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How to make the Depth Map for using in "PSD 3D Converter" software?

Dear 3D Photo Friend,
Every professional in 3D lenticular industry knows that they spend a long time and huge efforts for creation of frame sets for 3D lenticular pictures. Actually we have three ways for that:

  1. Taking the pictures of desirable subject from different angles by photo camera and special multishooting device, like Tripod Add-on.
  2. Creating the frames from regular flat picture, so-called method of 2D to 3D conversion. Usually for that we use one of two software:
  3. Creating the frames from stereopair using "StereoMorpher Plus" software.

Today, I would like to speak about one of our most popular "PSD 3D Converter" software. This program converts a multilayered PSD file to several frames that look like this picture were shot from different angles.

Multilayered PSD files could be prepared in Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Photoshop Elements, or Adobe Image Ready software. Each layer contains one or several subjects. The subjects lying in the same layer will be positioned on the same depth in 3D lenticular picture. The subjects lying in different layers will be positioned on different depths in 3D lenticular picture. This effect is achieved because a "PSD 3D Converter" software moves the layers with subjects horizontally relatively to each other.

That is not a new idea. But uniqueness of "PSD 3D Converter" software is that each flat subject could be transformed to 3D subject by using the Depth Maps like in "Bas-Relief" software! Could you imagine it?

I receive a lot of questions about how to use "PSD 3D Converter" software in business. I want to answer on that in next few newsletters, but I want to start from discussing about making the Depth Maps in PSD file, because it is one of a crucial point in using of "PSD 3D Converter" software.

For that project we need:

  1. 'Adobe Photoshop" software
  2. The sample of multilayered PSD file that I made for this project. Please, load the file by clicking on that link (8.63 Mb).

Launch "Adobe Photoshop" software and load the file picture.psd (picture 1).


Picture 1

Let's make a depth map of Layer 1 with the girl. First of all we have to select this layer, for that point the arrow of mouse on Layer 1 and click. It has to become blue (picture 1). Then we have to duplicate this layer: Layer -> Duplicate Layer... (picture 2).


Picture 2

We receive new layer with the name "Layer 1 copy" (picture 3). Now we can do everything with this layer and can not be afraid to damage the whole image.


Picture 3

Let's make the depth map from Layer 1 copy.

The depth map is a black-and-white image, so we have to desaturate it: Image -> Adjustments -> Desaturate (picture 4).


Picture 4

We receive black-and-white layer (picture 5).


Picture 5

It is better if the depth map will be blur: Filter -> Blur -> Gaussian Blur... (2.8) (picture 6).


Picture 6

The picture of girl will be blur. Now point the mouse arrow on the small icon in Layer 1 copy and click the right button on mouse. Select the line Select Layer Transparency (picture 7).


Picture 7

The picture of girl will be outlined. Now we have to select the area that is outside of outlined: Select -> Inverse (picture 8).


Picture 8

Now we have to paint the selected area over by black color (picture 9). The reason of that is the "PSD 3D Converter" software recognizes the black area as transparent.


Picture 9

Now we received the Depth Map of the Layer 1. Let's select whole "Layer 1 copy" layer: Select -> All (picture 10).


Picture 10

Copy this layer to computer's memory: Edit -> Copy (picture 11).


Picture 11

Select Layer 1 and click on small icon Add layer mask (picture 12).


Picture 12

We made the layer mask and receive the icon on the right of Layer 1 (picture 13).


Picture 13

Let's activate this layer mask, for that we have to point the arrow of mouse on layer mask icon and press simultaneously two buttons Alt on your keybord and Left button on mouse. We will see the picture like this (picture 14)


Picture 14

Then we have to put to the layer mask the depth map that is in the computer's memory: Edit -> Paste. We receive the picture like that (picture 15).


Picture 15

We have to delete the layer Layer 1 copy because it was a temporary layer. Click on Layer 1 copy and then click on small icon Delete layer (picture 16).


Picture 16

Finally we receive the picture like that (picture 17).


Picture 17

You can see that Adobe Photoshop identifies the black color of layer mask as transparent and the grey color as semi transparent. That is why we see the girl as semi transparent. Actually when we will print the picture the girl will be opaque.

Please, make the depth map for rose on Layer 3 by yourself doing the same steps. Finally we will receive the picture like that (picture 18).


Picture 18

If you need you could download the final PSD file here picture final.psd (9.17 Mb). That is the file with two depth maps that could be loaded to "PSD 3D Converter" software for creation the frame set for making 3D lenticular picture.

Isn't that easy? :-)

I wish you to make many beautiful 3D lenticular pictures using multilayered PSD files with depth maps!

Sincerely yours,
Igor Kurchavov