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Make It Impactful: Project Felix

By Charles Purdy

Adobe Project Felix is a powerful way to composite 3D and 2D assets into photorealistic images—no deep 3D expertise required! With Project Felix (currently a beta release available to Adobe Creative Cloud subscribers), you can simply choose a 3D model, add a material and light to it, and then add the model to a photograph or photorealistic background image. We asked three innovative digital artists—Luke Choice, Jennet Liaw, and Justin Maller—to show us how they’re using this new tool in their creations. Then we invited our readers to try it for themselves—for a chance to win a one-year Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, a $1,000 Visa gift card, and a one-hour mentoring session with one of the artists. (This contest period has ended; the winner will be announced by August 28, 2017. This is the second of four Make It Impactful contests we’re running in the summer and fall of 2017. One of the four winners will be randomly selected to win our grand prize: a trip to Adobe MAX in Las Vegas!)

Liaw, Choice, and Maller used Project Felix to create these composite images. Keep reading to learn more about their work.

THE CONTEST

We asked participants to use Project Felix—which comes as part of an Adobe Creative Cloud membership. They chose a photograph to place 3D object or objects into, and then used Project Felix to create a composite image.

To learn more about how to use Project Felix, watch the video below. Then read on to see what our three artists did.  

JUSTIN MALLER’S CREATION

Maller started with a photo of an urban scene by Gareth Pon. When you work in Project Felix, you can add a background at any stage; Maller chose to place his background first. He selected Background in the Scene panel on the right side of the interface, and then he browsed his computer for the photograph. (You can choose Background > Libraries to find images in your Creative Cloud Library and on Adobe Stock.)

Project Felix’s camera and selection tools let you pan, zoom, and orbit around 3D objects, without altering the objects themselves. The app also provides a simple way to align objects to a background image: Maller started by selecting Align Camera To Image (on the right side of the interface)—he says, “This worked like magic.” If you want to make further refinements, you can adjust the slider.

Next, he set up the scene’s lighting so that any 3D objects he added would be lit correctly. Project Felix makes this very straightforward—Maller simply selected Create Light From Image (right below the Align Camera To Image button). This feature automatically evaluates your image and uses it as an outdoor light source. (At any point, you can play with lighting in your image by clicking on Adjust Lighting.)

Maller then added an object from Project Felix’s library of models (all accessible by clicking on the Assets panel in the Scene module). He chose the Torus B shape. Then he adjusted its position, rotation, and scale—the values are visible in the Object Properties module on the right side of the interface; the key commands for these actions are V for move, R for rotate, and S for scale.

Happy with what he had so far, Maller began adding materials to his object by going to Design > Assets > Materials. He chose Clean Silver and dragged it onto his object. Then he began adding more objects and experimenting. As you experiment with your objects, you can expand the Render Preview window at any time to get a closer look at how your image is coming along.

JUSTIN MALLER’S FINAL IMAGE

Maller advises, “Play around and get creative by adding different objects and materials to your scene and seeing how they look with different lighting setups. Project Felix is a super-powerful tool that cuts a lot of work out for you, so take advantage of it and enjoy unleashing your creativity!”

LUKE CHOICE’S CREATION

Choice started with a photo of a grassy field by Ted Chin.  First he made a copy of that image, which he altered in Adobe Photoshop CC: with a soft round brush, he placed some random colored dots in that copy, so he could create create multiple light sources for a surreal effect.

Like Maller, Choice added his untouched photo background first, dragging and dropping it into the Scene panel. Then he did the same with his dot image, applying it as Image Based Light—another way to add light to an image.

 After roughly placing a sphere and adding reflective material to it so he could check his light sources, Choice began adding standard models from Project Felix’s library. At one point, he adjusted his dots image (removing dots from the ground) and replaced it, because he felt the dot color on the ground was too intense.

Choice says, “Taking inspiration from the winding path, I wanted to create a visual representation of ruins leading toward the horizon. I begin to populate the scene further with more elements in the foreground and background to create a greater sense of depth.” 

When you render an image from Project Felix, you can choose either a PNG or a layered PSD file—in the PSD file, the 3D elements will be on separate layers. Choice finished his piece in Photoshop, reducing the opacity of some objects and masking some areas to create more depth within the image. 

LUKE CHOICE’S FINAL IMAGE

JENNET LIAW’S CREATION

Liaw started with a photo by Gareth Pon. Her concept was to add a tranquil floating island to the urban scene.

Liaw created a composite 3D object, combining multiple models. She says, “I simply dropped in some basic shapes to start building a house. I wanted to add a sense of idyllic country life, and a clothesline seemed like the perfect element, so I also grabbed a model I thought could be reworked, a velvet rope, which was free on Adobe Stock.” (Adobe Stock assets are accessible via the Libraries panel.)

After arranging these main elements, Liaw grabbed another free Adobe Stock model, a plant sprout. She separated the dirt part from the plant part, flipped the dirt upside-down, and resized it, to create the base of the island.

 

Along with other objects, Liaw added details like windows and landscaping with polygons from Project Felix’s library, a billboard shape was used to create a TV aerial, and she added goldfish to create spatial awareness and reinforce the island idea. When all that was finished, she added in Pon’s image, corrected the perspective, and used Project Felix’s lighting features to integrate the newly created “island.”

JENNET LIAW’S FINAL IMAGE

Liaw says, “I really enjoyed rethinking given elements in unexpected ways to create exactly what I had envisioned for this little project.”

AND THE WINNER IS

Our judges chose this image by Nicholas Lucaccioni as the winning image. Congratulations, Nicholas! (To see more winners, visit the Make It Impactful Contest Winners page.)