2D3D engine

Even with Photoshop and the right plan it is still an endless road of manual tasks and calculations to make just one conversion. To overcome this hurdle Photoshop has a feature called Actions. Actions are step by step recordings of a series of manual tasks. To Photoshop they are programs, when played Photoshop does what the Action says.

What takes ages to do manually, Actions does in seconds. However, by employing Actions in our workflow we accept that the Actions dictates what the workflow is.

An Action must be able to recognize a file construction to process it automatically, and therefore we use standard ConversionSet and StereoSet files. These Sets are editor friendly, but to enjoy the result in 3D Photoshop must take them apart, process the parts and put them back together in a new form.

The files need not only to be constructed in a certain standardized way, they must also have fixed names and locations so an Action can find them, and that is the purpose of the Carlsson2D3D folder. It is in this folder Photoshop creates, opens and saves your ConversionSets, StereoSets, depth maps, anaglyphs and other temporary files in transit.


The Actions, the Sets and the Carlsson2D3D folder make up the 2D3D engine. Let´s take a look inside the Carlsson2D3D folder.

Anaglyphs is where Photoshop saves anaglyphs when you process a StereoSet. Save your latest with a new name, it will be overwritten next time you process a StereoSet to anaglyph.

atn-files is where Photoshop saves files in transit generated by the Actions. And it is here you find the Action sets for Photoshop, as described below.

ConversionSets is where Photoshop saves ConversionSets you create from 2D imagery. When done working with a ConversionSet, save it with a new name as it will be overwritten next time you create a ConversionSet from a 2D image.

Practice-files contains the files used in the videos for the 2D3D excercises. Try for yourself, or study and process the pre solved samples.

StereoSets is what you get from processing ConversionSets. Save them with new names after aligning the stereo window. The latest will be overwritten next time you process a ConversionSet to a StereoSet.

The 2D3D Action sets

Are found in the atn-files folder. When installed you operate them like this…

Open an image, select an Action and Click Play.


The Action may stop and show you a message. This happens when there is a manual task for you to perform.


Click Stop. Do what it says, then return to the Actions Command box and click Play to continue the process. The process is done when the action returns to the top. Close that Action and proceed to the next task. That is the procedure.

1 Level 2D3D conversion is a selection of Actions that creates and processes ConversionSets. Each Action refers to the pixel height of an image. Use the one closest to the pixel height of your 2D image, or even better, downsize to the nearest possible Action.


Photoshop uses the height to determine how much wider your object selections should be. And how much depth should be applied to make a 3D space image that is deep and yet comfortable to view. The pixel height reference is based on a depth map going from black (RGB 0) to white (RGB 255).

20 planes depth mapper is a process where you select the depth planes while Photoshop saves them as you go a long. An Action then fills your selections with shades of gray to form a depth map that goes from black to white, according to the amount of depth planes you selected.


Stereo anaglypher. These Actions processes your StereoSets to anaglyphs, or into left and right stereo images. If you want they can make StereoSets and anaglyphs from your stock of left and right stereo images too.