If you’re looking for creative photography ideas to try and get more from your images, making 3D anaglyphs is a really fun technique to learn. In this tutorial we’ll show you a simple way of using Photoshop effects to create the illusion of depth in your images.
3D graphic effects work by giving each eye a slightly different perspective of a scene, creating the illusion of depth. With 3D anaglyph images, the two perspectives are in different colours (usually red and cyan, as these two colours are chromatically opposite).
This is why classic 3D glasses have different-coloured lenses, as these restrict what each eye sees.
3D films are shot with two lenses side by side, one for each eye, but you can achieve a similar illusion using a single image.
Different ‘depth planes’ can be created by dividing the image into separate elements, creating red and blue layers of each, then controlling the amount and direction the red and blue layers are shifted.
Moving the red left and the blue right will make the area appear further away, while red right, blue left will make it appear closer.
It’s not nearly as complicated as it sounds, and the results are instantly gratifying. So grab a pair of 3D glasses and let’s get started…
How to make 3D anaglyphs
01 Select the hand
Open original start image, then hit Cmd/Ctrl+J to copy the background layer. Grab the Quick Selection tool and paint over the hand and sleeve on the left to select it (hold Alt to subtract if the tool goes wrong). Click the Refine Edge button and set Smooth 15, Feather 2, Contract/Expand +100.
02 Clone around edges
Hit Cmd/Ctrl+J to copy the hand to a new layer. Highlight the middle layer and grab the Clone tool. Repeatedly Alt-click to sample the background, then paint with the tool to create a crude edge that extends the background walls and ceiling so that they overlap the edges of the hand.
03 Make the blue layer
Double-click the layer name and call it Red, then hit Cmd/Ctrl+J and call the copy Blue. With the Blue layer highlighted, go to Enhance>Adjust Lighting>Levels. Click the Channel dropdown and pick Red, then go to the Output Levels slider. Drag the right-hand point to the left, then hit OK.
04 Make the red layer
Hide the Blue layer and highlight the Red layer. Go to Levels again and this time choose Green from the Channel dropdown. Once again drag the Output slider right point all the way to the left. Next select Channel: Blue and again drag the slider across so your image is completely red.
05 Blend and nudge
Reveal and highlight the Blue layer, then click the Blend Mode dropdown in the Layers Panel and choose Screen. Hit Escape, then grab the Move tool. Press Shift + ► twice to nudge the Blue layer 20px to the right. Highlight the Red layer and press Shift + ◄ twice to nudge it 20px to the left.
06 Add graphics
Reveal and highlight the hand layer, then go to File>Place. Next, we navigated to the ‘3D’ logo file and hit Place, then did the same for the png file of the 3D glasses icon. We then used the Move tool to position the graphics and add text.
Finally, put on a pair of 3D glasses and check out the effect!
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