I saw some beautiful 3D illustration of Madagascar that inspired me to create this illustration. In this tutorial, I’ll share my experience in recreating this illustration. This tutorial will utilize Photoshop 3D features, layer masking, and a lot of selections.
Preview of Final Results
- Water Texture – straymuse | sxc.hu
- Sand Texture – neopicture | sxc.hu
- Cruise – tuareg | sxc.hu
- Iceberg1 – nitygrity | sxc.hu
- Iceberg2 – rsface001 | sxc.hu
- Whale1 – kitenellie | sxc.hu
- Whale2 – clafouti | sxc.hu
- Shark – nighthawk7 | sxc.hu
Create a new layer (Ctrl+N) with 1600x1200px wide and resolution is set to 150dpi. Create a new layer, fill it with solid 50% gray color.
Create a 3D shape by accessing menu 3D > New Shape From Layer > Cylinder. Use one of the 3D Object tool to reduce the cylinder’s height as seen below.
Increase the cylinder size by dragging up the middle square in the 3D Axis, see image below.
Still using the 3D Object Rotation tool, adjust the perspective like shown below. Show the 3D panel by going to Window > 3D menu. Inside the 3d panel, click scene button to see option about material and render settings. Click the Edit button to show the 3D Render Settings dialog, we need to see some wire frames for guidelines, so check the second option (wire frame box icon), then adjust Crease Threshold value to 0. Click OK to apply changes.
Convert 3d object layer into a raster layer, then create a new layer above it. Using solid round brush, draw a guideline to mark the area we’re going to cut.
Create a light blue (RGB: #6dcff6) ellipse using ellipse tool, make sure you create it below the guideline layer. Using Edit > Free Transform Path command to adjust ellipse’s width and height. Don’t forget to hit Enter when you’re done transforming.
Create a new ellipse shape below the first one, notice that I rename the layers for easier recognition. Use free transform command to adjust ellipse’s width & height, following the 3d model as guidance. This process will be easier if we can look the 3d model, so reducing the layer’s opacity surely will help us. As for the bottom edge part, use warp command to bend it. Hit Enter when you’re done.
Still in the layer bottom, select Pen tool from tool bar. Activate subtract from shape area option, then follow the guidelines to create a triangle-like shape. Because we’re using subtract from selection mode, the triangle will ‘cut’ the ellipse as seen below.
Click layer top thumbnail, then repeat the same step as before to cut the ellipse using Pen tool.
We don’t need the 3d model layer anymore, so you can hide or delete it now. Still using Pen tool, create the left, inside & right shape (I assume you already know how to use Pen tool). For easier recognition, I suggest using different blue color tone for each shape. Make sure the layers order from top to bottom are like this: layer top, right, inside, left, bottom (see image below for more details).
Now you’ve done creating the 3D pie, hide or delete the guideline layer since we no longer need it. The next step is adding texture, but first you have to decide where to put the light source. You don’t have to draw a polygonal shape to do this step, just visualize in your mind that the light source is from the top right corner (as seen below). Knowing the light source will make your work easier, because you know where to draw shadows and highlights globally.
Open the water image (File > Open). Press Ctrl+A to select all parts of the image, then press Ctrl+C to copy it to clipboard. Get back to 3D pie image and press Ctrl+V to paste the water image. Make sure you place it above the TOP layer and name it wave.
Still on the wave’s layer, reduce its size by pressing Ctrl+T (hold the Shift key while dragging the corner control point, this will keep the aspect ratio of the image so it didn’t look squeezed or stretched). Hit Enter when you’re done transforming. And since we’re agreed the light source is come from the upper right corner, we need to flip the wave by using Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal menu. That’s look better!
We need the wave image as a texture for the top shape layer. In order to do that, simply press Ctrl+Alt+G and voila, you’ve got the clipping mask layer.
Duplicate the wave layer, then drag it down between left and bottom layer. Create a rectangle-like selection using the Rectangular Marquee tool.
Invert the selection by pressing Ctrl+Shift+I then press Delete, this step will erase the selected areas. Now deselect by pressing Ctrl+D. To make sure there is no part of the wave image outside canvas, press Ctrl+A to select all part of the canvas, then go to Image > Crop.
Still in the same layer, go to Edit > Transform > Warp then warp the image following the 3D model side curve. See image below for more details.
Duplicate the wave copy layer, then place each image on top of left and right layer. After that, make each one of them ( wave copy layer ) as a layer clipping mask. Result of this steps can be seen in the image below.
Select the wave copy 2 layer (the one on top of right shape layer) then change the blend mode to Multiply. Make it blur by going to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur menu, adjust Radius value to 5px then click OK.
Repeat previous step for the other wave image placed on top of left shape layer. To apply the same Gaussian Blur filter, simply press Ctrl+F. When you’re done, select the left shape layer’s and reduce the opacity to 70%. This will make the left shape become transparent.
Go back to right shape layer’s, we need to tweak this layer so it look transparent as the left shape. Reducing the layer opacity will simply work, but I didn’t want the entire right shape became transparent. So I decide to add a layer mask, then use a black-soft round-Brush tool with low opacity (around 10-20%) to mask some areas so the transparency is applied only on certain parts (i assume you already knew how to do masking with brush tool).
Copy-paste the water texture image once again, don’t forget to decrease its size. Make sure you place this new water texture layer on top of inside’s shape layer, then create a selection using Rectangular marquee tool. Now Inverse (press Shift+Ctrl+I) the selection, delete the selected area then deselect ( press Ctrl+D ). Still in the same layer, make it as clipping mask (press Ctrl+Alt+G) and then go to Edit > Transform > Distort. Distort the water texture until it the perspective’s feel right. Press Enter when you’re done.
Same as previous step, change layer blend mode to Multiply then apply Gaussian Blur filter. Later on, reduce the “inside” shape layer opacity to 70%.
Open and copy-paste the sand texture image into our working document. Place it on top of ‘bottom’ shape layer then decrease its size using the free transform command.
Transform the sand texture using Edit > Transform > Distort command, making the perspective view like shown below. Don’t forget to press Enter when you’re done transforming.
Next, make this layer as a clipping mask layer by pressing Alt+Ctrl+G then change the blend mode to Linear Light. This step also finish the ‘adding texture-part’ of this tutorial.
Create a new clipping mask layer between sand texture and ‘bottom’ layer, change the blend mode to Overlay then draw shadows using soft round Brush with low opacity. When using Brush tool, remember the light source we mention at the beginning as your reference where to put shadows.
Repeat creating shadows for each shape layers. But don’t change the blending mode, leave it normal instead. See image below if you need guidance.
Get back to sand texture layer, we need to sharpen it a bit by using Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask menu. Inside the Unsharp Mask dialog, adjust Amount and Radius value as seen below. Click OK to apply the filter.