In this Photoshop 3D tutorial, you’ll learn to work with Bump maps, Normal maps, and Depth maps.
We will create a realistic brick wall using Photoshop’s 3D features, and a Depth map. We will also discuss Bump maps and Normal maps which can add more detail and realism to 3D objects.
Bump Maps in Photoshop 3D
Bump maps are grayscale images that allow you to fake detail in 3D objects. The detail that they generate is simply a lighting trick on the surface of 3D objects. The actual 3D geometry is not changed in any way.
The 256 different levels of luminosity in bump maps are used to tell the Photoshop how far to push down or pull down.
Bump maps are really easy to create using Photoshop’s 3D filters. Go to Filter > 3D > Generate Bump Map. This will bring up the Generate Bump Map dialog box which gives you an interactive 3D preview, with controls on how to generate the grayscale image that will make up your Bump map.
After you generate your Bump map, you can edit it with any of photoshop’s regular adjustments, tools, or filters. One common technique is to use the Dodge and Burn tools to adjust the luminosity of certain areas.
Even though Bump Maps can be very useful in many projects, their drawback is that in certain angles they do not look very realistic.
Normal Maps in Photoshop 3D
Normal Maps are very similar to bump maps. They also allow you to fake the illusion of depth and detail on a 3D object without actually adding any 3D geometry. But Normal maps do it in a different way.
A normal map uses RGB information that corresponds to the X, Y and Z axis in 3D space. The RGB channels tell Photoshop the direction of the surface normals are oriented in for each and every polygon.
Normal maps are as easy to create in Photoshop as Bump maps. Go to Filter > 3D > Generate Bump Map. This will bring up the Generate Normal Map dialog box which is almost identical to the Generate Bump Map dialog box. This dialog box also gives you an interactive 3D preview, with controls on how to generate the image that will make up your Normal map.
Unlike a Bump map, Normal maps can be very difficult edit in Photoshop. Each RGB channel is adjusted to present a movement in a single axis in 3D. This means that any adjustments would need to be made the appropriate RGB channel, and not the whole image.
Depth Maps in Photoshop 3D
Depth maps are 2D images that use their luminance values to create 3D objects. Unlike Bump maps or Normal maps, Depth maps in Photoshop do alter the 3D geometry of an object.
In this tutorial, we use a Bump map as a Depth map to create our 3D object.
This image was also created using a Depth map 3D modeling technique similar to the one shown in this video.
Links Mentioned in This Tutorial
Adobe Stock Image (Brick Wall):
Photoshop CC Minimum System Requirements:
Drag The Slider To See Before & After