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A turbo way to get 3D bitmap images By Ko Maruyama
A turbo way to get 3D bitmap images

PixelSquid? You may know TurboSquid -  Yeah, same team.  But this time, the new team is offering resources for the 2D artist who is interested in finding 3D objects to use in their compositions.   If you've ever wanted to use a 3D object in your Adobe Photoshop composite, but just didn't have the chops (or time) to make the 3D object happen, this (extension/service) is perfect.  PixelSquid has taken out all of the complexity of modeling, lighting, layering, and rendering 3D, and delivers a truly 3D object that you can easily customize for your Photoshop workflow.

As a 3D artist, I have created many 3D objects for use within static campaigns.  Often, the object requires modeling (or customization), texture manipulation, lighting, camera alignment, and render setup.  The render process has often been fairly straightforward - using components that Photoshop artists know how to use: LAYERS OF RENDER & ALPHA CHANNELS (sometimes for various Object IDs within the 3D element).


The PixelSquid extension is a MUST HAVE.  There is no reason why you'd want to wait to add this service onto your Adobe Photoshop CC workflow.  Although the software solution has only recently launched, it offers a new way to think about elements in your composites and the potential of 3D - especially for anyone who is familiar with Photoshop.


A PROBLEM with traditional workflow of going through a 3D artist is that the Photoshop artist may need slight camera, color, or lighting changes that may require going back to the 3D process for even the most simple variations.

THE SOLUTION that PixelSquid affords the Photoshop artist is the ability to work with a 3D rendered model directly within Photoshop CC (2014+), but also allows the Photoshop artist to manipulate the object's orientation to the camera.  Artists can choose from a library of thousands of 3D models to use for in their comps.  Using any object from the PixelSquid library is even simpler than using Photoshop's native 3D environment.  If you can click on a website, drag an interactive preview, and save a PSD - you're pretty much set.

If you have an Adobe CreativeCloud subscription and are using Photoshop CC 2014 or better, download the extension and try it out.  It's simple and currently free to use - including your commercial projects.

HERE ARE THE BASICS: (It's new, and I've only used it for a few hours)

1. Download the Extension and put it into Photoshop (instructions online)

2. Sign into PixelSquid and Photoshop CC with your CreativeCloud credentials.

3. Select object(s) to populate your lightbox

4. In Photoshop, view the object(s) in your PixelSquid extension.

5. Add it to your scene by clicking on it

6. Rotate camera to match

7. Save PSD (8bit)

8. Optional: Convert Spinner Smart Object to layered file.

This image was composed with two assets from PixelSquid and a photo of my hand


  • FREE.Currently, the service and licensing is free for the models in the PixelSquid library.l
  • EASE OF USE. This is really simple to use.  Many Photoshop artists want to be able to choose their own objects and add them to their scenes, but don't want the hassle of learning (even the easiest) 3D application.
  • This requires only a simple navigation of dragging to manipulate the 3D spinner object. (This does not use the Photoshop 3D camera tools)
  • EDITABLE VIEW. The 'spinner' object that ties back to a linked updated image online can be converted into individual components (varies by model) to afford the artist more control over the appearance of the image.
  • LAYER CONTROLS. Advanced layers include separated render passes which isolate components of the render.
  • LIBRARY. The website hosts several different sets of models that make it easy to search for related items.


  • NO IMPORT 3D.  There's no way to purchase a custom model from TurboSquid and have it appear in PixelSquid (yet).  There are over 3,000 models, but there are so many more projects that could benefit from this service.
  • NO FINE CAMERA CONTROL. Camera control is mouse-manipulated only.  There is no way to 'dial in' a specific number when manipulating the camera around your PixelSquid object.   If you wish you could get 5 degrees rotation around the Z axis without moving the X/Y, you're going to have to practice your mouse dragging skills. (This does not use the Photoshop 3D camera tools)
  • REQUIRES INTERNET CONNECTION.  To access the library, you'll need an internet connection that is sync'd to your CreativeCloud account.  For artists stuck behind a firewall, or internet quarantine, you won't have access to update your models.  It's possible, if you're using a CreativeCloud Teams account, to log into the PixelSquid account with your Team credentials.


If you're a Photoshop artist who has tried to bend, pull, distort, paint, and curse your stock images into an angle that looks good, only to find that it still isn't the angle you want, you really need to visit PixelSquid.  It's fairly easy to use, and turns into a regular set of Photoshop layers - allowing you to share your results to the team (even CC Teams) without jumping through multiple hoops.  
There are thousands of objects that you can use to get started, and are currently free to use/license even in commercial projects.

It's really fun to use, and a much easier way to incorporate some 3D objects into your Photoshop comps than traditional translation and distortion effects.

GO - NOW : Download the extension from Adobe, or with instruction from PIXELSQUID.com- make your thing, let me know what you think.  I'm @NinjaCrayon on twitter - you can be sure I'll post some of my fun projects up there as I continue to play with Pixel Squid inside of Adobe's Photoshop Creative Cloud.

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Ko Maruyama is a freelance animator in Los Angeles.  In addition to working on film and broadcast animations, Ko teaches at Pasadena's Art Center College of Design - focusing on motion design.  When working, writing or testing software allows, you can find him lending a hand in the After Effects board and lurking among the Cinema4D, Visual Effects and Photoshop posts within the DMNForums.
Related Keywords:stock footage, photoshop, animation, Mac, CreativeMac, maxon, SIGGRAPH, C4D, 3D, ipisoft, animationartist

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