Tuesday, April 19, 2011

How to make 3D Stereogram or "Magic Eye" in Photoshop

Can you find the 3D object in the image above? Can you guess what it is? My tutorial on how to make a 3D stereo pair in photoshop post is the most popular, so I'm doing an update. I'm not sure if some got it right, you can leave a comment if you need clarity. I'll be glad helping you create your 3D. :-)

This time I'm posting a stereogram using texture. I'm assuming you already have a bit knowledge of photoshop because this tutorial will focus more on creating a stereogram.

The magic of stereograms lie in making a pair of image and blending the seams together
creating an illusion of a complete image

First, select an image with lots of random patterns in it. A good image is a texture but you may also find some patterns like the usual magic eye patterns. Or, you may also create your own using some filters in photoshop like clouds etc. The thing is, you should get an image that should seamlessly blend together when you duplicate the image and still look as a whole image.

The photo above shows my chosen texture duplicated in another layer in photoshop. Place them together side by side then blur the middle part by erasing or smudging to make it look like a complete picture. You can do your own retouching techniques, the idea is to create the illusion of a complete image from two image pair. If you decide to use patterns, copy a row strip of that pattern and place it in the middle to hide the seams.

Now, using the custom shape tool or the pen tool, draw the image or object (can be letters, scene, or shape) that you want to "float" in 3D. I used the shape in the photo above (now you know what to find in the first topmost photo). I also lightened the floating invisible object just to show you how and where the object looks like. Cut this object from the first image of the pair (or the textured background) using the selection tool and create another layer for this floating object on top of all the layers. You now have 3 layers: the first image (left), the second image (right), and the floating object. Leave the object/layer in place so it looks invisible within the textured background.

Duplicate the floating object then move it to the right within the second (right) textured background image pair, slightly moving a bit (say a third part) in the same place where the original object is. The white outline in the photo above indicates where the first original object is.

This slight deviation of place creates the 3D effect when you try to look on the object using the cross-eye method.

You can estimate where to place the second object, slightly to the right of the original place if you want the object floating farther to the back or slightly to the left if you want the object float forward. Just make sure that the object still blends (or hides) within the textured background so that it looks invisible.

The photo above gives a clue on how you'd see the invisible 3D object using the cross-eye method. I traced the object with a white line just to show what's going on. The cross eye method is an alternative way of seeing the 3D image without any gadget. You can browse the web for more info. With this kind of 3D Stereogram, you can't see the 3D object using the red and blue glasses, I'll be posting another tutorial for that.

Here's another 3D magic eye I made using an illustration.

Enjoy creating your own 3D magic eye!


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Time Machine Rental Guy said...

This is possibly the worst example of how to create 3D in PhotoShop, ever.

ABD said...

I lyke cake.

Anonymous said...

@ Time Machine...

This tutorial is not about 3D, but stereopsis. Creating an illusion of 3D using 2D image.