Add 3D Effects to Your Printed Photos




Introduction: Add 3D Effects to Your Printed Photos

In this project I'll show you how to add 3D effects to your framed photos. There are a number of websites available that explain this technique but I hope to provide you with a more detailed approach, making the job easy. In short what you'll be doing is cutting portions out of multiple images of the same photo, from the background to the foreground, slowly building up a layered 3D effect.

Step 1: Selecting the Right Photo

Not all photos make for good 3D effects. I found the best images are those that have a good depth of field and defined layer that could be easily cut-out for your project. The image used here has both of those elements and is formatted for 4" x 6" & 5" x 7" photo frames. It's a stunning photo of St. Maria's Cathedral in Burgos, Spain. One of the major cities along the pilgrim route of the Camino De Santiago Compostela. If you'd like to view or download this photo for a test project; visit  and follow the link to their Photo Gallery.

Step 2: Tools for the Job

To create your very own 3D Printed Photo, you'll need;

1. Multiple printed copies of the same photo; usually no more than 6 to 8 copies.

2. A shape Stanley Knife of Craft Blade.

3. A Cutting Board or Thick Phone Book.

4. Some Scotch Mounting Tape or Double Sided Tape

5. A Ruler, and

6. A suitable Photo Frame.

Step 3: Multiple Copies of the Same Photo

Now that you've selected the photo you want to use, you'll need to make multiple copies of the same photo. If you look at the photo, you'll note there are around 6-8 main levels if depth; The path in front of the cathedral as the first level, the front balcony of the cathedral as the second, and so on. We'll explain how to cut out the various levels in the next step.

Step 4: Cutting Out

When you're cutting out your layers, I find it easier to work from the foreground layers (objects of the photo closer to you), to the background layers (objects in the background). In the case of this photo, I started by cutting out the walk-way and people in front of the photo as one layer. Next I cut out the first section of the stairs and the front balcony of the cathedral, including the walk-way as the second layer, and so on.

Step 5: Sticking It All Together

Once you've cut out your various layers, you can start sticking it all together using your Mounting Tape; this time working your way from the background layers you cut out, until your picture is complete.

Step 6: Adding to That 3D Effect and Frame

Aside from layering your photo, you'll notice that sections of the photo appears to be suspended outside the picture frame border. This adds to the effect that the picture and captures the eye when you look at the picture. Now you can mount you photo in your favorite photo frame and your good to go.



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    13 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Thank you very. Your Project is Stunning.

    Im going to do a harry potter one, in the scene with harry with his hand out trying to catch the snitch (harry potter and the philosopher's stone)

    Grateful if you post a video or a rotating gif of the 3D poster. The end result with the images are not justifying.
    Idea is great loved it!

    I know I'm cutting this close but I'm going to try to do this as a Christmas present. I'll post results! Thanks!

    Thanks for the feedback. Vincent7520... Great idea cutting out transparencies in Photoshop. This would be another option for those interested with the available software.

    Nice idea.
    Why don't you make the cut out on photoshop then print the background or first layer on plain paper then the other layers on transparencies, so you won't have to make the cut out physically, ie. with scissors or exacto knife ?
    Just an idea.
    Speaking of layers one could try the same idea with 3 or 4 layers of the same photo printed on transparencies each with one color red, green, blue plus one in grey / black. Maybe it would be worth a try.
    Just another idea.

    Thanks for posting anyway.


    4 years ago

    my boyfriend makes art/cards this way. it's pretty nifty (:


    4 years ago

    cool, very creative

    very nice idea and implementation, I'd definitely try. Thanks.

    This will be useful for me at some point, I'm sure.