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Is this a photo or rendered image? enter image description here

How can I achieve a similar affect post production with a photo? Are there any actions already available that might do this?


After comments below, are there any 3D tutorials that show how to create a photo with this look? 2D to 3D tutorials I've seen create videos or real 3Ds that you need the glasses for.

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closed as off-topic by Darth_Vader Apr 11 at 17:18

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "If you're asking for help with implementation, please include what you've tried and why it didn't work with screenshots. Please edit your post with what your desired results are, what resources you referenced and why those didn't work. See this meta post for discussion and see this post on how to ask a good question." – Darth_Vader
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Post a regular link to the file, not a shortened one. Many people are wary of clicking on blind links. – Joe Nov 21 '12 at 4:59
I assume you're asking if it's a photo vs. a rendering. It looks like a rendering to me. The effect would be utilizing a variety of 3d modeling, shading and lighting tools. – DA01 Nov 21 '12 at 5:12
I can confirm it's a 3D rendering ( The color treatment is however done in PS according to the artist. The volumetric light is a little bit hard to replicate in PS though. – K3N Nov 21 '12 at 8:40
This question needs to be more specific to give meaningful answers. – e100 Nov 21 '12 at 10:32
I do not understand what you mean by "are there any 3D tutorials that show how to create a photo with this look?". Why would there be? You then mention "2D to 3D tutorials". This question would be a lot better if you clearly stated what you are trying to achieve, where you are now and what your specific problem is. – e100 Nov 22 '12 at 10:41
up vote 7 down vote accepted

The colour treatment? You can do most of that with a Gradient Map. In the example below, I'm using a Gradient Map that's set to 80% opacity.

With a Gradient Map

enter image description here

Without a Gradient Map

enter image description here

(Image nabbed from here.)

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Would coloring be done in Photoshop first then bring it into the 3D program? – 4thSpace Nov 21 '12 at 16:50
I think it's far more likely that the entire scene and lighting was rendered first, and Photoshop was used for post processing. – Marc Edwards Nov 22 '12 at 5:47

It is a 3D render.

Google image search turns up the creator Marcel Haladej at

Excellent image if you look at the Full size.

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Thanks on that link. He mentioned vray and Digital Fusion. Is this the vray he is referring to There are several hits of Digital Fusion. I'm not sure of their site. – 4thSpace Nov 21 '12 at 16:49
Great 3D work there. Note however that just because this is a 3D render doesn't mean you can't get the exact same colour treatment with a photo. As Marc's answer reveals, a gradient map is just one way of going about this (I'd wanna give it a bit more saturation there Marc). Plus you'll wanna give it some bloom. – thomasrutter Nov 22 '12 at 2:45
@4thSpace Yep. V-Ray is a renderer that can be used with quite a few different 3D apps / 3D modellers. It's considered to be one of the best. – Marc Edwards Nov 22 '12 at 5:45
@thomasrutter: That bloom effect almost looks like it removes the need for anything 3D. If just that effect were applied to the above photo and no 3D, how different do you think the two would be? – 4thSpace Nov 22 '12 at 16:21
@Marc: Do you think V-Ray is really needed to get the same look? I wonder if the gradient map + bloom effect can achieve it. – 4thSpace Nov 22 '12 at 16:22

Although I am not sure exactly what you mean, if I wanted to achieve this effect, I would:

  • Make the brights brighter and darks darker via levels or contrast
  • Drop the saturation a bit
  • And possibly add a grunge texture to make it more gritty

Hope this helped!

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