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Create a 3D Photo Effect with the GIMP

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Make Your Subject Step Out of the Photograph
© J. Howard Bear

3D effect goes beyond simply removing part of the background.

Original photo and modified image © J. Howard Bear
Here's a different take on stepping out of the box that would make a nifty photo effect for scrapbooks, greeting cards, newsletters, and brochures. You'll take a digital photograph, give it a white border as if it were a printed photo, and make the subject appear to climb out of the printed photograph.

The primary tools and/or skills needed to accomplish this effect are:

  • Layers
  • Perspective
  • Masks / Background Removal

If you need a refresher on these tasks, see the tutorial links from About.com Graphics Software accompanying this step-by-step tutorial.

Inspired by an Instructables tutorial by Andrew546, I created this tutorial using the free GIMP photo editing program. It was the very first time I've ever used this software. I highly recommend it as an alternative to programs such as Photoshop or Photo-Paint. Although the instructions in this step-by-step tutorial are for the GIMP for Windows, you can accomplish this same effect in other image editing software.

Related Video
Create a Color Sketch From a Photo in Photoshop Elements

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