How to - Make anaglyphic photographs

By Team Digit Published Date
26 - Mar - 2009
| Last Updated
26 - Mar - 2009
How to - Make anaglyphic photographs

Take Your Own 3D Photographs Using any Camera!


An anaglyphic photograph is a 3d photograph. To view these kind of photos, you will require 3D glasses. There is a tutorial on how to make one of these at or, one of them is pretty simple, all you need are red and blue markers and a CD case. If that is too difficult to arrange, just grab a piece of red cellophane and a piece of blue cellophane. Now to clicking one of those 3d photographs.


We will get the theory out of the way first. You can see real life in 3D because you have two eyes, that send two sets of images to your brain, which gives it a perception of depth. An anaglyph tricks the brain into perceiving depth on a picture. There are actually two images superimposed on one another in an anaglyph. One image is taken from the point of view of the right eye, and another from the point of view of the left eye. The image on each side is tinted with a colour, and the glasses filter out that colour while viewing, so effectively, you see two images from each eye on the single image, and suddenly, there is depth in the photo.


To take your own anaglyph, you can use any camera. Even the camera on your phone will churn out decent 3D photos. What is difficult is choosing a subject that gives the illusion of depth. There should be a few elements in the foreground, a few elements in the back­ground, and the object promi­nently in the centre. Take a photo, then move the camera a little to the right or left and take another photo. How much you move the camera depends on the distance of the camera from the object. If you are taking the photo of a small object, you have to move only a little, say 10 cm or so. If you are taking the photo of a tree at a distance of about ten feet, you have to move the camera a distance of about two feet. If you are on top of a high-rise, and want to take an anaglyph of a cityscape, you might have to move about ten feet to the left or right to get that illusion of depth. Experiment a bit, take a lot of photos, and have patience if you don’t get it in the first try itself.


Creating the anaglyph from the photos – there are many software that can automatically do this, one such soft­ware is available at However, for this tutorial, we will show you how to make the photo using Photoshop. Open up both the photos in Photoshop. For the right hand side picture, go to Image > Adjust > Color balance then slide the cyan/red slider all the way to red. By default this is done to the ‘Midtones’ radio button, do it for both ‘Highlights’ and ‘Shadows’. For the left hand side picture, go through the same procedure, but slide the cyan/red slider all the way to cyan. Now drag any one image in a layer over the other image, then go to Layer > Layer Style > Blending options and slide the opacity slider to 50%. Save the image – and your anaglyph is ready.


To view a 3D image without resort­ing to 3D glasses, place them side by side as shown in the picture at the top of this page, and cross your eyes till you see a third image, with depth. Your eyes will focus automatically on this image.


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