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Tutorial – 3D anaglyph effect using Photoshop

For this Photoshop tutorial I would like to show you a really easy way to give your images a funky 3D anaglyph effect. Although ‘anaglyph’ might not be a term you’re familiar with, you would definitely recognise the effect.

Anaglyph 3D images contain two differently filtered coloured images, one for each eye, and are typically red and cyan. When viewed through special colour-coded glasses each of the two images reaches one eye, revealing an integrated stereoscopic image. The visual cortex of the brain then fuses this into the perception of a three-dimensional scene or composition.

Before we begin I must point out that any images you create using this tutorial WILL NOT work in 3D, even with the glasses. Nevertheless it’s still a pretty cool technique that is perfect for livening up portraits or adding depth to your designs.

So let’s get started!

Step 1. Open an image/photo in Photoshop.

3D Effect Photoshop Tutorial

Step 1 – Open an image/photo in Photoshop

Step 2. Copy the background layer on to a new layer above using the shortcut Command-J on a Mac, CTRL-J on a PC or by right clicking on the background layer and selecting ‘Duplicate layer’ from the menu.

3D Effect Photoshop Tutorial

Step 2 – Duplicate the background layer

Step 3. Double click on the new layer to bring up the options menu for that layer. Under ‘Advanced Blending’ in the ‘Blending Options’ menu turn off the red channel by un-ticking the ‘R’ checkbox and click ‘Ok’.

3D Effect Photoshop Tutorial

Step 3 – Hide the red channel in the layer options

Step 4. Using the free-transform tool (Command-T on a Mac, CTRL-T on a PC) increase the size of this layer until you achieve the effect you are after.

Tip: I advise having a focal point in every image where you use this effect, the eyes in portraits for example. Lining both layers up on this focal point reduces the 3D effect and draws the viewer to this area.

3D Effect Photoshop Tutorial

Step 4 – Increase the size of the layer

Step 5. Although red and cyan are typically used to give the effect of a 3D image it’s worth playing around with different colour combinations. Try repeating Step 3 but this time turn off the green or blue channels instead and see what results you get.

3D Effect Photoshop Tutorial

Step 5 – Try different colour combinations

And it’s as simple as that!

I really hope you enjoyed this tutorial, if you have any comments or questions on this blog post, or have requests for future tutorials please use the form below or email hello@thread-creative.co.uk, as always your feedback will be gratefully received.

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