How To Create A Composite In Photoshop With The PixelSquid 3D Extension
- Setting up account on PixelSquid
- Downloading and installing the Photoshop extension
- Browsing and importing a 3D object to Photoshop
- Inserting the object into an image
The first thing we need to do is sign up for an account on PixelSquid. Go to http://www.pixelsquid.com. Click Join Now in the top right-hand corner. A sign-up box appears. From here you can use your Facebook account or choose the old-school email and password method. It’s also well worthwhile signing up for the newsletter here to receive news when new objects are added and other useful updates. Click the button to create the account and log in to the site.
Next, we’ll install the extension plug-in. Click the link at the top-left of the page, next to the search box. This will open the download page on the Adobe Add-ons site. If you’re already signed in with your Adobe ID, you’ll be able to install the extension by clicking the Install button, otherwise, you’ll be asked to log in first. The plugin will download and install itself; you should see a notification from the Creative Cloud app. The Install button will change to View My Add-ons, which verifies that it’s been installed.
Open Photoshop CC. Go to the Extensions item of the Window menu. If everything has gone to plan, we’ll see the PixelSquid item on the fly-out menu. If it’s not there, quit Photoshop and open it up again. If it still doesn’t show, refer to the troubleshooting guide on the download page.
Click the PixelSquid Menu item to open the extension panel. The latest version gives you some sample items to try out before signing up/logging in. We’ll skip this and go straight to the login by clicking the link just above the PixelSquid logo at the bottom of the panel. Enter the details you used in the sign-up process, or click the Facebook button if you signed in with that.
I’ve already been using the extension, of course, so I have a few items stored in my library. Your view will be empty if you’ve just started a new account.
I found this image on Fotolia.com (file number #39831801). It has a nice James Bond mood to it. Now to find something suitable for the background!
Go back to PixelSquid. Type in Car as the search term. The Aston Martin DB5 is perfect! As we hover over it, the object will spin round. We’ll also have the option to view the object in more detail or use the button to add it straight to Photoshop. For example purposes, we’ll open the item’s detail page but if we were sure this was the right object, we could just add it straight to the Photoshop collection here.
Here’s the item’s detail page. The main image can be rotated to in real time using the mouse. On the right you have 3 options: Add to Photoshop, Download PSD and Download PNG. Downloading the PSD or PNG options will give you a ‘frozen’ image at the angle you set on the left. We want to add it to Photoshop, so click the button to start the magic!
Go back to Photoshop. If we don’t see the car object in the panel, click the Refresh button just above the panel window. Once the thumbnail appears, we’re ready to add the car to our scene.
Click the car’s thumbnail. After a short time, the car object will be downloaded from the website and be placed into the image; placed in the centre by default. Not ideal, of course but this is just the start. If we look at the Layers panel, we can see the car has been added as a Smart Object. This is where it all happens.
Go over to the extension panel. Click and drag the thumbnail to rotate the object. Here I levelled it out but left it facing in the same direction. As soon as we release the mouse, the car in the image will be updated to match. Brilliant!
Once we have the car at the correct angle we can scale and position it using Free Transform, just as we would with a standard layer in Photoshop. As this is a Smart Object, it will always keep its detail. If we decided to change the angle again, we could adjust it in the panel to update it and it would keep it’s new size and position
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Speaking as someone who, wanting to do a composite Spectre shot, spent several months researching public displays of DB5’s, reading up on the best scale world to find the best examples and then waiting two weeks for a DB5 Autoart collectors edition Goldfinger model to end on ebay and who spent all day today shooting the model, focus stacking it all the time whilst ignoring family who said, “Can’t you just use an image from the internet?!”. I salute you for your magnificent post.
Thanks for the very helpful Tuts for working with PixelSquid. One question…they’ve changed the options to ‘Embed Smart Object’, ‘Embed Layers’ or ‘Open Object as PSD’.
Based on your training, I would think you’d choose Open Object but it opens it in a different file so you’re making adjustments outside of the main image. Any suggestions?