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.
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.
With the Text tool (t key), add some white text to the document.
Choose Layer > Flatten Image.
With the Background layer selected, choose Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur....
Adjust the slider to 8 pixels. This will soften the edges and avoid any sharp edges.
With the Background layer selected, choose 3D > New Mesh from Layer > Depth Map to > Plane.
Select the object and click the Coordinates icon in the Properties panel. Change the Z Scale to 5%.
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.