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3-D is the biggest craze in Hollywood at the moment. Avatar, Toy Story 3, A Christmas Carol and even Nanny McPhee have gone (or are going) 3-D this year. So how can we harness this concept in our photography?
The most basic principal of three-dimensional art is a foreground/subject which stands out from the background in such a way that you can actually feel the space between them. Obviously, a picture is flat. But if you can edit it in a way to create that space, you can make the effect on it’s viewer memorable. The concept translates into the editing process simply: edit the subject and the background entirely independently of each other. The way in which I feel most successfully achieves that is to make a darker, richer background and a lighter subject.
1.} Choose an image carefully. Not just any image will do. Try to find one which already has a sense of space between the foreground and background. Some far off background action would be great. I chose one where the subjects were almost fully shown (not just their upper halves).
2.} I duplicated the image for safe measure. As I usually do for step 1 of my editing process, I separate the foreground from the background by using the quick selection tool and typing ctrl+j to create a new layer. First, though, I feather the selection out in select > feather > 0.5 px.
3. } Start editing the background. I usually first duplicate the layer, use overlay or soft light blending mode and take it down to at least 50%. When it’s the way I want it, I then merge the background layers back into one and separate the sky from the rest of the photo so I can edit them separately.
4. To the grass, I applied Flypaper’s ‘Muscatel’ texture layer at hard light, 49%. I also used ‘algae’ at overlay 100% (before you run off to buy these wickedly ingenious textures, read to the bottom for a discount code!) Check out this before/after of the grass:
5.} For the sky, I opened an image from my skies folder (I keep a folder with impressive skies to use as replacements) and laid that over the background sky. I then used Flypaper’s ‘Marie Antoinette’ @ multiply 9%, ‘ming’ @ overlay 35%, ‘lavender skies’ @ multiply 35% and ‘algae’ @ overlay 16% and here it is after:
6.} Here’s the wow factor step. I used the ‘Colosseum Sienna’ and placed it over the top layer in the layers palette. I then type ctrl+g to clip it in so that it is glued onto the boys like this:
7.} Then hold onto your seats as you change it to overlay 100% because immediately, the boys pop out of the picture and into my office (ok I’m not that important…I’m writing this in bed). I wish I had a way to show you in mouse-over because they almost literally pop off the image.
8.} ‘Colusseum Sienna’ is a cracked texture and quite orangey on their skin, so I added a maximum gaussian blur and took down the saturation a notch.
9.} For one last little touch, I added a slight filter > correct camera distortion vignette to the background. And here is the before/after. What do you think?
Flypaper is kindly offering DPS readers a $4 discount on the purchase of any textures pack for the next two weeks. Just enter the code ‘DPS‘ at checkout!