Create an isometric photo effect in Photoshop

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In this lesson we will try to repeat the bright isometric effect, which can be seen in the Stromae music video for the song “Tous Les Memes” at 3:22 minute.

In order for the pictures to look like part of cubes, they must have the same perspective distortion. It’s hard enough to find images that match this request. Nevertheless, I recommend trying to create this effect.

1. Preparation of the document

Since our work will be based on geometric shapes, the size of the document is very important for building the correct grid.

Step 1

Open Photoshop and go File – New (File – New). Install Width (Width) by 1232 pixels, and Height (Height) – 540 pixels.

Step 2

Move on View – New Guide Layout (View – New layout guide). Activate Columns (Columns) and install Number (Quantity) by 16, and Width (Width) – 77 pixels. Then activate Rows (Strings) and set Number (Quantity) by 12, and Width (Width) – 45 pixels. This will create a grid of guide lines along which we will align the elements of the composition.

2. Create a blank of 3D cubes

An integral part of this work is a 3D effect. The whole picture will be filled with three-dimensional blocks. But for this we need to prepare a special texture.

Step 1

Make sure the menu View (View) activated Snap (Binding), it will be easier for us to work with this option. Then activate Pen Tool (P) (pen) in mode Shape (Figure), turn off the stroke and select the color # 1f2c21. Then draw a rhombus as shown below.

Step 2

With a pen we draw a parallelogram, which is attached to the bottom edge of the diamond. To make the figures perfectly smooth, we focus on the guides. Install Fill (Fill) for this shape is green (# 3f6054).

Step 3

On the opposite face of the rhombus draw another parallelogram. Fill color set to turquoise (# 1e605e).

Step 4

On the layers panel with the Shift key pressed, select all three layers with shapes. Then go Layer – Smart Objects – Convert to Smart Object (Layer – Smart Objects – Convert to Smart Object). This will merge the shapes into one layer, with each quadrilateral being a separate object within this smart object. Call the smart object Cube.

Step 5

Take Move Tool (V) (Move), hold down the Alt key and drag the cube to duplicate it. Create three copies and place them in the shape of a cross, as shown below. Make sure the shapes are aligned strictly on the grid.

Step 6

We use Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) (Rectangular selection) to create a selection of the central part of a cruciform shape from cubes. The selection should be 2 cells wide and 6 grid cells high. Place it in the same way as shown below, otherwise the finished texture will be displayed incorrectly. Then go Edit – Define Pattern (Edit – Define the pattern) and call the new texture Cubic 3D texture.

Step 7

Remove selection Select – Deselect (Selection – Deselect Selection) (Ctrl + D). Then create a new layer above the cube layers and call it Cubic Texture. Next, go Edit – Fill (Edit – Fill) and install Contents (Content) on Pattern (Pattern). Choose our cubic texture created in the last step.

Step 8

Hide the layers with the cubes we used to create the texture. Then set the layer blending mode to Cubic texture on Multiply (Multiplication) and reduce the opacity to 89%.

3. We work with the background

On the video camera drives back, showing the viewer the urban landscape, which is inserted into a three-dimensional grid of cubes. This presentation of graphics at the same time confuses and delights.

Step 1

Open one of the pictures with the plan of the apartment. Take Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) (Rectangular lasso) and create a selection of the closest room to the viewer. Then go Layer – New – Layer via Copy (Layer – New – Copy to new layer) (Ctrl + J) to copy the selected area to a new layer.

Step 2

We return to our working paper, find a smart object with a cube and drag it to the file with the apartment plan. Then use Edit – Transform – Scale (Editing – Transformation – Scale) to fit the size of the cube to the size of the room. Then reduce its opacity to 75%. Note that the perspective distortion of the room is different from the distortion of the cube.

Step 3

Hide the background layer and activate the layer with the copy of the room. Move on Edit – Perspective Warp (Editing – Perspective deformation). Click on the workspace to create a grid for editing. Move the corners of the grid so that they coincide with the corners of the wall in the room.

Step 4

Create a second grid and connect it with the previous one. Move the nodal points so that they coincide with the second wall.

Step 5

When finished with two walls, press the Enter key to switch to mode. Warp (Deformation). Use the nodal points to change the perspective distortion of the room. Our task is to adjust it to the distortion of the cube so that the too deformed and curved elements of the room remain outside the cube.

Step 6

After application Perspective Warp (Perspective deformation), hold down the Ctrl key and click on the thumbnail of the cube layer to load its selection. Making sure that the room plan layer is active, go to Edit – Copy (Editing – Copy). Switch to the main working paper and go Edit – Paste (Editing – Paste). Name the new layer Room 1 and place it under the cubic texture.

Step 7

Adjust the size of the room with Edit – Free Transform (Edit – Free Transform) (Ctrl + T) so that it fits clearly into the cube. Please note that the floor of the room should be aligned with the upper dark edge of the cube. Use the guides to perfectly place the picture.

Step 8

Create multiple copies of the room and randomly distribute them by texture. Make sure that all copies are placed clearly along the guides and there are no overlapping pixels anywhere.

Step 9

On the layers panel select all layers with a room and group them. Layer – Group Layers (Layer – Group the layers) (Ctrl + G).

Step 10

Using the technique described above, we create several additional rooms and fill the rest of the textures with them. In the example below, I prepared four different rooms, which I duplicated and distributed throughout the composition.

4. Add a heart effect.

Having finished the main work with texture, we can proceed to create an additional effect in the form of a geometric heart.

Step 1

Make sure the Cubic texture layer is active, then go Layer – Layer Style – Blending Options (Layer – Layer Style – Blending Options). At the bottom of the dialog that opens, there is a panel Underlying Layer (Subject layer). Hold down the Alt key and drag the white slider to separate it, then set the first part to 198, and leave the second part to 255. Due to this, the bright details in the room pictures will be visible through the cube texture.

Step 2

Add an adjustment layer Hue/ Saturation (Hue / Saturation) and set Hue (Color tone) at -10, Saturation (Saturation) at +65 and Lightness (Brightness) at -3. This will add a green tint to the picture.

Step 3

Create a new layer and call it Heart. Then use the tool Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) (Rectangular lasso) to create a selection using the intersection points of the guides. We start from the right edge and move clockwise:

  1. Move to the most right point and start moving from here.
  2. We go down on four grid cells down and set the second point.
  3. We go down four cells (to the very end of the working canvas), then four cells to the left and put the third point.
  4. Up by four cells and to the left by four cells.
  5. Up four cells.
  6. Two cells up and two cells to the right.
  7. Two cells down and two cells to the right.
  8. Two cells up and two cells to the right.
  9. Two cells down, then two cells to the right and connect to the first point.

Next, go Edit – Fill (Edit – Fill) and fill the selection with black.

Step 4

Remove selection Select – Deselect (Selection – Deselect selection). Then take the tool Move Tool (V) (Move), hold down the Alt key and pull on the heart to duplicate it. Place the copy so that the bottom end is at a distance of exactly four cells from the upper left corner of the original figure.

Step 5

Duplicate a copy of the heart and move it to the bottom so that the top of the figure protrudes into two cells.

Step 6

Hide all layers with a heart, hold down the Ctrl key and click on their thumbnails on the layers panel to load the selection of all three shapes. Then apply the adjustment layer Hue/ Saturation (Hue / Saturation). Activate the option Colorize (Toning), install Hue (Color tone) by 327, Saturation (Saturation) at 68 and Lightness (Brightness) at 17. So we tinted the hearts in pink.

We are done!

Now you can admire the work with the isometric effect, inspired by the video clip “Tous Les Memes”.

Despite the fact that the perspective of the source code is different and dozens of cubic figures are needed to create the effect, a wide range of Photoshop tools will make it easy to create even the most unusual design.

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