Photoshop skills: Advanced
Compatibility: Photoshop CC, CS6 Extended

Note: If you have PS CS6 Extended, please scroll down to the end of this tutorial to find out how to get the effect done.


You probably know that Photoshop CC & CS6 Extended let you create a 3D wine bottle from scratch. This feature remains rather neglected although it has more potential.
This tutorial will show you how to create a scene showing a bottle washed up in a shore, with a photo inside.
Photo in a bottle Photoshop tutorial

Click on the link below to load the 'seashore.jpg' image, which you may use on this tutorial. Alternatively you can use another similar image of your choice.

Creating the bottle

Press Shift-Ctrl-N (PC) or Shift-cmd-N (Mac) to create a new empty layer. Name this layer as "Bottle":
create the bottle layer

Select: 3D > New Mesh from Layer > Mesh Preset > Wine Bottle from the menu.

Select: 3D > Group All Objects in Scene

Switch to the 3D workspace, by selecting Window > Workspace > 3D

Go to the 3D Panel and click on "Scene Objects" (if it's not already selected):
select Scene objects

Go to the Properties panel (Window > Properties). Enter 90 degrees in the Z axis rotation field, to rotate the bottle and make it parallel to the ground.
Then click on the Move to Ground button:
snap bottle to the ground

Go to the 3D panel and click on "Current View":
current view

Press V to select the move tool. Use the 3D tools in the options bar (below Photoshop's menu), to rotate / move the 3D bottle in the scene: 
3d tools
Alternatively you can use the 3D tools at the lower left corner of the work area:
3d tools lower left corner

Modifying the bottle

Go to the 3D panel. Click the eyeball icons to the left of "Label" and "Cap", to turn off these materials:
turn 3D materials off

Click on Bottle_Material:
select the bottle material

Go to the Properties panel. Click the material dropdown menu and select the Gemstone Emerald material, that looks like green glass:
gemstone emerald material

Let's change the color hue of the bottle. Click on the Diffuse color:
select diffuse color

Then enter 0,  40, 140 in the R-G-B fields:
diffuse color settings

Then click on Ambient color and enter 0,  20,  70 in the R-G-B fields:
Ambient color settings

Finally move the sliders to set Shine and Reflection to 80%;
Reduce Roughness and Bump to 0%;
Set Opacity to 20% and Refraction to 3.000:
properties panel settings

Click the little light bulb icon on the 3D panel:
filter by lights

Use your mouse to redirect the 3D light source to your taste:
reposition light source

Go to the Properties panel and increase the Shadow softness to 70%
3d shadow softness

Rendering the 3D bottle

Now render the scene: Press Alt-Shift-Ctrl-R (PC) or opt-Shift-cmd-R (Mac).
Alternatively you can select 3D > Render 3D Layer from the menu, or click the Render button at the bottom of the 3D / Properties panels.

Rendering takes a while to complete. You can press the Esc key to stop it anytime. I recommend you wait for at least 7-10 minutes before you interrupt it.
When you are happy with the result, press the Esc key.

Let's rasterize the bottle. Go to the Layers panel, right click on the "Bottle" layer, and select "Rasterize 3D":
rasterize 3d
Alternatively, you can right click the "Bottle" layer and select "Convert to Smart Object".

Inserting a photo

Select the "Background" layer. Press Shift-Ctrl-N (PC) or Shift-cmd-N (Mac) to create a new empty layer. Name this layer as "Photo".
Select  Edit > Place from the menu and insert a photo. Resize it so that it fits inside the bottle.

Click the "Bottle" layer and then add a layer mask.
add a layer mask

Press B and pick a soft round brush.
Press D and then X to set black as the foreground color. 
Press 4 to set the brush opacity to 40%.
Use the bracket keys [ ] to change the brush size.
Carefully paint over the mask, to reduce the glass opacity and reveal more details from the underlying photo layer.

Here's an example:

Creating the effect in Photoshop CS6 Extended

PS CS6 Extended users will also be able to create this effect. The result won't look exactly the same because some of the aforementioned 3D features and commands are missing in CS6 Extended:

The "Move to Ground" button is not available in the Properties panel in CS6 (it is shown in the 3rd image in my tutorial).
Instead you should select 3D > Snap Object to Ground Plane from the menu.

In CS6 you can't turn off the materials (as shown in the 7th image of my tutorial).
In addition, the glassy materials are not available in CS6 (9th image).
In CS6 you must click each one of the 3 materials that make up the 3D wine bottle (in the English Photoshop version they are named: Label_Material, Glass_Material, Cork_Material). Then, in the Properties panel you should lower the opacity of that material (e.g. to 20%) by moving the Opacity slider to the left.

The remaining steps of my tutorial are the same in CS6 (from the point where you change the Diffuse and Ambient colors).

5.0/5 from 7 ratings.
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Your review
Thank you very much for all of the tutorials and your generosity with the many wonderful freebies. I continue to be amazed at your creativity!  I don't always have time to play as much as I would like but I save your gifts in a folder for a "Happy Sometime". Thanks so much!
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0 of 0 people found the following review helpful
Time---in a Bottle
Your review
Thank you Panos---what a GREAT tutorial for this amazing effect.   This is neglected because it is hard---and challenging, and you've made it possible.
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0 of 0 people found the following review helpful
Wish PSE could do it
Your review
Sounds like an interesting project. I won't rate the article because I only have PSE and can't do it.
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0 of 0 people found the following review helpful
  • Daisy22 2017/01/21
    Wow! Really awesome what a creativity .
  • ClaraDon 2016/12/30
    Very well explained Tutorial. I learned much about the 3D tools using this. Thanks

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