Creating Anaglyphs with Adobe Photoshop

I learned how to do this from Andrew J. Kelly's page which unfortunately has been deleted by the University of Houston.

June 27, 1999: I added instructions for Photoshop 4 and 5.

February 6, 2005 comment:
  All this goes much easier and with better results if you have a digital camera.
  The instructions are still relevant, but obviously you can skip the scanning instructions.


My equipment:


Detailed Instructions, using Photoshop 4.0 or 5.0:

  • Using a normal 35mm camera, take a shot of a scene with objects at approximately 6', 15', and 50'. This is to provide contrasting distances.

  • Take a second shot of the same scene but with the camera moved 2 1/2 inches to the right, keeping the focus line parallel to the original.

  • Get the images developed into prints.

  • Scan in both prints. Position them both in the same place on the scanner bed and use the same clipping rectangle for both so they will have the same pixel size.

  • Open both images in Photoshop.

  • I crank up the saturation on both images in an attempt to compensate for the washed-out appearance that the 3D glasses give:
  • Get rid of the Red component of the right image:
  • Get rid of the Green and Blue components of the left image:
  • Put both images into a bigger window (as separate layers) to facilitate rotations:
  • Change the Blending Mode for the Top Layer (the left image):
  • Rotate and move the two layers for the best effect (while viewing with your 3D glasses). The 2 images should be offset horizontally but not vertically and they should not be rotated relative to each other.
  • From the "Layer" menu, choose "Flatten Image" to flatten it into a single layer.

  • Crop the image, excluding parts where the two original images don't completely overlap:
  • Save It.

  • You are done.

    Detailed Instructions, using Photoshop LE version 2.5:

    (Photoshop LE is a reduced-functionality version of Photoshop that was bundled with some scanners a couple of years ago. It does not support layers.)


    Dan McKinnon's tip for getting proper rotational alignment in Photoshop 5:

    If the picture has a good, reliable horizontal or vertical line (and if left has it, right will!) -- the edge of a house or building roofline or side, or a straight distant water horizon, anything you can think of -- then you can use the measure tool (above the paint box in 5.0). Click, and hold, and drag line along straight edge (the longer the better), then release. Go to IMAGE/ROTATE/ARBITRARY, and the proper angle, to the nearest 1/100 of a degree, will already be inserted. Press OK, and picture will be rotated for you! If you perform same function on same place of both pictures, they will be perfectly aligned.

    In pictures with people, but no buildings or horizon, I have used natural symmetry of human body....

    If a person in picture is standing straight, for instance, then a line through tip of nose to middle of crotch or halfway between parted feet will be the vertical!

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