Deke's Techniques 019: Splitting and Modifying 3D Meshes

So last week, I showed you how to begin the process of creating a 3D pie chart in Photoshop CS5 Extended. And this week, I show you how to take that very basic thing and make it a tangible slice of business-graphics reality. By which I mean: splitting the meshes, coloring the slices, and moving the wedges forward and back.

And if that's not enough, I'll teach you intrepid members of the lynda.com Online Training Library how to exploit Photoshop CS5 Extended's amazingly powerful Ground Plane Shadow Catcher.

Here's the official description:

Last week in Deke's Techniques, lynda.com author Deke McClelland showed you how to take a flat pie graph from Illustrator and turn it into a 3D chart in Photoshop. And this week, we'll see how that chart is taken to the next level---literally---as Deke demonstrates how to give each slice its own depth and color. The first step is to divide the pie into individual slices, creating a 3D mesh for each object so that you can apply attributes to each piece. And while you may not want to contemplate something as questionable as Tuna Fish pie (see the video), the technique you'll see here can be applied to your own 3D objects and give your business graphics that extra flavor (right).

Splitting the 3D meshes in Photoshop CS5 Extended

Deke starts with the extruded pie he created last week (left) and colors each slice individually by changing the "diffuse color" and then placing it in back-and-forth space with the help of the 3D panel in Photoshop CS5 Extended. Although it sounds complicated (at least to my stubbornly 2D mind), watching Deke's step-by-step video may help you find your bearings in 3D space.

And if you'd like to see more about the 3D capabilities of Photoshop Extended, Deke has a full menu of 3D courses available for immediate consumption inside the Online Training Library: Photoshop CS5 Extended One-on-One: 3D Fundamentals covers the basic techniques for working with 3D in Photoshop, showing how to create textured type and draw objects that can be manipulated in 3D space. The second course in the series, Photoshop CS5 Extended One-on-One: 3D Objects, covers how to draw six varieties of volumetric objects and manipulate them in the 3D landscape. Then stay tuned for more courses featuring Deke in 3D.

Every week, there's a new free technique from Deke. And lynda.com members can see the entire Deke's Techniques collection here, including exclusive members-only videos. In fact, this week, Deke reveals another cool feature inside Photoshop CS5 Extended that allows you to create a photorealistic shadow for your 3D object. Against any photographic or image-manipulated background. Like the one below:

Photoshop CS5 Extended's Ground Plane Shadow Catcher

And we'll see you back here next week for another free technique from Deke.

That members-only video documents Photoshop's Ground Plane Shadow Catcher command, which ranks among the best 3D features in the program. The next time you're thinking, "Gosh, I wish I could render this 3D scene against a 2D photo," the Ground Plane Shadow Catcher is your friend.

Remember when you once wondered, "What the hell is Unsharp Mask and why does it enhance sharpness?" And now you know. Well, someday soon you'll feel the same way about 3D. Only you'll know it first (among your compatriots) because you decided to watch these videos. Yes, you're welcome. And thank you, on both our behalves, for taking the time out to learn.

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