Archive for Photography Resources

How to Convert Images to 3D


Most of you have seen my gallery of images that I converted to 3D from a single image.  Even if you haven’t been able to look at them with 3D glasses, you know that they’re there.  If not, definitely go check them out.

I was inspired to do this after learning about and acquiring a couple copies of the 3D magazine World’s Most Beautiful (or WMB).  I first learned about this magazine in an article in one of my Professional Photographer magazines when they were doing an article on photographer Nick Saglimbeni.  He was the photographer for the Kardashian’s and has since created his own high end true 3D camera, along with a very elaborate post production system for handling the files.  To see the imagery is very mind-blowing.  I highly recommend checking his work out, whether the magazine or his website.

I wish I could say that he is reproducing and selling his camera, but unfortunately not.  But that’s ok.  An animation friend and I decided to explore the current Photoshop techniques for converting a single image into a 3D image and found a couple to play with.  We then did some various test shots of a little action figure using different aperture settings and camera positions, making careful notes of each.

The first technique we tried involved taking two pictures, one from each eye, and then combining them in Photoshop using some kind of warping and skewing moves.  I don’t remember the specifics, but you can look them up if you’re interested.  The second technique is what we decided we liked best, but that was our preference.  It makes use of the displacement filter in Photoshop.  And this is the technique that I’m going to share with you as it’s also the one I used on all of my 3D images.

1.      Select an image with a structural background.  Images with only sky behind them don’t show the effects very well, and so are not worth the time.  But a subject in front of a building jumps out at you.
2.      Once you select your image (a jpeg version hopefully), open it in Photoshop and then save it out as a PSD file and include “displacement” in the file name.
3.      This is where the art and the science become integrated.  You have to look at the picture and think about what is in front of or behind of something else.  An example is someone with their arms crossed.  One arm is over the other arm, and both are over the chest.  Each of these needs to be handles separately.  So look at your image while putting your mouse of the New Blank Layer icon in your Layers panel and every time you identify one of these individual elements, click that icon.  You’ll likely end up with a ton of them.
4.      The trick is to remember that whatever is white shows up on top while whatever is black falls to the back.  So create a layer that’s filled with black and take it to the bottom of your layer stack.
5.      Select one of your black layers and then pick an element in your image (the face for example) and start painting it with white or black.  You can also use gray if it’s in between.  Continue this process till you have painted all of the elements.  Be careful not to combine elements on a single layer.  Also, be sure to rename your layers accordingly so you can easily find them later when you need to make adjustments.
a.      Tip: From experience I have learned that it’s best to over paint to the left on each element in order to prevent awkward separating lines in the final product.  Also, experience will tell you when is best to use a hard or soft brush.  I find the soft brush is better majority of the time.
6.      After you’re done, you should have a weird looking image of nothing but paint strokes of white, black, and various shades of gray.  Save this when done and then reopen your original flatten image.
7.      Open the Channels panel and select the Red channel, but then click the eye ball for the RGB channel.  This way you see all channels but are only targeting (selecting) the red channel.
8.      Then go to Filter/Distort/Displace.  When the pop-up shows up, set vertical at zero and horizontal to -10.  You should now see the typical color shift that is familiar with 3D images.
a.      Note: The greater the negative number the greater the effect.  Also, the resolution of the image will affect the amount you should use to get the desired look.
9.      If you like the look, then you’re good to go.  Just be sure and resave it as a 3D image so you don’t lose your original.  But if it needs to be adjusted, then just under the filter, go back to your displacement file, makes adjustments and resave, and then redo the filter on your final image.  Feel free to undo and redo the affect at different numbers to see the results of each as well.

3D image of four models on a motor cycle


displacement map image


3D image of girl in a red dress


displacement map image


3D image of toddler cowboy


displacement map image


But that’s it.  That’s my big secret.  Though it’s not a secret because we found it online ourselves.  So I thought it worth sharing.  I hope you enjoy.

Photographers/cool tools/ color deficiency tests

As a member of Professional Photographers of America (PPA) I have access to an online library of trainings on a wide variety of topics.  These are great of both refreshing or learning something new, so I like to try watching them when I can.

One of the videos I was watching had to do with color management.  Aside from trying to have all of your devices technically color calibrated and then all together, we still have to remember that our eyes are unique.  Some people tend to lean towards warmer colors as I do, where others lean more towards cooler colors.  And then not everyone has perfect color vision.

Colormunki is one of the color management companies, and is one that I personally favor, but I never just visit their site.  In comes the online training.  The instructor pointed out a cool test on the Colormunki website that I HAD to share!  It’s their Color Deficiency Test.

When you log into their site, click on Photographers, and then click on the Cool Tools tab and find the Color Deficiency Test.  What you’ll find is some rows of mixed up color hues that you’ll have to drag around to put them in correct order.  When you’re done, you receive a score which also makes note of your gender and age for comparison.  I did the test and got a score of 4, showing that I was a bit deficient in the green to blue range, which probably explains why I tend to go warm on my images.  You have to be sure you’re sitting down when doing the test though.  I swear the lines started warming and morphing while I was staring at them.

After I did the test, I had Amanda do it.  It does take a good few minutes to complete.  When we ran her score, she got a perfect zero.  The closer you get to zero, the better your score.  Most people don’t know this, but Amanda is a trained and experienced electrician from before Zachariah and her equine podiatry days.  She told me that she learned then that were I was deficient is apparently common for men.  It also confirms what I read in His Brain Her Brain in which they talk about the literal differences between men and women.  Women are able to see more colors and hear more audible tones than men, while men are better at driving at night.

Obviously there’s always exceptions, but it’s a fun test to take.  If you’ve got about ten or fifteen minutes to kill, try taking the test to see if or where you’re color deficient.  It’s interesting to know if nothing else.



rows of hue colors




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Post by  at Brandon Malone Photography

Nov 13, 2013

So I’ve been reading through a two book series called Fast Track Photographer by Dane Sanders (, and so I just wanted to share my own review for those interested.

These really have been two great books.  Originally I just bought the first book and didn’t bother with the second one (the business plan).  I recommend most people start the same way.  The reason I say this is because the first book really makes you think about a lot of things that you need to consider before you even know if you need the second book.  You has you ask yourself many things to see why you love photography, why are you thinking about going into the business of photography, what are the differences of working for yourself and someone else, should I be a freelance photographer or a brand name photographer, and so on.

It really makes a lot of sense, especially in today’s world of affordable electronics, tighter budgets, and fewer jobs.  If you’re going to make a jump from hobby to business, you need to fully evaluate a lot of factors and considerations.  If you love photography, but don’t love all the business aspects such as sales, marketing, customers, and so on, then you probably would be better of freelancing your work out, in which case you probably don’t need the second book.  But if full business mode is for you, then the first book will help you have a solid vision of who you are and what you are to do before you start the second book.  Then the second book will help you learn how to take that vision and show you how to take it further and then build a business plan around it.

I know it sounds simple and that you can find a lot of information online for free.  But speaking for myself, both of these books offer more than you may realize and are worth their weight in gold.  Ok, so an electronic version technically doesn’t have weight, but you get the idea.  I personally had been struggling with how to redirect my business now that we’ve dropped all wedding and event services.  Yes I knew the plan was to switch to a portrait based business, but I struggled to really define what that means for me and what is it supposed to look like.  If I don’t make it me, then how is it any different than any other generic photography service provider?  I’m about a great experience followed by a great product, and Dane’s books helped me to find the road I’m to travel and map out the path ahead.  Am I going to reveal that to you?  Of course, but not right this minute.  You’ll have to wait and see.  What I will reveal is that it will involve a move from Maryland to central Tennessee.

As for the these two books, if you’re starting or considering starting a photography business or are trying to reinvent your current business as I’m doing, then yes I highly encourage you to buy a copy of these two books and ready them.  My second copy is crammed full of paper notes.




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Post by  at Brandon Malone Photography