Showcase your Photos Using the Vanishing Point Filter - Digital Photography School

Showcase your Photos Using the Vanishing Point Filter

before_after.jpg

This fun Photoshop technique lets you showcase your photos on a computer screen or billboard and it uses the vanishing point filter to distort and crop the image.

The Vanishing Point Filter was first introduced with Photoshop CS2 so you will need Photoshop CS2 or later for this project.

Step 1

Open an image of a computer screen (or a billboard) in Photoshop and open the image you want to place on it.

step1.jpg

The Sacré Coeur image is mine and the computer screen is © iStockPhoto, Dmitry Kutlayev.

Size the image to place on the computer screen to the approximate size the image needs to be having regard to the size of the computer screen image. The computer screen I used is 1600 x 1200 so I sized my photo smaller than this.

Step 2

Create a new blank layer on the computer screen image (Layer > New > Layer) and then switch to the image you want to add to the screen or billboard. Choose Select > All and then Edit > Copy. Return to the computer screen image.

step2.jpg

Step 3

Choose Filter > Vanishing Point and click Ok. This opens the image in the vanishing point filter.

step3.jpg

Step 4

Here you can create the perspective grid for the image. To do this, click the Create Plane tool and click at all four corners of the area that you want to paste the photograph into.

step4.jpg

If the grid is red, it is not a grid that can be used so you need to readjust the corners until it turns blue. You can adjust the grid size if that makes it easier to see.

Step 5

Once the grid is in place, press Ctrl + V to paste the image from the clipboard into the filter.

step5.jpg

Step 6

Click the Transform tool and size the image to approximately the size it needs to be.

Drag the image over the grid and you will notice that it reshapes to conform to the perspective of the grid.

step6.jpg

Step 7

Size the image so it fits in the area covered by the grid. Any portion of the image that extends beyond the grid is automatically hidden.

step7.jpg

Step 8

When you are done, click Ok to return to Photoshop. Your image should be neatly aligned inside the screen.

step8.jpg

To finish, you can add a curves adjustment layer that lightens the image to match the screen lightness. You can also add a gradient to the curves layer mask to adjust the lightening of the image to match the original screen lights and darks.

Step 9

I also added a shadow to the layer by selecting the layer and select the Add a Layer Style button at the foot of the layer palette. Select Inner Shadow and create an inner shadow for the image so it appears more realistically situated on the screen.

step9.jpg

Using a similar technique, you can place a photo on an image of a billboard or any other similar flat but angled surface.

Read more from our Post Production category.

Helen Bradley is a Lifestyle journalist who divides her time between the real and digital worlds, picking the best from both. She writes and produces video instruction for Photoshop and digital photography for magazines and online providers world wide. She has also written four books on photo crafts and blogs at Projectwoman.com.

  • Rob

    It took me a while to wrap my head around why you’d use vanishing point to enlarge an image to use as wallpaper for your monitor.
    Then I put it together that the monitor was *IN* the image.
    I’m still not sure how this is “Showcasing” the image, unless that is some marketing communications jargon for “putting an image in a photo of a monitor.”
    I guess what I’m saying, is that there is probably a better example that could have been used for a tutorial on Vanishing Point… say on the side of a building or on a stretch of road.

    That aside, it is a tidy little tutorial. Thanks.

  • matt

    am i being thick or is there no difference between the before and after pictures?

  • AnthonyE001

    Useful to know how to use, but the same effect can be achieved by using the right version of the transform tool…

  • Aamer

    No clue what this tutorial is doing.

  • Judy

    I understand exactly what the tutorial is doing and I thank you, Helen. This is a technique that I have wanted to learn for some time — very nicely explained.

  • http://www.projectwoman.com Helen Bradley

    The difference between the Vanishing Point tool and the transform tool is that, once you create your grid the size of the position in the image that you want to use it in, it actually crops any excess portion of the image – it anything that falls outside it. So, here my grid was the size of the area in the monitor image that I wanted to use and the image was shaped and automatically cropped to fit.

    Also, the solution shows something about the Vanishing Point filter not aparent from the dialog options – that you can paste an image from the clipboard into it.

  • http://www.akamarkman.com akamarkman

    It sounds like this would probably be more useful if you had to change the contents of the billboard/computer screen/whatever multiple times for the same image. Using the vanishing point filter allows you to interchange images faster and more consistently than transforming and cropping (optionally w/ hide) each time?

  • Aleeya

    I didn’t really get it either. I’m still learning Photoshop and different things I can do so I’m totally clueless anyway. I will definitely file this lesson away until I “get it” because Helen’s tutorials are great and easy to follow for someone who barely can get a photo opened in Photoshop.

  • Shirley F.

    But because this does crop excess of your image, one does not get the entire image and thus the “transform-distort” tool (Command + T. Move points to four corners. Done.) is much simpler and faster to use.

  • http://lordofdance.com Dannel Gomiller

    To the people who don’t “get it”. The purpose for using this technique is it is an easy way to fake the ANGLE (and of course, vanashing point) of the image in a monitor, picture frame, side of a building, sign, any flat surface. If you simply dropped a regular image in and cut out the edges, it would look strange because it doesn’t match the angle of the item it is on.

    I used a similar technique in the past to put fake graffiti on a picture of a long wall.

  • http://www.davidpoole.co.cc David Poole

    i understand what this tutorial is doing perfectly!
    i dont know how these other commenters dont understand..

  • graphicartist2k5

    yet ANOTHER noob tutorial! seriously, this is something that has been done for a LONG time. nothing to see here, move along.

  • http://ortatherox.com orta

    An easier way to do this, is to do a free transform on the image,and hold apple while click on a corner and you can just reposition the corners.

  • http://www.servianphotography.com George Servian

    Thanks for the tip. And it’s not a noob tip in my opinion. And even if it was, so what? Newbies deserve a tip too.

  • michael

    Thanks Helen for the tutorial. I knew how to use the Transform tool to reshape the image, but this crops off excess image, make it quite useful.

    And if anyone doesn’t like “noob tips” (not that this is one), no one’s forcing you to read this article.

  • SigSoldat

    The tutorial confused me as well, at first. As someone else posted, it would have been clearer had you used the wall of a building, an empty picture frame, or something along those lines. Once I figured out what the vanishing point was all about, it made perfect sense. Thanks!

  • Koppel

    enjoying the tutorials. having come from the darkroom to the digital age kicking and screaming it is great to have simple little snippets to pick up and learn as i go along. More of the same please and those people that already know so much probably don’t or they wouldn’t be here trying to impress us they would be out doing.

  • Sandy

    I’m so glad some of you were honest and I’m not the only one in the dark closet.

  • CJay

    These tutorials are for people who want to learn. If you can already do these things other ways don’t complain about the way Helen explains it…..just move along without commenting….it’s not needed unless you want to add something helpful.

  • http://BullRhino.blogspot.com Bull Rhino

    Great tutorial. I did not get it at first either. I thought the tutorial was telling me how to showcase my photo(s) on my computer monitor. It finally clicked in at the end that this is a tutorial on how to put a photo in an image of a computer screen, tv screen or billboard where the image of the computer screen etc. is at an angle and the point is to match the angle so that it looks like it was on there when the photo of the monitor, tv, billboard, etc. was taken. Hope this helps some of the others who didn’t get it at first.

  • http://lilnick.co.uk Nicholas Llewellyn

    Photoshop “free transform” does exactly the same thing and looks less complicated…

  • http://www.popwuping.com Clark

    Seemed clear enough to me. Though I don’t have use for the technique, thank you for illustrating it.

  • http://www.almostprofoto.com Matt

    Good tip. I prefer (in most cases) to use the free transform tool as many have said…. but a good tip anyway.

    and for people complaining about NEWB tips….. digital photography SCHOOL.

  • http://sluhost.com/ sal

    I have the day off today. Going to try my own vanishing point. thanks

  • http://photoscenics.ws Joanne

    What a great idea to protect your copyrighted photographs and still show your images.

  • Robinhj

    For those confused by what the vanishing point filter can be used for… Imagine you have photographed a row of terraced houses at an oblique angle, ie not at 90 degrees, so the terrace is diminishing in size as the houses get further away. The houses are a great example of a Victorian street of identical houses, just what you wanted, but…horror!…one of the houses has a poster for a local politician in the window thus ruining the whole shot. If you had shot at 90 degrees you could have just copied the widow from another house over the ruined one but you cant do that because the other windows are all different sizes. With the vanishing point filter you can copy any window and the filter will adjust the perspective to make it fit exactly.

  • Aya

    thank YOU!! :))

Some older comments

  • Aya

    June 13, 2013 06:45 pm

    thank YOU!! :))

  • Robinhj

    July 13, 2012 07:03 am

    For those confused by what the vanishing point filter can be used for... Imagine you have photographed a row of terraced houses at an oblique angle, ie not at 90 degrees, so the terrace is diminishing in size as the houses get further away. The houses are a great example of a Victorian street of identical houses, just what you wanted, but...horror!...one of the houses has a poster for a local politician in the window thus ruining the whole shot. If you had shot at 90 degrees you could have just copied the widow from another house over the ruined one but you cant do that because the other windows are all different sizes. With the vanishing point filter you can copy any window and the filter will adjust the perspective to make it fit exactly.

  • Joanne

    January 10, 2010 06:49 am

    What a great idea to protect your copyrighted photographs and still show your images.

  • sal

    December 22, 2009 01:26 am

    I have the day off today. Going to try my own vanishing point. thanks

  • Matt

    December 9, 2009 02:05 pm

    Good tip. I prefer (in most cases) to use the free transform tool as many have said.... but a good tip anyway.

    and for people complaining about NEWB tips..... digital photography SCHOOL.

  • Clark

    December 4, 2009 08:59 pm

    Seemed clear enough to me. Though I don't have use for the technique, thank you for illustrating it.

  • Nicholas Llewellyn

    November 27, 2009 10:33 pm

    Photoshop "free transform" does exactly the same thing and looks less complicated...

  • Bull Rhino

    August 27, 2009 02:26 pm

    Great tutorial. I did not get it at first either. I thought the tutorial was telling me how to showcase my photo(s) on my computer monitor. It finally clicked in at the end that this is a tutorial on how to put a photo in an image of a computer screen, tv screen or billboard where the image of the computer screen etc. is at an angle and the point is to match the angle so that it looks like it was on there when the photo of the monitor, tv, billboard, etc. was taken. Hope this helps some of the others who didn't get it at first.

  • CJay

    August 24, 2009 08:10 pm

    These tutorials are for people who want to learn. If you can already do these things other ways don't complain about the way Helen explains it.....just move along without commenting....it's not needed unless you want to add something helpful.

  • Sandy

    August 24, 2009 11:43 am

    I'm so glad some of you were honest and I'm not the only one in the dark closet.

  • Koppel

    August 16, 2009 12:59 pm

    enjoying the tutorials. having come from the darkroom to the digital age kicking and screaming it is great to have simple little snippets to pick up and learn as i go along. More of the same please and those people that already know so much probably don't or they wouldn't be here trying to impress us they would be out doing.

  • SigSoldat

    August 16, 2009 12:12 am

    The tutorial confused me as well, at first. As someone else posted, it would have been clearer had you used the wall of a building, an empty picture frame, or something along those lines. Once I figured out what the vanishing point was all about, it made perfect sense. Thanks!

  • michael

    August 15, 2009 03:05 am

    Thanks Helen for the tutorial. I knew how to use the Transform tool to reshape the image, but this crops off excess image, make it quite useful.

    And if anyone doesn't like "noob tips" (not that this is one), no one's forcing you to read this article.

  • George Servian

    August 15, 2009 01:17 am

    Thanks for the tip. And it's not a noob tip in my opinion. And even if it was, so what? Newbies deserve a tip too.

  • orta

    August 14, 2009 07:21 am

    An easier way to do this, is to do a free transform on the image,and hold apple while click on a corner and you can just reposition the corners.

  • graphicartist2k5

    August 14, 2009 04:11 am

    yet ANOTHER noob tutorial! seriously, this is something that has been done for a LONG time. nothing to see here, move along.

  • David Poole

    August 14, 2009 02:11 am

    i understand what this tutorial is doing perfectly!
    i dont know how these other commenters dont understand..

  • Dannel Gomiller

    August 14, 2009 01:57 am

    To the people who don't "get it". The purpose for using this technique is it is an easy way to fake the ANGLE (and of course, vanashing point) of the image in a monitor, picture frame, side of a building, sign, any flat surface. If you simply dropped a regular image in and cut out the edges, it would look strange because it doesn't match the angle of the item it is on.

    I used a similar technique in the past to put fake graffiti on a picture of a long wall.

  • Shirley F.

    August 13, 2009 11:52 pm

    But because this does crop excess of your image, one does not get the entire image and thus the "transform-distort" tool (Command + T. Move points to four corners. Done.) is much simpler and faster to use.

  • Aleeya

    August 13, 2009 11:34 pm

    I didn't really get it either. I'm still learning Photoshop and different things I can do so I'm totally clueless anyway. I will definitely file this lesson away until I "get it" because Helen's tutorials are great and easy to follow for someone who barely can get a photo opened in Photoshop.

  • akamarkman

    August 13, 2009 11:32 pm

    It sounds like this would probably be more useful if you had to change the contents of the billboard/computer screen/whatever multiple times for the same image. Using the vanishing point filter allows you to interchange images faster and more consistently than transforming and cropping (optionally w/ hide) each time?

  • Helen Bradley

    August 13, 2009 02:09 pm

    The difference between the Vanishing Point tool and the transform tool is that, once you create your grid the size of the position in the image that you want to use it in, it actually crops any excess portion of the image - it anything that falls outside it. So, here my grid was the size of the area in the monitor image that I wanted to use and the image was shaped and automatically cropped to fit.

    Also, the solution shows something about the Vanishing Point filter not aparent from the dialog options - that you can paste an image from the clipboard into it.

  • Judy

    August 13, 2009 09:10 am

    I understand exactly what the tutorial is doing and I thank you, Helen. This is a technique that I have wanted to learn for some time -- very nicely explained.

  • Aamer

    August 13, 2009 08:13 am

    No clue what this tutorial is doing.

  • AnthonyE001

    August 13, 2009 04:45 am

    Useful to know how to use, but the same effect can be achieved by using the right version of the transform tool...

  • matt

    August 13, 2009 04:19 am

    am i being thick or is there no difference between the before and after pictures?

  • Rob

    August 13, 2009 02:32 am

    It took me a while to wrap my head around why you'd use vanishing point to enlarge an image to use as wallpaper for your monitor.
    Then I put it together that the monitor was *IN* the image.
    I'm still not sure how this is "Showcasing" the image, unless that is some marketing communications jargon for "putting an image in a photo of a monitor."
    I guess what I'm saying, is that there is probably a better example that could have been used for a tutorial on Vanishing Point... say on the side of a building or on a stretch of road.

    That aside, it is a tidy little tutorial. Thanks.

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