Tuesday, May 21st, 2019 Posted by Jim Thacker

PSD to 3D turns Photoshop sketches into 3D scenes

Montreal animation studio e→d films has released PSD to 3D, a new tool designed to turn Photoshop sketches into 3D scenes in Maya for use in creating animations or motion graphics.

The software, which is based on e→d films’ own in-house tools, is aimed at concept artists and illustrators with little previous 3D experience.

Turn 2D Photoshop sketches into animatable 3D meshes in Maya
PSD to 3D analyses a Photoshop scene and splits the component elements into layers in 3D space, enabling an artist to manipulate them inside Maya.

The workflow is one that will be familiar to artists who animate 2D drawings inside After Effects, but e→d films describes it as more flexible and faster to iterate when done inside an actual 3D application.

Although the software can divide a 2D image into 3D layers automatically, users can control the process by creating layer groups, or – in the Pro edition – drawing vector paths around individual elements.

It is also possible to paint grayscale ‘influence layers’ within Photoshop to control the resolution of the 3D meshes generated inside Maya.

Other neat features in the Pro edition include the option to set the topology of the 3D mesh by drawing the quads freehand inside Photoshop, and a 2.5D character rigging toolset.

The latter is based on popular open-source Maya character rigging framework mGear.

Once edited and lit inside Maya, the 3D scene can be animated using Maya’s own native keyframe animation and dynamics toolets, or exported to After Effects in FBX format to continue the work.

You can see the workflow in more detail in this four-minute video overview.

e→d films also develops a range of other products based on its in-house tools, including a free Unity Scene Track exporter, which we covered on CG Channel last year.

Pricing and system requirements
PSD to 3D is available for Photoshop CS6+ and Maya 2017+.

The Lite edition of the plugin costs $25; the Pro edition, which adds the option to draw 3D meshes as vector paths inside Photoshop, costs $60. At the time of posting, both are available at a launch discount.

Read more about PSD to 3D on the software’s product page

Read a full list of features in PSD to 3D in the online documentation