The 3D tools found in Photoshop CS5 Extended have a new addition. Repoussé is a metalworking term for hammering out. There are two approaches to using this tool: taking simple graphics to create interesting 3D forms; or forcing a photograph into a relief, creating the illusion of 3D.

This tutorial explores both approaches. Using a letterform is a great way to investigate the functions of Repoussé’s parameters. And, using a photograph tests the realism of the effect. Whichever approach is taken, Repoussé needs to be used in conjunction with Photoshop Extended’s other 3D tools to add lighting and environmental settings. The starting point for this tutorial is Photoshop CS5 Extended, with a new document set to 1,024 x 768 pixels. From the Window menu, Workspace is set to 3D.

1. Make A Selection  The best way to explore Repoussé is to use a graphic. Here a bold, red letter M is used. Turn the M into a Selection, then go to the menu bar and choose 3D > Repoussé > Current Selection… Text Layers, Layer Masks and Paths can be used for Repoussé, but using Selections is a direct and simple way to explain things.

2. Go Play  The Repoussé dialogue box has eight sections which we will explore. Let’s start with Repoussé Shape Presets. Try applying some of these to your graphic. Use the Rotate The Mesh tool at the top left of the dialogue box to get an idea of what each preset does. When you’re ready click the first shape preset.

3. Extrude, Bend And Twist  There are several parameters in the Extrude section of Repoussé. Depth and Scale become obvious once you try them. After playing there, move onto Shear and Bend. Experiment with Shear X Angle and Y Angle, then do the same for Bend. Test yourself by using Bend to bring the Back level with the front and then use Twist. 

4. Adding Texture  If you started of using a letter M, Twist could be used to make a faux W. Use the Materials section to change the textures for the Sides, Back and Bevels of your object, but don’t change the Front, or use All. Use the Checkerboard Material for the sides of your object, then from Texture (in Extrude) select Tile.