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Placing Photoshop (Cut-Out) People – 3DsMax Trick

OldSchool 3DsMax Trick for Placing Photoshop People Proportionally in 3D Space

Here’s an easy way for positioning Photoshop cutout people into interior 3D Renders with VRay or any other rendering engine.
Apply this method BEFORE you add realistic lens distortions and other photo-realistic aspects such as film grain, lighting effects etc…

Compositing in Photoshop is an ART unto itself. But that doesn’t mean you’ll have to master the subject to get great looking composites. In this tutorial I’ll be showing you how to add 2d people in your scene. We’ll give special attention to getting their proportion and height correct by using 3d helpers. Such basic 3d models of people will be great for also creating a silhouette/ghost people in Photoshop.

It’s advisable to have the 3d helpers in a similar posture to your 2d cutout people. This will ensure that we get the sizes correct during 2d compositing.

When you’re adding people in your scene, be sure that they don’t block too much of your environment. That is why they need to be deeply integrated within the scene. As you can see I’ve used a 3d model of a lady in a sitting posture on the back seat. I’ve added another 3d helper of a girl behind the kitchen counter.

RenderMask is quite a handy plugin for getting quick masks in 3ds Max. Download it here. Follow the instructions to install it and setup a shortcut. We’ll be using this plugin to create our render mask of the 2 3d helpers. Just select them both and hit ‘Render Mask’. Save the new mask and lay it over the original render in Photoshop. Put it into screen blending mode and tweak the opacity if you want to. This is a pretty simple way for getting silhouette people.

Now onto composting the 2d cutout people. For this step I’m going to add a cutout girl from the Viz-People’s free library. Import similar 2d girls into photoshop and manipulate them into the same position of our helpers. Also, creating a wire color render mask will help us in getting our 2d people to fit in our scene realistically. Just select the couch and counter-top as a selection from the wire render and apply as a mask to our 2d women.

Getting the mask to overlay correctly will be a problem if you’ve used a lens distortion effect while rendering. But you can still manually fine tune the mask with brushes.

After this is done, we’ll move onto adding adjustments and effects to our 2d people. For the girl sitting on the couch, I’ve added some Color Balance adjustment to make it fit the tonality of the scene. Play around with Curves and Levels as well until the cutout matches the environment. Since we have light coming from the back, what we can do is, create a new layer and paint white over her back side and blend with Soft Light. We need to simulate the light sources in our scene over our 2d cutouts. This step is very important in selling the realism of the people.

Next up is our girl behind the counter-top. In this case the girl doesn’t really match the surroundings that well, so I’ll be using the motion blur effect. Whenever you feel like you can’t composite a person convincingly, try to add them with motion. With a slow shutter speed of the camera, a person in motion gets blurred. This trick will help us in getting a realistic feel.

Add a little horizontal motion blur to the girl. Since the people bounce a little when they move, you can add the blur at an angle. To get a trail of blur behind the person, duplicate the layer and add more motion blur towards the back side. Finally, add some warp to the layer and offset the arms and legs for more perceived motion. Maybe you can also try adding a reflection layer on the floor as an added effect. Moreover, you can place a soft shadow on the floor by duplicating, mirroring and warping the person’s image.

Just remember to get the scale and proportion of the people right in your render and you’re good to go.


If you liked it don’t forget to share it with your friends on Facebook Twitter and Google+
Post your comments bellow, let me know what you think about this method?

Thanks a bunch 🙂



Get Inspired by PROFESSIONALs. Here are some great examples for massively populating people with Photoshop:

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