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3D Cubes

Another of those collaging elements that are very trendy right now and that are showing up in some of the latest cutting-edge collages are 3D cubes. They've caught on in such a big way, and what's nice is that they make use of Photoshop's almost useless 3D Transform filter. And, anything that brings that old dog to some sort of useful life is worth of a look, don'tcha think?

  1. Open a new document in RGB mode and make it 8"x8". (This technique works best with a large square image.) Create a new layer by clicking on the New Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers palette.

  2. Figure 8.79

    Quick Tip: See your documents side by side

    Since the beginning of Photoshop history (back when dinosaurs roamed the earth) when you had one image open onscreen and you opened a second image, the way the images were displayed within your monitor was called "cascading." What that meant was, when you opened an image, it would open in front of the existing image (as you've already experienced countless times). However, in Photoshop 7, Adobe added a new document view that has been in page layout programs for years, and my guess is you're going to love it. It's called "Tile" and what it does is tile all your open documents one beside the other filling your monitor. Photographers should love this, because they can open up to 10 or 12 proofs and display them side-by-side on their monitor. Tile is found under the Window menu under Documents. Open up three or four images then choose Tile and you'll see what all the fuss is about.

  3. Go under the Filter menu, under Render, and choose 3D Transform. When the dialog box appears, click on the Options button, and in the resulting dialog box, turn OFF Display Background (it's on by default, so you'll have to turn it off, as shown).

  4. Figure 8.80

  5. Click on the Cube tool and drag out a tall rectangular shape. Then press "a" to get the Direct Selection tool, click on the only point showing at the top of your cube, and drag to the left or right to lean your cube (as shown). Then, draw another rectangular cube, and lean it too.

  6. Figure 8.81

  7. Continue this process of adding rectangular cubes and tilting them to the left or right until you have a number of cubes in place. If you have the patience, the more cubes, the merrier (so to speak).

  8. Figure 8.82

  9. After you've completed drawing your cubes, press "R" to switch to the Trackball tool. The background will turn black and your cubes will turn solid white. Click the Trackball tool in the center of your cubes and drag your pointer to the right. As you do, your cubes will rotate in the preview window, and if you drag far enough, the "backside" of your cube shapes will appear, complete with shading on all sides (as shown).

  10. Figure 8.83

  11. Click OK and your shapes will be rendered onto your layer. Choose Drop Shadow from the Layer Style pop-up menu at the bottom of the Layers palette, and click OK to add a drop shadow. Also, press Command-U (PC: Control-U) to bring up Hue/Saturation. Click the Colorize button, choose a color with the Hue slider, and click OK to colorize your cubes and complete the effect.

  12. Here's an example (left) of the 3D cube effect used in Digital Vision's Infinity collection.

  13. Figure 8.84

Quick Tip: Brush size changes in Photoshop 7

Here's a tip about a feature in Photoshop 7 that didn't make big headlines, but when you realize what it means, it's absolutely mondo-crazy big! The feature is the Master Diameter slider in the Brushes palette (found under the Window menu, choose Brushes). This enables you to change the size of a selected brush. I know that sounds like no big deal because you could always change the size of a brush, right? Well, not always. You see, previous versions of Photoshop let you change the size of round soft-edged and hard-edged brushes, but NOT the custom brushes. This meant that if Adobe created a cool custom brush at 25 pixels, that's the size it was stuck at. So, for high-res images, many of those smaller custom brushes were totally unusable because they were too small. Now, just pick ANY custom brush and make it the size you want it. Even if you create your own custom brush, it's totally scalable with the Master Diameter slider. Way, mondo-crazy cool!

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