Vanishing Point simplifies perspective-correct editing in images that contain perspective planes—for example, the sides of a building, walls, floors, or any rectangular object. In Vanishing Point, you specify the planes in an image, and then apply edits such as painting, cloning, copying or pasting, and transforming. All your edits honor the perspective of the plane you’re working in. When you retouch, add, or remove content in an image, the results are more realistic because the edits are properly oriented and scaled to the perspective planes. After you finish working in Vanishing Point, you can continue editing the image in Photoshop. To preserve the perspective plane information in an image, save your document in PSD, TIFF, or JPEG format.
For Photoshop versions earlier than Photoshop CC, some functionality discussed in this article may be available only if you have Photoshop Extended. Photoshop CC does not have a separate Extended offering. All features in Photoshop Extended are part of Photoshop CC.
You can also measure objects in an image, and export 3D information and measurements to DXF and 3DS formats for use in 3D applications.
Vanishing Point dialog box overview
The Vanishing Point dialog box (Filter > Vanishing Point) contains tools for defining the perspective planes, tools for editing the image, a measure tool, and an image preview. The Vanishing Point tools (Marquee, Stamp, Brush, and others) behave similarly to their counterparts in the main Photoshop toolbox. You can use the same keyboard shortcuts to set the tool options. Opening the Vanishing Point menu displays additional tool settings and commands.
A. Vanishing Point menu B. Options C. Toolbox D. Preview of vanishing point session E. Zoom options
For the keyboard shortcuts in Vanishing Point, see Keys for Vanishing Point.
Vanishing Point tools behave like their counterparts in the main Photoshop toolbox. You can use the same keyboard shortcuts for setting tool options. Selecting a tool changes the available options in the Vanishing Point dialog box.
Create Plane tool
Defines the four corner nodes of a plane, adjusts the size and shape of the plane, and tears off a new plane.
Double-clicking the Marquee tool in a plane selects the entire plane.
Scales, rotates, and moves a floating selection by moving the bounding box handles. Its behavior is similar to using the Free Transform command on a rectangle selection. See also Transform freely.
Measures distances and angles of an item in a plane. See also Measure in Vanishing Point
Select the Zoom tool in the Vanishing Point dialog box, and click or drag in the preview image to zoom in; hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS), and click or drag to zoom out.
Specify a magnification level in the Zoom text box at the bottom of the dialog box.
Click the Plus sign (+) or Minus sign (-) button to zoom in or out, respectively.
To temporarily zoom into the preview image, hold down the “X” key. This is especially helpful for placing the corner nodes when defining a plane, and for working on details.
Work in Vanishing Point
(Optional) Prepare your image for work in Vanishing Point.
Before choosing the Vanishing Point command, do any of the following:
To place the results of your Vanishing Point work in a separate layer, first create a new layer before choosing the Vanishing Point command. Placing the Vanishing Point results in a separate layer preserves your original image and you can use the layer opacity control, styles, and blending modes.
If you plan to clone the content in your image beyond the boundaries of the current image size, increase the canvas size to accommodate the additional content. See also Change the canvas size
If you plan to paste an item from the Photoshop clipboard into Vanishing Point, copy the item before choosing the Vanishing Point command. The copied item can be from a different Photoshop document. If you’re copying type, you must rasterize the text layer before copying to the clipboard.
To confine the Vanishing Point results to specific areas of your image, either make a selection or add a mask to your image before choosing the Vanishing Point command. See also Select with the marquee tools and About masks and alpha channels.
To copy something in perspective from one Photoshop document to another, first copy the item while in Vanishing Point in one document. When you paste the item in another document while in Vanishing Point, the item’s perspective is preserved.
Define the four corner nodes of the plane surface.
By default, the Create Plane tool is selected. Click in the preview image to define the corner nodes. Try to use a rectangle object in the image as a guide when creating the plane.
To tear off additional planes, use the Create Plane tool and Ctrl-drag (Windows) or Command-drag (Mac OS) an edge node. For more information, see Define and adjust perspective planes in Vanishing Point.Defining the four corner nodes with the Create Plane tool
Ctrl-drag (Windows) or Command-drag (Mac OS) an edge node to tear off a plane.
Edit the image.
Do any of the following:
Make a selection. Once drawn, a selection can be cloned, moved, rotated, scaled, filled, or transformed. For detailed information, see About selections in Vanishing Point.
Paste an item from the clipboard. The pasted item becomes a floating selection, which conforms to the perspective of any plane that it’s moved into. For detailed information, see also Paste an item into Vanishing Point.
Scale, rotate, flip, flop, or move a floating selection. For detailed information, see About selections in Vanishing Point.
Measure an item in a plane. Measurements can be rendered in Photoshop by choosing Render Measurements To Photoshop from the Vanishing Point menu. For detailed information, see Measure in Vanishing Point.
Export measurements, textures, and 3D information
3D information (planes), textures, and measurements created in Vanishing Point can be exported to a format for use in CAD, modeling, animation, and special effects applications. Exporting to DXF creates a file with 3D information and any measurements. Exported 3DS files contain rendered textures in addition to the geometric information.
About perspective planes and the grid
Before you can make edits in Vanishing Point, you define rectangular planes that line up with the perspective in an image. The accuracy of the plane determines whether any edits or adjustments are properly scaled and oriented in your image.
After you establish the four corner nodes, the perspective plane is active and displays a bounding box and a grid. You can scale, move, or reshape to fine-tune the perspective plane. You can also change the grid size so it lines up with elements in the image. Sometimes, lining up the bounding box and grid with a texture or pattern in your image helps you accurately match the image’s perspective. Adjusting the grid size can also make it easier for you to count items in the image.
Besides helping to line up the perspective planes with image elements, the grid is helpful for visualizing measurements when used with the Measure tool. An option is available to link the grid size to measurements you make with the Measure tool.
Define and adjust perspective planes in Vanishing Point
- In the Vanishing Point dialog box, select the Create Plane tool and click in the preview image to add the four corner nodes.
Try to use a rectangular object or a plane area in the image as a guide when creating the perspective plane. To help with node placement, hold down the “X” key to zoom into the preview image. As you add corner nodes, you can delete the last node if it’s not correct by pressing the Backspace key (Windows) or Delete key (Mac OS). You can also reposition a node by dragging it.
Dragging an edge node to increase the size of a plane to accommodate your edits
To reshape the perspective plane, drag a corner node.
To adjust the grid, enter a value in the Grid Size text box or click the down arrow and move the slider. You can also adjust the grid size when the Create Plane tool is selected.
To move the plane, click inside the plane and drag.
To scale the plane, drag an edge node in a segment of the bounding box.
The bounding box and grid of a perspective plane is normally blue. If there’s a problem with the placement of the corner nodes, the plane is invalid, and the bounding box and grid turn either red or yellow. When your plane is invalid, move the corner nodes until the bounding box and grid are blue.
If you have overlapping planes, Ctrl-click (Windows) or Command-click (Mac OS) to cycle through the overlapping planes.Overlapping planes
After creating a plane in Vanishing Point, you can create (tear off) additional planes that share the same perspective. Once a second plane is torn off from the initial perspective plane, you can tear off additional planes from the second plane and so forth. You can tear off as many planes as you want. Although new planes tear off at 90° angles, you can adjust them to any angle. This is useful for making seamless edits between surfaces, matching the geometry of a complex scene. For example, corner cabinets in a kitchen can be part of a continuous surface. In addition to adjusting the angles of a related perspective plane, you can always resize the plane using the Edit Plane tool.
- Select the Create Plane tool or Edit Plane tool and Ctrl-drag (Windows) or Command-drag (Mac OS) an edge node of an existing plane’s bounding box (not a corner node).
If a newly created plane does not properly line up with the image, select the Edit Plane tool and adjust a corner node. When you adjust one plane, a connected plane is affected. (Corner nodes are unavailable if more than two planes are connected.)Tearing off multiple planes keeps the planes related to each other so your edits are scaled and oriented in the proper perspective.
Changed plane angle.
With either the Edit Plane tool or Create Plane tool selected, Alt-drag (Windows) or Option-drag (Mac OS) the center edge node on the side that’s opposite from the axis of rotation.
Enter a value in the Angle text box.
Move the Angle slider.
Once you create a new (child) plane from an existing (parent) plane, you can no longer adjust the angle of the parent plane.
The bounding box and grid change colors to indicate the plane’s current condition. If your plane is invalid, move a corner node until the bounding box and grid are blue.
Indicates a valid plane. Keep in mind that a valid plane doesn’t guarantee results with the proper perspective. You must make sure that the bounding box and grid accurately line up with geometric elements or a plane area in the image.
Although it’s possible to edit an invalid red or yellow plane, including tearing off perpendicular planes, the results will not be oriented properly.
Render grids to Photoshop
By default, the Vanishing Point grids are invisible when viewing an image in the Photoshop document window, even though the grids are preserved in the image and appear whenever you launch Vanishing Point. Grids can be rendered so when you finish working in Vanishing Point, they’re visible in the Photoshop document window. The rendered grids are raster not vector.
Create a new layer for your Vanishing Point results if you plan to render the grids to Photoshop. This keeps the grids on a separate layer from the main image.
About selections in Vanishing Point
Selections can be helpful when you’re painting or retouching to correct flaws, add elements, or enhance an image. In Vanishing Point, making selections let you paint or fill specific areas in an image while honoring the perspective defined by the planes in the image. Selections can also be used to clone and move specific image content in perspective.
Using the Marquee tool in Vanishing Point, you draw a selection within a perspective plane. If you draw a selection that spans more than one plane, it wraps to conform to the perspective of each plane.
Once a selection is drawn, you can move it anywhere in the image and maintain the perspective established by the plane. If your image has multiple planes, the selection conforms to the perspective of the plane it’s moved through.
Vanishing Point also lets you clone the image pixels in a selection as it is moved in an image. In Vanishing Point, a selection containing image pixels that you can move anywhere in the image is called a floating selection. Although not on a separate layer, the pixels in a floating selection seem to be a separate layer hovering above the main image. While active, a floating selection can be moved, rotated, or scaled.
When you paste an item into Vanishing Point, the pasted pixels are in a floating selection.
Clicking outside a floating selection deselects it. Once deselected, a floating selection’s content is pasted into the image, replacing the pixels that were below it. Cloning a copy of a floating selection also deselects the original.
Vanishing Point has another move option for selections. You can fill the selection with pixels from the area where the pointer is moved.
- (Optional) In the tool options area, enter values for any of the following settings before making the selection:
Specify this value if you plan to use the selection to move image content. This option determines how much the moved pixels obscure or reveal the image underneath.
Choose a blending mode if you plan to use a selection to move image content. This option determines how the moved pixels blend with the surrounding image:
Choose Off so the selection doesn’t blend with the colors, shadows, and textures of the surrounding pixels.
Choose Luminance to blend the selection with the lighting of the surrounding pixels.
Choose On to blend the selection with the color, lighting, and shading of surrounding pixels.
Transform tool options
To move a floating selection, select the Marquee or Transform tool, click inside the selection and drag.
To rotate a floating selection, select the Transform tool and move the pointer near a node. When the pointer changes to a curved double arrow, drag to rotate the selection. You can also select the Flip option to flip the selection horizontally along the vertical axis of the plane or select the Flop option to flip the selection vertically along the horizontal axis of the plane.
A. Move B. Rotate C. Scale
To scale a floating selection, make sure that it is in a perspective plane. Select the Transform tool and move the pointer on top of a node. When the pointer changes to a straight double arrow, drag to scale the selection. Press the Shift key to constrain the aspect ratio as you scale. Press Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) to scale from the center.
Fill selections with another area of an image
Ctrl-drag (Windows) or Command-drag (Mac OS) the pointer from inside the selection to the image area that you want to fill the selection.
Choose Source from the Move Mode menu and drag the pointer from inside the selection to the image area that you want to fill the selection.
The filled selection becomes a floating selection that you can scale, rotate, move, or clone using the Transform tool, or move or clone using the Marquee tool.Ctrl-dragging (Windows) or Command-dragging (Mac OS) a selection
A. Original selection B. Moving the selection to the source image C. The source image fills the original selection
Copy selections in Vanishing Point
- Alt-drag (Windows) or Option-drag (Mac OS) the selection with the Marquee tool to create a copy of the selection and its image pixels.
Click outside the floating selection to deselect it. The selection’s content is pasted into the image, replacing the pixels that were below it.
Click in the floating selection with either the Marquee or Transform tool and Alt-drag (Windows) or Option-drag (Mac OS) to make another copy. Once copied, the original floating selection is deselected and replaces the pixels that were below it.
Pressing Control+Shift+T (Windows) or Command+Shift+T (Mac OS) duplicates your last duplicating move. This is an easy way to clone content multiple times.
Paste an item into Vanishing Point
You can paste an item from the clipboard in Vanishing Point. The copied item can be from the same document or a different one. Once pasted into Vanishing Point, the item becomes a floating selection that you can scale, rotate, move or clone. When the floating selection moves into a selected plane, it conforms to the plane’s perspective.
A. Copied pattern from a separate document B. Image with selection (to confine results) created in Photoshop before opening Vanishing Point C. Pasted pattern in Vanishing Point is moved into the plane and honors the selection
For convenience, it’s recommended that you create perspective planes in a previous Vanishing Point session.
- Copy an item to the clipboard. The copied item can be from the same or different document. Keep in mind that you can paste only a raster (not vector) item.
If you’re copying type, you must first rasterize it. Right-click the text layer, and choose Rasterize. Then choose Select > All and copy to the clipboard.
After pasting the image in Vanishing Point, do not click anywhere in the image with the Marquee tool except to drag the pasted image to a perspective plane. Clicking anywhere else deselects the floating selection and permanently pastes the pixels into the image.
Paint with a color in Vanishing Point
To paint without blending with the color, lighting, and shading of the surrounding pixels, choose Off.
To paint and blend the strokes with the lighting of the surrounding pixels while retaining the selected color, choose Luminance.
To paint and blend with the colors, lighting, and shading of the surrounding pixels, choose On.
To paint continuously, automatically conforming to the perspective from one plane to another, open the Vanishing Point menu and choose Allow Multi-Surface Operations. Turning this option off lets you paint in the perspective of one plane at a time. You need to stop and then start painting in a different plane to switch perspective.
To confine painting to the active plane only, open the Vanishing Point menu and choose Clip Operations To Surface Edges. Turning this option off lets you paint in perspective beyond the boundaries of the active plane.
- Drag in the image to paint. When painting in a plane, the brush size and shape scales and orients properly to the plane’s perspective. Shift-drag constrains the stroke to a straight line that conforms to the plane’s perspective. You can also click a point with the Brush tool and then Shift-click another point to paint a straight line in perspective.
The Brush tool honors marquee selections and can be used to paint a hard line along the edge of the selection. For example, if you select an entire plane, you can paint a line along the perimeter of the plane.
Paint with sampled pixels in Vanishing Point
In Vanishing Point, the Stamp tool paints with sampled pixels. The cloned image is oriented to the perspective of the plane you’re painting in. The Stamp tool is useful for such tasks as blending and retouching image areas, cloning portions of a surface to “paint out” an object, or cloning an image area to duplicate an object or extend a texture or pattern.
Measure in Vanishing Point
Users ranging from architects and interior decorators to forensic scientists and woodworkers often need to know the size of objects in an image. In Vanishing Point, the Measure tool lets you draw a measurement line over an object in a perspective plane that you know the size of. The Measure tool has an option for entering a length for the measurement. The measurement line displays two text boxes: one for the length and one showing the angle that the line was drawn relative to the perspective plane. Once the measurement and its length have been set, all subsequent measurements correctly scale to your initial measurement.
There’s an option for linking the line’s measurement length with the grid spacing of the perspective plane. For example, a measurement length of 5 causes the grid to display 5 spaces, when the link option is selected. This might be useful for visualizing sizes in the image or for counting objects in an image. When unlinked, the grid spacing can be adjusted independent of the measurement. This option is useful in such instances where you find that the grid spacing is too small and visually confusing when linked to the measurement.
The measurements you create can be rendered so they appear in the image after you close the Vanishing Point dialog box. You can also export your measurements and geometric information to formats that can be read by CAD applications.
Once you start creating a measurement from within a plane, it’s possible to continue drawing the measurement beyond the plane boundaries.
If you want the size of the grid to be independent of the Length value you assigned to the initial measurement, make sure Link Measurements To Grid is deselected. This is the default setting.
If you want the size of the grid to adjust according to the Length value you assigned to the initial measurement, select Link Measurements To Grid.
The Measure tool can automatically draw the length and width measurements of a surface that’s defined by a perspective plane.
In Vanishing Point, you can move a measurement line without changing its orientation (angle) or length.
To change the orientation and length of a measurement, drag an end point.
To change the length of a measurement and constrain its angle changes to 15 degree increments, Ctrl-drag (Windows) or Command-drag (Mac OS) an end point.
To change the length of a measurement without changing its orientation, Alt-drag (Windows) or Option-drag (Mac OS) an end point.
To change the orientation of a measurement without changing its length, Shift-drag an end point.
The Vanishing Point measurements are invisible when viewing an image in the Photoshop document window, even though the measurements are preserved in the image and appear whenever you launch Vanishing Point. Measurements can be rendered so when you finish working in Vanishing Point, they’re visible in the Photoshop document window. The rendered measurements are raster not vector.
Create a new layer for your Vanishing Point results if you plan to render the measurements to Photoshop. This keeps the measurements on a separate layer from the main image.