Vanishing Point in Photoshop

Vanishing Point in Photoshop

Daniel Scott


Hi, everyone!

In this post we’ll learn how to use Vanishing Point in Photoshop. It’s an incredible tool for developing your mockups or editing images with perspective planes, such as walls, buildings, book covers, all those shapes that add 3D depth, realism, and an extra wow factor to your designs.

Why is it so amazing?

Once you define a perspective plane in Vanishing Point, all your edits will automatically adjust to its measures and angles and you can preview all the changes as you go.

What you’ll learn in this Photoshop tutorial is based on one of my Photoshop Advanced Course classes, you can check them out at Bring Your Own Laptop and set your course to image editing Hall of Fame!

Got you hooked? Let’s dive in!

Working with Vanishing Point: the basics

So, Vanishing Point is all about placing or editing objects in, let’s say, over a wall. Let’s begin with this quick example. We’re working on a website page for an Art Gallery and we must turn this image into an appealing showcase for a new painting on exhibit.

Highlighted black wall in adobe photoshop

The black wall is our design’s perspective plane.

First, we create a new layer over the file’s original image. This is where our object in perspective will be placed and it will make it easier for us to, for example, add additional changes for more realistic results.

Next, we chose Filter and Vanishing Point from our top menu bar. We can also use the shortcut Option + Command + V on a Mac or Alt + Control + V on a PC. Remember this shortcut, it will speed up your workflow.

Vanishing Point tool selected in adobe photoshop

Create a new layer and open the Vanishing Point dialog box from the top menu bar.

Vanishing Point Dialog Box Overview

When we fire up Vanishing Point, we first see a Dialog box, our hub for this tool. Let’s have a look at all the options available:

Vanishing Point dialog box in adobe photoshop

The Vanishing Point dialog box is Photoshop’s interface for your image editing in perspective planes.

From top to bottom, these are the Vanishing Point Filter tools:

  1. Edit Plane Tool (shortcut V)
    1. This will help you edit, move, and resize your planes.
  2. Create Plane Tool (shortcut C)
    1. This tool helps you define the four corner nodes of a plane, adjust its size, or add a new plane connected to the previous one.
  3. Marquee Tool (shortcut M)
    1. Allows you to make rectangular selections, move or clone selections.
  4. Stamp Tool (shortcut S)
    1. Samples a specific part of the image and paints according to the set perspective.
  5. Brush Tool (shortcut B)
    1. Paints over the selected perspective plane with specified colors.
  6. Transform Tool (shortcut Command + T on a Mac or Control + T on a PC)
    1. Transform Tool helps you to move, scale or rotate the objects you place on a perspective plane, also known as floating selections. It’s only active when you add a floating selection to your plane.
  7. Eyedropper Tool (shortcut I)
    1. Picks a color by clicking on a specific point of the preview image.
  8. Measure Tool (shortcut R)
    1. As it says, it measures distances and angles over your perspective plane. It’s only active when you have an existing plane defined.
  9. Hand Tool (shortcut H)
    1. The Hand tool allows you to move through the image in any direction. It is also available by holding your spacebar while you are using other tools.
  10. Zoom Tool (shortcut Z)
    1. Zoom in, zoom out. You can magnify or reduce the preview image to work with extra precision – perspectives can be tricky; you’ll have to go surgical sometimes. You can also press and hold the X key for a quick zoom in – it’s great when you’re trying that perfect placement of those corner nodes.

We’ll go deeper on some of these tools and leave the more advanced stuff for a future blog post. Right now, I believe that it is important for you to firmly grasp Vanishing Point’s foundations. If you do that, all that comes next will be easier.

Creating a perspective plane grid in Vanishing Point

Let’s make our magic, now. With the Create Plane tool selected, let’s define the four corner nodes that will frame our plane over the underlying image. Click on one of the wall’s corner edges to set the first node.

Create Plane tool and first plane node highlighted on black wall in adobe photoshop

For an accurate grid, carefully place the plane perspective corner nodes.

Next, we place the second and third node. As we see, the fourth node is already setting a corner to properly close the plane and form the grid.

Four node points highlighted over black wall in adobe photoshop

The final corner node automatically connects with the first one to assist you in closing the plane’s shape.

Here’s another great perk for Vanishing Point. Photoshop reads your plane’s nodes and tells you if the angles are properly set. If you get a red line like the one below, you’ll understand that it is time to make some fine adjustments.

Red lines over black wall in adobe photoshop indicate that geometry is not correct

Red lines indicate that the selection's geometry is not balanced and correct.

Let’s zoom in, check our corner nodes, and make sure we set them up as close as possible to the image’s wall. Remember, Photoshop is not reading your original image, it’s only reading your plane’s measurements and doing the correct math. Using the Edit Plane tool, we can adjust each node until we have a blue lined grid over our preview image.

Highlighted grid over black wall in adobe photoshop set for final adjustments

Press the X key to zoom in and fine adjust your corner nodes’ placement.

We can now zoom out and observe our perspective plane in all its glory! Click the OK button on the top right corner of the dialog box and let’s go back to our workspace. Our grid will be saved and we’ll get back to it in a second. Let’s get ready to hang our work of art!

Grid set over black wall in adobe photoshop is finished

The perspective plane is set and you can leave the dialog box without losing its settings.

Pasting objects in perspective

We open the file with our painting, in this case a magnificent Basquiat, we create a selection with the Marquee tool and copy it with the shortcut Command + C on a Mac or Control + C on a PC.

Selecting part of an artwork with marquee tool in adobe photoshop

You can select the entire image of parts of it by using the Marquee tool.

Now we go back to the Vanishing Point dialog box (remember the shortcut…? that’s right, Option + Control + V on a Mac or Alt + Command + V on a PC). Our perspective plane grid is still there, nothing is lost. All we do now is paste the image over the preview image. Let’s smash the Command + V on a Mac or Control + V on a PC, and there it is!

Selected artwork pasted inside Vanishing Point dialog box in adobe photoshop

The object to set in perspective is now pasted on the preview image, ready for placement inside the plane grid.

Next, we click and drag our painting into the perspective plane grid and see it adjust itself into the defined measurements. It’s amazing! Hit OK to finish the job.

Artwork placed over black wall with Vanishing Point grid in adobe photoshop

The object is dragged into the perspective plane and adjusts to its settings.

And there it is! As an extra, we can now double-click on the paintings layer to open the Layer Style dialog box and work on some settings like Bevel & Emboss or Drop Shadow to add some more detail and realism.

Layer Style dialog box in adobe photoshop

Use Layer Style settings like Bevel or Drop Shadow to better blend your object with its new environment.

Timeout #1

Geometry may be a headache for some of you, but geometry is all around us. You can find it in natural form or artificial artifacts, but it provides beautiful and powerful imagery. If you want to be a master in image editing, knowing your way around geometric photography will be a powerful foundation. Check out these incredible tips and techniques from Adobe and start creating amazing effects with perspectives and the Vanishing Point filter.

Text in perspective with Vanishing Point

Can we do this with good old-fashioned typed text? Yes, we can! Let’s see how we can set text in perspective with Photoshop’s Vanishing Point!

Create a new layer for our new perspective plane. Make sure it’s selected and open the Vanishing Point dialog box. Let’s create a new plane next to our wall. Do we need to have another wall to set our plane? No. We can use other references to guide our work. Let’s have a look.

Consider the edge of the black wall. Now look at the other black wall in the back, can you imagine a vertical line there, dropping from the ceiling to the floor? Finally check out the diagonal on the ceiling between both walls. Can you imagine a solid wall along those lines?

New perspective plane previewed with arrows in adobe photoshop

You can set up a perspective plane by observing other spatial references in your original image.

With our Create Plane tool selected, we can now pin our new corner nodes over these imaginary lines and create a new perspective plane. Remember you can also use the Edit Plane tool to adjust your nodes and grid until you’re happy with the outcome.

For this tutorial, we can work with this new perspective plane, as seen below.

Click OK and let’s get back to our workspace and type some text!

New perspective plane next over empty space in adobe photoshop

You can use your new plane to place a new object according to the whole room’s perspective.

Use the Type tool to create some text. Your text should be rasterized to work with the Vanishing Point, but there is a better way to do it: convert it to a Smart Object, by right clicking on its layer and choosing “Convert to Smart Object”. This will allow you to select and copy your text and keep it safe for editing in the future.

Converting text layer to smart object in adobe photoshop

Save your text as a Smart Object for it to work with Vanishing Point. It’s also a good non-destructive design method.

Select your text by holding Command on a Mac or Control on a PC and clicking on the layer’s thumbnail. Use Command + C on a Mac or Control + C on a PC to copy this selection. Click on the eye next to the layer to make your text invisible. Next, making sure our new perspective layer is selected, we go back to the Vanishing Point dialog box, paste the text, and drag it into the new perspective plane we’ve created.

Text placed inside perspective plane in adobe photoshop

Your text is placed in Vanishing Point and adjusted to the perspective plane’s settings.

Our text is now a floating selection. We can use the Transform Tool to move, scale or rotate it inside the grid, and hit the OK button when we’re happy with the result.

As before, we can double click on the perspective’s layer to bring up the Layer Style dialog box and edit some settings, like Color Overlay and Stroke, as we can see below.

Color and stroke added to text in perspective in adobe photoshop

Add color and stroke for higher legibility and style.

Timeout #2

There’s a lot to learn about perspective. Mastering perspective is key for creating an impactful portfolio, whether you’re a designer, an image editor, or an artist. Perspective affects composition, shifts perception, and stirs emotional responses in the viewers – that can mean a huge advantage for you. Understanding all the basic terms and definitions in perspective is a great starting point!

Building an attached plane

We’ve seen so far that we can create more than one plane over an image. But can we attach multiple perspective planes in Vanishing Point? You already know the answer, don’t you?

Yes, we can! Let’s open a new image in our Photoshop and see how we can edit multiple planes, place an object in all of them and see it adjust to different measurements.

Building with highlighted perspective planes  in adobe photoshop

We can imagine two different perspective planes in this building’s walls.

We have our image, we have our walls, let’s open the Vanishing Point filter and start working on those attached planes. We use the Create Plane tool to set the corner nodes over the building’s front wall. With the Edit Plane tool we adjust node placements and plane’s size until we have a perfect blue grid hugging the wall.

Next, with the first grid selected, we go back to the Create Plane tool and, in this case, we select the left middle node by clicking and holding the left mouse button and drag to create the new attached plane.

Highlighted grid over the front wall of a building in adobe photoshop

Select and drag from the first plane to create a new attached one.

As we drag, we’ll see that Vanishing Point will expand a new grid from our first, following its initial settings. Let’s expand the grid until it feels it will fit the building’s side wall and now do some adjustments. If we pick the Edit Plane tool, we can press and hold the Option key on a Mac or the Alt key on a PC, go back to that center node and we’ll be able to change the new plane’s angle. You can also adjust it in the “Angle” field in the top settings bar.

Vanishing Point settings box in adobe photoshop

You can change the plane’s size and angle by dragging or using the settings box on the top.

We move the grid like some kind of book cover (this is awesome) and adjust its angle until it perfectly lands on the side wall. Remember we can also adjust the corner nodes until we have one blue grid accurately covering both sides of the building. We can say that this is a single multi-perspective plane because our object will be placed inside it, reading both grids as one to set its dimensions and perspective. As before, we click OK and we go back to our workspace and pick our object for placement.

Highlighted vanishing point grid over two corner walls of a building in adobe photoshop

The attached planes form a single perspective plane for our object to interact with.

We’ll work with the same Basquiat painting. Let’s say this building is the house where the artist was born and it was decorated with his art as a tribute. As we did before, we copy the painting, go back to the Vanishing Point dialog box, and we paste it over the image preview. Next, we drag it into our perspective planes and start some adjustments.

Artwork placed inside perspective planes over the corner of a building in adobe photoshop

The image is now placed inside the perspective plane and needs to be scaled up.

Using the Transform Tool, we can now move and scale the image until it covers both planes. Can you see as the image breaks into both directions, adjusting itself to different angles? How cool is this? When we’re done adjusting the image, we’ll end up with some kind of curtain covering both sides of the building. We can hit OK and finish it up to blend it all together.

Artwork in perspective over the corner walls of a building in adobe photoshop

The object is now in perspective, but should be further edited to obtain a realistic final result.

We want to feel that the painting was reproduced over the building’s walls, not digitally painted.

We can work with the layer’s blending modes, mask it up so we can remove the image parts that are covering doors. windows, and other details.

If you need to refresh or improve your Photoshop skills, make sure to join me at Bring Your Own Laptop, and sign up for my Photoshop Essential and Advanced Courses. Once you’ve done them, this will be a walk in the park for you, trust me!

As an example, I’ve quickly come up with a result as seen below. It’s not perfect, but it gives you an idea on how you can make real magic with simple images and some easy-level geometry.

Edited artwork blended with building walls in adobe photoshop

Instant wall decoration with Vanishing Point in Photoshop!

And that’s it for this post! You now have a stronger understanding of how the Vanishing Point filter can help create impactful imagery. You’ve seen how to create and edit perspective planes and grids, add objects to your composition as editable floating selections – including text – and use geometry as a superpower!

What’s Next?

Keep things in perspective and join us at Bring Your Own Laptop, meet our community and expand your talent portfolio! You can sign up to 30+ courses and benefit from dedicated support for just $12 a month* . Of course, cancel anytime (but I’m sure you’ll always find many reasons to stay).

See you in class! – Dan