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How to Make A 3-D Effect in Photoshop

3dafter3-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).

Screen shot 2010-01-22 at 20.54.22

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.

Screen shot 2010-01-22 at 21.23.39

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Elizabeth Halford
Elizabeth Halford

is a photographer and advertising creative producer in Orlando, FL. She wrote her first article for dPS in 2010. Her most popular one racked up over 100k shares!

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