CREATE AN ANAGLYPH EFFECT
How to achieve this classic 3D effect
PROJECT HISTORY Travis Knight
‘The Bride’ is an original piece that I created using a reference image as the base and employing the anaglyph effect. This effect is usually used to create a simple 3D illusion when viewed with special glasses – those blue and red ones they used to use for 3D movies.
I often use this effect in my work to explore themes of duality, and also to pay homage to B-movies of the ’50s and ’60s. Here I’ll give an overview of my process and tell you a bit of what I’m thinking as I work through the piece.
MY COLOUR PALETTE
In order to achieve the effect, I need to use shades of blue and red. It can work with other colours as well, but these are the most traditional. Colour has been a challenge for me, especially in the digital medium, where literally any colour you can think of is at your disposal.
This colour palette was taken from a vintage 3D poster that I found at an antiques store. I took a photo of it and sampled the colours in Photoshop to create the palette. I’ve made some tweaks to it since, but I find it works great with the 3D glasses which I always send out with my print orders.
Vintage advertising illustrations and photography give me endless inspiration. I love the idealised, dream-like and hopeful world in which these images take place.
For me, finding the right reference image is key: I look for overall composition and facial expression. The reference image is important, but I always do a fair amount of editing in my sketches as I go. Most of the time I start seeing what will be happening in the under-layer as I start to block in the drawing of the upper layer.
DRAWING THE UPPER LAYER
I block out the reference image to get the basic composition. I find that it is really important not to directly trace over the top of the image – direct traces can sometimes feel stilted and emotionless. Working this way allows me to give the drawing some movement. Once the image is blocked in, I move a small copy of the reference image to the corner of my canvas where I can see it easily.
Next I digitally ‘ink’ the drawing. Typically, all of my linework is done in one go. Working in black and white helps ensure that I get the lines I want. I could, at this step, draw in a layer mask or ink in red, but that tends to slow me down.
PASTE TO LAYER MASK, MULTIPLY
To colour the linework, I like to create a solid colour layer (red). Then I make a layer mask where I will paste my linework. At this point I’ll set it to Multiply and turn the opacity to around 20 per cent, just enough to see the red layer.
“Anaglyphs create a simple 3D illusion when viewed with special glasses”
SKETCH THE UNDER-LAYER
Creating the under-layer is my favourite part of my process – this is where the piece really gets interesting. I usually try several different ideas and compositions. The skeleton is something I’ve drawn loads of times, so I feel pretty confident drawing it freehand. I will use the faint upper layer as a guide.
For the crows and snakes, I use reference images the same way I did for the upper layer drawing. I ink them before moving on to the skeleton. That way I can move things around if the composition isn’t working.
DEFINE THE FIGURE’S INK
Once I’m happy with the composition, I ink the remaining sketch and paste it into a mask, just as I did before.
ADDING SHADING AND TEXTURE
Now that I have my red and blue layers where I want them, it’s time to add some shade and texture. I used to create my own custom brushes and textures for years, painstakingly scanning ink splatters and grainy textures.
Then two years ago, I discovered
True Grit Texture Supply (https://www. truegrittexturesupply.com) and haven’t looked back. True Grit has some of the best printquality, high-resolution Photoshop brushes on the market.
While shading, I like to focus on one layer at a time. This way I know that each layer is solid on its own. On the red layer I’m using one of True Grit’s half-tone shader brushes with 45-degree dots. I love how I can immediately achieve a vintage half-tone texture. On the blue layer I use a 90-degree line half-tone brush, also from True Grit (I promise they aren’t paying me…). All of this takes place on the layer mask.
When the shading values are looking great, it’s time to add some grit and texture. My goal is to create a worn-in and rugged appearance that mimics weather damage.
I want the piece to feel like it has been forgotten about or lost to time. However, it’s important that I don’t go overboard on this step and that the distressing on both layers complement each other.
The opacity of the layers has been played with a lot at this point, so I want to make sure things look random and not too planned-out.
“When the shading values are looking great, it’s time to add some grit and texture”
03 Next Knight creates a solid colour layer and pastes the linework onto it using Multiply. 03
01 The original advertising image that Knight used as a reference. 01
02 Drawing over – but not slavishly tracing – the original image to create the upper layer’s ink. xx 02
09 The final image just needs a few tweaks before it’s complete. 09
08 Next, it’s time to add some texture and ‘weathering’, being careful not to make it too obvious. 08
07 The blue layer uses a different half-tone. 07
06 Shading the red layer with a half-tone brush. 06