Thursday, November 9, 2017

Okay, finally I've been able to put together a short presentation about how to design a great game box in three dimensions the easy way on Photoshop.

Net Geometry for The Game

I'm designing my game on The Game so this is how they manufacture their boxes. They start with a black box and glue an image from your net geometry (like the one above) onto the black box, edge-to-edge and fold over the excess flaps, top and bottom. That means you get no side images for the left or right side of the box. (I know it sounds crude but it works just fine if they center the art properly.)

Using Photoshop, first cut out the center portion of the box and the top flap. Place side by side. Go to TRANSFORM and select CCW to flip it so your flap looks like the one below on the left.

Select the flap with the bounding box marquee tool, click on the move tool and move in any direction once to activate marching ants, then go to TRANSFORM select PERSPECTIVE and apply the effect as shown below for each image.

Notice I have each image on separate layers but you can keep them on the same layer if you want. Next, adjust (FREE TRANSFORM) the main image so it is not as wide, (almost by half) and proceed to join (move) the two images together (touching) or merge the two layers into one image.

Make sure both edges are touching. You can soften this edge next.

Now for a little Photoshop magic. Most people will keep this image or maybe add gray lines to all the edges but the box will look very unrealistic. To get good edges, I like to use the Dodge Tool set at about 65% with a small, soft brush and run it along each of the edges except the bottom one.

Soften and highlight all edges with the Dodge Tool.

See (above) how that adds a gentle highlight to all the edges of the box by softening and rounding them like a real box. You can run each edge up to three times or until you get an edge you're happy with. Trial and error here.

Almost finished box with reflection

I've also added a reflection of the box.

Follow these easy instructions to get that effect.

First, duplicate your box, flip it vertically and place as shown below.

Working with the reflection image, use the bounding box and activate marching ants only around the flap and then select SKEW. Grab the middle handle and skew it up until the angle matches the top flap. This won't affect the image as long as you don't move it.

Duplicate, Flip Vertically and position as shown above.

Now select the front of the reflection with the bounding box and skew it until you match the angle above it. (See below)

Skew the front of the box until angles match

Here's a close-up of the final version with the reflection in place. You can use any background color you like and experiment with the opacity for your reflection to get the best effect.

Don't forget to darken the left side of the box to give it a more three dimensional feel. Use the Burn Tool set at about 50% and experiment with it until you get the desired effect.

Here's the final version of the box with extra highlights on the corners for a worn look.

You can also adjust the brightness and contrast at this point to really make your box come alive.

I've tried many different things and this seems to work best to easily give product boxes the most realistic effect without buying expensive programs to convert to a three dimensional box.

Once you get the hang of it, it gets a lot easier and the effect is outstanding. Give it a try and email me your finished boxes and I'll post them here next time.

Any questions, please comment and I'll post an explanation in my next post.

Have fun!