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How to place and rotate a photo on a 3d plane to add visual depth

I am looking for a software solution (freeware or not) that takes a photo and allows the user to place it on a 3d plane (e.g. a rectangle) and allows the user to rotate this plane. After rotating the plane, I want to save these "poses" as other images. I've seen this done on television with images of websites. By making the website capture look like 3D it adds depth and interest.

I've used Adobe Photoshop to skew photos, but the effect isn't as effective since it isn't a true 3D engine.
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davidmanjhu
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davidmanjhu
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2 Solutions
 
jgordosCommented:
I thought there was a photoshop filter that already does this....

Let me look around a bit, and I'll get back to you.

-john
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jgordosCommented:
Yeah...

Edit->Transform->Distort

You can move the corners, and you'll get exactly the same foreshortening that you would if the image were rotated around.

if you're not getting the same sort of "look" that you have in your head, you might be missing some specular cueing...

That's basically that the edge of the graphics that's further away.. (smaller) is a bit darker.

-john
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statler01Commented:
Is the attached image kind of what you're looking for?

If so, as noted above, distort will work.

Make a white layer under the layer with your website capture. Distort the website layer by dragging the handles to create perspective. Hold the shift button if moving the corner handles vertically.

In this image I added a drop shadow with the light above and to the front of my "rectangle".
distort.jpg
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statler01Commented:
If you're looking for something else, and need a true 3D engine, Blender is a good one that's free. There's plenty of web tutorials that explain how to do something like this.

Beware that it will take a lot more time getting everything set up just right as far as lighting and whatnot.
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davidmanjhuAuthor Commented:
jgordos,
I have tried 'Edit->Transform->Distort' in Photoshop, but it doesn't seem real enough to me since Photoshop distorts in 2D space. I think "rotating" a photo 20 degrees in Photoshop looks plausible, but rotating a photo 120 degrees in Photoshop hardly looks real anymore.
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jgordosCommented:
Right.  That's the sort of depth cueing that people associate with 3D...

It's not really 3D..

Also, you don't need to have the top side stay straight...

That line is really parallel to the bottom... the position of the eye is what determines that angle, and a parallelogram like this is fine too, for when the viewer is viewing from about the middle of the image...




eyeMiddle.jpg
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jgordosCommented:
Honestly, and this is the truth... Distort does exactly the same math that a 3D rotation of a plane does.

It really does.  Keep in mind, the screen you view things on is a 2D surface.  There is no 3D there.. just fancy math to make you think it's all 3D.

The lighting and filtering are the visible artifacts that you might be seeing that makes it not look "real enough", but the distort should get you there.

Try 'softening' the image; try adding an alpha channel that darkens the far side  a bit.  Add a drop shadow.  Add a specular highlight to the top left..

-john
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davidmanjhuAuthor Commented:
jgordos and statler01,
aside from Photoshop and high end 3D modeling software, are there more user friendly, maybe even vector, software products that do this with great effect? I've used Illustrator in the past, but don't recall it being able to do it.
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statler01Commented:
Sure, you can do it in Illustrator as well.

Place a picture of your screen capture in the work area.
Use effect-->3D-->rotate. You can rotate the image however you like and apply perspective to it.
Then use object-->expand appearance to make the change permanent.

The attached file was done in Illustrator:
Note that to get any kind of lighting effects to further give the impression of 3D you'll still have to add them manually.
illustrator.jpg
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