In this sec­tion, we bring to you detailed meth­ods and tech­niques relat­ed to sterepho­tog­ra­phy, from begin­ners and sea­soned pho­tog­ra­phers alike. The aim is to share tips and notes on how to get start­ed on spe­cif­ic meth­ods. In oth­er words, your per­son­al DIY stereo guide.

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Deep space stereo drawings

written for the stereosite by Vanessa Grein, Germany

Ready for a jour­ney into deep space? Then why not cre­ate your own uni­verse by draw­ing it?

Space and galax­ies have always fas­ci­nat­ed me and when I start­ed paint­ing some years ago I cre­at­ed sev­er­al galax­ies in the clas­si­cal way —  in 2D on can­vas. But when the book Cos­mic Clouds 3D by David Eich­er and Bri­an May was released in 2020, I got the idea of con­vert­ing my paint­ings into 3D by using a depthmap. And I realised that the result was far from sat­is­fy­ing. So I switched from can­vas to dig­i­tal art­work, which has the advan­tage  of being eas­i­er to con­vert into a stereo­scop­ic draw­ing than a tra­di­tion­al one. 

But how can you cre­ate your own 3D uni­verse? My deep space draw­ings were made on an iPad using Pho­to­shop and Pro­cre­ate, but basi­cal­ly any pro­gram which pro­vides dif­fer­ent lay­ers will serve the pur­pose. The lay­ers are the key to cre­at­ing the 3D-effect. 

After start­ing with a dark back­ground, it is time to add the clouds. The eas­i­est way to draw them is by using cloud or fog brush­es that come with the pro­gram. But I rec­om­mend the use of dif­fer­ent brush­es to cre­ate a more real­is­tic look. There are plen­ty of free pre­sets for Pro­cre­ate avail­able, or you can just design your own brush. Be adven­tur­ous and mix dif­fer­ent colours and shad­ows to achieve more variety. 

Neb­u­la Step 1
Neb­u­la Brushes
Dif­fer­ent Layers

It’s impor­tant to not draw all on one lay­er; rather, divide it onto at least two or three lay­ers, which will be moved side­ways at the end to cre­ate the stereo­scop­ic effect. Once the neb­u­la is fin­ished you can put in some stars: Place them using dif­fer­ent sizes and opac­i­ties on dif­fer­ent lay­ers. I use at least five or six lay­ers because I have found that the more lay­ers you can move, the more depth you get.

Neb­u­la Step 2
Neb­u­la Step 3
Left Image


When you are hap­py with your draw­ing you can start the con­ver­sion into a stereo­scop­ic draw­ing. Don’t for­get to save the orig­i­nal one because this will be your left image. The right one is cre­at­ed by mov­ing the lay­ers some pix­els to the right. The indi­vid­ual amount you should move the var­i­ous lay­ers depends very much on the sub­jects and the effect you want to achieve. 

This exam­ple shows how it looks when you only move one layer.
i3DSteroid App

Once you have moved every­thing you can save the right image. Place left and right image side by side onto a new lay­er, or just use the StereoPho­to Mak­er or the i3DSteroid App which works per­fect­ly on an iPad. I pre­fer the app because you I can eas­i­ly check if the 3D effect is good enough or if I have to change some­thing. I am lucky that I can free­view stereo­scop­ic images (par­al­lel only), but of course you can use a stereo view­er as well.

The advan­tage of SPM or the iD3stereoid app is that you can eas­i­ly save the image for par­al­lel and cross view. But I dis­cov­ered that some­times the same stere­opair looks sat­is­fy­ing with both view­ing meth­ods. These are the final results.

Par­al­lel view
Cross view

There is not one right way of doing it, espe­cial­ly because my galax­ies are artis­tic images and not pho­tographs. Some­times it is just tri­al & error until I´m sat­is­fied with the result. And some­time I just delete it and start a new one.

Start your own space jour­ney and always remem­ber: There is no bound­ary in art. Enjoy the process of cre­at­ing some­thing new! 

Want to see more? The space shut­tle is wait­ing for you to take you to anoth­er Jour­ney Into Deep Space!

Vanessa Grein (Aachen, Germany)

I am Vanes­sa Grein and I work as a spokes­woman in Aachen, Ger­many. My stereo jour­ney start­ed about five years ago but my pho­tos had nev­er seen the light of day until last year. Encour­aged by Dr. Bri­an May, I shared them on Insta­gram and expe­ri­enced a love­ly warm wel­come by the stereo com­mu­ni­ty. Many of the pho­tog­ra­phers have their sig­na­ture styles and I was look­ing for some­thing new. After exper­i­ment­ing a lot I decid­ed to com­bine my two pas­sions  — paint­ing and stere­oscopy — and came up with deep space draw­ings. But it might be just the begin­ning of a new adven­ture.

Insta­­gram-pro­­file: vanessa.grein

Stereo cards from modern times

written for the stereosite by Mary Friargiu, Italy

I present you a series of mod­ern stereo cards, inspired by the Vic­to­ri­an way of depict­ing real­i­ty: Stereo­scop­ic pho­tog­ra­phy. I’ve been inspired and fas­ci­nat­ed by the atmos­phere of old stereo­scop­ic cards, which were, in their time, the most real­is­tic way to immor­tal­ize and then relive the mem­o­ries dri­ven by the sight of a par­tic­u­lar scene. Stereo­scop­ic pho­tos were also con­sid­ered an effec­tive trav­el tick­et or board­ing pass to places around the World dur­ing bygone times when trav­el was not with­in everyone’s reach.  Such stereo ‘post­cards’ allowed peo­ple to switch off from real­i­ty and bring their minds to oth­er places. Stere­og­ra­phy made trav­el more com­fort­able and afford­able for every­one – and as Oliv­er Wen­dell Holmes implied, it also “allowed the view­er to own the scene, to place it in a view­er and stand gaz­ing over it”. Anoth­er quote that would per­fect­ly reflect the Vic­to­ri­an hey­day of stere­oscopy comes from William Darrah: 

A steady stream of stereo views depict­ing the clas­sic antiq­ui­ties of Rome, Naples, Athens, Egypt and the Holy Land, togeth­er with those of cathe­drals, pub­lic build­ings and palaces of the tourists cen­tres Europe pro­vid­ed memen­tos of the jour­ney and vic­ar­i­ous adven­ture for those who had to remain at home.”

A panoram­ic hyper-stereo view shot from the hill where the medieval Cas­tle stands.

By the lat­ter half of the 19th cen­tu­ry, many towns had their own res­i­dent stereo­scop­ic pho­tog­ra­ph­er, which means there were plen­ty of local sub­jects avail­able for peo­ple with stere­o­scopes, as well as trav­el cards from far-off lands. I’ve been inspired to cre­ate my own vir­tu­al trav­el cards after encoun­ter­ing many stere­ograms pub­lished by the Stereo-Trav­el Co. (on Google and var­i­ous stere­oscopy blogs); and the Scenes in our Vil­lage series by Thomas Richard Williams – a col­lec­tion of stereo cards in which Williams depicts life in a small Eng­lish vil­lage at the begin­ning of 1850s. For my series of stereo cards I wan­dered the paths of such stere­o­cards, with the aim to take you on a vir­tu­al walk­ing trip around the streets and old foot­paths of my town. I’ve also tried to recre­ate the unique atmos­phere that a vin­tage card would give to the view­er, from the fram­ing style to the warm sepia tones as in Williams’ works. The result is a col­lec­tion of gath­er­ing places, land­marks, land­scapes and secret cor­ners of the Old Town. Here is anoth­er example:

You can take a seat right in front of the city walls, in this tiny square.

I took these stereo pho­tographs with my Smart­phone, using the 3DSteroidPro app, which you can eas­i­ly down­load to your mobile phone. I use Pho­to­shop Light­room to enhance colours, light and shad­ows. I align and crop my stereo pairs with Stereo Pho­to Mak­er, which has var­i­ous built-in tools that make it easy to avoid vio­lat­ing the stereo win­dow. Once aligned and cropped — in a semi-square for­mat — you can find the ‘Print stereo card’ tool (File/Print stereo card). You can choose between dif­fer­ent types: Cus­tom stereo card, Clas­sic stereo card, Holmes stereo card, 6x13 For­mat, and final­ly the Cab­i­net card. The char­ac­ter­is­tic sepia tone is also done with Stereo Pho­to Mak­er (Adjust/Colour adjustment/Grey scale/Sepia colour [L/R]). You can also add a title, descrip­tion, and even the author­ship. You can cre­ate your own mod­ern stereo card in 10 minutes!

SPM offers dif­fer­ent card types…
…as well as label­ing and a sepia filter.

If you want to see the full series of mod­ern Stere­o­cards from Igle­sias, vis­it the cor­re­spond­ing gallery Vil­la Eccle­si­ae.

Mary Friargiu (Iglesias, Sardinia, Italy)

I devel­oped my pas­sion for pho­tog­ra­phy dur­ing the past cou­ple of years. My inter­est in stere­oscopy, came from the re-estab­lish­­ment of The Lon­don Stereo­scop­ic Com­pa­ny and Dr. Bri­an May’s encour­age­ment to take stereo pho­tographs. I’ve been intrigued by his stere­o­graphs, so when I dis­cov­ered that I could make my own stereo pic­tures, I was keen to learn every­thing about stere­oscopy. To me, it’s the best way to con­nect with every­thing that sur­rounds me. I use my Smart­phone cam­era (Sam­sung Galaxy A41) to take stere­os; my favourite sub­jects are land­scapes and flow­ers.

Insta­­gram-pro­­file: maryf.3d

Symbiosis of art — a sculptor’s stereo photos

written for the stereosite by Roberto Manzano, Spain

The rea­son for this arti­cle is to attempt to explain the rela­tion­ship between my pro­fes­sion as a sculp­tor and the stereo­scop­ic image.

Unlike paint­ing, in sculp­ture, the per­cep­tion of spa­tial depth may be the most impor­tant thing to con­sid­er. The rela­tion­ship of each of the ele­ments dis­trib­uted in the space is the real chal­lenge to take into account in cre­at­ing sculp­ture. In the vast major­i­ty of cas­es, col­or is dis­pensed with to focus atten­tion on three-dimen­­sion­al shapes. In a tra­di­tion­al two-dimen­­sion­al pho­to­graph of a sculp­ture that per­cep­tion of depth is lost, and there­fore two-dimen­­sion­al pho­tog­ra­phy is a very inef­fec­tive means to rep­re­sent the spa­tial aware­ness of a sculpture.

When one day I had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to learn about the stereo­scop­ic rep­re­sen­ta­tion of an image, I under­stood the true mean­ing of pho­tog­ra­phy and the mag­ic it can bring to any type of image. Since then, ether­ic pho­tog­ra­phy has been an impor­tant tool, if not the most impor­tant, to cap­ture, copy and rep­re­sent every­thing I see and believe, not only in the world of sculp­ture, but in all aspects of life. I also want to relate my pho­tographs to the stereo­scop­ic daguerreo­types of the mid-nine­­teenth cen­tu­ry as a trib­ute and reminder of a tech­nique that despite being more than 150 years old, is unequiv­o­cal­ly more mod­ern in con­cept than the stan­dards we use today.

Stereo daguerreo­type La Danaide by Lemaire, France 1850’s, with kind per­mis­sion of Jim Hugh­es (

Female sitting nude

This slight­ly larg­er than life size sculp­ture rep­re­sents a por­trait of a woman. A trib­ute to a per­son who loves him­self. The pose is ide­al­ized, while the face responds to real­i­ty. In this piece, the posi­tion does not por­tray very exhi­bi­tion­ist spir­it,  but is rather relaxed and nat­ur­al, with­out look­ing for any­thing expres­sive beyond the sim­ple fact of being aware of being naked. The posi­tion of the hands and the treat­ment of the hair is what I have enjoyed the most about the sculpture.

I am still work­ing on fin­ish­ing this sculp­ture  in my workshop.

In some images I want to show visu­al­ly where the sculp­ture is locat­ed inside the mar­ble block before start­ing to carve it. To do this, I have uti­lized one of the pos­si­bil­i­ties that pho­tog­ra­phy offers, which is pho­togram­me­try. It is noth­ing more than the abil­i­ty of stere­oscopy to under­stand depth, guid­ed by a com­put­er pro­gram. This allows me to get a polyg­o­nal mod­el of the mar­ble block fresh from the quar­ry. Once dig­i­tized, I manip­u­late it in a three-dimen­­sion­al envi­ron­ment, tak­ing into account the scale, using the com­put­er. Here I can com­bine it with the dig­i­tized mod­el of the sculp­ture, to place the com­plet­ed sculp­ture exact­ly where it suits me best with­in the block of mar­ble. It is inter­est­ing to view the pos­si­ble results in stereo­scop­ic images, play­ing with trans­paren­cies and oth­er ele­ments to under­stand the three-dimen­­sion­al envi­ron­ment in which the sculp­ture is locat­ed with­in the block of marble.

Extremófilo (Extremophile)

Extemó­fi­lo is a 60 cm tall bronze sculp­ture. It is found in a pri­vate collection.

It rep­re­sents a girl in an unnat­ur­al, pure­ly exhi­bi­tion­ist posi­tion, intend­ed only to attract atten­tion. The acces­sories are also absurd, only jus­ti­fied by the clear inten­tion of enhanc­ing the fig­ure of the body on display.

The pur­pose is not to crit­i­cize the absur­di­ty of the girl’s inten­tion with her pos­ture,  but rather, to show one more facet of the human being that caus­es me to pigeon­hole her as a being with extremophilic capacities.


White Car­rara mar­ble sculp­ture of a young woman lying on her back. It is rep­re­sent­ed in life size.

It began as a com­mis­sion to make a stand for a table. The only con­di­tion was that the main motive had to be a female fig­ure. The first sketch­es result­ed in this posi­tion and it was ruled out that it should serve as a sup­port for a table. The pos­ture made sense on its own.

Bal­ance rep­re­sents an ide­al state between the mind and the body, a kind of nat­ur­al con­nec­tion that thoughts trans­fer to the body; and the mind, in turn,  receives the result of the stim­uli from the body.

In this piece, I felt very com­fort­able with the type of mar­ble, since it offered me the pos­si­bil­i­ty of rep­re­sent­ing the anatom­i­cal details that I con­sid­ered very nec­es­sary to give real­ism to the human fig­ure. I also want­ed the mate­r­i­al from which it is made to be evi­dent and also to show con­trast between the soft leather and the raw stone.

Monument to the Fisherman

The Mon­u­ment to the Fish­er­man is a 250cm high mar­ble sculp­ture. It is locat­ed in Car­bon­eras, a town on the coast of Almería in Spain. It rep­re­sents a fish­er­man who has just caught a sword­fish. He is lean­ing on a fish­ing net and gaz­ing out at the sea, aware that the  bat­tle he has just fought has end­ed in the same dif­fi­cult sce­nario which he faces each day.

Sword­fish is one of the typ­i­cal prod­ucts of the fish­ing of this town.

Goddess of Fishing

This sculp­ture is part of the sculp­tur­al group that forms the cov­er of the hotel “Mar­avil­la Palace” in Estepona (Mala­ga).

The group is made up of two god­dess­es, fish­ing and agri­cul­ture, and a cen­tral shield with the hotel’s logo. The fig­ures are life-sized,  sculpt­ed in cream-col­ored lime­stone, which is the same stone used in the build­ing itself.

I am cur­rent­ly work­ing in the final phase of com­pet­ing these sculptures.

I thought  it would be inter­est­ing to show pho­tos of the work in process, since it is the least known aspect of stone sculptures.

The God­dess of Fish­ing has as rep­re­sen­ta­tive attrib­ut­es, an anchor, a head­dress with typ­i­cal sailors braids and a squid that seems to attend to the ges­tures that she makes with her hands. Her posi­tion is very seden­tary, look­ing down to greet  peo­ple as they approach the front door of the hotel.

The Game

This sculp­ture is two meters high. It is carved from a sin­gle block of mar­ble. The scene rep­re­sents a girl and a boy play­ing. The inten­tion is to rep­re­sent a pow­er com­pe­ti­tion, in which each play­er uses dif­fer­ent strate­gies  to achieve their goal.

The child  below, plays with a doll that is a sol­dier, rep­re­sent­ing the pow­er of force, and a chest that rep­re­sents the pow­er of mon­ey. He pro­tects it under his knee. The girl is giv­en a doll.

The game con­sists of the girl try­ing to achieve  the pow­er that the boy has. To accom­plish this, the girl is snatch­ing one of the keys that the boy has in his pos­ses­sion, tak­ing advan­tage of the fact that he is dis­tract­ed try­ing to recov­er his doll. The child does not use a thought­ful strat­e­gy, he only becomes enraged and tries to achieve his goal by force. The girl is inter­est­ed in eco­nom­ic pow­er, so she focus­es on get­ting one of the two keys that open the chest that the boy con­trols. She has reflect­ed on her strat­e­gy, feels con­fi­dent with her plan and is more ele­gant as she can envi­sion how her plan begins to succeed.

In short, the boy, con­fi­dent in his strength, believes that he can remain dom­i­nant with­out issue, while the girl has had to draw up a plan, since she could not best the boy using her weapons.

This sculp­ture was one of the first works that I cre­at­ed when I had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to buy a block of mar­ble twen­ty years ago. I still have it in my work­shop. For me it was a com­pli­cat­ed tech­ni­cal chal­lenge, a test to demon­strate to myself how far I could go when tran­si­tion­ing the mod­el of a sculp­ture with com­plex shapes to a block of mar­ble with­out mak­ing irrepara­ble  mistakes.

Roberto Manzano (Almería, Spain)

My career began in Madrid, with a high lev­el of tech­ni­cal train­ing applied to sculp­ture. My first expe­ri­ences were pre­sent­ed in work­shops of stone repro­duc­tions and carv­ings in expand­ed poly­styrene. A pub­lic com­pe­ti­tion offered me the oppor­tu­ni­ty to cre­ate my first work in bronze on Pal­ma Street in Madrid. I moved to Almería In search of mar­ble and there I have devel­oped most of my work. I have made numer­ous mon­u­men­tal sculp­tures for var­i­ous towns in Almería and in oth­er Andalu­sian provinces. I have also cre­at­ed sculp­tures for indi­vid­ual archi­tec­tur­al projects, and at the same time I have been devel­op­ing more per­son­al pieces.
My large for­mat work can be found in dif­fer­ent coun­tries through­out Europe, Asia and Amer­i­ca where I have received sev­er­al inter­na­tion­al awards and recog­ni­tions. This has giv­en me the oppor­tu­ni­ty to share expe­ri­ences with sculp­tors from all over the world.
Cur­rent­ly, I incor­po­rate many dig­i­tal tools into the cre­ative and tech­ni­cal process. These include: design and mod­el­ing com­put­er pro­grams, numer­i­cal con­trol repro­duc­tion meth­ods applied to sculp­ture, as well as pho­to­graph­ic tech­niques to visu­al­ize shapes in stereo­scop­ic 3D and dig­i­ti­za­tion of shapes using pho­togram­me­try.
I con­sid­er stere­oscopy a crit­i­cal tool in all aspects of sculp­ture. Since I first encoun­tered it six years ago, my inter­est in this field has grown so that I con­sid­er it near­ly my most ver­sa­tile tool. It allows me to cap­ture and rep­re­sent the three dimen­sion­al real­i­ty in which I live. The use of stere­oscopy is not just a visu­al­iza­tion tool, it also allows me to take molds of the forms rep­re­sent­ed in stereo­scop­ic images.

Insta­­gram-pro­­file: man­zanorober

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