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Create a 3D Map in Photoshop
Tutorials Photo Manipulation 110905 Views January 8th, 2013

In this tutorial I will show you how to create a 3D map in Photoshop using different 2D and 3D models like cars, trees, road, clouds and so on. You can get creative amnd make your own 3D island in Photoshop. I have used for this tutorial grass and water texture but you can choose another type of textures. And you can also personalize the shape of the map using a text for example. Using a 3D action make the entire process more easier.


In this tutorial we'll learn how to create a 3D map in Photoshop using one of my 3D action, some textures for the grass & water and a few stock images. All we have to do is to make the 2D surface and play the Photoshop action. After the action is completed we'll make some retouches and add trees, clouds and any other 3D models that you like; you can add 3D buildings, cars,'s up to you.

First we have to create a 2D map surface so select the Lasso Tool to make a selection and fill it with gray. Or select the Pen Tool to create a vector shape that you like. Or as a third option you can use a real map vector shape silhouette. Call this Map Layer.

Texturize the map shape using this tileable grass texture; copy the texture in a new PSD file and go to Edit>Define Pattern. Open the layer style window of the Map Layer and add a Bevel and Emboss and a Pattern Overlay using the grass pattern that you defined.

The map should now look like this:

Create a new layer above this one; select the shape of the map(press CTRL+click on the Map Layer thumbnail). Set the foreground color to white and the background color to black. Go to Filter>Render> and apply the Clouds filter to the selection. Change the blend mode of this layer to Overlay 65% opacity level.

In a new layer called Water Surface make one or two selections to look like lakes; use this water texture to add texture. Resize the texture to obtain a realistic result.

Open the layer style window of the Water Surface and add a Inner Shadow and a Bevel and Emboss.

You can add any other plain surface element to this map like a road for example. You can design this surface as you like. Select all the layers(make sure NOT to have a background layer) and merge the layers. Call this new layer Shape 1.

Now I will use one of my 3D Photoshop actions to create a 3D map. So download this free 3D action, load it in Photoshop and play it for the Shape 1 layer.

Part 1Part 2Part 3

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34 comment(s) for "Create a 3D Map in Photoshop"

12:01 PM Tuesday, January 15, 2013
WOW, this is really good tutorial and explained clearly
i will try to create it

One question I were you get the car image, from the icon set?

Joseph reply
12:02 PM Tuesday, January 15, 2013
The link for the car is at the end of the tutorial reply
12:46 AM Thursday, January 17, 2013
do you have typography plugin?

i really need it
if you have please attach it to my email
thanks alot reply
1:25 AM Thursday, January 17, 2013
Sorry Giti but I don't have a typography plugin ... are you referring to WordPress Typography Plugins reply
12:47 AM Thursday, January 24, 2013

WOW! Great Photoshop instructions! I will rebuild soon. reply
8:35 AM Thursday, January 31, 2013
Thank you very much for the beautiful lesson))) reply
8:41 AM Thursday, January 31, 2013
WOW! you PS island looks amazing, very creative work indeed :) reply
2:00 AM Sunday, February 03, 2013
Does this require photoshop extended or just photoshop? Also what kind of things can only be done in photoshop extended? reply
2:02 AM Sunday, February 03, 2013
This tutorial was created using only Photoshop CS4 (including the 3D action). I really don't know if it works or not in Photoshop Extended reply
2:30 AM Thursday, February 28, 2013
I have a question. Action properly established. But working with the error. Job finishing touches "by hand." Dear author, please check again this action. Though most likely possible that I did something wrong.Sorry for my english. I'm from Ukraine)) reply
2:34 AM Thursday, February 28, 2013
Hi Xitrena,

I understand that you have a problem with the 3D action. This is an old action and it might have some working issues; do you have Photoshop in English or Russian?

Make sure you have one single layer before you play the action. And call this layer Shape 1 (it is important otherwise it won't work)

4:10 AM Thursday, February 28, 2013
Thanks for the quick reply. I'll try again! reply
4:12 AM Thursday, February 28, 2013
You're welcome! Try to download the 3D action again, I have updated it, so now it should work for all the Photoshop language versions reply
11:54 PM Thursday, February 28, 2013
Another Photoshop 3D island that I really like made by idbogdan.babitskiy ( reply
11:54 PM Thursday, February 28, 2013
3D Urban Map in Photoshop made by kolobok555 ( reply
1:52 AM Saturday, March 02, 2013
Exotic Island made in Photoshop by hiusversus ( reply
9:46 AM Monday, April 01, 2013
Very creative 3D island map made by Helen of Troy reply
1:21 AM Friday, April 12, 2013
Here is yet another example of what you can create using this tutorial:
Fantasy 3D Island made by Marusenka
3:37 AM Thursday, May 09, 2013
I am having difficulty figuring out some things. Once I run the action - the size of my island changs size - big time. After I clear the layer, and go to put in my dirt, am i pasting it "into" the shape? Sorry I know these are probably basics but I can't get through them to move on. THanks. reply
3:49 AM Thursday, May 09, 2013
Hi Moe, you can copy the Dirt Texture in a new layer just above the Ground Surface Layer; right click on the Dirt Texture Layer and choose Create Clipping Mask; you can now select the two layers and merge them. This is one of the ways in which you can do it; read more about Clipping Mask reply
1:32 AM Thursday, December 26, 2013
i am facing problems to create ground surfae with dirt texture.I am a begginer in photoshop so pls can you tell me how to do it in a detailed way //Thnx reply
1:35 AM Thursday, December 26, 2013
See the comment above. reply
8:42 AM Friday, January 03, 2014
This is an amazing tutorial.
I want to create a banner that has a small island on it and a road running through it like yours.
But, I'm not very good at using photoshop, so I can't get the road into the right perspective angle, or make it look realistic like yours :-(
Do you take on any freelance work? I'm prepared to pay for your time, if you have any spare time.
Hope to hear back and best wishes for the New Year, John reply
8:49 AM Friday, January 03, 2014

I am glad you like 3D map my tutorial! Unfortunately I am not available for freelance projects because of the lack of spare time.
The road is actually in the correct perspective. You can try to use the Edit>Transform>Distort Tool to make it look more realistic. And also you will have to make the road a lighter color. Use the Brightness/Contrast for that. Upload the result and maybe I can give you a few extra tips :)

Happy New Year to you too! reply
6:29 AM Friday, January 17, 2014
hello. i'm korean girl.
you're very smart.
I'm really impressed. :) have a nice day~ reply
3:05 AM Tuesday, July 01, 2014
I used water advanced efect.

TK for the tutorial
3:07 AM Tuesday, July 01, 2014
The water surface texture looks indeed very realistic. Keep up the good work! reply
3:58 AM Wednesday, July 02, 2014
I make this for my adventure game. reply
4:02 AM Wednesday, July 02, 2014
The adventure game map that you made looks great! reply
Rosa Nur
1:51 AM Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Hi, i'm from Indonesia. This is an awesome tutorial! Thank.
But, this link --> tileable grass texture ( ) was not found. Can you fix it? Thank a lot :) reply
2:37 AM Sunday, March 22, 2015
Hi , Looks great but cannot get the action to work properly. All I get as a result is one layer and not two. There are 2 actions, one called perspective and one called shape, both render a similar result - only 1 layer. What am I missing please? reply
9:25 AM Thursday, November 05, 2015
Here is my try
11:08 AM Friday, July 29, 2016
Hello, I am a Graphic Designer and i enjoyed this tutorial.
Its really nice....Thanks!
11:02 AM Monday, August 08, 2016
hi, i'm iranian designer..
Many thanks for the great tutorial :)

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