Want to make some cool 3D designs? In this tutorial, learn how to create an isometric landscape icon using only Adobe Photoshop.
Software: Adobe Photoshop CC
Completion Time: 3 hours
Images Used For This Tutorial:
Image ID: 11350543 © Dan Barbalata
Image ID: 33392691 © arcady31
Image ID : 7141452 © pashabo
Image ID: 8845765 © Maria Wachala
Image ID : 3848759 © rustyphil
Image ID : 10384288 © ninamalyna
Setup Your Canvas
Open a New Document in Photoshop with the dimensions of 800 x 500 pixels. Fill the background layer with gray using the Paint Bucket Tool (G). Then use the Brush Tool (B) to paint a large, soft white spot in the middle of the background.
Use the Pen Tool (P) to create your first isometric shape. The shape is mostly made up of two vertical lines and two slanted lines. Fill the shape in with black when you’re done. Hit Control-J to create a copy of your shape. Flip the shape by going to Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal and position it into place. This time fill the shape’s color in with a light gray.
Use the Pen Tool (P) again to create a lid for the top of the cube. Then fill it with the same light gray color. When you’re finished, make the cube shorter and wider by resizing it with the Free Transform Tool (Control-T).
Copy and paste a selection you’ve made from a dirt reference onto your canvas. Rotate it into place and lower the Opacity to 30%. Use the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) to make a perfect selection around the dirt. Copy and paste the selection on a New Layer then delete the original dirt. Create a copy for the other side by duplicating the layer and flipping it just like before.
Now make a selection from your grass reference. I used the top of this grass mound and pasted it onto the canvas. Then use the Free Transform Tool (Control-T) and select the Perspective option to change the perspective of the icon.
For a quick shadow underneath your icon, duplicate the grass layer and place it under the icon. Go to Image > Adjustments > Hue & Saturation and change it to black by lowering the Lightness to -100. Then go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and add a quick Radius of 5 pixels.
Let’s start carving the rest of the landscape! Extract a portion of a rock from your reference. Try to pick an angle that would fit the icon perfectly. Paste the rock onto your icon and use an Eraser Tool (E) to clean the edges.
To create the water, use the Elliptical Marquee Tool (M) to make a selection of the pool water and paste it onto the icon, adjusting the perspective with the Free Transform Tool (L). Hit Control-J to duplicate it. Use one layer for the inside by making it smaller, and the other as the water ridge by turning it a dark green color using Hue & Saturation.
Set a New Layer to Multiply and paint soft black shadow using the Brush Tool (B) to make the icon more realistic. Go back in with the Eraser Tool (E) whenever you need to lift some color.
Finish off your cool isometric icon with some highlights! Set a New Layer to Overlay and paint white highlights all over the trees, grass, and background. Make sure the light source makes sense so follow the direction where the sun is hitting each detail. Continue to add more details until you’re happy with the result.