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2D to 3D conversion using Adobe Photoshop

Dear Friends,
I know that many of you have great flat / 2D photos, that you would like to make in 3D using lenticular technology. It is really possible. The task of 2D to 3D conversion is a very important and the customers generously pay for that work. I know the several people who based his business on 2D to 3D conversion. For example, I would like to present you Bernardo Galmarini from Argentina. You could see his web-site with unforgettable 3D pictures.

There are two basic technologies that can solve this task (perhaps Bernardo will correct me if I am wrong :-) ).

  1. Cutting the image in photo editing software, like Adobe Photoshop, on several layers and shifting the layers relatively each other for making frame sets.
  2. Making a Depth Map in one of photo editing software, like Adobe Photoshop, and creating the frame sets using one of the special software, like "Bas-Relief", for example, and that Depth Map.

Today I want to present you an article "2D to 3D conversion using Adobe Photoshop" written by Evgenia Wassenmiller, who is a developer of all software that you can see on my web site She is an optical scientist, software developer, very famous enthusiast of 3D photography and charming woman. You can see her web site, just click here.

This article describes the first method that could be helpful for some pictures. That is the nice method and the most of 3D pictures in the world were made using it. Because it is the easiest way to do that job. Even big companies use this method. You can see the site of Big3D company and go to page "How To Build Great 3D". That is a very interesting to know how professionals do it.

But this method has a disadvantages too. And the biggest one is that all objects are flat. That is why that method is called "Pseudo 3D". But it works well with some pictures and many companies are using it.

Okay, let's start!

The left and right eyes images have a little difference. If we create two images of the same subject for left and right eyes, we may create the three-dimensional picture. What is the difference between these two images? The difference is the shift of the planes located on different distance from us - parallax.

The base of 2D to 3D conversion is the cutting and shifting the planes of flat original picture. The creation of computer model for this process is impossible.

Let's consider the process of 2D to 3D conversion using the photo 1.

Picture 1

This photo is ideal for 2D to 3D conversion. There are several planes and the flowers have a clear outline. Let's run Adobe Photoshop and cut the middle flower. Then paste it into new layer (Picture 2).

Picture 2
Cutting and pasting into new layer the middle flower

To see the flower over the picture, it is necessary to shift it to the right on the left eye image and to the left on the right eye image. Let's do it (picture 3).

Picture 3
The shifting

Now we see the unpleasant white holes. What can we do? The answer is obvious - it is necessary to enlarge the size of the flower to close this hole.

We have two other side flowers. We shall cut them and displace them in the same way, but we shall make two times less shifting (don't forget to enlarge them to close the hole). We get this stereo pair (picture 4)

Picture 4
The stereo pair

If you have anaglyph Red-Cyan glasses, you may see the result on picture 5.

Picture 5
The anaglyph image

In the anaglyph picture we can see the parallax. The parallax is the distance between left shifted and right shifted object. There is a question: Can we change the parallax? Can we make zero parallax for the middle flower? Of course, we can. Let's fasten the middle flower to the certain place and shift the background and both side flowers.

We get a zero parallax for middle flowers. Let's make the anaglyph pictures (picture 6).

Picture 6
The anaglyph image with new parallax

Now if you use Red-Cyan anaglyph glasses you can see the difference. On picture 5 you can see that the middle flower is over the surface of picture but on picture 6 you can see that the middle flower is on the surface but background is at a depth of picture.

E. A. Wassenmiller

I hope this simple sample help you to understand the base principles of 2D to 3D conversion.
I want to wish you more unforgettable 3D Pictures!

Sincerely yours,
Igor Kurchavov