I need to depict a bunch of layers of an image similar to this:

Layer explosion

What is this style called? Is there any photoshop plugins that can automatically create this kind of view?


2 Answers 2


Ok, here is how you do this. Prepare your image layers and all. Im going to be using a very simple image with colored squares.

simple setup

Image 1: Original setup with simple shapes, this would work with any layered source however.

Select ALL your layers you intend to stack up, into isometric or perspective. I will be transforming to isometric [1].

  1. Scale down horizontally 86,60254037% using Edit → Transform → Scale
  2. Skew down horizontally 30 (or -30) degrees using Edit → Transform → Skew
  3. Rotate -30 (or 30 if you skewed -30) degrees using Edit → Transform → Rotate
  4. (Optional) scale to fit

Isometric transform of layers

Image 2: Layers after isometric transform

Then shift layers upwards with move tool (holding shift down and by hitting for precise control. Tip if you want a shadow or see where the layers started from duplicate them and hide the original guides are then easier to produce.

Final image with offset

Image 3: Result with outlines of layer positions on layer below.

Decorate to your hears content. Done. Ideas for improvement:

  • turn layers into smart objects befre transformation


  1. Walker C., 2009. How to Create Advanced Isometric Illustrations Using the SSR Method, Tutsplus, referenced 08/07/2014
  • Ace! Any good ideas about how to add the edges to give the layers 'thickness'?
    – Vincent
    Commented Aug 7, 2014 at 12:06
  • 1
    @Vincent Duplicate many layers in pixel increments on top of eachother?
    – joojaa
    Commented Aug 7, 2014 at 12:10
  • clunky, but easy.
    – Vincent
    Commented Aug 7, 2014 at 12:11
  • @Vincent Too bad you can not make colored image brushes in photoshop then youd just stroke the image upward. Or you can build sides like explained in the reference.
    – joojaa
    Commented Aug 7, 2014 at 12:13
  • @joojaa, is there a video of this? Your steps are not entirely complete, for a novice user. You presume some steps between those steps. It would be nice to see if I have two images in two layers, what precisely to do thereafter, in which menu, changing what precise value, where. Thank you.
    – PKHunter
    Commented Sep 5, 2015 at 14:15

I just came across a question that was marked as a duplicate of this one (which is mostly is) but it also included this image:

enter image description here

I just wanted to add that I found a useful web tool for quickly creating these angled images in nicely rendered device frames, it's called "MockUPhone".There's a good range of iOS and Android device frames available so I've found it to be a good way to create promo images for my app projects.

You need to give them an email address to send the files to, which also signs you up to a newsletter, but they seem pretty good. I have not been hassled with emails from them and I've been using the site a couple of months now.

Hope that's a helpful addition for anyone wanting to create this popular style of promo image.

  • Looks pretty useful thanks! But those are a different style of renders. The type of render from the question gives a sense of layers, where as the website you showed are product mockups. Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 16:20

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