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Showcasing your work, Use 3D perspective

Photoshop Tutorial by Björgvin Guðmundsson


In this tutorial I’m going to show you how you can make your print work look good in your portfolio. Taking pictures of the final print product can be pretty difficult, and even with a good camera, you can’t be sure of good results.

I’m going to show you how to use the transform tool in Photoshop to help you get the most out of showcasing your design. This can also be used as a teaser for your client when you are showing him your draft.

Level: Medium.

Some basic Photoshop knowledge is needed for this tutorial.

Step 1 - Selecting & dividing the image

I have selected a 3 folded brochure I made for one of my clients. The original design was made in Adobe InDesign, and then exported as a PDF for the print shop.

Open the PDF file (or jpg image of your choice) in Photoshop, at a size you are comfortable working with.

Divide the image into 3 equally wide selections with guides by dividing the total width in pixels with the number 3. My design is 390 pixels wide, which makes each selection 130 pixels wide.

Select the “Rectangular Marquee Tool” and make a 130 pixel wide selection and the entire height of the image.

Now with the “Rectangular Marquee Tool” still selected, right-click into the selection and select “Layer via cut”

Repeat this one more time, for the middle selection. Now you should have 3 layers, with the image divided into 3 equally big sections. I have named my layers; page 1, page 2 and page 3 to make it easier for you to follow the tutorial as we go on.

Important: Now duplicate each layer by dragging it to the “create a new layer” button. Move the new layers down to the bottom of the layers palette, and hide them. You are going to need them to make the reflections later on.

Step 2. The perspective

We are going to need some extra space on our canvas to make room for the reflection later on.
Go to the “image” menu and select “canvas size”. Make the canvas a little wider and at least 2x the current height. I chose to make mine 450 x 700 pixels.

Make a new layer, place it at the bottom of the layer palette and fill it with white color.

Now select the layer named “page 1” and select the perspective menu “edit – transform – perspective”. Click the bottom-left part of the selection and hold down your mouse button. Now drag the selection up, as shown on the image below.

Click the “commit transform” button (or return) to apply the transform.

Now select the layer called “page 2”, and then select the perspective menu again.
Click and drag the bottom-right corner until you get the result as shown below.

Finally, repeat this with layer “page 3” until you get the same result as the image below.

Now link your 3 visible layer together (page1, 2 and 3) and move them close to the top of the canvas.

Step 3. The reflection

Remember the copies of the 3 layers? I hope you didn’t skip that part.

We are going to use these layers to make a realistic reflection, as if the brochure was standing on a glass like surface.

Select the copy layer of “page 1” and “Flip it vertically”
(edit – transform – flip vertical).

Drag the layer below the top one (page 1) and select the perspective menu. Edit the perspective as showed on the picture below. (I changed the background color to black to be able to see where the 2 bottoms meet; you also might want to zoom in to the image for more precision)

Repeat this with “page 2” and “page 3”, until you have something that looks like this:

Change the background back to white.
Now link the reflection layers together...

... and merge them.

Add a “layer mask” to the merged layer by clicking the layer mask button at the bottom of the layers palette.

Now select the “linear gradient tool” and make it fade from black to white.

Drag from bottom up, from low in the merged reflection layer, and up.
You should now be seeing something like this:

Set the opacity of the layer to 20%

To add a vague shadow, select the brush tool and a soft brush. Turn off all the extra setting in the brush property palette and paint a soft brush on a new layer above the reflection layer. You can then use the Gaussian Blur filter to make it even smoother, and set the opacity down to 5-10%.

And the final image:


I hope you had a good time learning this technique. Remember to improvise, and try out different settings, shapes and perspectives.