agenda :: 3/22 :: Last day! :(

Today’s trick: 3D anaglyphs in Photoshop!

I stumbled across a tutorial this week that showed a simple way to make an old-school 3d picture from any photo using the anaglyph method in Photoshop. Anaglyph basically means the image is split into two layers, one red and one cyan (blue), and each layer is offset a bit. The difference in position between these two images makes the picture pop out when you put on the special glasses. I’ve made some for you all today so we can all look ridiculous together.


moondog anaglyph


  1. as you can see, it works for both color or black and white images. find a picture you like that shows a some amount of depth, and make sure the first thing you do in Photoshop is change the color mode to “RGB”
  2. start by selecting the object that you want to pop out. you can use a number of processes for this, like the pen tool or magnetic lasso, but today i’m using the smart selection brush to make things really easy.
  3. duplicate your selection to a new layer by pressing command+J. duplicate this layer again, so that you have two identical copies of your clipped out object on top of the background. it’s always a good idea to rename your layers to keep you organized on complicated things. double click on the name in the layers panel. we’re going to rename the first copy (on bottom) “RED”. name the other one on top “BLUE”.
  4. on the red layer, double click the preview box in the layers panel. this will open up blending options. under advanced blending, uncheck the boxes for green and blue so that only red remains selected. click ok!
  5. repeat this step for the “BLUE” layer, only this time uncheck just the red box so that green and blue are still selected. click ok for this one too.
  6. pick the move tool at the top of your tools panel and select the red layer. using your arrow keys, shift the red layer 3 clicks to the right. select the blue layer and shift it 3 clicks to the left. the image should start to look like it’s popping out from the background. reversing directions will create a “cutaway” look where that part of the picture seems to recess into the background. the more you offset the red and blue layers, the greater the 3d effect will be, although at some point it gets too blurry and the effect is lost. play around with distances until you get an effect you like!
  7. there you go, as you can see, i applied this process a number of times to the “moondog” picture above, and put the figures at various depths in order to increase the 3D effect of the photo. you can make this just about as simple or difficult as you’d like. you can even simplify it more and practice with simple shapes or text like i’ve done here:



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