How to Create 3D Geometric Forms in Photoshop

Written by brian richards
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The first iterations of Photoshop, Adobe's graphics design and photo manipulation computer software program, were limited in their 3D capabilities. While designers could use shadowing effects to create the illusion of 3D, the process was time-consuming and often ended with disappointing results. Photoshop CS3, released in 2007, was the first version to include 3D capabilities in the application without the need of workaround solutions or plug-ins. Photoshop CS4, released in 2008, expanded upon these capabilities and made Photoshop truly capable of creating 3D geometric forms.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Create a new image in Photoshop by clicking on the "File" menu and choosing "New." Enter a size for the image appropriate for your uses and select a background colour. The background colour can be changed later.

  2. 2

    Access the "Filter" menu and choose "Render" and then "3D Transform" to access the 3D shape window.

  3. 3

    Select the geometric form you want to render in 3D from your choices of cube, sphere or cylinder.

  4. 4

    Click and drag your cursor in the black window to create a wireframe (outline only) version of your 3D shape.

  5. 5

    Rotate your shape with the "Trackball Tool" until you are satisfied with its orientation. Press "OK."

  6. 6

    Double-click on the geometric form's layer to open the layer options panel. The "Color Overlay," "Gradient Overlay" and "Pattern Overlay" tools will allow you to cover the shape with a solid colour, gradient or texture. Click "OK" when you are done.

Tips and warnings

  • Combine multiple geometric shapes at once to create almost any 3D design. For instance, place spheres together to make a thread of beads, or a sphere with a cube to make a hot air balloon.

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