3D Red and Blue

Presents under the tree include one with special goggles plus a gift for each person you’re giving a gift to, each of which has a label that lists all persons who will receive a Mad Wrapper gift.  Every name on the gift tag is repeated in two colors: red and blue.

Adobe Photoshop to the Rescue

You will need to use Adobe Photoshop or a similar program to create each name since each name needs to be in a different set of layers from all other names.  In fact, you’ll need a total of three layers for every recipient name.  The final result will be a bunch of names that fill an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper.

Start by creating one name using Photoshop Layers.  Once that name is complete, copy/paste the set of three layers of the original name, change the text to another name, then move the new name to a blank location on the paper.  Repeat until you have a name on the paper for every person in the group.  Here are instructions for creating a name:

  1. For each name, you need the following three Photoshop layers:
    1. A red layer that always shows on the page. This lettering can only be seen with the right eye when wearing the goggles.
    2. A blue layer that is shifted to the left of the red layer, and will be seen with the left eye.
    3. Another blue layer, but this one is shifted to the right of the red layer. This layer, too, will be seen only with the left eye.
  2. The following details are very important:
  3.             A.  For those layers, use the following exact colors
  4.                        1.  Red letters must be pure red: 255, 0, 0
  5.                        2.  Blue letters must be pure ‘non-red’: 0, 255, 255. Technically this                  is called cyan, a shade of blue.
  6.              B.  Set the opacity to 50% for all layers of letters.
  7. After you’ve generated all names on the page, go through and hide all right-shifted blue lettering, and be sure red and left-shifted blue layers are showing. To verify, click on the ‘eyeballs’ in the layers panel of Adobe Photoshop. This will insure a starting point where no name pops from the screen.
  8. Now it is time to print the gift tags. One name at a time, hide or unhide one of the blue layers depending whose tag you are printing.
    1. Unhide the right-shifted blue layer
    2. Hide the left-shifted blue layer
    3. Print that gift tag out on a color printer.
    4. Check your results with the special goggles. On that gift tag, the person’s name should pop out at you.
    5. If the results are correct, reset unhide and hide back to base
  9. Repeat step 4 for each name on the list, printing out and verifying results as you go.

If you prefer, you can start from the Adobe Photoshop file that I used for Christmas one year. Click to download: TMW-3D-NH.psd. Simply change the names you find in the file to those of your family and friends.

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You may notice that I got a bit more creative with “From The Mad Wrapper” in my example.  I squeezed the blue letters so that when viewed through the goggles, the letters appear to start in the distance and pop further out of the page toward the end of the phrase.

How it Works

With the colored goggles on, all red letters are invisible to the left eye (red on red is invisible) and blue letters are invisible to the right eye (blue on blue is invisible).  Unable to see the “other” color, your brain combines the word into one image.

If your right eye sees a word slightly shifted from what your left eye sees, your brain is tricked into thinking the word pops from the page (or sinks into the page).  The more the red shifts to the right, the closer it appears.

The Goggles

There are several ways to make your own 3D goggles.

  1. You can cut out pieces of red and blue colored cellophane plastic and paste them into a frame.  Cardboard makes a good frame.
  2. Or you could use an old pair of glasses, pop the lenses out and insert colored plastic.
  3. Or you can do what I did.  I purchased a pair of safety goggles at my local hardware and bought blue and red sharpie markers at the local office store.  Simply color in the left side with a red marker and color the right side with a blue marker.

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