3D programs are great tools for graphic artists, but if you're a 2D artist used to editing large images in Photoshop quickly and easily, you may find 3D programs stifling or frustrating when it comes to achieving a specific look, or making final adjustments to colours, tone and overall feel. And rightly so!
While it can be relatively quick to build up a scene from nothing, workflow quickly deteriorates to a slow pace at the test-rendering stage. As we'll show you in this tutorial, when you're wrestling with a particularly troublesome section of a 3D program, re-rendering constantly to check the results, it's time to change your workflow and let Photoshop take up the slack.
One problem with 3D renders, is they can look flat and dull or bright and plasticky; they don't have that rich tonal palette that is so easily achievable on a 2D canvas. Here, we'll show you how to take a good but ordinary render and manipulate it into something much more interesting in Photoshop. To do this we'll use multipass rendering, multiple alpha masks, and a depth buffer to let us work creatively and to some degree 'get inside' the 2D image as if it was still in 3D. This will enable us to alter the look and feel of the render, without having to fuss with scores of unfathomable rendering or shading parameters - and without waiting.