Create an Animation using 3D and Post-Production Techniques in Photoshop

Over the past few years, Photoshop has really expanded their tool set by offering (or expanding) their non-core features such as video editing and 3D. Today, I want to walk through one of my projects that utilizes both the 3D and video editing functionality within Photoshop. I will show you how I created and textured a 3D scene, added animation, and even made enhancements using some post-production techniques—all within Photoshop. Let’s get started!

The Final Animation

This is what I’ll be creating.

Step 1

The scene starts with a shape. In this case, I found a fun font and typed out the word Photoshop. I converted the font to a shape to make it easier for me to work with throughout the rest of the project.

Photoshop Shape

Step 2

Using the 3D features, I extruded the shape into a 3D object. At this point, I also added another flat postcard object that acts as a surface to catch light and shadows. I set up a quick lighting rig to test how these two objects interact.

3D Objects

Step 3

The next step was to add textures. I found some interesting textures and applied them to the Diffuse texture. I also created a Bump Map and Specular texture.

Textured Scene

Step 4

Using the Timeline Panel, I was able to animate various properties of my 3D scene. In this case, I set up my camera to pan across my scene. I also included some depth-of-field to add more interest to the scene. Since 3D renderings can take a long time to render, I always test my animations by using the Interactive quality render setting. This will basically render the scene in the same quality as the working preview.

Step 5

After a preview has been rendered, I’ll make final tweaks to my animation. Once I’m satisfied with the results, I’ll set up the rendering to render using the Ray Trace Final quality setting. I’ll leave Photoshop to render overnight and when it’s complete, I’m left with an MP4 file that looks like this:

Step 6

At this point, I’m not quite done with me scene. I can see that the edges of my ground object are visible in my scene. In fact, I’m not 100% satisfied with the feel of the video, as well. Thankfully, Photoshop has the ability to do some minor post-production on rendered videos. I’ll open the video file in Photoshop as a video layer, and using some video editing techniques, I’ll make some additional edits. In this case, I’ve added a string vignette to hide the ground plane edges. I’ve also added some noise and color correction to the video.


As you can see by the process above, Photoshop can be much more useful than editing images. You can combine multiple techniques and features to easily create some advanced effects.

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