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Create a Chrome Hood Ornament Using Photoshop's 3D Features

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Photoshop CS6 is packed with new and powerful features. In this tutorial we will explore some of Photoshop CS6's enhanced 3D features by showing how to create a realistic 3D hood ornament. Let's get started!

Tutorial Assets

The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial.

Step 1

Create a new document at any size. Since we will be working in 3D, the image will render out to the size of the document. In this case, I have created a document 1800 px by 1250 px.

Step 2

Before we begin creating our elements, it's important to take time to plan out what we want to create. This will save us from headache later. This scene will consist of two basic groups of objects; the emblem and the background. The emblem will be comprised of a text object and a ring-shaped object. The background will be comprised of random shapes to provide extra detail.

Step 3

The first item we'll begin to build is the emblem. Use the Ellipse Tool with the settings shown and draw an ellipse on the canvas. Name this layer "Ring."

Using the same tool, hold Alt and draw a smaller ring inside the first. The result should be a hollow ring.

Step 4

Next, use the Type Tool to add any phrase to the scene. Experiment with any font you wish as we can easily change this later (as described in Step 32).

Step 5

To make the text more interesting, go to Type > Convert to Shape. Use the Pen Tool to add and subtract points, or use the Direct Select Tool to manipulate the points and their handles. In this case, I've made the font appear more 'blocky.'

Step 6

The last shape we'll need to create for our emblem is an ellipse that fills the entire negative space of our ring. Use the Ellipse Tool to draw an ellipse that fills the inside of our emblem.

Step 7

With our emblem shapes complete, we can start the creating the background shapes. We will need to create series of shapes that will fit together in the 3D scene. The first shape is a rounded polygon with an ellipse punched through the center (the emblem will eventually fill inside this negative space). Here is the shape we will create.

To make this shape, use the Rounded Rectangle Tool set to Shape and draw a rectangle with the corner Radius set to 200 px.

With the Direct Selection tool, manipulate the points and their handles to create a final shape like the one below:

Change the Opacity to 50% and unhide the "Ellipse" shape layer. This will expose the ellipse shape so that we can use it as a template in the next step.

Step 8

The last shape in the background will be a large rectangle with the tapered rectangle shape punched through. This is the shape we will be creating.

Start by using the Rectangle Tool to create a rectangle that fills the entire canvas. Name this layer "Rectangle."

Next, Command/Ctrl-click the "Rounded Rectangle" layer's thumbnail from the previous step to create a selection from the shape.

With the "Rectangle" layer still selected, Alt-click the Layer Mask icon to create a mask from the inverse of the selection.

Click the mask thumbnail to edit the mask and use a white paint brush to fill in the ellipse in the center of our shape.

Lastly, go to Layer > Rasterize > Shape, then go to Layer > Layer Mask > Apply. This will result in a rasterized shape layer that can be easily converted into a 3D object.

Step 9

Now that we have all of our shapes prepared, we can convert them into 3D objects. One at a time, select each layer and go to 3D > New 3D Extrusion from selected layer.

Step 10

The Layers Panel should now show all the layers as 3D objects.

The problem is that each 3D layer represents a separate 3D scene. That means, if we tried to render our scene, none of the objects would interact with each other (no object reflections, no bounce light, no casted shadows, etc.). To combine all 3D objects into the same 3D scene, select all 3D layers and press Command/Ctrl + E.

Step 11

If you haven't already noticed, the default setting for an extruded object is unrealistic. We need to go through each object and set the Extrusion Depth to a more manageable setting. In the 3D panel, we can see that each layer is now a 3D group layer. Go ahead and twirl-down one of the groups to reveal the 3D object layer (denoted by and extruded star). Click on the 3D object layer and, in the Properties Panel, set the Extrusion Depth to 20.

Repeat this for the rest of the layers.

Step 12

Before we start moving our objects around in our scene, let's move the camera into perspective so we can get a better view of the objects. Make sure the Move Tool (V) is selected and click on the "Current View" layer in the 3D Panel. This will bring up the camera controls in the Top Menu.

Use the Tools to move the camera into a perspective view.

Save this view setting by going to the Prosperities Panel

Step 13

Use the 3D Panel to select each 3D object group to move each object into position using the onscreen widget.

When you're done, your scene should resemble the image below:

Step 14

The next step is to set up the camera for our final render position. The perspective view was just for reference. In the 3D Panel, select "Current View." This will bring up the camera controls in the Top Menu. Reposition the camera to a more dynamic view. Use the Properties Panel to save the camera's location just like we did in Step 12.

Step 15

Now, we will focus on adding some additional detail to each of our objects. Start by selecting the "TUTS" object in the 3D panel. Next, select the Bevel and Cap icon in the Properties Panel. Use the onscreen widget to adjust the bevel and or cap to your liking. This will add additional contours that will make the reflections more interesting.

Continue applying these modifications to the "Ellipse" object.

Make more subtle adjustments to the Cap height for the background objects. You may notice that adding bevels to the objects may obscure the view of other objects. Just reposition the objects so they are visible again.

Step 16

In the next few steps, we'll focus on texturing our objects. Below are the notes on what textures we will use.

Step 17

To start with the chrome texture, expand the "TUTS" object in the 3D Panel until its materials are visible.

We will start building the texture on just one surface for now. Select the "Front Inflation Material" to highlight the surface on our canvas and bring up its material options in the Properties Panel.

Step 18

Make the following adjustments to the material options (the adjustment are just recommendations—feel free to adjust the textures as you see fit).

Step 19

The next step is to assign an image map to the Reflection property. To do this, click the folder icon for the Reflection property and select "Load Texture." Navigate to our "Bright_Sunset" image and click Open. It may also be necessary to remove the texture to the Diffuse property if one was assigned.

Step 20

By adding an image to the Illumination property, we can achieve another layer of lighting to our texture. This is a good idea when trying to create the illusion of reflecting a bright light source or just emitting light. Add the "Dark_Sunset" image to the Illumination Property (the "Dark_Sunset" image is the original sunset image with the Levels adjusted to darken the image. This is done to control the amount of light given off through the Illumination property).

Step 21

Now that we have a texture that works, we need to save it to our materials list and apply it to our other objects. To Save, click on the down arrow next to the material preview window. The Materials Picker will open. Clicking on the small Gear Icon will allow you to save the new material to this list. Make sure to label the material "Chrome."

To apply the texture to multiple surfaces on a single object, just highlight all desired surfaces (in the 3D Panel) and navigate to the correct material using the Material Picker (in the Properties Panel). Notice that all surfaces on our object are now textured with the material we just selected.

Step 22

Our next step is to build the texture for the background objects. Select one of the surfaces of the background objects to open the Material Properties in the Properties Panel. Make the following changes to the properties.

Step 23

We want to add a subtle Bump Map to this texture. To do this, click on the Bump properties folder icon and select New Texture. This will open a dialogue box for the new texture. Just set the dimensions to 500 px by 500 px and click OK.

Step 24

You may have noticed that nothing happened to our scene after creating a new texture for the Bump property. In fact, Photoshop created a blank file as the texture map. Notice that the Bump property now has a new folder icon that indicates there is an image map assigned to this property. To preview the image map, hover your curser over the folder icon. You should see a blank (or white) preview icon appear.

To change the Bump Map, go ahead and select the folder icon and click Edit Texture.

Step 25

A bump map is a black and white image that can give texture to any surface. Black and white values are translated as depressed or raised areas on the surface. For this material, we are going to create a simple bump map that will provide additional the appearance of tactile texture. To start, go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise with an Amount of 65%.

Next, go to Filter > Blur > Blur More and then go to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur with a setting of 60.

Use Levels (Command/Ctrl + L) to make the following adjustments to the material options (feel free to adjust the textures as you see fit.)

Press Command/Ctrl + S to save this texture. We can close this document and return to our scene. Go ahead and hover over the folder icon again to preview our texture. Notice that our new texture now shows up as the Bump Map we just created.

Step 26

Save this Material to our material Picker, just like we did in Step 20.

Step 27

Now that both of our materials have been created, we can apply them to all of our objects. If necessary, refer back to our material notes on Step 16.

Step 28

The scene still appears a little flat. To fix this, we will add some realistic lighting via the Image Based Lighting (IBL) property. In the 3D panel, select the "Environment" layer to access its properties.

Currently the IBL is checked and set to a default black. To add more natural lighting, we will use our sunset image for the IBL. Add the sunset image by clicking on the folder icon next to the IBL property.

Using an actual image for the IBL makes our scene really pop!

Step 29

The next thing we need to address is the physical lighting in the scene. Currently, the scene has the default setting applied, which is one Infinite Light. Since most of our lighting will be coming from the IBL, we don't necessarily need to make many adjustments to the default settings. We do however, want to use the Infinite Light to help increase the brightness in our scene. In the 3D Panel, select the Infinite Light and make the following changes in the Properties Panel.

Step 30 (Optional)

As an optional step, we can add some Depth Of Field to our rendering. Go back into the Camera Properties by selecting the "Render" or "Current View" camera in the 3D Panel. Adjust the Depth Of Field settings as shown.

Step 31 (Optional)

Another optional step is to fine tune the positioning of our image maps. For example, we applied a reflection image to our chrome material, but if we don't like how it is being reflected, we can move the image to reflect differently. To do this, select a surface, such as the "Ellipse" 3D object's "Ellipse Front Bevel Material."

Select the Folder Icon for the Reflection Property and click on Edit UV Properties to access the image map's coordinates. Changing these settings will move the reflection. Experiment with this until you're satisfied with the results.

Step 32 (Optional)

It's worth noting that we can change our 3D objects at any time. For example, we can replace the 3D Text by selecting the "TUTS" 3D Object layer and selecting Edit Source in the Properties Panel.

A new file will open and allow you to change its contents. Saving the file will automatically update the results.

Step 33

Before we render, go to Edit > Preferences > 3D and change the Ray Tracer option to five or higher. The higher the number, the better the results (however, this will lead to longer render times).

Make sure you Save! Now, go to 3D > Render and wait while your scene renders out.

Step 34

After the scene has rendered, we can start some post processing. We are going to add some additional color by reusing the sunset image. Load the "Bright_Sunset' image into our scene and scale it so that most of the sky is visible.

Step 35

Give this layer a Gaussian Blur with a Radius of 4.0 px. Next, set this layer's Opacity to 71% and its Blending Mode to Overlay.

Step 36

To Finish Up, I've added a custom vignette set to Multiply.

Final Image

You're Done! Feel free to make tweaks as you see fit. I've adjusted the levels and used a large soft brush to paint in small amounts of glare. I've also removed some of the sunset's reflection on the chrome.

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