Planet Photoshop

3D Light Beams

This effect was discovered by a ‘happy accident’ and uses the 3D features inside of Photoshop CS4 Extended.

164 comments on “3D Light Beams

  1. Hello,
    I have had CS4 for a while now and have never been able to get the 3D aspect to work. I just now tried your tutorial and nothing! The 3D tool is gray–not activated.\
    Any suggestions?
    Thanks, Tim

  2. very interesting tutorial Corey. It is a fairly complex process and you can’t save the media file from this site, so it would be helpful to put the steps into a pdf document, perhaps on the NAPP site.

  3. The option ‘New Volume From Layers’ is grayed out when I go to use it. Anyone have any ideas as to why it might be doing that?

  4. Wow Corey, you are the best.thanks for the tut.
    i have 1 question. Can u give me you’re photoshop background ?..with those chinese letters.i love them.Please

  5. Nice video. When I select the two text layer duplicates, then click on 3D, the “New Volume From Layers…” command is grayed out. Please advise. Thank you.

  6. Hello Corey, you are great!!!! But no matter how hard I try, I keep having the “hand” tool and simply cannot go back to my text or brushes, the “hand” tool remains selected no matter what I do… I know I am doing something wrong, but i just don’t know what.

  7. Great great great tut veary nice and i like the fact that you try to learn more things and then show it to the public very nice!

  8. My “New Volume from Layers…” option in the 3D menu is greyed out. I’ve run through the steps you outline several times from scratch and don’t seem to be missing anything. Is there a hidden options somewhere to enable this in the menu?

  9. Corey,

    I have to say that’s one of the awesome tutorials I have seen… I didn’t know that you could do that in the 3D Photoshop option. I can’t wait to see what you come up with next.

  10. Wow thanks From Venezuela my friend! got a few months following you every week! hope you NAPP guys be able to come over, that will be great!

  11. hey i need help im trying to do the tutorial but when i select the two layers of text and then go to the 3D and try to click on the new volume from layers is not lating me so anyone that could help me thankssss 🙂

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  13. Quick question, for anyone who knows… this video is great! How can you customize your background in Photoshop, rather than using black, white, or custom color? Looks much more appealing to work in if we can tweak it like shown in the vid.

  14. Wow, this would be so cool for my seniors I shoot.

    Imagine having their name burst out of a bg like this.

    Thank you!

    Crud, now i wish I had cs4
    do you have to have the “extended” to utilize all the features shown here? or will the standard cs4 work?

  15. Wow, that’s really great stuff! Especially when I consider the amount of operations required to achieve something like this in specialized 3D packages and limitations there.
    One question though. Is it possible to configure the “sampling”(f.ex. that’s how that parameter is called in 3DS MAX) of the rays(In PS here probably meaning the count of the ghosted copies of the text layer.), so the beam would be totally continuous like a normal light ray?

  16. Wow! Thanks so much fo this one.
    One question though. Is it possible to change the count of the ghosted text layers so the light rays would be totally continuous like a real light?

  17. Love the tutorial, but my cs4 didnt come with the 3D tool, i wonder if i can achive the same effect without useing that 3D formular…..

    so am asking Corey Barker, if he can make that same tutorial without useing the 3D tool.

    Help me, for i will love to try it.

    NAPP Member Here

  18. I can’t select the new volume from layers under the 3D Menu. Any help? How’d you put that blue japanese writing image in the background of your work space?

  19. Selected the two layer copies of the text, still the volume feature is grayed out…I’m using the PC version of CS4 extended…I wonder why it’s not working…

  20. Hello and bravo Corey,
    I have also this problem, I can’t select the new volume from layers under the 3D Menu, is gray.
    I’m using Mac pro with 10.5.8 version of CS4 extended.
    (Sorry for my English I am French.)

  21. I can’t use the volume feature either…I asume it has to do with the limited options that my video card has…time to upgrade…

  22. Great tutorial. I only wish I could get it to work for me. When I select New Volume from Layers nothing happens. I mean, even after I grab the rotate tool, I can’t see anything. Ditto, the slider tool. Any suggestions?

  23. Say, this is a pretty cool design, simple yet effective. Question: How did you get the custom picture as your custom work space? I’ve been looking for that type of tut for a while now lol.

  24. Hey Chris, thanks. Question I am working on a mac book pro cs4 extended version of photoshop. I could not find the “foreground to transparent” gradient tool. How do I get it? What presets do I have to have set before I begin?

  25. glad to know I’m not the only one with the New Volume from Layers part of this… both layers selected… still grayed out… anyone?

  26. Got the sollution of the mystery greyed out “new volume from layer” syndrome. Do following:
    1. Quit Photoshop.
    2. Rename the Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe
    CS4\Adobe Photoshop CS4 Settings\Adobe Photoshop CS4 Prefs.psp file
    Adobe Photoshop CS4 Prefs.old.
    3. Start Photoshop. Photoshop creates a new Adobe Photoshop CS4
    Prefs.psp file.
    It worked for me, thanks Corey. Great Tutorial.

  27. To those of you who have a problem with menu items being grayed out like the “New Volume From Layers” in this tutorial. I had the same problem and after some research online I fixed mine by restarting Photoshop and immediately while the credits screen is opening pressing the Shift+Control+Alt keys, resetting my preferences in Photoshop. You will see a box that asks if you want to delete your preserences. Click Yes and this will cure your gray menu problems.

    You may have to reset some or all of your previous setting and preferences.

  28. Hi!
    I only use the trial version of CS4 extended, ios that why I can’t do anything in 3D or should I activate 3D somewhere??
    Nice tutorial

  29. This is my first time visiting the site and I really enjoyed watching this tutorial. I plan on continuing my visits to learn more. Your brilliant! Thanks!

  30. I also cannot select New Volume from Layers.. and I do have both layers selected. I really, really, really want to be able to use this trick 🙁

  31. I have the problem others have identified: “new volume from layers” on 3D menu is greyed out. Adobe Photoshop CS4 extended version 11.0.1, Mac OSX 10.6, 8 bit, both layers selected (blue). Any new thoughts?

  32. I too can not use the “New Volume From Layer” I am working on a new imac 5 days old with CS4 Extended. I have both light copy and light copy 2 highlighted, any ideas? is there maybe a settings in Preference that I might need to change?

  33. Great ,so far. I also cannot get to the 3D layer pull down menu….will not allow…is not highlighted….:” 3D for Layers”
    Can you help with that >
    Thank you

  34. ı’ve everything like it is shown but “new volume from layers” is still grayed out. I’ve both selected the two layers than go “new volume from layers”.
    I got a cs4 ext.
    please help me solve this problem.

  35. Very cool tutorial. Thank you…One question. How did you get the sweet graphic as a background within the interface?

  36. New Volume from layers!
    I could not use this feature on my old laptop with intel onboard video…got a new one with dedicated graphics…it’s a windows7 64bit PC… and photoshop automatically installed 2versions (32 and 64bit)…I tried the 64 version and it was greyed out again!! Tried the 32bit version and finally it worked!!!
    I think this feature is not yet supported in the 64 bit version.
    Make also sure your graphics card supports open GL: On the PC version go to Edit/preferences/performance../make sure the box for ‘enable openGL drawing’ is checked.

  37. I had cs4 extended, select two layers of text copy but the “new volume from layer” is greyed out! Please help!

  38. I just popped in for a quick visit here..
    Turns out it was the smartest decision I’ve made this decade!
    Amazing job Corey!!

  39. Hey everyone who had issues with “New volume from layers” command — make sure your file is RGB instead of CMYK. It worked for me. Every option that was grayed out was available after that.

  40. This is indeed a very cool tutorial. I tried it as you showed it and it worked perfectly. The only thing is that each time I would switch from Photoshop to the video and back to Photoshop, the little Hand tool would always come up and would not reset until I hit the space bar. Does anyone know a solution to this????

    Thank you!!!!

  41. Thank you very much, was a great exercise 🙂
    But now I am STUCK in the 3D setting and dont know how to get out??
    What do I click on to get back to my normal setting?
    Thanks you.



    Select YES to delete all preferences.
    SO BEWARE!!!

    Yes, you will have to reset your preferences all over again….

    So, before you do this, go thru your prefs. and write down what it is that you have your prefs. set at. –

    Just read!!!!

    OR 1st. try this. SELECT BOTH LAYERS – This is the EASIEST FIX!!!! BUT, if that doesn’t work – then try to reset prefs.

  43. Hello folks.

    Improvised slightly coz not everything happened as per the tutorial, that’s prolly coz i’m very new to PS. Having said that – works a treat. Been following other various tutorials elsewhere but for PS i’m pretty sure to be stickin to this site.

    Advise to new users of PS – I rate me a newbie; if somethings not working try try & try again. Ensure you have the correct layer selected – i’ve found this to be biggest downfall but with mistakes comes experience.

    Thanks to Corey …

  44. The 3D Tool Option “New Volume From Layers” is not active, after I select both copied layers. Is there any setting under Preferences that I need to be aware of? Thanks for your tutorial.


  45. I have CS5 Extended, I have reset preferences, and I have both layers selected. But New Volume from Layers is greyed out. So there’s something more to getting this to work.

  46. Fantastic tutorial. Succinct, clear directions. No hair pulling, loads of satisfaction with the results. Thank you! Will definitely search for more tutorials by YOU.
    – Charlene

  47. my whole CS4 class’ The 3D tool is gray–not activated. Even the teacher is confused
    Any suggestions?
    thanks f you can help

  48. Well… the tutorial is cool… but there is no way I can activate the “create volume from layer” option…

    I don´t know why….

    I shall thank any help.

  49. I’ve read every post on fixing the greyed out New Volume from Layers. Tried reseting preferences, I’m working in RGB, I have the correct layers selected but it still doesn’t work. I do have CS5 extended version…..

  50. Just discoverd this website! It works!! I have CS5…It’s just a bit different..but it works about the same! 😀
    Like..bringing the beam forward..that’s different for CS5..the “Hold the Shift key” didn’t work for me…weird..
    Anyway…it’s very usefull and found another way (for me) to do this, Thank you!!! 😀

  51. One question…The word of line that I use for this, doesn’t “ghost”..
    Uhm…I can see the line behind it..than smaller…do you know what I mean?
    And can you or anyone else here help me?
    Perhaps some setting(s) are wronge?…

  52. Mr. Corey Barker,

    Trying to teach my class this cool “mistake” for 3D Text in Photoshop CS5 and when I duplicate the layers and copy them and go to 3D Menu “New Volume From Layers” is grayed out? WHY? This is so frustrating! I checked that I am RGB and I am, what else did I do wrong? Thanks!

    T. B.D.

  53. Dear Corey
    At first i want to say that you do an awesome job with your tutorials.
    I encountered the problem that if i try to rotate the 3d “lights” the background goes to transparent isntead of staying black. I hope you can clarify that for me.

    Thanks in advance

  54. Hi Cory,

    Thank you for another great tut! I am at the 3 minute 20 sec part of this tut where you are dragging the shadow back and forth. I’ve selected the 3d slide tool to move it forward. Once I hit the shift key the background turns transparent and the shadow does not move. It does move if I do not use the shift, but the background still turns transparent. Any suggestions?

    Thanks in Advance,

  55. Awesome effects, I’ve been trying to do the same, I actually did, with the same configurations, but when I select the copied text layers, the option “new volume from layers…” is not available so I can do the 3d effect, so what am I missing? i use CS5.

  56. While the tutorial is absolutely fantastic, going step by step I find it totally lacking in the ability to follow correctly, which is abnormal for your tutorials. As an example you say hold down the shift key but when I do nothing happens while in the 3D zoom tool. but if I do not hold down the shift key I can zoom the type. However it appears your zoom and my zoom do not match at all. Your type is seriously zooming while mine did not have the zooming effect anywhere close to yours. ( your type looked like warp 10 mine looked like warp 5.
    I feel you have settings someplace beyond the normal setting / default settings which enabled you to make this happen. Great effect just have to figure out what your settings might be to get anywhere close-major issue.

  57. I’ve done this a couple of time and love how it looks. The final effect of the extended light looks pixilated/choppy.. I find the radial blur filter done on the extruded layer fixes this perfectly.

  58. I got thwarted at Step One: selected 2 layers, pulled down “3d” menu, the “Create Volume From Layers” command is greyed out. Have tried this several times, e.g. with a text layer and its clone. Nothing works. What am I missing?

  59. Wondering why the 3D from volume is still greyed out with CS5? Still no answers from anyone, and this question is haunting without any answers. I use dicom files and would like to see the layers of MRI images as “open as volume” which is greyed out. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated and thank you.

  60. This is a wonderful tutorial! I started it and I can’t wait to finish it! But as everybody else has said the “New Volume from Layers” on the 3D menu is greyed out. I use Photoshop CS5 Extended, and I am in RGB colour mode. I also tried that ctrl+alt+shift, but that didn’t work either. Just wondered if anybody else knows why this is? Thanks a bundle!

    Solution, as posted by VAL, and worked for me…
    make sure your file is RGB instead of CMYK. It worked for me. Every option that was grayed out was available after that.

  62. I have the same problem with “new volume from layers” greyed out and before you respond with the same old “fixes” I have reset my preferences, I’ve renamed the preference file to create new ones, my file is in RGB mode, and both layers have been selected, and I’m using CS4 extended version. This is the only issue I’ve had with PS so far and I have done quite a bit of 3d work in CS4 lately so I know that my GPU supports it. Also my video drivers are up to date so that isn’t the issue.

    This is going to drive me nuts as I want to do this effect!

  63. Hello there, You’ve done a fantastic job here. I am here for the first time. I found this website and I find It really useful & it helped me out very much. I hope to give something back and aid others like you aided me. Thank you.

  64. KOVAL ! why do you only respond to people who threaten to unsubscribe… what about me….Id like a shout out too ….I watched all your videos….TWICE…..i loved you when you weren’t? famous…. *sigh*

  65. Thank you for the good writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it. Look advanced to more added agreeable from you! However, how could we communicate?

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