Making portals in Adobe Dimension (Part 1: Nighttime)


For u non-video learners, a step by step.


(Optional) Make the doorway 3D object

You can download the asset at the top of the page, or make it yourself! 

Open up Illustrator and make a canvas that is 3000x3000px. 

Select the rectangle tool to make a black square (no stroke) that takes up the whole canvas. 

Change the rectangle fill to yellow, make three "doors" and group them together. 

Select all. 

Use the pathfinder tool and select 'minus front' This will cut out the yellow rectangles from the black square background. 

Copy the cut out and pop open Photoshop

Create a new file, beacue we've copied the shape from illustrator you should see an option called "clipboard" for the size, select that. If you don't see that option just make a canvas that is 3000x3000px.

Paste your shape from illustrator in as pixels. 

Click 3D > Create 3D new extrusion from selected layer

Then once that's done click 3D > Export 3D Layer and select Waveform/OBJ. 

Step 1: Place the terrain model

Open Dimension and click File > Import > 3D Model 

When the object imports it's white, and on a white background I find that impossible to see so I like to throw a matte on it temporarily so it’s easier to see. 

It also imports teeny tiny and sideways, so we need to make some property adjustments. You can do this in the properties panel on the right side by just typing in what I have (example 1), or eyeball it with the transform tools on the left (example 2).

Example 1: 

Type in the properties that I already have. 

X: 1.1 cm, Y: 5.9 cm, Z: 0.9cm

X: 90, Y:-180, Z: 96

X: 50 cm, Y: 50 cm, Z: 11.9 cm

Example 2: 

The DIY approach. Part of the fun of the dimension is the trial and error. 

Pro tip: Lock size property so it scales proportionally. 

Step 3: Set up your shot 

Use the camera tools to get the perspective you want for the piece. I've picked a flat area in the valley that I think will be nice for the doorway. 

Once you have something you like, make a camera bookmark so you don't lose your set up! 

Example 1: 

Type in the properties that I already have. 

X: 44.8 cm, Y: 2.4cm, Z: 9cm

X: 4, Y:64, Z: 0

Example 2: 

The DIY approach. Part of the fun of the dimension is the trial and error. 

Step 4: Add a material to the terrian

Go to File > Import > Place Material on Selection and add the porous rock material that you downloaded, then adjust the properties so that the material repeats twice. 

Step 5: Add the doorway 

Open Dimension and click File > Import > 3D Model and select the doorway OBJ that you made or downloaded. It's gonna plop in suuuuuper chonky, so you're gonna need to scale it down quite a bit, especially on the z-axis. Try to eyeball it to get it to look like what I have below. 

Next we're gonna adjust the doorway (Layer 1) so that the side facing the camera is black. 

Click the arrow to get to the sub menu.

(If you have rotated yours backwards it would be Layer 1 Back Inflation Material) 

Step 6: Add background image

Click on environment in the scene panel and add the sky image to the background and change the global intensity to 30%. Then click environment light and add the same image (we want the lighting to match the background image). 

Step 7: Set up the lighting

Filter by lights in the assets panel and add sun. Then play with the rotation and height settings (or use what I have) and set the intensity to 200%. 

The new lighting brings out shiny areas of the material that we have applied to the terrain. Let's remove that.

Click TerrainMesh, then in the properties panel click Roughness and then delete the image that is loaded. 

Step 8 (optional): Backlight

I like adding a little extra light to our background mountain, so more detail comes through. 

Filter by models in the left hand panel and add a sphere to the scene. 

Then turn our doorway layer (Layer 1) off by clicking the eye icon. 

Resize the sphere and position it above the back mountain, but make sure it's out of the shot (toggle the eye icon for the doorway layer a few times to double check). 

Then add a glow material to the sphere and turn it down to 100%. 

Step 9: Render

To get the final output we're gonna need to render this bad boi a few times. 

Render 1:

Let's start with what we have. Adjust your canvas size to something more high res (4000x3000px) and render a high resolution PSD. 

Maybe take up knitting because this render is gonna take awhile... 

Render 2:

Wow now that my first render is complete (and I have this beautiful new knitted scarf)  let's get our second render out. 

Hide the Sphere, Doorway (Layer 1) and Sun layers in the scene. 

Then in the Environment tab change the background to color - black.

Step 10: Merge the final scene in Photoshop

Use the two rendered PSD's to create the final piece! 

Add stars to the night shot:

Open the second render that depicts the full night view. 

Click file > place linked > select the image of stars.

Snap the image to the top of the canvas and then drag the layer to below the rendered layer. 

Add a black and white adjustment layer and a curves layer to make adjustments to the star background.


Add the night shot PSD to the portal render:

Open the first render that we created featuring the doorways. 

Click file > place linked > add the PSD night shot we've just added the stars to above. 

Turn on the additional layers view and use the magic wand to select dark blue doorway part of the render. 

Turn off the additional layers view, and click on the PSD layer we've linked and click mask. 

Part 2: 

Learn to create the opposite view here!

Using Format