3D Projection: Still images to 3D

Wouldn’t it be cool to turn a simple photograph into a 3D scene? It can be done. Basically you arrange several white solids in 3D space to resemble the shape of your photographed room. Then using a 3D light you can ‘project’ the image onto the walls with Light Transmission. Now you can use a camera to move around the room.

NOTE: The video below was created from a single image. Only 2 white solids where used, one for the floor and one for the wall. Additional solids can be used to create more walls as needed.

See Example

In the new After Effects CS3 there is a feature that allows you to use PhotoShop to create a similar effect called Vanishing Point. Obviously if someone is standing in the room it messes up the illusion. Ideally you would want to have a simple scene that could be composed using square solids.

I was going to record the tutorial tonight but I’m not feeling so hot, but I will try to have it ready for tuesday (tomorrow) and the Earth Zoom for next week and the meaning of life the week after. Needless to say, this is a trick that everyone should at least know about.

June 25th, 2007 @ 12:26 am
wow...thats awesome!
June 25th, 2007 @ 12:30 am
Oooh I like. I too have seen the vanishing point feature in CS3 shown, and that looks quite nifty.

I was wondering, what you use to create some of the more musical sounds in DSFX. I seem to hear a bit of Fruity Loops synth in there.
Harry McHugh
June 25th, 2007 @ 12:48 am
Thats pretty neat
June 25th, 2007 @ 1:37 am
Thats a still?!?!?!?!
June 25th, 2007 @ 1:50 am
Wow, thanks for the tip, Andrew! This can save a lot of time for simple projects instead of using Max.
June 25th, 2007 @ 2:29 am
Indeed, you are powerfull. As the Emprorer has foreseen, er, I mean... This is indeed a powerful technique. Here's hoping it's not a CS3 only piece oif functionality.
June 25th, 2007 @ 2:29 am
Awesome just awesome
June 25th, 2007 @ 2:31 am
great, although I already know how to create those "3d" effects, but good idea to show how this is possible! Great Work, Andrew. Keep it up.
June 25th, 2007 @ 2:41 am
You are a genious :D Im really looking forward to it! :D
June 25th, 2007 @ 2:51 am
Yeah, cool feature, thanks Andrew..and like Ferdi said, no need for 3d max ;))
June 25th, 2007 @ 3:07 am
yeah, yeah, i know folks are going to discriminate 3d max for camera mapping and projection maybe cuss its complex? well whatever , its CS3 new features, thnks to Andrew for his discovery, however after effects is trying to gain more of most 3D program's functionality, its great though.... i cant wait for the tutorial, come on andrew, make your self feel real hot to creat the tutorial and remember adding your humors, i bet its going to be great huh? i guess this trick is going to have few limitation, let ask andrew?

June 25th, 2007 @ 3:16 am
pardon me for this enquries, how can you turn a video into a hand draw effect, something like a pencil draw effect, i guess am the only one that like the effect, but i tried figuring it out but its kind of complicating, i tried using scribble, but its not that realistic, please give a tip, i tried following Mark Val tutorials on 3D toon on paper at creative cow.net but its kind of complicating, pls help out...

June 25th, 2007 @ 3:57 am
Thats awesome indeed. Cant wait for that tutorial too :D !!!
June 25th, 2007 @ 4:06 am
btw, tunslike, i also am interesting in that effect you are talking about, but i dunno how to do it :D. But i think that something close is when you decrease the video saturation to Zero and add an effect called effect/stylize/find edges. looks like a sketch although not very cool though
June 25th, 2007 @ 4:39 am
I've seen this effect done in Lightwave and Maya, but didn't think it was possible to do in After Effects! Sweet! That'll save a lot of time!
June 25th, 2007 @ 4:48 am
Awesome Andrew!!!!

u r superb everytime, Can't wait for the tutorial.
Thanx & keep it going

Warm Regards
June 25th, 2007 @ 5:04 am
Nice to know are the properties of a picture where you can find the focal length which the camera used. Use the same length in your AE Project and it's locked.
Gianni (ITALY)
June 25th, 2007 @ 5:08 am
Hi Andrew, but the tutorial will be for CS3 only? I'm studing your SOUND FX...it's very wonderful!!!!

Johnny Handsome
June 25th, 2007 @ 5:15 am
Does it only work in cs3 or 7.0 aswell?
June 25th, 2007 @ 5:23 am
ah the age old 3d photo move , some have tried to teach it and come up with boring half ass ways , but i am sure yours is gonna rock .
tusday morning rss locked and loaded
June 25th, 2007 @ 5:48 am
You can find the same thing here on youtube :


What to you think about it Andrew ?
It's "completely automatically" ...

I find some information here :
Mad MNovie Maker
June 25th, 2007 @ 6:09 am
That's hot! you are a genius!
Jim W.
June 25th, 2007 @ 6:33 am
Andrew, how is it a single image yet the floor doesn't distort out when stretched/projected across the horizontal plane?

If you've got a solid for a floor plane, and the still is the only image used, was the original image actually larger than the final result allowing for more 3D image coverage? Or maybe the source image was a high enough res to allow you to scale the floor and wall separately?

Let me know if I'm not being clear (which I think I'm not).


Jim W.
June 25th, 2007 @ 6:41 am
Ah yes, very anxious I am for this tutorial. Unfortunately though, I'm on 6.5. is this going to work? Please God tell me it will. I've been looking for a solid tutorial for this kind of thing for a while.

June 25th, 2007 @ 6:42 am
WOW!! Thanks so much for doing this blog, it's really inspired me lately !
June 25th, 2007 @ 6:59 am
i'm waiting for the tutorial too. I've been trying this a couple of times but I just can't get the effect right with only one image..
June 25th, 2007 @ 7:05 am
Its nice that you are making the tutorial, but I missed the point, havent you been posting tutorials about making 3d walls for a wile now? I can name at least 3.

Someone please explain it to me
Alexander Jansen
June 25th, 2007 @ 7:07 am
Jacob Aaron
June 25th, 2007 @ 7:17 am
Wow thats awsome! Cant wait to see it. Hope you feal better.
June 25th, 2007 @ 7:20 am
im pretty excited for you meaning of life tutorial....its gonna be amazin
June 25th, 2007 @ 7:31 am
Thats a pretty cool trick. Only thing I can't get CS3 till I've got a new computer =[
June 25th, 2007 @ 7:33 am
Can't wait for the earth tutorial, but i already know the meaning of life. Its 42! :)
June 25th, 2007 @ 7:36 am
This effect will work with AE 6.5 and 7 and CS3. I knew how to do it in 3D max and yes it was a bit complex. Translating was the hard part. Them come to find out a guy named Stu Maschwitz and some other have successfully implemented this. Now as for the automated program, yeah I saw that very cool. But I doubt it can be imported in AE for all of us to have fun with. Well now that it is all built up I'd better not let you guys down. Probably not a good time to tell you that it was a hoax! Just kidding.
Jacob Aaron
June 25th, 2007 @ 8:01 am
Hehe, funny. I can imagine that it would be hard.
June 25th, 2007 @ 8:31 am
I've seen this done a number of ways, I'm interested to see how you are planning on achieving it. Can't wait to see it.
June 25th, 2007 @ 8:53 am
yea, indeed a great effect, this could help me alot, because i work as a cg artist, and i have alot of architectual vizualizations projects, and this could realy save me some render time,i`m just curious about the limitations, can`t w8 for your tutorial, good luck
Josh Dunn
June 25th, 2007 @ 9:06 am
nice effect, i've learned a LOT from your tutorials, can't wait for the Earth Zoom tutorial as i used Google Earth (just like everyone else without any other ideas) and the 3d room with a still, that's awesome, i'll have to think of something to use that for defiantly....

oh! and as far as the week there after for the tutorial on the meaning of life, well that's an easy one... it's 42!! (read "the hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy" for those who don't get it...)
Jasper Wiese
June 25th, 2007 @ 9:29 am
Make a tutorial, now! :D
Jacob Aaron
June 25th, 2007 @ 10:11 am
Yeah Josh I saw that movie lol. Yes Andrew has helped us out alot. Gosh andrew I wouldn't go to anyone elce for help. Thanks a million for your help.
June 25th, 2007 @ 11:44 am
Very cool! Reproduced using Spot light and Cast Shadows Only on materials. Thanks for the tip!
June 25th, 2007 @ 12:01 pm
looking forward to 2 weeks from now!
i always wanted to know what that meaning of life was all about
June 25th, 2007 @ 12:23 pm
what' 42? I don't get it..although I know it will rock ..like any other Andrew Kramer trick ;))
Ade from london
June 25th, 2007 @ 12:50 pm
Andrew thanks for the tutorials on the 3D room i just did my first 3d room chk it with a graffiti picture i took in my hood i saved it as psd to after effect 7 tell me what u think.
jose luis
June 25th, 2007 @ 4:56 pm
Tus tutoriales son de lo mejor, la verdad he aprendido muchisimo de ellos y espero que te des una vuelta aca a mexico, no te vas a arrepentir. Sigue asi.Saludos.
June 25th, 2007 @ 6:07 pm
This is Awesome! I was wondering if you are ever going to do any matchmoving tuts? Is 3d-camera mapping possible in AFX with live footage, or do I still have to use 3ds max? I want to be able to film stacked boxes for example, with the camera moving around them. Then in the middle of the camera pan I want to change one of the boxes and move it around. I have used boujou in the past to matchmove, but I have never been able to find out a perfect method of mapping the box in 3d. Will this tutorial enlighten me, or is it only good for still images. I hope it works because my brain is filled with too much tracking point data. Thanks for the great tuts!!!
June 25th, 2007 @ 6:13 pm
wow, that's incredible. i remember the original matrix was the first movie to ever do that to entire rooms. i always wondered how they did it. thanks for all these amazing tutorials andrew. when i get enough money i'm gonna buy designer sound fx + serious fx and compositing
June 25th, 2007 @ 9:55 pm
Yo man this is the most informational and entertaining video tutorial I have ever watched (I actually laughed out loud). I am seriously gonna get the "Serious Effects and Compositing" Tutorial DVD. Keep going with the tutorials, they rock.
Gianni (ITALY)
June 26th, 2007 @ 4:09 am
HI JC buy the “Serious Effects and Compositing” it's wonderful, its tutorials are very useful!!!
SGT Rock
June 26th, 2007 @ 9:13 am
Excellent tutorial Mr. Kramer, perhaps the best 3D yet. Making use of this process will hopefully take my projects to the next level. Many thanks and keep up the great work!!!
June 26th, 2007 @ 9:33 am
Hey that was a sick Tut. Could you have added a mirror edges? Just wondering if cast shawdows would allow that.
June 26th, 2007 @ 2:42 pm
Sir Andrew FXalot: I humbly lay my sword at your feet, sir.
Some other guy
June 26th, 2007 @ 4:00 pm
Another great tutorial, it got a little complicated at about 10:00. Looking forward for the next one!!
Jon Walker
June 26th, 2007 @ 4:10 pm
Have you explored the limitations of this to building 3d scenes with several photographs like a real viz stitcher scenario where you have multiple angles and project them onto 3D planes? I'm sure with AE you'd hit a point of diminishing return where the pull on the processors would be too much and you'd be better off building in something like Cinema 4D. Just curious. Thanks for the cool tut.
June 26th, 2007 @ 11:32 pm
As always Andrew, your tutorials are awesome.
Thanks for your time and your wonderful products.

I just bought 10 minutes ago, designer sound!!!!
I got all the collection!

From Chile.

Patricio Veloso
June 27th, 2007 @ 5:07 pm
the one thing i cant get over is that you can spend hours if not days or weeks messing around with a composition trying to get your video right. sometimes you get what you want, other times you completely mess up your video or go mad clicking on all the tools to find you dont get your result, But Andrew, you just whiz through AF with absolutly no worries at all and you are like a master. The one thing I can't get over is your knowledge of script when adding code to the wiggle and stuff, I would never know or understand what i'm typing. And as for the 3d picture, you have just solved a whole lot of problems for me.
January 22nd, 2008 @ 10:58 am
woth a try. i am abig photography fan. wil try it for sure. lets share more facts
April 3rd, 2008 @ 12:47 am
Hello Andrew,
My name is Joanna and I am a student at University of Colorado at Boulder. My majors are art and film, and my interest is in animation. In Experimental Digital Animation class the focus is on compositing and the main tool we use for that is After Effects. My instructor, Chris Pearce, when I described what I wanted to do for my final project recommended your website as the best tool for After Effects tutorials. 3D Projection is the first tutorial on your site that I have seen and I already learned a lot and I am a step closer to realizing my idea for the animated project.

I think you teaching style are both entertaining and clear. I was able to follow your tutorial without much difficulty even through I am still a beginner with After Effects (I have never used camera or lights). I will tell everyone interested in After Effects about your website.

Thank you for taking the time and effort to create those tutorials and even more for generosity in sharing them for free.
vineeth sagar
October 22nd, 2010 @ 2:57 am

I just want to say thankx for the efforts that u put in for providing free tutorials, its really very helpful, i've learnt a lot through your tutorials. Even the plug-ins that u've generated are awesome man. Cool good goin man, keep up the good work,
November 9th, 2010 @ 8:22 pm
Hello Andrew!!
Thank you very much!!
All this tuts are so great!!
makes me focus on this amazing software!!
and you are a very good teacher!!
all this information take my head to a new level!!
very good job, and keep going on!!!
big hug form southamerica!!
November 22nd, 2010 @ 2:26 pm
Very cool way to fake 3D.
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