Sunday, March 29, 2009

How to Make a 3D Stereo pair in Photoshop

When I was in grade school, my classmate showed me his cool book, "The Magic Eye" where 3D dinosaurs pop out from random bits of colors and shapes. At first, I could hardly see the dinosaurs he was talking about, wondering maybe he was just making a fool out of me. Until I grew up and came across Stereograms. I was so surprised to see the images in 3D, finally.

It is hard to see the effect at first, takes some time to get it right. The technique is slowly crossing your eyes in a relaxed manner. Do not force your eyes into the image if you don't get it right in the beginning. When you've learned the technique, the rest becomes much easier. The visual experience is truly amazing.

A stereo pair is another version of a stereogram, an illusion of three-dimensional depth is created using two identical images but slightly angled differently. The eyes fill up the "empty" spaces to create the illusion using the cross-eyed method. There are many ways of producing the effect, and there are also many pieces of research about the topic on the internet, you can google them if you are interested to read on further.

I made my own version using my recent illustration study for a corporate invite in the photo above.

The steps are simple, follow the steps below to match with the photo above:

a. Select an image that can be viewed in 3D easily. Images that have depth and perspective work best.

b. Duplicate the image by copying into another layer in Photoshop. Make sure the distance between the object is at about 2 inches. Or, if you have mastered the technique of seeing a stereogram, you can adjust the distance by trial and error - moving the second image to the left within the desired 3D depth.

c. Try to cut out each part separately for the first object. In this case, we are separating the chair, then slightly move it to the right, transform or skew it slightly to show it at another angle, or use trial and error using the cross-eyed method until the desired depth is achieved. Clean up and fix missing parts using eraser and stamp tool.

d-e. I want to have the wings and dress depth in 3D, so I cut them out and slightly moved them to the right or left, depends on the order I wanted them to be: to the left when it's closer, to the right if it's farther away to the back.

f. This is a guide on what to expect when viewing 3D using the cross-eye method: while crossing your eye slowly, try to merge the two images together until a single image form in between. The 3D "floating" effect can be viewed this way.

Happy viewing!


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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Depth of Field

A friend showed me a book with a list of up-and-coming artists to watch out for, a list of creative individuals who will "define" the next wave of Philippine art. As I browsed over, they seem promising indeed. I actually know some of them, have heard of, admire, and met a few. I haven't thoroughly read the entire book and I am very much interested to know how they came up with the list.

I am agreeing that today is the age of the young, the smart, and the creative. We are entering an age where a lot of changes going on, a change that's happening extremely fast. To survive this fast-paced world, it is an advantage to have those qualities: fresh, intelligent, and creative.

Personally, I find most of the works in the "portfolio" a bit dark, some are actually shocking. It makes me feel sad and depressed looking at them, rather than move me to participate and act for a social change, if that should be the role of art today: to inspire. It makes me think, does art always have to be rebellious and despairing in order to have depth and power? What about ecstasy, optimism, and love...

What is art in a third-world country today, anyway?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Why I love Sampu

cover of Sampu Pataas, Sampu Pababa leaves you grinningly smiling 

If there's one style of illustration and story line of children's books that I would enjoy reading - although as an adult - over and over again, Sampu Pataas, Sampu Pababa written by Russell Molina and illustrated by Conrad Raquel, is definitely one of them. Simply because it's funny and smart, aptly made for discovering mathematics−a boring subject for a kid−in an unusual way.

The book reminds me of the quirky writing style of Jon Scieszka; the sarcasm of an innocent mind, unapologetic characters, and unexpected twists and transition of scenes. I believe Sampu Pataas, Sampu Pababa dispels a child's fear of dealing with numbers, it offers instead how to relate simple, everyday objects and scenarios to mathematics. The story is easy to read while an important issue is also weaved in, it's amazing how the writer stitched them all together.

The illustrations are imaginative and laden with humor. It may not be the usual sweet characters we often love in local children's books, but it offers another visual perspective on a slice of life. The humor is visually smart: the expressions of the characters alone are enough to leave you laughing at the side. I'm sure kids will be snorting when they see them. My favorite part is the descriptive illustration of the stick, it definitely puts personality on the character and story, a clear example of how illustration can expand interpretation beyond the texts.

Sampu Pataas, Sampu Pababa is a highly recommended children's story book on mathematics from Adarna House. To make a list of reasons why, ten is not enough.