Thursday, March 31, 2011

Creating a 3D image from a 2D image

Today, I am going to show you how to take almost any image and turn it into a 3D image using Photoshop.

This process was first developed by Russel Brown
You can check him out and see his other tutorials at:

This is what we'll be creating today:

Feel free to use these image:

Step 1:

Open your image in Photoshop.

Goto the channels tab and look at the various channels, what your looking for is the channel that has the best contrast between black and whites. We will be creating a depth map which will pull the whites forward and the push the blacks backward.

In this instance the Red channel appears to be the best for this image.

Open up the Levels dialogue box and apply these setting's

What were looking for is to change the white and black colors to grey.

Next, apply a Gaussian blur, what your looking for is to reduce the detail in the image.

You want to blur the image to a level where the only the major elements of the image are barely identifiable.

Then press CMD/CTRL A to select the visible image
CMD/CTRL C to copy the image


Click back onto the layers tab and create a new layer

Paste the blurred copy into this new layer

Change the mode from 8bit to 16bit

Then goto the 3D menu / New mesh from Grayscale / Plane

This mesh is a depth map, which we'll use to create the 3D, as
you can see it is a bit smaller than our image.

Use the Slide 3D Object tool to scale the image, the edges are going to be uneven so scale it just a bit bigger than our image size.

Step 3:

Select our original image and press
CMD/CTRL A to select the image
CMD/CTRL C to copy the image

With the image copied, double click on the diffuse layer.

This will open up our grayscale mesh in a new document.

Paste the copied image onto a new layer

Merge the two layers down so only the full colored image is seen.

Close this new image down, make sure you click yes to save this new image.

Our original image will now look a bit funky

Step 4:

Goto the 3D Tab and click on the edit button.

This is going to the open up the Render Settings box.
First thing is to change the face style from Solid to Unlit Texture.

Next click on the Sterographic button at the bottom, make sure the Stereo type is set to Red/Blue
Change the Parallax to 100
Click Okay

Lastly, change the quality from Interactive to Ray Trace Final

That's it, you've created a 3D Stereographic Image from a 2D image.

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