Creating a Depth Map Object

Creating a Depth Map Object

Photoshop CS6 Tutorial


How to Create a Depth Map Object in Photoshop



Depth Map objects start with a grayscale image. The image is then applied to the object making the light areas high and the dark areas low.

You can apply an image to a plane, two-sided plane, cylinder or a sphere. In this example we will create a grayscale image in Photoshop and create a Depth Map Plane object. In some programs, this type of object is called a Displacement object.


Step One

In Photoshop open a new document with a black Background layer (File > New). Set the image size to 1,024 pixels by 1,024 pixels.

Step Two

With the Text tool (t key), add some white text to the document.

Step Three

Choose Layer > Flatten Image.

Step Four

With the Background layer selected, choose Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur....

Step Five

Adjust the slider to 8 pixels. This will soften the edges and avoid any sharp edges.

Step Six

With the Background layer selected, choose 3D > New Mesh from Layer > Depth Map to > Plane.

Step Seven

Select the object and click the Coordinates icon in the Properties panel. Change the Z Scale to 5%.

Step Eight

Add a texture to the object and choose 3D > Render to see your rendered mesh. Be patient, it may take several minutes.

Taking it to the Next Level

There are several things you can do to fine tune your Depth Map object. Here are some suggestions:Soften the shadows for your light

Change the light type, Color and adjust the Falloff

Add a map with noise to the Bump channel

Apply a Ray Trace texture

Position the camera and light to capture the displacement

Speeding Up the Render Time

The Render quality is set in the Photoshop 3D Preferences. The High Quality Threshold value can be adjusted from one to ten. By dropping the setting to one for your test renders, then increasing the value to five or six for your final render, you will save yourself hours of wasted time.


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