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photoshop-3d-video-teaser.pngPhotoshop CS4 introduces a ton of new 3D capability, which, alongside its surprisingly decent video capabilities, positions it as a useful tool for 3D.  It goes beyond the Final Cut Studio's capabilities, but it's still worlds easier to use than most more ordinary 3D modeling software.  The main tradeoffs are extra render time, zero ability to actually create complex 3D models, and limited control over your finished scene.

PS CS4 provides two main advantages to video folks: it allows you to easily place simple 3D objects inside your video, and it allows you to map video to 3D primitives other than planes.  As an introduction to these features, today's tutorial will cover the basic process of mapping a video to a 3D shape within Photoshop.
Step By Step

  1. Grab some video, and open it from Photoshop (CS4 Extended).
  2. Make sure that the Animation and 3D palettes are open.photoshop-3d-video-step2.png
  3. Make sure that your video -- normally in Layer 1 -- is selected, then use the 3D menu to create a new 3D object using your video.  I've used a sphere here.photoshop-3d-video-step3.png
  4. And just like that, you've got a video sphere.  Try using the 3D Object tools to spin and move it.photoshop-3d-video-step4.png
  5. Now, let's animate the sphere.  In the Animation palette, twirl down Layer 1's disclosure triangle, and click the stopwatch beside "3D Object Position" to place a keyframe.photoshop-3d-video-step5.png
  6. Move the playhead to the end of your Animation timeline, and use the 3D Objects tool to change where the object is in your frame.  I've simply rotated my sphere some.  You'll notice another keyframe on your timeline -- and now, when you scrub through the video, you'll see the sphere change over time.

The results are cool, but remember that this process is just scratching the surface, and it only took about 2 minutes from start to finish.  If you want to keep your video-sphere, you can use File -> Export -> Render Video to render it (Quicktime's Animation codec is chosen by default, and that's a good choice for a Final Cut workflow).  Otherwise, we'll glitz up the results over the coming weeks of tutorials.

As always, please do email me or leave a comment if there's any specific direction you'd enjoy taking this Photoshop-3D-video set of tutorials -- and an early Happy New Year!

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More Mac OS Spaces with Final Cut was the previous entry in this blog.

"Insufficient Content for Edit" error in Final Cut is the next entry in this blog.

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