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A Photoshop Tool for Product Designers

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As product designers sometimes we need to place an image or decal on our product in perfect perspective. For example if you have been working on a cool packaging label and need to put it on a product, how do you do it? Need to put a recycle sign or the material type logo on the base of your product render, how do you do it? Of course you can just include these decals on your product render through your 3D application. But this can be time consuming as it requires often importing your image into the program and sometimes it just doesn’t look right anyways. Or maybe you forgot to apply decals to your 3d model in CAD, or you just don’t know how to technically do it.

In photoshop there are 3 different ways you can go about applying a decal:

1. The new 3D tools in Photoshop is a high tech way of applying a decal but it lacks accuracy

2. Using the commonly used transform tools e.g. perspective and warp tools, but this can take a long time to get it right, and often blurs the image

3. The often forgotten vanishing point tool. Which is the definitive way of getting decals advertisements or other data in perfect perspective. This is what I am going to go through today

The Vanishing Point Tool

The vanishing point tool allows you to quickly get perfect perspective without blurring or changing the aspect ratio of your decal or image.

For this tutorial we are going to put a decal on a shopping bag. You will need to download the following file to complete the tutorial or alternatively you can just use your own product and decal image.

Get the Tutorial Files!

(1Mb)

Step 1.

Open the file ’embody3ddecal.psd’ and rasterize the layer. Now with the rectangular marquee tool drag over the whole decal and then copy the selection (apple+C or control+C). Note: it is important that you rasterize the vector image of your decal otherwise you wont be able to copy the selection. To rasterize the vector image go to Layer>Rasterize>Smart Object.

Step 2.

Open the file ‘orangebag.psd’ and create a new blank layer above the bag layer. Then go to filter>vanishing point tool or (apple+option+v or control+option+v)

Step 3.

A new vanishing tool window box will appear. On the left hand side control panel click on the second icon from the top called ‘create plane tool’. Then on the main window on right draw the plane on which you want to put your decal on. This can be done by clicking on each corner or the front face of the bag.

Step 4.

Now we need to put the original decal onto the bag. With the vanishing tool window still open press ‘apple+v’ or ‘control+v’ or at the top toolbar go edit>paste to paste the decal onto the bag. Now drag the decal onto the face of the bag. You will notice that once dragged over the top of the bag face it will automatically snap into perspective.

Step 5.

You will notice the decal is way too big for the product. One the 6th icon down on the left hand side control panel you will find a transform tool button. Click on this and you will now be able to scale the whole decal down and position it where you would like on the bag face by using the transform icons around the perimeter of the decal. To maintain the right proportions of your decal ensure you hold the ‘shift’ key when scaling.

Step 6.

You’re done! You can now use the filters over the top of your decal to add hints of realism. This can be done by perhaps making your decal have a 90% transparency so the underside material comes through a little and the shiny plastic look of your decal is diminished a little. You can also use the dodge and burn tools to add highlights and shadows to your decal.

Watch the Video!

AUTHOR - Martin Gibson

Founder and Senior Web Designer/Developer & Graphic Artist of Northern Beaches Websites

No Comments
  • Mischa | Jan 8, 2010 at 1:17 PM

    AGGHR THANK YOU SO MUCH I HAVE ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW HOW TO DO THIS EASILY I ALWAYS USE TRANSFORM TOOLS AND THEY SUCK!

  • Bobbie | Jan 13, 2010 at 6:01 AM

    vanishing tool has some other good purposes like it is good for replacing surfaces or inserting 3d models with an existing environment

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