In the entirely artificial digital sense, of course.
I’m midway thru recording Part 2 of my Photoshop CS5 Extended One-on-One series for my beloved video publisher, lynda.com. And, lo, it will go by the name 3D Objects. Photoshop CS5 Extended offers six classes of 3D objects: postcards (flat images projected into 3D space), preset shapes (spheres, cubes, but you can make more), imported models (from a real modeling program), 3D volumes (of use primarily for medical folk), the wide world of Repoussé (which I highlighted in this week’s Deke’s Techniques), and objects projected from depth maps (as I’ll explain).
The upshot is that the Photoshop we know and love is secretly a 3D beast. Seriously, the stuff you can do with it is as bottomless as it is topless. (And side-to-sideless, too.) Just today, I was exploring the world of depth maps. These damn things have been around forever—they’re responsible for those stereoscopic dolphin images that you have to uncross your eyes to see—so I was initially a bit bored. But in truth, depth maps are awesome architectural tools. For example, I built this:
What the Sam Heck is it? I think it’s an alien temple. You know, you press a brick and it opens. But I really don’t know. I’m still exploring.
Meanwhile, here’s the thing: It all starts with a gradient that looks like this:
You extrude that and, eventually, you get an alien temple. Later, I make a ravaged U.S. flag. Which is cool, b/c Old Glory must’ve survived whatever onslaught came her way. She’s beaten, she’s bruised. But gosh, she rocks.
You and I create this image with a few simple, clumsy brushstrokes. For you experienced people, depth maps are ultimately displacement maps with a 3rd degree of attitude. Which I assure you, will serve you exceedingly well in your future day-to-day. Stay tuned.