Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

Stereo 3D Fun in Photoshop CS4 (get your 3D glasses on!)


Okay – get out those red/blue cardboard glasses from your last TV or magazine promo and check this out!*Note: see end of post to find out how to get your own FREE 3D glasses!

I’ve complained enough about the limitations of both the 3D Layers and Animation panels in Adobe Photoshop CS4, but now let’s combine both of those features for a moment and have some fun! I’ve created a true stereo 3D scene with 3D layers and the Red/Blue Render option (technically known as Anaglyph).

To start with this project, I took a photograph and created layers out of three main elements (an example I used in an earlier post about animating layers). You can just use any elements you want as layers in your 3D scene, just make sure you have a background, mid-ground and foreground elements. IN this image, I also converted the layers to grayscale since I didn’t want the bright red curtains int he background to interfere with the Red/Blue stereo process, but usually, it will still work just fine in color in most cases.

I then convert each layer to a 3D layer by selecting the layer in the Layers palette and choosing New 3D Postcard from Layer from the 3D menu. After I’ve converted the layers, I need to combine them in one single 3D “scene”. I select the top layer, and choose Merge Down in the Layers palette menu. I then repeat with the newly merged layer – merging down to the bottom (or background) layer. This will now give us one 3D layer with 3 different 3D elements inside.

The 3D layers merged into one “scene” as shown in the Layers palette and the 3D Palette

I then select each mesh item and use the move & scale tools in the 3D palette to position them apart from each other. I want to “push” the background back and scale it up to fill the frame and move the mid-ground element ( the chair in this case) back a bit as well to give some sense of distance from the foreground subject (the bride).

I can select the scene again in the 3D palette and use the Orbit 3D Camera tool to see the distance between the layers. Adjust if they’re too close together or too far apart. It really depends on the contents of your scene. Also – it’s important to return your camera to the default position as that’s what gets animated in our movie!

Using the Orbit 3D Camera tool to check the distance between 3D Mesh objects

I then open the Animation panel and set my first Keyframe at frame 0, for the 3D Camera Position. I then go to my last frame (in this case, 3 seconds on the Timeline) and move/zoom my 3D Camera into a final position, which generates a new Keyframe automatically.

Position and zoom the 3D Camera and set Keyframes along the Timeline in the Animation panel

Now that the animation motion is complete, I can apply the 3D Stereo effects to it. Selecting the scene in the 3D Palette, I then click on the Render Settings button to open the 3D Render Settings dialog box. Here’s where you would normally select what kind of previews or final renders you want for your 3D scenes. At the bottom of the box is the Stereo settings – click the checkbox and make sure to select Red/Blue for your option. (selecting Vertical Interlaced will produce a different kind of stereo output, also known as “Lenticular” which is normally used in print with a special prismatic lens applied to the surface). The other settings, such as Paralax and Focal Plane are for setting the base depth and spacing between the left and right “eyes” or cameras. I left the default settings in this example.

The final image shows the results of the Anaglyph or Red/Blue 3D Stereo image. If you have a pair of cardboard glasses, then take them out and give this a try. (Red=Left Eye, Blue=Right Eye)

Use a pair of Red/Blue glasses to view the final 3D Stereo Anaglyph of this composition

*Please download the H.264 MOV file below to see the 3D Stereo Animation:
Download 3D MOV Here!

Don’t have Red/Cyan 3D Glasses? Get ’em here FREE!
Send me a self addressed stamped envelope (letter sized) and I will send you a pair!
(one pair per request)

Jeff Foster
PO Box 187
Ojai, CA 93024

** Look for this technique and many others in upcoming training videos from Jeff Foster on PhotoshopCAFE.com!


6 Responses to “Stereo 3D Fun in Photoshop CS4 (get your 3D glasses on!)”
  1. Chris Foley says:

    This is really cool.
    What is the practical application for something like this? Where would I use a stereo video?

    Thanks for the great demonstrations!
    ~ Chris

  2. Jeff says:

    Thanks Chris –
    Who said anything about being practical? 😉

    Seriously – for those who wish to deliver stereo 3D images and animations, whether its a product or promotional demonstration that stands-out or a working preview/storyboard for a new 3D video game, the possibilities are endless.

    New technologies are pushing the envelope for 3D stereography, and I think within the next decade, we’ll see stereo LCD TVs in homes (no glasses required).

  3. Carol says:

    Jeff, I can’t figure out why some of my psd images will allow me to work in 3D while in others the drop down menu is greyed out and nonactive. help! carol

  4. Jeff says:

    Carol – without seeing your files it’s hard to determine what might be giving you trouble. Are you working in RGB or CMYK? Are you converting the layers to 3D Postcard?

  5. Tom Jessup says:

    For some reason I can not get the 3D look to work. Would you be so kind as to provide your .psd file?

  6. Jeff says:

    Hi Tom – you can learn how to do this and much more (including the project files) when you buy my DVDs!
    Sorry I can’t provide everything for free… I gotta make a living as well! 😉

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