LiveSurface brings design concepts to life

Here’s the scenario: you’ve come up with an idea for a new logo for a big client. You want to create some realistic imagery to help you and the client both visualize how that logo will look on anything from a bottle to a billboard to a bus.

What do you do next? Grab some stock photos and start Photoshopping? Even if you’re a certified whiz, that’s going to take some time and effort, especially if you’re still in the early stages of development and making lots of revisions.

But what if that stock image of the bottle, billboard, or bus came with embedded 3D data that allowed you to almost instantly place your new logo into the photo in a realistic manner with shading and highlighting that you could quickly and easily tweak? That is idea behind LiveSurface.

LiveSurface offers a library of professionally-photographed and retouched high-resolution, layered images with embedded 3D surfaces. Each photo costs $29, which might seem rather steep until you factor in the cost of the time and materials you’d spend creating comps with a standard stock image.

After you have purchased and downloaded the image you want to work with, you can simply paste in your artwork in the Photoshop file and it is automatically masked and shaded non-destructively.

Built-in Vanishing Point planes allow you to put your artwork in perspective, and you can further tweak the appearance by adjusting the intensity of lighting effects like shadows and highlights.

You can also work with LiveSurface images in Illustrator via the Context app for Mac and plug-in, now in beta development.

These brief videos show the process of applying artwork and working with live inks in Context.

Currently, the LiveSurface library contains over 350 high-res images with embedded 3D surfaces, including t-shirts, walls, banners, booklets, brochures, billboards, posters, storefronts, signs, cups, bottles, bags, and so on.

LiveSurface images work with Photoshop and Illustrator CS–CS6. Vanishing Point planes require Photoshop CS2 or later.

You can request an invitation to participate in the Context beta and receive further news about it here.

Posted on: March 20, 2013

Mike Rankin

Mike is the Editor in Chief of, InDesign Magazine, and He is also the author of several video training series, including Font Management Essential Training, InDesign FX, and InDesign CC: Interactive Document Fundamentals.

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