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Fun Effects in Photoshop CS3: Make Your Photos Bend with Vanishing Point

📄 Contents

  1. Getting Started with the Vanishing Point Filter
  2. Bending a Photo
  3. Other Bending Options
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Are you ready to showcase your art on a billboard or up on a building? It's easy to do with the Photoshop Vanishing Point filter. This filter distorts your image to fit the building's shape. Even better, with Photoshop CS3 you can bend your image around a corner, all in the correct perspective. In this article, Helen Bradley shows you how to harness the power of the Vanishing Point filter to create fun effects with your digital images.
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To create a montage that showcases a photo on a wall or the side of a building you’ll want to distort the photo to fit the building’s shape. Whether you’re transforming the image or bending it around a corner the Vanishing Point filter can make the task easy. It enables you to create simple perspective planes that you can use to wrap your photos around objects such as intersecting walls in the correct perspective.

In this series, Helen Bradley introduces some creative uses for Adobe Photoshop CS3. These effects each make use of a range of tools in Photoshop in ways that help you unleash your creativity and that let you do fun and interesting things with your images.

This first part of the series looks at how you can bend your photos using the Photoshop CS3 Vanishing Point filter.

If you’re like most keen photographers, you enjoy displaying your favorite photos on the walls of your house. It’s easy to print and hang a photo in the real world, but hanging an image on a digital wall is something else.

If the digital "wall" on which you’re hanging your image is not square, you’ll need to bend and transform your image to match its perspective. Photoshop’s Vanishing Point filter can help you create an effect where a photo is placed on a wall, a sign, or some shape of your choosing in the correct perspective.

You use the Vanishing Point filter to create a perspective grid into which you can place a photo—when you do this, the photo is transformed so it conforms to the grid. If the grid has a bend in it, the photo will be bent at that point.

While the Vanishing Point filter first appeared in Photoshop CS2, the new features in the filter in Photoshop CS3 can help you create an image that bends around an edge.

Getting Started with the Vanishing Point Filter

Here’s how to get started with the Vanishing Point filter (this process works in Photoshop CS2 and CS3 because it uses only one plane):

  1. Open a photograph of a building or wall that has an interesting shape and that is not perfectly rectangular. Also, open the photograph that you want to apply to the wall.
  2. To create this effect, you need a copy of the photo that will be placed on the wall in the Clipboard. Click the photo to select it, choose Select > All, and then select Edit > Copy.
  3. Switch to the image that contains the wall. Display the Layers palette and click on the Create a New Layer icon to add a new layer to the image, (see Figure 1).
    Figure 1

    Figure 1 Before you use the Vanishing Point filter, it’s a good idea to create a new layer so the pasted photo will appear on its own layer.

  4. Launch the Vanishing Point filter by choosing Filter > Vanishing Point. Wait as the Filter dialog box opens. Click the Create Plane Tool in the top left of the dialog box. Click on each of the four corners of the shape that you want to bend the photograph to. When you click the fourth corner, a grid should appear over the image (see Figure 2).
    Figure 2

    Figure 2 Use the Create Plane Tool and click on the four corners of the shape to create the first plane.

  5. If the grid is blue, the proportions are correct and you can proceed. If the grid is yellow or red, you need to adjust the placement of the corners of the plane until the grid turns blue.
  6. To paste in the image you have on the Clipboard, press Ctrl+V (Command+V on the Mac). The photo will appear in the top-left corner of the screen.
  7. Select the Marquee tool and click on the photo. You can resize it if necessary by dragging on its corner handles and then drag it onto the blue grid area. When you do this, the photo will appear inside the grid, and its perspective will be adjusted to match (see Figure 3).
    Figure 3

    Figure 3 Paste your image into the filter and drag it to place it inside the perspective grid.

    If the photo extends beyond the grid area, it will be cropped to fit. If you prefer to resize the photo, drag it down so its top-left corner is visible, click the Transform tool and resize it.

  8. When you are happy with the result of adding the photo, click Ok.

    The photo appears on the new layer you created in the image. You can now use any of your favorite editing tools to edit this layer so it blends into the underlying photo and you can add a layer style such as a drop shadow if desired (see Figure 4).

    Figure 4

    Figure 4 When you return to your image, you can use your favorite editing techniques on the new layer to blend the images.

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