3D Dune Landscapes In Photoshop | Bas Relief Gradients | Textures | Folds

Setup of colors

Use a preset with multiple stops via gradient tool and apply that using difference blending mode as well as linear type. Apply it a few times to create a very intense initial source design (you could, of course, use any kind of tool to create this such as a brush stroke and effects). The applied preset can be changed via the editor in the top left. Add many stops via the editor and then apply using the blending. Literally billions of colorful designs can be created. You can also combine this with effects so you may like to add oil paint etc.


Set the color for the bas relief filter to black and white via foreground / background, filter menu and filter gallery and the effect and set the smoothness to the max

Re-apply the effect

After a few re-applies of the filter. After a number of applies this dune like ripples will appear in your image and it is based on the current foreground and background colors, so you may, if you decided to go with different colors, have a different artwork. It can be used to change the direction of the light of the source design and create all kinds of weird and wonderful folding rippled landscapes

Enter 3D mode

You can also use the result of the filter as a model. Goto the 3D menu and new mesh from layer and go for depth map to plane option.


Use the controls at the top of the application to move and scale the created mesh. You can manipulate the mesh to bring it closer to the screen. I always find the default position is well away from the camera for the rippled landscape.


If you go to the layers panel, you will now see your folding / melted / rippled landscape design layer. You can use the 3D and properties panel to manipulate it further if you wish but at this point I generally always flatten the layer via the layer menu and flatten image

Add filters to the rippled / folding / Dunes landscape design

You can now add some effects as well as adjustments if you want to add some color to the image. Such as using the stylize and oil paint a couple of times. Set the stylization setting to high and cleanliness to high and leave the lighting OFF

Add some color to your rippled folding landscape

Go to the image menu and adjustments (or use the layer menu and adjustment layers) and select photo filter and if you want a sandy / desert dune look go for the warming filter 85 and then set the density high and click OK. To intensify the color, go to the image menu and adjustments and vibrance and set vibrance to 30 and saturation at 90 and click OK


To make an interesting black and white design use the image menu and adjustments and gradient map and use the default black and white preset. Or perhaps use the black and white adjustment to create all kinds of interesting rippled folding wavy background landscapes

Color swirl

Or use the gradient map adjustment with a preset with a lot of stops and perhaps combine with the stylize oil paint. All kinds of amazing colorful designs can be created using adjustments combined with the oil paint which can be applied multiple times to create a super smooth artwork

Re-apply Effect on the folding / rippled

I always find, re-applying the same approach above a couple of times on the result of the first design can generate even more unexpected results. I would always suggest that you save the results of your work to the cloud or as a snapshot via the history panel or to your library. And even more unusual designs can be revealed. Again, go back to the 3D menu and use the depth maps. You can always select the lighting widget and move the lights around in layer plane or add additional lights etc, again, yet more possible things to explore. You can also go to the 3D menu and export the layer and use the folding / rippled landscape in another application that supports the OBJ format

Sand / Dune

Flatten the layer / image and again apply some effects such as oil on to the design and then add adjustments such as photo adjustment or perhaps add presets etc to the design. Or add the black and white filter into the mix and photo filter etc


All of the above can be stored as an action. I would suggest not storing the initial source creation but for the rest, all the steps, they can be quickly stored as an action and the result of that can be then re-applied super quick to all kinds of source designs and a quick generation of all kinds of results. Go to the actions panel and click the + at the bottom of the screen and start recording all the filters and adjustments you want and stop the recording. Now you can play it back with all kinds of different sources for all kinds of designs. You can always combine the action with other filters such as perhaps twirls and perhaps smudge different parts of the image or liquify etc as well as add in different color maps or just a black and white one