Pixels of Fury, our live design-battle event series, is heading to Chicago next week, for a party/throwdown on Wednesday, May 6. The first round of the event will challenge competitors to design a label for a fictional beer, so to get everyone in the right mindset, we’re offering a quick rundown on creating 3D objects — like a beer bottle — in Photoshop.
If you’re trying this at home and you’ve never done it before, prepare to welcome a valuable new tool to your personal design arsenal. To get started, we’ll be using these two images from the Shutterstock collection:
Open the beer bottle file in Photoshop.
Open the beer label art file in Adobe Illustrator and copy/paste the graphic into Photoshop.
There are a few different ways you can open an EPS file. Here, I opened the file in Illustrator and copied the graphic (Command + C), then went back to Photoshop and pasted it in (Command + V). When pasting, make sure it says “Smart Object” in the pop-up window. By placing the image as a smart object, you’ll have some editing abilities with the graphic, but they’ll be limited because it isn’t fully rasterized.
Move the graphic to be centered on the bottle and create a layer mask on this layer. With a layer mask, you can remove pieces of the artwork with the brush tool, and get those same elements back, as well.
Black removes contents; white brings them back.
Take a brush with the color set to black and move the hardness all the way down to zero. This will give a very soft edge to your brush, which will mimic the normal shading a label would have around a round object. Next “paint off” the edges of the label, right up to the side of the bottle. Repeat on the other side.
If you move your brush too far or “paint off” more than you wanted, change your color to white (toggle between the two colors by hitting the X key) and “paint” the image back. This is one reason using a mask is preferable to erasing — once you use the erase tool, you’re deleting information; with a mask you can remove/bring back your image at will.
Now you have a label with proper shading on the edges, but it still looks flat and not fully part of the bottle. Hold the Command key and click on the label layer. to create a selection of your label art. With the selection active, click on the bottle layer and hit Command + J to create a duplicate of the bottle inside the selection.
Got to Image > Adjustments > Desaturate. This removes all the color information from the duplicate layer. You don’t want the colors from the layer to saturate the graphic, so removing the color only gives us the shadows and gray tones used for texture.
Move that duplicate layer above your label layer. Change the blending mode to Overlay, and set your opacity to 40%.
That’s it! Experiment and test this method with an assortment of different objects. This is a great method for comping up work, or taking your flat art and placing it on any 3D object.
3D Photoshop design opens up a world of options for creation. Check out Justin Maller’s work here.