Photoshop Clean-3D-abstract-Photoshop-background-tutorial

Published on August 9th, 2013 | by artifex


Photoshop background tutorial – 3D spheres in a studio

This is the first Artifex magazine Photoshop background tutorial which will show how the cool background of the magazine identity was made. We will be using Photoshop CS6 version and will use some of it’s great features like the blur tool on a Smart Object. We will begin with the background and then add details and elements to it that will be working well with each other. We will also use some photoshop styles for making easy backgrounds that add depth to the whole visual. One of the goals is also that we make it as realistic as possible.

Background tutorial

Here is the finished image we will be creating:


The finished file will also be ready for print (A4 at 300dpi)  and you will also be able to download a really hi-res background, styles and the striped ball elements.

So let’s get started!


1. Tutorial assets for this Photoshop background tutorial

These files were used in the creation of the this tutorial and are available for download.

Artifex tutorial – 3D photoshop background.psd – Hi-res file of the finished tutorial
– Hi-res images of the striped spheres.
Background Photoshop styles – Styles for making a realistic 3D studio backgrounds

Unlock the download link below.


2. Creating the studio background

First open a new document and use these settings: A4 and 300 dpi will mean you will have a nice hi resolution file, that can be printed at A4 and even A3 sizes.

1-New file settings

Add a new “Solid Colour…” layer. Right click on the new layer and choose “Blending options“.

new solid color

Add a “Gradiont Overlay” with these settings. You can also download these background styles in the tutorial assets above.


Copy these colour values for the gradient and try to align them as shown.


1 – #e4e6e5
2 – #e1e1e0
3 – #babbbb
4 – #b0b0b1
5 – #9d9e9e
6 – #ababac
7 – #b9baba
8 – #c2c2c2
9 – #a9aaab


You should get something like this. It’s a nice and soft studio background and the darker part below the center gives depth.

gradient background

3. Adding the striped balls

These balls were made with Cinema 4D and then imported into Photoshop. You can use other objects for your own work like maybe bottles, fruit, people etc. whatever your idea or concept is. You can download ours in the tutorial assets part.


Arrange them on the background like the image below. You will want to keep them as smart objects. Rotate them or flip them to get more variety out of just 3 different ones. Mix their positions so the same ones aren’t next to each other.




4. Adding depth

The balls look really flat even if they are 3D objects. So will will add a “Gaussian blur” filter effect to most of them. This way we will simulate the camera lens and it’s focus. This will trick the eye to think that some objects are closer then other so we will get a 3D feel. The more you blur the object, the more it’s further or close to us. I used radius values like 3, 7  and 10. Don’t overdo it since the object may not be recognisable any more. The maximum here was so the stripes were still clearly visible.


Leave some objects will no blur and some with smaller blur options like in the example below. Play around with it too. You can also use a motion blur filter if you want to make a moving object.


You can also see that the background feels like a room now. The blur helped with it too so all the objects work well with each other.

5. The black room background

I put the white room background with all the balls into a folder. Now we will duplicate the folder and name it “Black background”. Delete the gradient background layer in it and make the background just plain black. Rearrange all the balls to different position than before.


6. The stripes dimension

We will now make an alpha mask that we will use on the black layer. This way we will get the desired dimension effect. Seen in the final image.

Add a new layer and paint it white. Use the Line tool with these settings ( The 700px weight is important here and the color is set to black):

10-line tool

Draw a 45 degree line from one side to another holding the “shift key”. This has became a shape layer that is on top of the white layer.


Duplicate this shape layer couple of times and align them like this image below. Merge all the shape layers with the white background into 1 layer. Select them all and use CTRL+E (CMD+E on ma)c. Now we are going to select this layer with CTRL + A (CMD+A). Copy this layer.


In the layers panel click on the Black background folder and use the add mask button below.


While holding alt + click on the new white box to get into the mask view. Paste the mask layer here and delete the layer we copied earlier.


And this is the result:


7. Going the extra mile

Now it look good and almost finished, but let’s add 2 little things, that will make the final image pop a bit more. If you noticed i have 2 things in the final image at the top. The first one is some really soft glow on the balls.

Add a new layer above the “White background” and below the “black background” folders. You can hide the black folder for now if you want.

Paint it black and use the Brush Tool with a big and soft brush and choose a white colour (other colours also work too here. depending on your colour shame). Put the layer opacity to 80% so you can see where the balls are.


Start painting with the brush onto the edges of the balls like the image below. I used some bigger brushes and some smaller ones too. Try not to over do it.


The next step is to put the blending mode of the glow layer to “Screen” and put down the opacity to about 50%. If you hide this layer you will see the difference. We also got even more depth with this.


Show the hidden “Black background” folder again and add a new solid colour layer on top. Set the fill value to 0%. right click on it and choose Blending options…

Add the gradient overlay option with these settings:


The gradient is just black on both sides. The opacity is set to 0% and 100%. But the position of the 0% one is set to 50%. Again using the vignette effect we bring more realism and depth to the image.



8. Photoshop background tutorial - The final image


You can download the hi resolution file of this Photoshop background tutorial .

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