Does anyone know of a way to give images a 3D effect, using any Adobe software or other software.

I saw this but it doesn't show how it's done. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuoljANz4EA

  • Can you be more specific of what exactly are you trying to achieve ? There are multiple ways to do this depending if you really need 3D or you just want a 2D image with enhanced depth. My advice, start with a google search for: transforming 2D pictures into 3D Sep 10, 2012 at 14:30

3 Answers 3


What you're looking at in that video is a technology proof-of-concept, something that might or might not ever become a product.

But there are ways to turn a set of images into a very 3D experience. See this question on webapps and this page on microsoft.com for one (free and very effective) tool.

  • That's not a proof-of-concept video, but it is (unintentionally) misleading. Extracting 3D data from 2D photos is real but not nearly as effective as people often assume. For example, in that video you can see incorrect geometry on the front of the train as the camera moves past it.
    – jhocking
    Jun 14, 2011 at 15:10

ah that takes me back. I was involved with early research in that direction back when I was at Carnegie Mellon (and I'm working on more advanced stuff like that now.) There are research groups working on this sort of technology at Stanford, Cornell, MIT...

I don't know if that exact software has been released in any public form, but commercial software to do that kind of thing includes:




Depending on your exact needs though the results may not be what you want or expect, and anyway this may be off-topic as explained in the faq

Instead of real 3D models, you may be better off simply cutting objects out of the photo to put on separate layers, and then animating those layers in After Effects. You can get very convincing 3D effects that way when making videos.


If you are using Photoshop CS6 Extended you could paint a Depth Mask and then convert the Depth Mask to a Planar Mesh with the original image applied as the Diffuse Texture. I should state though that this is a tricky process.

A depth mask works much like other masks in Photoshop, but where normal layer masks in Photoshop allow you to see the layer information (which) and hide the other information (black) and provides various levels of opacity (grays), a depth mask's grayscale information when converts white to the highest points and black to the furtherest point.

Here's a quick example for you: enter image description here

You would have to take your original image (1) and then create a duplicate layer, selecting areas and applying greyscale to show elevation (2), then you would use Photoshop's Mesh from Depth Mask > Plan to create the mesh, then edit the diffuse and paste the original image and Render the 3D Layer (3). (I moved the camera so that you can see the train coming out of the picture.)

Note: When creating/using Mesh from Depth Mask (Grayscale) be sure to use a 32-bit grayscale layer, this will provide more data and create a smoother mesh (from depth mask). Also, I only used 8-bit as this is a quick example.

One thing to consider is that this is creating planar mesh information, that means that where the edge of white and black (of the depth mask) meet, there is an edge—Photoshop nor any other professional 3D app that I know of is able to abstract out full model geometry from a 2D picture... what is not seen is no known and therefore very hard to create.

I hope this helped. Cheers!

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