Phantograms ‘Tutorial’


Brian responded to a question about Phantograms from Tracy Seeger:

Tracy wrote:

Hi Brian,

I was wondering if I could ask your advice on something?  I posted this stereo on Instagram, which I think you saw.

Phantogram from Tracy Seeger

Someone in the comments section said it would make a great 3D Phantogram. Admitting ignorance, I googled it and found out some info. But there’s one thing I’m unsure of.

Is this something that you have to be intending when you take the stereo or could a picture like this be converted into one with some editing? I understand it’s done as an anaglyph. I do have the red/cyan glasses (well, actually 50 pairs…don’t ask) so I will be able to properly see it. And should I be taking these types of stereos with a different technique? Thanks for any info you can give me on this. Whatever you can provide will, I’m sure, be more than I know. Hope you are doing well and getting some rest. I had a couple of rough weeks but am finally feeling better. Taking stereos always seems to be the best medicine. Looking forward to hearing from you.


My reply:

Well, it’s not easy to recount my adventure by E-mail …

But I’ll try.

First of all I imagined that a rectangle HAD been drawn on the table top.


I joined up points on the image of the flat top on both images and cropped the picture to these lines … making fine adjustments by sliding bits of white edges around while free-viewing. So it looked like this.

Brian - phantograms 01

Try viewing this … you can see the job is nearly done because the ‘window’ sits exactly on the table !! As if it HAD been drawn on there.


But now we have to make the window/table sit flat on the page. Right now they are slipping in at an angle – right ?

So we now need to distort the perspective. We need to make the left and right images of the WINDOW identical. So they are flat in the stereo. 

The way I do this is to cut out the right image and paste it over the left one. And put the transparency at 50 per cent. So it looks like this. Forget about the right image now … we’re going to replace it.

Brian - phantograms 02

So. looking at the edges of the ‘stack’ of two images on the left, we can see how the frames differ.

I now select the top layer, and hit Edit – Transform – ‘Distort’ in the Photoshop menu at the top left.

Then we can carefully distort the top or bottom of the top image until it matches the bottom one. Or we can do some of the changes on the top layer and some on the bottom layer.

So then it looks like this …

Brian - phantograms 03

You have to only slide the corners of the frame horizontally – not vertically !

So now we can put the transparency back to 100 per cent on the layer … and slide it back over to the right.

You might have to erase some of the picture that remains underneath. I only distorted the top layer in this version – so the frame looks a bit of a funny shape .. but it doesn’t matter much. It will still be flat on the Phantogram. So now we are here !! Try free-viewing this one now … the table is now in the plane of the screen – right ?


 Now what I did – to cheat because I can’t do anaglyphs on my computer … was to transfer this back on to my phone.

I cut it into left and right images and e-mailed it to the phone.

Then I assembled it as normal in i3DSteroid …

Brian - phantograms 05

and lined the two images up again horizontally by hitting the the ‘pen’ button (second from the left at bottom) and using the arrows …

Brian - phantograms 06

Then hit the ‘goggles’ button and this is what we see !!!

Brian - phantograms 07

So now there are just two problems …

1) none of my 3-D red and green glasses elminate the green image properly … so I get a strong ‘ghost’ image of the rim of the cup at the left hand side – which ruins the stereo effect. Maybe if the image were printed out on paper it would work better.

2) To be strictly correct, I think you have to take the picture initially at a 45 degree angle … and I don’t think this was. SO the cup look a bit distorted … but it doesn’t bother me .


So ! Did that make sense ? Tell me … any questions welcome !!

This is only MY way of doing Phantograms … it may not be ‘correct’ !

Good luck !