Photoshop Tutorial: How to Make a 3D, Pop-Out Photo Effect!

Home / Tutorials / Photoshop Tutorial: How to Make a 3D, Pop-Out Photo Effect!

I’m going to show you how make any object, person or thing pop out of its photo giving it a kind of 3-dimensional effect. Open an image you’d like to use for this project. I downloaded this one from Shutterstock. The first step is to convert it into a Smart Object, so we can modify it non-destructively.

To do this, click the icon at the top, right corner of the Layers panel and click, “Convert to Smart Object”. Next, we’ll crop and size our image. Open your Crop Tool. At the top, there are fields for the Width, Height and Resolution. Clear the amount in the Width field. Leave it empty. In the Height field, type in 1000 “px” for pixels and for the Resolution, type in 150. Go to a corner and drag in the Crop’s Bounding Box.

To reposition it, just drag your image and make sure you leave room below your subject. Then, click the check-mark at the top or press Enter or Return. To fit it back onto your canvas, press Ctrl or Cmd + 0. Next, we’ll separate our subject from the background by making a selection around the subject. There are many ways to do this, but for this example, I’ll use the Quick Selection Tool.

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If your using this tool, as well, make its Radius between 5 to 10 pixels. Drag the tool inside your image to make a selection of it. Even though I’m dragging the tool over the entire subject, the bottom two thirds of your subject isn’t really necessary to make a selection of, since just the top third will be popping out of the background. To remove areas of the selection, press and hold Alt or Option as you drag over those areas. Click the “Refine Edge” button or go to Select and “Refine Edge”. I did an in-depth tutorial on Refine Edge, so if you’d like to watch it, I provided its link in my video’s description. Drag the Radius slider to the right a bit.

Check “Decontaminate Colors” and drag the amount approximately this much. Output it as a “New Layer with Layer Mask” and click OK. Don’t be concerned if the bottom two thirds of your subject is roughly cut out. Hide the top layer and make the bottom layer visible and active. Click the New Layer icon to make a new layer. Let’s name it “Frame”. We want to make a new layer below the bottom layer. To do this, make the bottom layer active and Ctrl-click or Cmd-click on the New Layer icon to make a new layer below the active layer. I’ll name it “Bkg” for “Background”. Hide the middle two layers.

Let’s fill the background with a dark gradient. Open your Gradient Tool and make sure the Linear Gradient icon is active. Click the gradient bar to open the Gradient Editor. Click this black and white box. Click the lower, right Stop and the color box. In the Brightness field, type in 50. Then, press Enter or Return twice to close both windows. Go to the top of your document and press and hold Shift as you drag the Gradient to the bottom. Then, release. Holding Shift kept the tool vertical as we dragged it down. Make the two middle layers visible and make the “Frame” layer active. Open your Rectangular Marquee Tool and drag a rectangle below the top of your subject and a bit below the bottom of your subject.

Go to Edit and “Stroke”. Make the Width: 20 pixels and the Location: Inside. Click the color box and pick white. Then, click OK on both windows to close them. Immediately, the selection took on an inside white stroke 20 pixels wide. To deselect it, press Ctrl or Cmd + D. Next, we’ll change the perspective of the white frame. Open your Transform Tool by pressing Ctrl or Cmd + T. Go to a bottom corner and press and hold Ctrl + Alt + Shift on Windows or Cmd + Option + Shift on a Mac as you drag out approximately this much. Continue to press and hold those hot keys as you go to a top corner and drag it in. Then, release. Go to the top middle anchor point and when you see a vertical, double-arrow, drag it down until you like the amount your subject is showing above the frame. Then, press Enter or Return. To reposition the frame, press “v” to open your Move Tool and just drag it.

Ctrl-click or Cmd-click on the thumbnail of the frame to make a selection of the frame’s shape. Change it to a quick mask by pressing “Q” on your keyboard. As soon as we did this, our foreground and background colors inverted. Now, white is our foreground color. Open your Paint Bucket Tool. At the top, make sure “Contiguous” is checked. Click inside the frame to remove the quick mask inside that area.

Click it again to ensure that we removed all of it. If we didn’t click “Contiguous”, the entire quick mask would have been deleted including the outside of the frame, as well. Press “Q” to revert it back into a selection. Make “Layer 0” active and click the Layer Mask icon to make a layer mask of the selection. Make the top layer visible.

Double-click “Layer 0” to open its Layer Style window. Click “Drop Shadow”. The Blend Mode is Multiply, the Color is Black and the Opacity is 35%. Make the Angle 90 degrees, the Distance: 6 pixels and the Size: 9 pixels. Then, click OK.


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