This tutorial shows how to apply textures to a 3d drawing using the Vanishing Point filter of Adobe Photoshop CS3. We'll work on a clipart released to the public domain, this minimalistic render of a table and a cube. We'll apply Vanishing Point to texturize the table in wood and we'll use selections and masks to make the glass and the plate show up on the wooden tabletop.
Open the image in Photoshop and then open Vanishing Point from Filter › Vanishing Point.... We'll texturize the tabletop first. Select the Create Plane tool (1) and click it in order on adjacent corners of the tabletop (2) to define a plane.
The tabletop plane should look as follows. You can drag the corner points and the midpoints of each side to adjust and extend the plane definition until it fits the tabletop area perfectly. Zoom in on edges and corners to make sure everything fits. The blue color means the plane is well defined, so don't settle for yellow or red.
For the table legs, we'll define two other planes that enclose the table in a cubic structure. Start on the left side, as seen below.
Let's extend the left plane to the right side, to make the cover appear seamless. With the Create Plane tool selected, click the midpoint of the side we want to extend and drag it (1). Adjust the angle to make it fit against the table by holding ALT and dragging the same midpoint (2).
We have now defined the table's borders as three planes looking like this. We are ready to go on to the next step, applying the texture.
We're going to make the table look wooden by texturizing its surfaces with this free wood texture. The first step is to texturize the cube we just defined, after which we'll be done with Vanishing Point and we'll do the rest in Photoshop.
Before anything else, create a new Photoshop layer (which will hold the texture at the end). To prepare the texture for pasting into Vanishing Point, copy it to clipboard (for example, open it in Photoshop and press CTRL+A, then CTRL+C). You might also want to resize it to fit the image you want to texturize, because sometimes Vanishing Point has problems with large images. In our case, it's resized to 800 pixels width. Then switch back to the Vanishing Point window for the document we're working on and press CTRL+V to paste the texture as a floating object, like this:
Don't click on anything else now, just drag the texture to the top plane. It lands there in a way that preserves the perspective. You can move it around until you're happy with how it looks. The result should look like this:
Paste the texture once more and drag it on the bottom planes, which are connected to each other by construction.
We've finished everything we could do in Vanishing Point. Click OK and return to Photoshop. We need to make this wooden cube look like the table.
Select the top of the table and the table legs separately with the Magic Wand tool, using a tolerance of 10. You can also select the whole table, but if they're separate the corners will look a bit prettier by retaining their original coloring. Save the selections to be sure they're not lost (Select › Save Selection...), and for each of them choose Select › Modify › Feather... of 1 pixel.
Create two copies of the texture layer generated by Vanishing Point (1) - one copy for the tabletop and one copy for the table legs (2). Mask (3) the tabletop layer with the tabletop selection and the table legs layer with the table legs selection; to mask a layer, press the Add layer mask button (4) while the selection is active. As an easy trick to retain the lighting and shadows of the sides, set the opacity of both these new layers to something like 80%, allowing the previous material to show through a little.
All right, the table is textured, but we seem to be missing something - its content. Let's bring it up. Create a copy of the original drawing layer. First select the (much easier) empty tabletop surface, including the shadows, so the selection makes a contour around the glass and the plate. Paint the area selected, which represents the unobscured tabletop, in a color very close to the texture color (see right)*. Now invert the selection to focus on the plate and glass (see left) and save it for future use.
Finally, it's time to blend the content into the texturized tabletop. We do this by masking the previously obtained layer (1) with the selection of the glass and plate (2), in the same way as before. Make sure the mask (2) is selected by clicking on it in the layers window and apply a Gaussian blur ( Filter › Blur › Gaussian Blur...) of 2 pixels to it, to make the blending nicer.
If we have to be compulsive about it, we can also fix the transparency of the glass so that the new tabletop shows through. With the magic wand, select the patch of glass that seems the most transparent. Make a copy (1) of the layer containing the glass and the plate and mask it with the inverse of the glass patch selection (2), to remove the patch from the layer. At the same time, copy the patch into a new layer (3) and decrease its opacity until the texture of the tabletop shows through (4).
The final image is below. I leave the cube texturizing as an exercise to the reader. =)
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