm gonna increase to 5%. I think that gives a nice, rounded surface to our blocks here. If we zoom in a little bit on this top view, you can see it gives a little bit of a round to the top of those letters. You can also use the onscreen widgets here to further adjust the different elements. At the moment, the text is floating above our ground plane. That's not really what I want. So I'm making sure I have my Ice Text Merged selected. I'm going to my coordinance panel and I'm gonna rotate it 90 degrees on the axis, which puts it directly over where my ground plane is and click on the Move to Ground button, which flattens it down. But now we can't really see it right, so that's when we go to the current view and we begin to swing our camera around. Here's the camera angle that I ended up with. I wanted to have a very slight angle on it, so it's not directly over it. We see just a little bit of this leading edge, and the letters are slanted away from us ever so slightly. When we created these iced letters, Photoshop automatically took that texture that we had in there and mapped it to the front of these letters. And if we look at the Materials settings, we see that the Diffuse Channel has a document assigned to it. That's what happened to that texture that we created. Photoshop automatically mapped it to the front settings of our inflation here. If we click on this little document icon, and go to Edit Texture, we see the texture as it's put in there. All right, now we have the UV overlays turned on, so you can't really see much of it. This really just shows how the different polygons from the 3D object gets mapped to the texture. Something I like to do to create a more believable appearance of this being ice, is to use what's called an opacity map. Right now this is the diffuse map that's sort of being stuck on to the top of this. This controls the color of the object. If I use something very similar to this for an opacity map, it's sort of like using a mask on a regular layer in Photoshop. It uses the grayscale values of the map to determine the transparency and opacity of the 3D object. So I'm gonna make a duplicate of this image, through Image > Duplicate. And I can close that original one because it doesn't really need to be open anymore. And then I'm going to add a Levels Adjustment layer, just to increase the contrast of this so the black gets really dark and the light gets really white. Now, I'm just gonna save this as an opacity mask. So, back in our regular scene here, while we're still on the materials for those letters, scroll down to the Opacity settings. Click on the folder icon and load Texture. Now is when we grab that opacity mask that we just created. Things don't change very obviously in the preview here, but when we render it out, we'll be able to see slightly through these letters, thanks to that opacity mask. The main problem right now is that Photoshop automatically textured the front of these letters but the sides still need some texture on them. Right now it's just a flat slate gray. So we need to create some sort of texture to run along those sides. Here's an image that we already have from the original photos that we have for this course. Let's crop this down to use as a texture for the side of our ice blocks. We need to make sure in this case that we discard those outside pixels. So this is the texture that's going to be stretched around those sides of the letter blocks. And as it does so, it's going to tile them horizontally and we need to make sure that those seams work out pretty well. So let's go back to the Offset filter. That's in Filter > Other > Offset. We don't need to offset it vertically, so let's set that to zero and the horizontal offset is just enough so that we can see the seam here. So we can easily paint that out, then we'll save this as the side map. Back here in our regular scene, let's go to the 3D panel again. Check on the textures. It's the extrusion material that we need to be concerned about. And going up to the diffuse map, and saying replace texture. That's when we use our side map or one of the ones that I've prepared previously, which is the ice side one seamless. And that maps that seamless texture to the sides of our text here. But it's stretching it out. It's hard to see at this angle, but it is actually doing so. So let's open the Edit UV Properties and make sure that this map is tiling as far as it can on the U or X value, because what's happening is that map is being repeated along the side edges all the way around. And as you can imagine, there's a lot of distance to cover if you add up the perimeters of all these letters. If we change our secondary view to left or right, or really any of the sides, you can see how that texture map is being applied. Now let's turn our attention to the lighting. By default, the scene already has an infinite light in it. And as we select that infinite light we can move its position. So let's make it so that it's almost directly above those letters. Let's see, and just a touch of shadow on this side of it. Change that intensity down to about 70%, crank the shadow softness up to 50%, and change the color to a very bright light blue. Click on the Environment layer, and we can adjust the image-based lighting. This is what really helps give it a nice reflected and bounced light effect. The only thing we're gonna change here is the shadow softness, and put that up to 75%. And at this point it's a really good idea to save your scene because the next thing we're going to do is render it out and that could take a while. And if something happens like the program crashes, or your computer reboots, or you accidentally stop it, you could lose the file if it's not already saved. So now's a good point to do that. Because once we hit this render button, things are gonna cook for a while. To help reduce some of the render times, use your rectangular marquee tool to just select the area that you want to render. There's no need to render these outside edges because we don't have anything there In our 3D scene. But make sure you have a large enough selection that it grabs any of the shadows that should be visible. Then just click the render button and let it go. Now I'm not going to record the entire rendering of mine because it takes a long time to do so. I'm going to pause the recording now, and then show you how mine ended up. Here's the result of my render. I did create a merged layer from the 3D object after I rendered it, and that's a good practice to get into. Because if you accidentally go in and change any of the properties of the 3D element, you'll lose that rendered image. It's very easy to accidentally do so, and then you'll have to re-render the whole thing again. So I don't keep the 3D element in a fully rendered state. Any time I complete a render, I create another merged layer from the so I have that available to work with. And that's how we create blocks of ice from our letters using the 3D tools in Photoshop. That also completes lesson 3.4. Next lesson, lesson 3.5, is our photo add-ons, where we finish up this text effect.

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