In this tutorial we'll try to build a realistic 3D ice cube. Usually this kind of stuff is done with the help of some 3D software like Maya or 3DMax, still we'll try to use Photoshop tools to do the work.
To make the job easier I searched the Internet and found this Lightwawe tutorial, and try to emulate it's final result using only Photoshop. To do that we must have a closer look at the way a 3D software works.
First the 3d object is build, then a proper illumination environment is build around object, and finally some material texture is attached on the surfaces of the object, with respective illumination rules working on it.
Tutorial is organized in steps, each step will contain the description of actions taken, and the result you should get. All work was done in Adobe Photoshop CS2, and I assume that you have some intermediate knowledge of working with Photoshop.
You will start with the a dark background and a 3D cube of three layers (left, top, front). (this will be some kind of step 0 :-) ...)
First we assume that the source (spotlight) will be somwhere on the left side of the cube , let's say upper left, so how is the light behavior on cube ? From the school physics, we know that the when light meets some surface it will reflect (coming back, and therefore illuminating the object) , or it will refract, penetrating the object if this has some degree of transparency, and changing its direction. So in our case, the left face of the cube will be strong illuminated, some light will penetrate the cube, traverse it on diagonal way , and refract out again, close to the right edge on the front face of the cube. To picture this, we shall use the dodge tool, to emphasis the illuminated zones. Keep in mind that we have established the light source to be on the upper left of the cube.
Select: Dodge Tool with Range:Highlits, Exposure:60%
and on these three layers simply draw the entry and out points for light as discussed. Looks a little bit grossier, but this operation will have no influence over the final result, the goal is only to familiarize you with illuminated zones and how to deal with dodge tool to achive this.
Next, we'll have render some texture over the cube. Unfortunately, we do not have much of a choice, we can take some external texture and integrate it, but we'll stick to old render clouds method. For each face of the cube we'll apply the same steps so let's take the front layer:
Duplicate layer, you'll get a front copy layer. Select again front layer, set foreground color to black, background to white, fill the layer with white and do:
, repeat operation (Ctrl-F) until you get a structure with enough black-white contrast and distinct random zones within. This layer will be the 'raw' material for further prelucrations. The problem is that difference clouds filter can't be manipulated in order to build inner clouds structure on one directin, it's a random process, so we can't emulate some regularity in texture, as sometimes happens in real world. To work this, select the front layer copy and do:
Filter->Render->Fibres with parameters Variance:16, Strength:26.
Align fibers orientation with face layer orientation, and this is what you should have:
Make fibres layer invisible for now, set the background color to white, select front layer, choose Magic Wand
tool, click no matter where, outside the layer, then
Select->Feather, with Feather Radius:10
, go on with
Filter->Distort->Ocean Ripple,with Ripple Size:9, Ripple Magnitude:14
, deselect, then
and this is what you should have (or close):
Let's give it a nice blue color, so
Image->Adjustment->Color Balance with values -100,-36, +100
Now take a deep breath and repeat all steps for the two remaining layers of the cube, the top, and the left. But before that, just a piece of advice: as you maybe already noticed, I manipulated the difference cloud result in such a way, that after applying Ocean Ripple Filter, the white portions resulted, will emulate the light reflections, in fact refractions for front layer case. Keep in mind the illumination pattern, we draw at the beginning of this tutorial.
Also do not forget the fiber layers associated with left and top faces.
This was the result for me: