3D Miracles Happen… (In Photoshop)

3D Miracles Happen… (In Photoshop)



So, you’ve made your render and it looks “ok”. You tweak a little here and there, and do another one. You’re happy with the result. But not THRILLED. There’s something missing. There sure is, and it’s called postwork. The aftermath. The things you do AFTER a render is done, to enhance it, add more effects and make it absolutely AMAZING. If Hollywood doesn’t stop with “just” rendering, and put a lot of attention on postwork, also called post-production, then why shouldn’t you? You can add things like fog, haze, glow, extra lights, shadows or… you can do smaller things like enhance the look, change colors, fix errors, hide and reveal things.



One of the easiest and coolest things you can do in Photoshop, is to simply duplicate the layer and add screen blending mode to the copy layer. Then adjust the opacity of that layer to suit your taste. It’s like a “fake” gamma effect, that lifts up the render, brightens the bright parts the most, but also enhances the dark parts. It also helps with the dilemma most 3D artists are facing when creating art, that of their images being too dark or underexposed. In reality, light doesn’t care to make things that pefect. Parts of any photo ARE overexposed (too bright), and it’s just part of the natural flow… Same goes for 3D. So, next time you do a render, you’re not done yet. The FUN is about to begin.


In fact, I consider Postwork being a much more important part than the render it self, since you can change, alter and add so much in postwork, that your render would be considered “something else”. One of the biggest advantages of taking your render into Photoshop, is the incredible time savings you can do. Instead of wasting hours on tweaking your 3D scenes, lighting and rendering, you can alter things in seconds or minutes inside Photoshop.



Another amazing feature of staying inside Photoshop is using layers. You simply render out parts of your 3D art in pieces, or layers, that each hold a fraction of the complete image. Often, you can put a single light per layer, and then once in Photoshop, combine and adjust the intensities, colors or even “spread” of each of the lights–live and interactive. You can also create so called “control layers” within Photoshop, to further control how the 3D layers look like, behave and blend together.



One of the biggest challanges with 3D grpahics, is the fact that it looks to clean and “colorful”. It’s very easy to desaturate an image inside Photosohp, add more grain or noise and other imperfection to make it look less “clean”. You can overlay images you find online and create incredible effects literally in seconds. That’s why I highly recommend every 3D artists to let go of their 3D software ASAP, and jump into Photoshop.


Explosions, glows and even motion blur can all be added in postwork. I use 3D art to position the props and figures, add lighting and camera, but then do the final “illusion” in Photoshop. That’s the most fun part, that’s where everything grows and becomes the final “image”. It becomes even more fun when you start thinking of the interaction between the 3D and 2D application. For instance, when adding the explosion on the ship above, I knew it would be added in Photoshop, so I worked with that in mind, and added an orangish light exactly where the explosion would be added, right inside the 3D software. Later, when the explosion and glow was added in postwork, it blended perfectly and made the illusion much more realistic.

So, next time you make a render, call it half-time, not done. Fire up Photoshop and make it glow!

– Val Cameron

P.S. If you want to absulotely MASTER 3D postwork in Photoshop, then THIS compilation of some of the best postwork tweaks and effects created by me will guide you step by step and make you create gorgeous art in no time. Click HERE to check it out now…


Happily sharing how to create great 3D & 2D art in DAZ Studio, Lightwave and Photoshop, Val Cameron, CEO and founder of Dreamlight, has been coaching and mentoring hundreds of thousands of artists since 2005. Bestselling DAZ 3D vendor with over 230+ video tutorials, plug ins and light sets.

2 Responses to “3D Miracles Happen… (In Photoshop)”

  1. PAUL December 6, 2014 at 8:42 pm #


    • Val Cameron December 14, 2014 at 10:01 pm #

      Hey Paul, they will work in PS 6 and upwards, since that’s where layers were introduced.

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