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Deke's Techniques is a collection of short Photoshop and Illustrator projects and creative effects that can be completed in ten minutes or less. The series is taught by computer graphics guru Deke McClelland, and presented in his signature step-by-step style. The intent is to reveal how various Photoshop and Illustrator features can be combined and leveraged in real-world examples so that they can be applied to creative projects right away.
Hey, gang this is Deke McClelland. Welcome to Deke's techniques. Now, even though I'm not wearing my 3D glasses--you're right. They made me look like a total goofball. What self-respecting adult would do such a thing? We're still talking about 3D in Photoshop this week. Specifically, I am going to show you how to set up anaglyphic text in shape layers so that some of the layers are coming toward you, some are receding away. Here, let me show you exactly how it works. All right, I just want to start things off by showing you where we're going. Now, if you're not wearing a pair of 3D glasses then this image is going to look like an absolute mess.
However, if you go ahead and put your glasses on, those anaglyphic glasses with the red lens on the left and cyan lens of the right, then you're going to see all kinds of 3D action, including these lines of text here at the bottom of the image that are incrementally coming out toward us. We've got these ridiculous glasses that are resting directly on my face. And then, the lightning bolts and the word spellbinding at the top of the image actually appear to be inclined in 3D space so that they're coming out at us. Let me give you a sense of how this works. I'm going to press the F key in order to switch out of the full screen mode and then switch to this diagram right here, which explains how to move text and shape layers in order to create the perception of depth inside of an anaglyphic at image.
And by the way, if you're still wearing your glasses, go ahead and take them off for a moment so I can explain how things work. Now, if it's a solid layer, and by solid layer I mean that it's a text layer or a shape layer set in a solid color for example-- white, black, what have you-- it doesn't even matter if you adjust the opacity of that layer; it's still going to appear to rest on the baseline. And by baseline, I mean right there on the screen plane--that is, right there on your computer screen. If you want to move the object forward then you go ahead and split the channels.
So for example, you might take a text layer, you would duplicate it, you would send one of those duplicates to the red channel, the other to the green and blue channels. I'm calling that green-and-blue channel layer the cyan layer because, after all, green and blue mix to form cyan. You would take to that cyan layer and move it to the left, and then you would take the red layer and move it to the right, and that will go ahead and scoot the object forward when you have the glasses on. If you want to move it backward then you do the opposite. You go ahead and split those channels once again, duplicate, send one to the red channel, the other to the green and blue channels, move that red object to the left, and move that green blue object, which is the cyan object, to the right.
All right, so sounds like so much gobbledygook so far. Let me actually demonstrate how that works. I'll switch to this base image here, and you may recall I have got this anaglyphic photograph of me, as captured by Jacob Cunningham, and everything about this image declines into the screen plane. So I'm in back of the screen plane 100%, and I'm actually a fair distance back. So I look like I'm about a foot in, and so what that means is that we have a lot of room to move the text. So lets say I want to take this actor name here and I want to leave that on the screen plane.
So I am not going to do anything to the actor name. I'll just leave it alone. But I want to take this studio name and I want to move it backward into the screen plane, and then I want to take the title-- whether this is a movie title or what, I don't really know--and I want to move it forward out of the screen plane so that it's coming out at me. Lets go ahead and start with that movie title. Notice this text layer is already selected here inside the Layers panel, "The terrific Mr. Anaglyphic." So go ahead and make sure that layer is selected and press Ctrl+J or Command+J on a Mac to duplicate it.
Then with the duplicate layer selected, go ahead and double-click in an empty portion of the layer, right there below the layer name should work out just fine, and turn off the G and B Channels checkboxes, so that we're just seeing this layer in the red channel. Then click OK. All right, now double-click on an empty portion of this original layer there to once again bring up the Blending Options and this time turn off R and leave G and B turned on. So we're turning off the red channel, we're going to see this object in the green and blue channels, meaning that it's our cyan object. Click OK.
Now, if you want to, you can go ahead and rename this guy. You could call this one 'cyan title' just to keep track of what's going on, and we could call this one 'red title'. All right, because we want to move his title forward in 3D space, we want to go ahead and scoot the red layer over to the right and we want to scoot the cyan layer to the left. And so I'm going to go ahead and press Ctrl+Shift+Right Arrow twice in a row-- that would be Command+Shift+Right Arrow twice in a row on a Mac--in order to scoot that red text to the right. Then I'll go ahead and select the cyan title layer and I'll press Control+Shift+Left Arrow twice in a row-- that would be Command+Shift+Left Arrow twice in a row on a Mac--to scoot that text 20 pixels to the left.
All right, now if we go ahead and take a moment to put those 3D glasses back on-- and give your eyes time to adjust, it sometimes takes a moment to go ahead and focus on this new object-- you'll see that the line of title text appears slightly forward of the actor name above it. Now it's going to become even more obvious when we send that studio name backward a little bit. So let's try that. Scroll up the Layers panel until you find this layer that's called marginal pictures and then click on it to select it, press Ctrl+J or Command+J on a Mac to go ahead and duplicate it, and then double-click in an empty area of the duplicate layer to bring up this dialog box once again. Let's turn off G and B, so we're just seeing this studio text in the red channel. It's sitting directly on top of the other text however, so it doesn't look any different at this point.
Now click OK in order to except that change. And let's go ahead and rename this layer 'red studio' and then double-click on an empty portion of the layer below it in order to bring up this dialog box once again. Turn off the red channel, so we're just seeing this text inside the green and blue channels. Click OK in order to accept that change, double-click on the layer name, and let's call this guy 'cyan studio'. All right, so we want to move this studio text backward, which means that you have to move the cyan layer to the right and the red layer to the left. So with the cyan layer selected, I am going to press Control+Shift+ Right Arrow to nudge that text 10 pixels to the right--that would be Command+Shift+ Right Arrow on a Mac. Then I'll go ahead and click on the red studio layer and press Control+Shift+Left Arrow--that would be Command+Shift+Left Arrow on a Mac--in order to scoot the text 10 pixels to the left.
All right, now go ahead and put those 3D glasses back on and it should become more evident this time. It's easier to focus on the studio text. You should see it declined in the background toward my neck, essentially. And then we have the actor name slightly forward of it and the title name even farther forward still. All right, now for those wacky glasses. I am going to go ahead and scroll down the Layers panel. There is this layer here--it's directly in front of the gradients later. You may or may not be able to see its name. It's called glasses, however. Now it's fairly intricate, if silly, shape layer.
I'm going to go ahead and reduce the width of my Layers panel, so I have a little more room to work again. And what I would like you to do is turn off the left eye layer for a moment, and you'll see, now that we have a standard grayscale version of the image, that the glasses are resting directly on my face. All right, the right eye layer is the cyan layer. So here's what I am going to do. I am actually going to increase the width of the panel again, click on the glasses layer, press Ctrl+J--Command+J on a Mac--in order to create a copy. I am going to rename this new layer. Let's call it R glasses, and then the original layer, I'll change it to C glasses, and we need to go ahead and do that double-click-and-turn-off-the-channels thing.
So I'll double-click on an empty portion of the C glasses layer in order to bring up the dialog box, turn off the R check box, click OK. Then double-click on an empty portion of the R glasses layer, turn off G and B, and click OK. All right, and now what we need to do is we need to take this R glasses layer and we need to align it, quite simply, to the left eye image. So I'm going to go ahead and turn on the left eye image, double-click on it in order to bring up the Layer Style dialog box, turn its channels back on, so we can just see that layer, like so.
So I've turned on our R, G, and B. Click OK and now I'll click on that R glasses layer to select it, and I'm going to press Control+Shift+Right Arrow five times in a row--one, two, three, four, five--and that's going to be Command+Shift+Right Arrow five times in the Mac. Now you may ask, why did I do it five times? Why did I move this layer 50 pixels? Well, turn off this C glasses layer for a moment and you can see that those red glasses are now aligned with the left-eye version of my face, so that's all I did. I just used the original photographs in order to determine exactly where those glasses should be.
Now, go ahead and turn everything back on. So turn on the C glasses layer, double-click on an empty portion of the left eye layer, turn off the G and B check boxes, so that we can see this mess of 3D artifacting. Go ahead and click OK, and then go ahead and put your 3D glasses back on, and you should see a fairly outstanding 3D image there in the background. I am going to go ahead and reduce the Layers panel once again, and you can see that we've got our three levels of text, and the glasses are sitting directly on my face.
And that, my friends, is how you set the depth of text and shapes inside of a 3D anaglyphic photograph inside Photoshop.
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