How to create weird 3D backgrounds using bas relief

How to create some really weird and unusual bas relief inspired 3D backgrounds / landscapes using gradients in Photoshop tutorial in CC 2018 2017 2015 etc

Weird 3D using bas relief filter

bas relief and gradients and landscapes surreal 3D effects tutorial
  1. Use a gradient with multiple stops via gradient tool in Photoshop

  2. Set the color for the bas relief filter to black and white via foreground / background

  3. Filter menu and filter gallery and bas relief filter

  4. Smoothness to the max

  5. Re-apply the bas relief filter over and over to create weird 3D backgrounds



This is a tutorial that all kinds of results can be generated. You can start from different gradients (I am using a gradient from the graphicxtras gradients collection) and depending on the stops in the gradients. You can start from any type of gradient but create something similar to the opposite with about 11 stops and have black and white and purple and then white and then green etc all evenly spread out.


stopsSelect the gradient tool. Click the gradient panel. Select a gradient or create a new one such as on the left by clicking on the bottom part of the gradient line and adding stops. Space them out. Once you have the gradient, set the gradient to a linear gradient and apply from top left to bottom right.

Set the color for the bas relief to black and white for the bas relief filter

Now the bas relief filter can be applied to the gradient. I am using a small image (400 x 400 but you can use larger. The results may vary depending on the gradients, size etc



Go to the filter menu in Photoshop. Filter gallery and sketch and then Bas relief

Smoothness to the max and detail set to 1 and light to the right. Apply the bas relief

Re-apply the bas relief via the last filter in the filter menu. Apply as many times as you like until you are happy with the background generated


ripplesYou can also alter the light direction after a number of applications and then apply the bas relief filter multiple times



You can also re-apply the gradient over the bas relief background and perhaps use it with a difference blend. Apply the gradient once or twice with the difference blending mode. Re-apply the bas relief filter in Photoshop and repeat and perhaps change the light direction


Re-apply the gradient or a different gradient and again use the blending mode of difference (or perhaps overlay etc)


The results of the combination of the gradient and the bas relief and the re-applied gradients and different blending modes can result in 1000s of combinations of different 3D backgrounds or landscapes


meltYou can also use the result of the bas relief and gradients as a 3D model in Photoshop (CC 2017 etc)


3D menu and New mesh from layer and then Depth map to plane option. Use the 3D mode / move tool to scale, shift etc (move the lights to create different surfaces). Flatten the 3D layer. Perhaps use filter menu and stylize and oil paint or perhaps re-apply the bas relief filter in Photoshop and repeat the process of creating yet more 3D models (you can also save the 3D model via the 3D menu via the export 3D layer to OBJ etc.


In the image on the right, the gradient was added to the imge on the left (you can vary the angle of the linear gradient to get the best result) The artwork can then be re-used as a 3D model or perhaps yet more bas relief filters can be applied or adjustments can be added such as sepia (see the top image) to create unusual landscapes / backgrounds / surfaces



Commercial use. Secure sales by (c) 1995-2018 Andrew Buckle, Maidstone artist, tel: +44 1622 / 688 375 E-mail: support@