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:



IMPORTANT: Change of venue for next week

Hey folks,

Just wanted to give a reminder that we will not be meeting in our usual lab next week for our final day of the Digital Arts Workshop. Unfortunately when I was doing my planning, it didn’t occur to me that the Undergrad Library will be closed for spring break. Luckily, I’ve booked us a lab just down the quad a bit in the English building. The lab is Room 8, and is located in the basement. Here’s a link if you want more info, its still an easy walk from the library parking lot. Let me know if you have any questions!


Agenda :: 3/8

Today’s trick: Make any photo look like an oil painting in Photoshop!

Impressions of Nic Cage

Today, I’m going to show you a really easy trick you can use in Photoshop to make any photo look like a detailed oil painting. The only tool you’ll really be using is the smudge tool, but you’ll also be experimenting with different brush sizes and shapes along the way.

  1. First thing you need to do is find a photo, as usual. I picked this picture of Nicolas Cage, an actor who I find hilariously bad in most things.Nicolas-Cage
  2. Open it up in Photoshop, and find the Smudge tool in the tools panel on the left-hand side. You can find it by clicking and holding the blur “water drop” icon, and looking for the finger: tools
  3. Up at the top, find the brushes panel and click. You should have a selection of different types to choose from, but I find a fan brush is a good one to start with. brushes

Agenda :: 3/1

Today: Color correction and replacement in Photoshop!

One of the most powerful features in Photoshop is its color correction and replacement tools. By learning the ins-and-outs of how to adjust these aspects, you can end up with some really unique photos/images. As always, sometimes the best way to learn a program is to play around with it, so here’s a few small projects you might try out today on your own to get more familiar. If you stumble across something cool that I haven’t included, let me know and I’ll be happy to share!

  • Adjusting levels and saturation
  1. After loading your photo in Photoshop, look for the adjustment layer button in the Layers Panel (it looks like a half-white, half-black circle). Select hue and saturation. Hue will change the tint of your picture as a whole, saturation takes color away. If saturation is all the way down, your picture will be grayscale, if it is all the way up it will have unnaturally vibrant colors. Click the “colorize” button, and it renders your photo in shades of one color, which you can adjust. Here’s an example of Saturation vs. Desaturation
  • Isolating a single color in a photo
  1. Find a photo that has one element you think could be singled out as a color. Duplicate the layer so that there are two identical copies. Using the steps in the previous example, totally desaturate the top layer. Now all you have to do is take your eraser tool and erase away the parts where you want color exposed. Here’s a cat whose eyes I isolated in this same way:
  • Applying a gradient map to get some wild results.
  1. Also listed under the Layer Adjustment menu when you click the button, you can select Gradient Map, which will change your colors based on preset gradients. When the properties panel pops up, you can change which gradient by clicking the downward arrow to the right of the gradient bar. If you click the gear icon, even more options for gradients will pop up. If you click on the gradient bar itself, you can adjust the colors and create your own custom gradient. Here’s Bill Murry as Steve Zissou in some crazy psychedelic colors:

That’s pretty much it for now. There are lots and lots more tools to use (maybe see if you can find the Color Replacement brush and see what it does!), but these are some basics. Play around, have fun, and see what you can do!

AGENDA :: 1/25

WELCOME to the DIGITAL ARTS WORKSHOP! Feel free to sit anywhere and warm up a bit while we wait for everyone to show up!




  • Crash course in how animation and film came to be:: Muybridge’s Horse :: Early looping animation achieved by a rapid series of still photographs flashed quickly one after another. The eye is deceived into thinking it is actually seeing motion.
  • It’s funny to think that the novelty of a looping animation like this is still popular today – In fact, we’re looking at a .GIF file of Muybridge’s horse. A .GIF file is a special type of image file that allows a frame by frame animation to be played back for the viewer. You’ve probably already familiar with seeing GIFs online, but let’s take a look at some really creative uses of this format.
  • Ashlyn Anstee :: does some awesome stuff
  • Sam Ballardini :: also awesome, lots of illustration based stuff
  • Hoppip :: if you think cats are adorable, Hoppip is for you
  • Tech Noir :: takes scenes from existing movies and manipulates them
  • Skip Hursh :: really colorful illustrative work with GIFS
  • Romain Laurent’s looping portrait series :: really great example of what you can do with some attention to manipulation and a lot of hard work.
  • Jon Cates :: uses Photobooth to make highly altered selfie GIFs. Also, he graduated from Illinois State in Bloomington!
  • 60 awesome cinemagraph gifs :: cinemagraphs are GIF images that are somewhere in between video and photo – only minor elements move, and provides a subtle sense of action.

HOW-TO :: There are a few different ways you can go about making a gif, so I’ll be showing you the basics and a couple options for getting started and let you explore from there on your own.

  1. THE BASICS :: bouncing ball demo
  2. THE EASY WAY :: finding things that rotate or change in a regular pattern, import one cycle of this action and you’re done! for example, my favorite beatles album
  3. record2

  4. THE SLIGHTLY LESS EASY WAY :: using just a couple of frames, adjusting time to animate a still photo –  my “blinking” demo
  5. blink

  6. THE SOMEWHAT HARDER WAY :: duplicate frames and reverse them to help create a continuous loop
  7. candleloop

  8. THE EVEN HARDER (BUT STILL POSSIBLE) WAY :: you can start with some basic footage and use virtually any Photoshop tool to alter any frame. You can use masks or other layers as a background or foreground image, I started this one and used masking techniques to make my hand steadier – I’m still having trouble figuring out how to get the water levels in the glass to stay more even, but I’m sure with some persistence I’ll figure it out.
  9. YOUR WAY :: however you want! experiment, play around, try a bunch of different things and see what you like!