Turn the landscape into a three-dimensional icon in Photoshop

?Final result:

In this lesson we will create a three-dimensional isometric map consisting of a combination of several landscape photos. For this project, you do not need special programs for working with 3D – we will use only Adobe Photoshop. The result can be used as an icon or part of an infographic.

Download the archive with materials for the lesson

1. Prepare a document

Step 1

First of all, we need to draw an isometric grid for the document. You can find instructions for creating it in this tutorial.

Step 2

Given a mesh, draw a vector rectangle on an isometric surface. You can use any color, as it is a guide for the subsequent process of our photo manipulation.

Step 3

Duplicate the vector shape by clicking Ctrl + J. Move the copy a little higher.

Step 4

Now you can turn off the grid, we will no longer need it.

2. Draw the soil

Step 1

Draw the left side of the 3D map with the tool. Pen (Pen Tool). Double click on the shape layer and select Gradient overlay (Gradient Overlay).

Step 2

Install Fill (Fill) on 0%.

Step 3

Repeat the same step for the other side.

Step 4

Draw a new shape with the tool. Pen (Pen Tool), covering the entire map. Add a shape Gradient overlay (Gradient Overlay) and then install it Fill (Fill) on 0%.

Step 5

Open the texture of the soil and place it above the map.

Step 6

Click with the Ctrl key on the left side of the map to create a new selection based on its shape.

Click the button Add layer mask (Add Layer Mask), located at the bottom of the layers panel. This will cut the texture outside the shape.

Step 7

Repeat the same step for the other side of the card.

3. Create a hill

Step 1

Open the landscape photo of the hill (Landscape 1) and place it above the map, reducing Opacity (Opacity). Position the image so that you have a good perspective.

Step 2

Add a layer mask to a photo with a landscape, and then paint over unwanted areas with a black paint brush. In our case, I want to leave the road, the hill next to it and the tree in the corner. Try to get a natural shape using a brush. We do not want a flat boxed figure.

Step 3

Let’s go back to the ground. We need to make it darker and more realistic. Start by drawing a shadow in the corner. Use the tool Brush (Brush Tool) with low Opacity (Opacity).

Step 4

The result already looks much better. Keep adding shadow, making the soil much darker.

Step 5

Next, select a different dirt or soil texture. Paste it above the layer with the previous texture and set the blending mode – Overlap (Overlay). Do not be lazy to spend time, create a layer mask and gently add the basis of dirt, stones and roots, making it as realistic as possible.

Step 6

Let’s add another landscape (Landscape 2). Place a new image under our current one. Create him a layer mask, and then use black paint and a brush to remove most of it, leaving only a slice of the valley.

Step 7

Create a new layer and draw a shadow for the landscape in the zones marked in the screenshot.

4. Add the sea

Step 1

Now add a photo of the sea and place it under the map. Arrange it as you like.

Step 2

Click while holding the Ctrl key on the base of the map (translator’s note: refers to the map base layer) by creating a selection of this form. Click on the icon Add layer mask (Add Layer Mask) to hide unwanted pixels.

Step 3

Manually correct the missing or cropped elements, if any, by painting them with a white soft brush. In our case, perform this step for the stone.

Step 4

To add more waves, you can simply duplicate the photo with the sea and move it to another position. Apply the same layer mask as for the first image, and then hide some zones. Both images must be organically blended.

Step 5

Select the ocean by clicking the Ctrl key on the thumbnail of its layer. Add adjustment layer Photo filter (Photo Filter) with cold filter (Cooling Filter). Thus, you enhance the contrast of the blue surface of the sea.

5. Add details

Step 1

Let’s manually add more contrast to the scene. Start by highlighting the main hill. Create a new layer above it and select Editing> Stroke (Edit> Stroke).

Step 2

Apply Gaussian blur (Gaussian Blur) to soften the line, and then reduce the parameter Opacity (Opacity) on the layers panel. If required, you can remove part of the blurred line with the tool. Eraser (Eraser Tool).

Step 3

Repeat the process and add another shadow using a black brush on the new layer.

Step 4

Let’s make the road more realistic and add the unfinished part at the end. Select the hill landscape layer and draw with a white brush on its mask to open a slice of the street hanging behind the map. Right below this site add a black shadow, giving the road volume. After that add a big soft shadow on the ground.

Step 5

To make it even more realistic, add a new layer and Pencil (Pencil Tool) size 1 px casually draw a few short black lines on the road. Duplicate the layer and invert its color by clicking Ctrl + I. Shift the white lines 1 pixel down. Cut them down Opacity (Opacity) on the layers panel.

Step 6

Add another shadow and highlight to the scene by drawing white and black lines with a soft brush with a low Opacity (Opacity).

Step 7

Now the fun part. The map will not be complete until we have a small car on an empty street. You may have noticed that in our main photo there is a parked car. Select it and copy to a new layer (Ctrl + J). Place the car on the street, add a layer mask and hide unnecessary pixels by painting them black on the layer mask.

6. Add a background

Step 1

For this card we will use a simple background. Choose a tool Gradient (Gradient Tool) with the usual black and white gradient. Drag the mouse pointer from top to bottom until you get something like this.

Step 2

Let’s add a shadow under the map. Click while holding the Ctrl key on the thumbnail of the base layer, creating a selection. Fill it with black, deselect (Ctrl + D) and then apply Gaussian blur (Gaussian Blur) in the menu Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur) to soften it. Repeat the process several times with different parameter settings. Radius (Radius) and Opacity (Opacity) layer for a realistic result.

Step 3

We may need to draw some shadows by hand using a large soft Brushes (Brush Tool) with low Opacity (Opacity).

Step 4

This gray background looks too monotonous. Let’s make it more interesting by changing its color to blue. Add adjustment layer Photo filter (Photo Filter) above the background and select Cold filter (Cooling Filter).

Conclusion

Now we have reached the final result. As you can see, there are no complicated tricks in this lesson. We used only simple layer masks and drew a little by hand.

I am sure that it is very important to choose the right landscape photos – thanks to them you will be able to escape from the laborious editing process and will be able to focus on the shape of the map. I hope you understand this lesson and were able to complete it without any problems. If you completed the lesson, do not forget to share the result. I will be glad to see him. Thank.

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