I was following a tutorial on how to make an abstract desktop wallpaper. One of the steps required you to use a 3D render for abstract shards. They provided one but I don't want to use something someone else made. I know I can use a program like Blender or C4D to create but I was curious if I could do it all in Photoshop. If Photoshop can, then how?
Photoshop has some preset 3D shapes such as ball or cube. You can also make extrusions (=give some height to a planar shape) and use greyshades as a depth map. These are well presented in tutorials. Search for "3D Photoshop".
There are no general 3D drawing tools in Photoshop. Arbitary 3D shapes such as irregular polyhedrons or something with complex surfaces (curved and planar) must be created in proper 3D software. The result can be imported to Photoshop as 2D image or 3D model. The latter allows surface texturing, zooming, rotating and changing the light conditions.
Imports as OBJ files have worked well in my low resource computer with legacy Photoshop.
If extruded or revolved planar shapes (which can be distorted after rendering to 2D) are enough, you can probably do the job well in Illustrator. I recommend to check it before going to something with steep learnig curve.
NOTE: You can put several simple extrusions adjacent or stacked to the same place and make an illusion of complex shape.
This is a broken bowl, an elementary revolution object which has been splitted by drawing some splitting marker lines and dragging the parts apart. The following image shows what you can get in freeware CAD in few minutes after starting from scratch:
This can be ok for something. But you must accept there are only flat simple colors, no material textures, no adjustable lights and all parts are shaded independently (=no shadows caused)
In Photoshop you can have multiple lights, shadows, reflections and texture images. Here's a few click rendering example of the same file:
The last is an attempt to use proper 3D rendering software It's a demo version of Keyshot, only few fixed materials available, nearly all adjustments and high resolution disabled. Kerkythea should do the same, but without common demo software limitations.
This example at least shows that a comment "I would never let Photoshop render my 3D model" probably has some content.