It might be easier if you could upload, or link to an example, but I'll try guessing.
You could use Free Transform > Warp to change the shape, and shadows and highlights to give the illusion of height. Also look at Free Transform using the Warp options in the Options bar
Or you could Google Displacement maps if you have another image with the sort of 3D shape you are looking for.
Personally, I use shading and highlights.
Yeah it really makes a difference in the direction of the fold. Some folds can be done like Trevor mentioned others may need the use of the 3d tools to make it easy on designing. But in the end, it all can be done in 2d, it just may need a bit more finessing.
When it comes to folds and bends, I tend to prefer the 3d route as you can visually see how it is progressing. whereas in 2d you may need to visualize in your head on how it will look to get the edges correct. Which I am not always that good as previsualization.
whereas in 2d you may need to visualize in your head on how it will look to get the edges correct. Which I am not always that good as previsualization.
Bruce you are so right, and that is the very thing that makes it difficult. It's like trying to create clouds. We look at things without really seeing them, and you have to consciously take in what every day things really look like. With clouds, you end up being surprised how much tonal difference there is between shadow and highlight areas, and how they get smaller, and layered into the distance. That's one of the reasons cloudy skies look so dramatic photographed with an ultra-wide which exaggerates the effect so much.
This plate started as a square which I filled with a metal texture. Then Free Transform > Perspective plus Warp > Flag, but it is was not until I used dodge and burn that this flat object 'appeared' to have depth.
BTW A little trick with the shading is to use the usual 50% grey layer set to Overlay, and then use Free Transform on that to fine tune the alignment of your free hand shading. That means Ctrl dragging corner handles, because it is much more flexible than trying to use the usual controls.
The highlight in the warped plate, really sells it.