…the third dimension


I’m away from my usual computer preparing for a shoot and I still need to give you your weekly dose of portraiture.

The temptation would be maybe to have a little ramble about the industry or talk about an artist I like. Seeing as I don’t have access to all my images or photoshop it would be a safe option.
But nope.

This week i’m going to walk you through, as best I can, how to convert an image to be an anaglyphic 3D image.

Now just before we begin anaglyphic 3D is the old style of 3D that you would get red/blue glasses to look at. I have fond memories of buying things like insect and dinosaur magazines just to get the glasses and see a T-Rex jumping out at me from the centre fold.
So it’s this kind of effect we’ll be trying today. However with a difference…
Normal 3D is captured using 2 separate cameras, each representing either eye of the viewer,  but when  first began using this effect I couldn’t afford 2 camera or even be accurate enough to shoot each image separately. So i’ll show a cheat method using only one camera.

Now I don’t have access to photoshop so i’ll explain as clearly as I can with the only image I have access to.

 Benjamin Corless @ Hotwired Films

Now this image worked well as a ‘Cheat 3D’ because it has a good central point of focus (the lens). The aim of this method is to apply the normal 3D effect to whole image but leave one area normal to create a sense of depth. So once you’ve got your image and you think it’s got a good point of focus let’s begin.

1. Create 3 layers of the same image.

2. Leaving layer 1 normal create a fill layer above layer 2 and fill it with blue (R-000 G-255 B-255, use these values exactly in your RGB palette else it will not work)

3. Set the blending mode, on this now red layer, to screen and then merge this and layer 2 together

4. Create another fill layer above layer 3 and fill this with red (R-255 G-000 B-000, again specifically these values)

5. Set the blending mode to screen again and merge this and layer 3 together. You should now have 1 normal layer, 1 cyan layer and 1 red layer.

6. Set the blending mode on layer 3 (red) to multiply and begin to nudge this layer, using the move tool to the right (as red is most commonly the right lens, this may have to be altered if you have different glasses). You may have to be wearing your glasses whilst you do this until you reach a position you think works.

7. Once you have a position that works merge layers 2 and 3 together so you are left with your normal layer 1 and your red/blue layer 2

8. This is the clever bit. Using the layer mask or erase tool you’re going to remove your point of focus from the red/blue layer to reveal the normal layer underneath. By doing this the whole image will appear 3D except the erased area and will give the illusion of depth.


Hopefully this tutorial has been useful and you now have a nice looking 3D image without spending a fortune on multiple cameras. You will find that certain images work better than others and that some points of focus are too big or too small just experiment and you will soon find a set up that works for you.

As always any questions leave them in the comments below.

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Peace out

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