The Importance of Photoshop and 3D in your Web Design

How enhanced images can help make the best of your design

When you talk about enhancing photographs for the purposes of web design, one of the first images that typically pop into someone’s head is of the before and after pictures for weight loss supplements. And while these images have definitively made their mark upon what Photoshop can do, this is not what is meant by enhanced imaging for your website design. Photoshop and 3D imaging should be used to enhance the overall concept and design of your project. Here are a few ways in which such integration can work effectively (because let’s face it, no one is buying into the before and after photos).

Removing minor blemishes

If you want to present a reality to the viewer, especially if you are selling a beauty product, then you need to have a model that looks like an average person. The problem here is that the average person has facial features that are not beneficial to the sale. From moles and freckles to scars and pimples, there are a number of features which can be covered up in a photograph using Photoshop. Take the below images for example. In the first you are presented with reality, in the second you are given a very quick Photoshop image. While the second image still looks far from professional magazine quality, some of the blemishes have been removed and level adjustments bring the focus to the face.


Image obtained through stock public domain and cropped to secure the identity of the model

3D renders can add a forced reality to a product

Photos tend to tell too much of the truth. A real estate property may have a fault such as chipped paint or a neighbor that parks a rusty truck too close to the property line. On the other hand, a photorealistic 3D render, can give the customer the same image just without those unwanted additives. You are not giving the customer something that does not exist. The building is still presented and you are not lying about the integrity of the building or the structure, you are just removing the elements which a photo may enhance.

3D and Photoshop can add volumes of depth to a website

Consider the fact that most people judge the quality of a web page based upon the visuals. Yes, a person may read the content and become engaged, but the first reaction is to how welcoming and engaging the aesthetics of the site are. A site that has a definitive depth (meaning a foreground, background, and middle ground) is more apt to be accepted than just a single tone page with text. Why is this?

If you look at the world around you, it is in 3D. Everything has a level of depth to it. This is the natural state in which we want to view things. A web site design that caters to how the eye naturally perceives the world, even if presenting something which is far beyond reality such as a space station, mythic realms, or flying cars the eye will judge it as being more creditable if presented in 3D rather than in a 2D format. Again look at the stock images below. Which is more appealing?


The odds are that you picked the 3D car. And where there is nothing wrong with using a 2D image here and there in your website design, as a whole Clipart and flat images are just not engaging or inviting for the user.

But it goes beyond just adding images to obtain depth to your design. Wallpapers, buttons, slideshows, text, icons, etc. which have a 3D element to them make the site pop. The more you can enhance the visuals, the more apt the viewer will be to read the content.

A cautionary note

While using 3D elements is essential to a modern web design (even if you are going for a flat look you should have something 3D and engaging such as a tile tilt or drop shadow), too much of a good thing can be a negative. You have to still use the basic principles of web design, layout the page accordingly, and have the focus be on the content of the site. If using a 3D animation ensure that it is optimized for web viewing to minimize page loading times. If using a purchased 3D model, ensure that you can render out the image in PNG or GIF format so that the image can be easily encoded into your page.

Remember, there is not one solution to design a webpage. Look at examples which are available in innumerable supply on the internet, weigh the pros and cons of the design, and enhance the designs to meet your needs.

Mars Cureg

Web designer by profession, photography hobbyist, T-shirt lover, design blog founder, gamer. Socially and physically awkward, lack of social skills, struggles to communicate with anyone who doesn't have a keyboard. Willing to walk to get to the promised land. Photo and video freelancer, SEO. Check out more on my Google+

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