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Easily transform images into perspective with CS2's Vanishing Point filter

Added on Thursday 22nd of June 2006 06:33 am EST


Adobe Photoshop CS2

Operating Systems:

Macintosh, Microsoft Windows


While the Transform tool is a viable solution to skewing and transforming your images, it isn’t much use if you don’t understand perspective in the first place. Photoshop CS2’s new Vanishing Point Filter takes the guesswork out of perspective—for believable image perspective at any angle.


To show you how to put your artwork into perspective, we’ll:

     Introduce the Vanishing Point filter and show you what you’re missing out on if you aren’t using it.

     Set up the planes in your image to act as guides for your image placement.

     Position your image into the perspective planes for amazingly believable transformations.

     Tell you how we fine-tuned our example with a layer blending mode.



Do the terms three point perspective and horizon line make you cringe? It isn’t uncommon, many folks simply struggle with the concepts behind perspective. But keeping elements in perspective is important to making your images look believable. So, if you’re a self-proclaimed perspective idiot, fear not. We’ll show you how easy the Vanishing point filter makes skewing a corporate logo—or any object—onto various planes of an object, as shown in Figure A.




The amazing Vanishing Point filter

The Vanishing Point filter takes the guesswork out of your perspective creations. We’ll take an ordinary cardboard box and brand it with the Heavy Haulers logo, as shown in Figure A. To use the Vanishing Point filter, you basically define planes on one image that act as perspective guides that suit a variety of applications. You can paint or clone in the area and your pixels are skewed into the proper perspective defined by the planes you create. This allows you to paste patterns, doors, and windows on the planes to alter the appearance of an architectural structure. Or, as we’ll do in our example, we’ll position a logo into perspective, to make it look like the logo was printed on the box.


Conveniences of the Vanishing Point filter

One handy feature of the Vanishing Point filter is when you save a file as a PSD, TIFF, or JPEG, perspective planes are saved with the file. So the next time you open the file and choose Filter > Vanishing point, your perspective planes are there waiting to be used.

Another convenient feature is that the Vanishing Point dialog box supports multiple undos. Simply press [command]Z ([Ctrl]Z in Windows) once or multiple times for one or more undos. You can also press [shift][command]Z ([Shift][Ctrl]Z in Windows) to redo a command, or press [option]([Alt] in Windows) to turn the Cancel button into a Reset button to reset your vanishing Point settings to the state they were at when you opened the dialog box.


Gather your files

Before you can begin with the Vanishing Point filter, you need to choose your images. To follow along with our example, download the file from the URL given at the beginning of this article, and extract the files haulers.psd. and box.psd. (Images provided by PhotoSpin. Some images modified for educational purposes.) Then, launch Photoshop and open both files.


To set up your layers:

1.       Copy the image haulers.psd to the clipboard and then close that file so that only the box.psd file is open.

2.      Create a new layer above the box layer and name it Logos.


Note: While it isn’t necessary to create a new layer, it’s still beneficial to do so. This way, when the copied object is pasted on its own layer, you’ll still have the flexibility to add a layer style or layer blending mode. Plus, it preserves your original layer.


Put it into perspective

Now we’re ready to access the Vanishing Point filter and draw the perspective grid on our image. We’ll draw the initial plane, and then drag off two perpendicular planes from the original to keep them all connected and in the same perspective.


To set up the first plane:

1.       Select the Logos layer to make it active.

2.      Choose Filter > Vanishing Point to display the Vanishing Point dialog box shown in Figure B.



3.      Select the Create Plane Tool create_plane from the Vanishing Point dialog box Toolbox.

4.      Click on the top-left corner of the front section of the box to place the first point.

5.      Continue clicking around the side of the box; first the bottom-left corner, then the bottom-right, and then finally in the top-right corner of the front section to place the first plane on the box, as shown in Figure C.



To create the remaining planes:

1.       [command]-click ([Ctrl]-click in Windows) on the middle handle on the right side of the first plane, and drag it out to the edge of the box’s side wall, as shown in Figure D.



2.      Select the Edit Plane Tool


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