Insider Info: How To Create 3D Animated Photographs
Those 3D moving photographs are all the rage right now. There are a slew of apps out there now that can digitally create these trendy, vintage-feel 3D animated photographs but did you know that the trend actually stemmed from a film camera from the late 80’s? The Nishika N8000 is one of the quirkier film cameras that has surfaced on the market throughout the history of photography but is nonetheless a treat to create with.
The N8000 is a lenticular point-and-shoot camera, meaning there are not one, but four, lenses set side by side that take four photographs simultaneously from slightly different angles when you release the shutter. The camera achieves this effect by exposing two frames on a 35mm film strip simultaneously, with each frame split in half. The resulting four images can then be pieced together after development in Photoshop to create a 3D animated photograph!
(Hint: You could also opt for the Nishika N9000 or the Nimslo which are both also lenticular cameras.)
We’re a huge fan of this hybrid 3D, animation, and analog photography creative form and we want to see more of it. That’s why we’ve put together this quick and easy guide to creating these Nishika photos the old school way with a film camera, a roll of 35mm film, and good ol’ trusty Photoshop. Read on for more below!
Credit: @griffin-dann, @freedomlennon, @dwbeatbeast
What you’ll need: A lenticular analog camera (you could go with a Nishika N8000, a Nishika N9000, or a Nimslo), a roll of 35mm film, and photoshop.
Step 1: Snap your photos!
This is pretty self explanatory. It should be noted that every time you take a photo on a lenticular camera, you’re shooting two frames at the same time, meaning you will finish the roll twice as fast. Which is great because we’re really excited to see what we’re gonna create!
Step 2: Develop your roll of film
If dropping off your film at a photo lab, make sure to let your technician know that you’re developing a roll from a lenticular camera and ask them to scan each group of four photographs into one image, it’ll save you an extra organization step!
Step 3: Upload your group of four images into Photoshop.
Do your editing; adjust levels, contrast, curves, etc. to your desire. We want to do all four photos at the same time in order to ensure tone/lighting consistency. Do not manipulate the subjects or objects within the photos.
Step 4: Separate the Photos
Save your strip of photos for safekeeping. Separate each of the photographs into their own individual files, then name and save them in sequential order. (Crop > Save As > “1”, “2”, “3”,”4”) Make sure to keep them in order from left to right!
Step 5: Stacking the Photos
Navigate: Files > Scripts > Load files into Stack. Select your sequentially numbered single-image files and upload. Make sure “Attempt to Automatically Align Source Images” is not checked. Each photograph will be stacked on its own layer in Photoshop.
Step 6: Align on your Focal Point
Working from the bottom up, make the first and second layer invisible. Adjust the opacity of the third layer to about 30% while keeping the fourth layer at 100%. Now, use the move tool to align the transparent third layer with the fourth so that they match up on a desired focal point. This could be your subject’s eyes or the subject in the center of the frame, etc. This is your central anchor point or axis in which the animation will swing around.
Set the opacity of the third layer back to 100% and repeat the above with the second layer, turning the opacity down to 30% and then using the move tool to align the transparent second layer with the third layer on the anchor point. Repeat all of the above with the final layer.
Step 7: Trim the Edges
Turn all of your layers back to a full 100% opacity and crop in from the misaligned edges of the frames. Then turn all the other layers off except for the fourth layer and crop in again to get rid of all the misaligned edges on both the left and right sides of the image.
Credit: @freedomlennon, @marinkd, @lorenzomitil
Step 8: Animating your Image
Navigate: Window > Animation and open the menu through the icon on the upper right hand corner and select Make Frames from Layers. Your four layers should now appear as four frames in the Timeline window. You can adjust the time duration of each frame with the drop down selector under each frame to your desire. (A good place to start is 0.2 seconds)
You want the gif to run in an infinite loop. In order to achieve this effect, we’ll have to replicate some layers in order to achieve a 1-2-3-4-3-2 frame sequence. You can do this in the layers panel by duplicating and dragging the layers in order.
Step 9: Save as a GIF!
Navigate to File > Export > Save for Web. In Looping Options make sure you select the ‘Forever’ Option.
Congrats! You’ve hand-created your very own 3D animated Nishika! Not so hard right? It’s pretty amazing what we’ve created through utilizing analog photography and animation to create this 3D effect. We can’t wait to see the awesome new animated 3D photographs you guys create and share with the world!
Interested in joining the 3D/AR Community? Let us know.