As I write this, I’ve published 20 hours of video training on the topic of 3D imaging in Photoshop. (For those who may be curious, it begins with the 5-hour Photoshop CS5 Extended One-on-One: 3D Fundamentals, about which you can learn more at lynda.com.) These movies are all about creating photorealistic 3D artwork from scratch. But what if you’re not interested in 3D artwork? What if you want to create 3D photographs? Well then you’re in luck, because that’s precisely what this week’s technique is all about.
Remember those old View-Master images? It’s like that, only with glasses. Plus loads of fun and really easy.
In today’s free video, I show you how to shoot two photographs—one for each of your naturally stereoscopic eyes—using a standard single-lens camera. And then I assemble them in Photoshop so that the composite image appears in everyday-average lifelike depth when viewed through a pair of red-cyan glasses, like the ones pictured below, provided by Fotolia.
Red, white, and blue. What a fitting day-after-Fourth-of-July tribute! Meanwhile, here’s the official description from lynda.com:
In this week’s free Deke’s Technique, you’ll see how to create a classic anaglyphic, stereoscopic 3D image in Photoshop. Anaglyphs are created by superimposing two slightly different perspectives of a single scene, with each version directed to one eye or the other, resulting in a palpable perception of depth. In this case, Deke shows you how to create an image intended to be viewed through those retro red (left) and cyan (right) glasses.
In order to achieve this classic effect, you have to first correctly shoot a pair of photographs with a slightly shifted perspective, like the ones captured by lynda.com‘s Jacob Cunningham (below). And by slightly, I mean very slightly, just a few inches, as in the distance between your two eyes. (Even that slight adjustment makes a huge difference in the relative distance between objects, as indicated by the diagram arrows.) You then combine the two images on separate layers and merge the color channels so that each of your eyes, with the requisite glasses on, sees a slightly different image. Your brain does the rest.
If that’s not enough depth for you, members of lynda.com can see an exclusive video in the Online Training Library, in which Deke (this time with the help of Jacob Cunningham and model Shea Hansen) demonstrates how to create a stereoscopic image that projects out beyond the screen plane, as pictured below.
So grab your cardboard glasses and experience digital photography in 3D! And come back again next week for another free (3D) technique from Deke.
Incidentally, for those who may regard 3D as something of a gimmick, permit me to disagree. Granted, this particular variety is a bit old school, marrying Photoshop and the larger world of digital photography with 1950s-era glasses. But depth is as much an ingredient in our real-world visual landscape as luminance and color. To accept that we must, as a rule, present photographs bereft of depth strikes me as downright bizarre.
So, please, consider this technique as nothing less or more than another one of the tools in your deep arsenal of digital photography options.