Photoshop tutorial: Design a pop-up illustration

Pop-up illustrations have always been traditionally reserved for children’s books, although often admired for their tactile and physical qualities. It is now widely accepted for illustrators and designers working across the creative industry to adopt pop-up and 3D techniques to add flair to their visual concepts. 

Pop-ups can add a sense of playfulness to your work. They can also offer an element of surprise and interaction – and it can be very exciting to open out a pop-up spread and see the artwork spring to life in front of your eyes.

In this tutorial you will explore how to combine Photoshop’s tools with traditional pop-up techniques as a starting point to plan, modify and transform your 2D artwork into a fully functional pop-up spread. With practice and a little more experimentation you can go on to create elaborate 3D masterpieces that breath new life into your artwork, literally giving it a new dimension.

Step 1 The transition from 2D artwork to 3D should always be tested to make sure everything works properly. With that in mind, it’s best to start by planning a dummy version of your pop up first. Begin with a piece of hand-drawn artwork and scan it into Photoshop at 300dpi, making sure all the artwork sits comfortably within an A4 landscape canvas. If you create artwork digitally with a graphics tablet then you can go straight to using that. 

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