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Designing a 3D Software Box
In this tutorial, we are going to create a 3D software box using Photoshop. It’s rather simple but the results can be quite realistic, providing a creative way of going about and creating box designs for your own personal use.
Before starting this tutorial, you’ll need some “Box Art” or Cover art to work with as source materials. If you’d like some similar materials to what we’re going to use, you may want to check out our Abstract Dust and Specks Tutorial.
When creating your box art, remember to create all the sides you want to show. The best way is to have a different layer for each side.
Now we are going to transform the shape of the front side. Select all the layers that are associated with this side, preferably place them all in a group. If there are any text layers you need to rasterize them (Layer > Rasterize > Type)
When you have all the layers selected, use the Move Tool (V) and make sure the “Show Transform Controls” box on the top is checked.
Go to Edit > Transform > Distort to start transforming the image. Grab the upper right corner node and while holding down Shift drag it downwards. Do the same thing with the lower right corner, but drag it upwards. This should result in an image like the one below.
(Tip: If you’d like to adjust the perspective so that the top and bottom right corners both adjust the EXACT same, hold Ctrl + Alt + Shift while dragging the transformation nodes.)
The perspective looks a bit off if you compare the front side with the one on the flat image, it looks stretched now. To fix this illusion we need to shorten the front side. Go to Edit > Transform > Scale and use the middle right point to drag the right side to the left until you’re happy with the result. I ended up with something like this:
With the front side complete we move over to the side. Use the same method to change the corners and the width of the side. It can be a bit tricky to get it to look correct — my best advice is too look at a box in real life and how it looks from different angles. This is something that is very important in design overall, you want to compare it to reality, even when you’re doing unrealistic creations.
Due to the angle I’ve chosen my side looks rather slim. If you want your side wider you need to change the angle of the viewpoint, which will result in different angles for the front side as well.
Now the box is actually complete, the only thing left is just touch-ups.
This box needs to be placed in some sort of scene to look better, what I’m going to do is rather simple. Let’s start with the background.
Create a new layer and place it just above the background layer. Select the lower 1/3 of the image using the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M). Use the Gradient Tool (G) and select the Radial Gradient on the top bar. Edit the gradient, by clicking on the gradient preview in the upper left, and set the left color to a lighter shade and the right one to be transparent. Drag the gradient tool from the center of the image downwards toward the bottom. Give it a few tries before you’re happy with the result. Mine ended up looking like this:
Adding just a hint of gradient on the side will give it more depth.
Ctrl-click on your side layer to load the selection. Create a new layer and make sure you still have your selection of the side. Use the Gradient Tool and select the Linear Gradient on the top bar. Select a color that is darker then your side, and dragging from outside the side into about mid point to create a soft gradient. This should add some sense of depth to the box.
In this step we will create a reflection of the box.
Duplicate the layers used in the box. Select all the duplicated layers and go Edit > Transform > Flip Vertical. Move it so that the upper part of the flipped layer is placed at the bottom of the box like this.
Now using Transform > Skew (each side of the book separately) drag the corners so that all sides connect. Lower the opacity on both layers to around 50%.
The reflection looks good, but it needs to fade off a bit. There are many different ways to do this, using a layer mask is one option. I chose do use Layer Style and applying a Gradient Overlay with the background color as one of the colors in the gradient and the other one set to transparent. Change the Location %–value on the background color until you find a good value. On this image I found it to be around 65%.
The box is now complete — try different angles for different effects. Below I’ve used another angle and used a lighter background with darker background gradient just to show how you can mix it up.
Hitting shelves 2008*!