PI5 3D Art Gallery

Are you looking for a fun new way to display a collection of images? Why not make your own art gallery? PI 5.0 makes it easy to build a 3D gallery to display your favorite photos! 

highlight from gallery image

View Gallery Full Size

The nicest thing about doing this tutorial is that every gallery will be unique, since you'll be decorating it with your own works of art. Maybe you'll want your gallery to showcase pictures of a new baby, a grandchild, a wedding party or your nature photography. Mine will feature my tropical flower photos.

This tutorial is adapted, with her kind permission, from JoAnn Sheets' wonderful tutorial on using PSP to build a 3D room. And I thank her for her cross-program generosity! 

We'll make 4 panels to build the gallery. Panels 1, 2 and 3 will be duplicated and flipped horizontally to make the right side of the gallery. If you have trouble making the panels, you can download the UFO ZIP kit.

Half size view of assembled panels

Start with a new, True Color file 300 X 300 pixels. Choose the Path Drawing tool. In the Attributes toolbar, click in the Color box and choose a light gray color (RGB=202, 202, 202). From the Mode dropdown list, choose 2D. Click on Shape and select the Rectangle. Draw a rectangle for Panel 1, like the one shown at left.

panel 1

Select the Transform tool. In the Attributes toolbar, choose the Perspective option. Drag the top right control point downward slightly to create an angle on the top and bottom horizontal edges of the panel. Don't overdo the angle, you just want to get enough to create a perception of depth. It's a good idea to save each of the 4 main panels you'll be making to the EasyPalette, just in case.

panel 1 distorted

Select the Path Drawing tool, with the same settings, except click in the Color box and choose a very light gray (RGB=227, 227, 227). Draw Panel 2, which is slightly narrower than Panel 1. The lighter color helps create contrast to build depth.

panel 2

With the Path Drawing tool still selected, click in the Color box and choose the same gray used for making Panel 1. Draw the shape at left for Panel 3.

panel 3

Switch to the Transform tool, Perspective option. Again, drag down on the top right control point, creating an angle on the top and bottom horizontal edges. This panel is slightly smaller, and the angle will be slightly more severe than for Panel 1, since it is farther away from the viewer.

distort panel 3

Now let's make Panel 4. Select the Path Drawing tool, same settings as before, but click in the Color box and select the very light gray color used on Panel 2. This wall will be the farthest from the viewer.

panel 4

Choose File, New and create a new file 600 pixels wide X 400 pixels high. Use the Pick or the standard selection tool to drag the panels into the new image. Line up Panels 1, 2, 3 and 4, horizontally. If necessary, use the Transform tool, Resize option, to resize the panels as needed to make them line up perfectly.

line up panels

Click on Panel 1, then hold down on the Shift key while clicking on Panels 2 and 3. While all 3 panels are selected, right click and choose Group. Hit Ctrl+C to copy the grouped panels into the Clipboard, then hit Ctrl+V to paste the copy back into the image. Choose Edit, Rotate & Flip, Flip Horizontally. Drag the flipped, grouped panels to the other side of Panel 4, creating the right side of the gallery.

Right click on these grouped panels and choose Ungroup. Click on the grouped panels on the left side of the gallery to make them active, then right click and choose Ungroup. Click anywhere in the base image to deactivate all objects.

Click on Panel 3 on the left side of the gallery and hit Ctrl+C to copy it to the Clipboard. Hit Ctrl+V to paste it back into the image. Choose Edit, Rotate & Flip, Flip Horizontally. Drag it below Panel 3, where it will serve as a reflection on the floor.

adding reflection for panel 3

Right click on the reflection and choose Properties. When the Object Properties box opens, enter a value of 80 for Transparency and click OK. The reflection will lighten considerably. Copy it into the Clipboard and paste it back into the image. Choose Edit, Rotate & Flip, Flip Horizontally. Drag the duplicate directly underneath Panel 3 on the right side of the gallery.

reflections added to panel 3

Repeat these steps for each of the panels, so there is a reflection on the floor for each panel. Note that the bottoms of the panels will not come out even. Don't worry, it's supposed to be that way, and we'll be fixing this later. Right now it looks like this:

reflections added to all panels

Click on Panel 1, then hold down on the Shift key while clicking on all of the other panels and their reflections. When all of the objects have been selected, right click and choose Group. Now you will be able to move all of the objects around as a unit.

Choose Selection, Select Base Image. Select the Bucket fill tool. In the Attributes toolbar, click in the Color box and select a medium gray (RGB=180, 180, 180). Click in the base image to fill the background with gray. Right click and Merge All. Choose the standard selection tool set to Rectangle in the in the Attributes toolbar. Select only the panels and the reflections as far down as the bottom of the reflection for Panel 4. Leave some room at the top for the ceiling. A screen shot of the selection is shown below at 50% of actual size:

selection area

Now it's up to you to hang your favorite pictures, add a window with a view, throw in some chairs and a plant, etc. I've used a couple of objects from the Hemera PhotoObjects collection to furnish my gallery.

To get the proper size and perspective for your images, first you'll have to do some resizing, then add a frame, then use the Transform tool to distort the shape of the image.

For example, for Panel 1, the first step is to size the image so that it will fit on the panel. You will likely have to choose Format, Focus, or Effect, Blur and Sharpen, Unsharp Mask, to restore detail to an image greatly reduced in size. Then add a frame. It's best to choose a simple frame because these are going to be small images. I've made my frames with the Path Drawing tool, Rectangle Shape, 3D Pipe, with the Border taken way down to 2 pixels, then applied a Gold preset. Click the picture, then Shift-click the frame to select both, then right click, Combine as Single Object. Now you can transform the picture and its frame at the same time.

resize image to fit panel

add a simple frame

Resize image to fit

Add a simple frame

Select the Transform tool, Perspective option, and drag on the top right corner of the framed image so that its top angle is similar to the angle on top of the panel. Depending on how big the image is, you may need to use the Distort option too, or to rotate the image 1 degree at a time to get the top edge to line up with the angle where the wall meets the ceiling. Add a slight shadow to the framed image. For images lying flat on Panels 2 and 4, choose the option that just puts a small shadow around all edges, about 3 pixels. This will help the picture "pop out" from the wall without an obvious shadow.

Transform tool to distort

Add shadow

Repeat these steps for each picture. You will not have to Transform the pictures hanging on Panels 2 and 4 because they are viewed head-on.

A nice touch is to add a window with a view on Panel 4. Make a path object for the window and duplicate it. Drag the duplicate out of the image. Return to Panel 4 and while the Path Drawing tool is selected, choose Selection from the Mode dropdown list in the Attributes toolbar. Copy an outdoor scene into your Clipboard and choose Edit, Paste, Into Selection. Then drag the window frame back into the image to frame the outdoor scene. (Download window frame UFO file)

window on panel 4

Add some spot lights to jazz up the look of the gallery. Make elliptical selections and fill them with a white to black radial gradient. Copy the gradient-filled light into the Clipboard, then paste it back as many times as needed. You'll have to rotate the lights slightly over Panel 1 on both sides.

add ceiling lights

Make a rectangular selection under the light, then use the Transform tool, Perspective option to widen the selection at the bottom. Soften the edge of the selection by 2 pixels or so. Click the Quick Color Tuning Lighten (sun/ + sign)  2X to lighten the selected area, so it looks like light shining on the picture or window, as shown above.

Add some chairs or a bench, people, a sign, or whatever you want to add to your gallery.  Make copies of what you add, flip them vertically, and use the Object Properties box to edit transparency, so the chairs, plant or whatever will reflect in the floor too.

To showcase your photos or artwork, you might turn the gallery into an image map, so that if a visitor clicks on a picture in the gallery, the image opens full size in another window.

1/2 size view of gallery

View Full Size Gallery

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