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How to do 3D Anamorphic Chalk Art | 3D Chalk Art Step-by-Step

3D Anamorphic Street Art is a unique way to create more interactive chalk art and street painting art for festivals, events or just plain ol' fun. A lot of my steps are based on two different tutorials I found here and here. My version includes some of those steps the with a few other things I did to make it easier. I have also customized the steps to be specific for large-scale street art and the use of Photoshop to set up your design.  

Spider-Man 3D Chalk Art

Prefer a visual instead? Watch the video with voiceover of the steps below or click here.

NOTE: Some of the colors in my template didn't come through well in the videos making it difficult to see in some cases.

What is 3D Anamorphic Art?

3D anamorphic chalk art or street art is the method of creating a visual illusion to create an immersive, three-dimensional piece of artwork. Artists manipulate perspective and shading to create distorted images that, when viewed from a specific angle, appear realistic and multidimensional. These creations often interact with the surrounding environment, giving the illusion that they extend beyond the confines of the pavement. Chalk artists employ this technique to engage viewers in an interactive and immersive experience, encouraging them to explore different vantage points to fully appreciate the optical illusion. Whether it's a bustling urban sidewalk or a street festival, 3D anamorphic chalk art adds a touch of magic to public spaces, transcending the traditional boundaries of art and inviting people to momentarily step into a fantastical realm of creativity.

Define Your Image Size & Create Grids

The first thing you're going to do is set up your image size. This will primarily be based on the size of space you have available. For the purposes of this artwork, I had a 10' x 10' space available. This is relatively small for 3D art so a great starting point. Most 3D art that I've seen can measure 10-20' wide x 20-30'+ long, so you may need to make adjustments to your template accordingly.

Open a new project in Photoshop and make it the size that you want. For my 10' x10' space I used inches to scale the ratio down and converted to Pixels (3000 Pixels x 3000 Pixels). Remember these dimensions, write them down, or take a screenshot of them. We'll come back to them in a moment.

Then, make another new project that is 10% of the size of your other one. So since my size was 3000 pixels x 3000 pixels, my new document size would be 300 pixels x 300 pixels.

Then go to Select > All and then to Edit > Stroke. Select any color you want and make the width around 2-3 pixels. Then click OK to get back to your document page. In my example, I am using the width set to 3 pixels and I also have my grid lines on (View > Show > Grids). Go here if you want to learn more about grids and how to adjust them in Adobe Photoshop.

Then go to Select > Deselect (Ctrl + D) and then to Edit > Define Pattern. Give the pattern any name you want, and select OK.

Repeat these steps to create a second grid in a different color. Just choose a different color when defining the pattern.

You can close out of this screen (don't have to save) or just leave it and go back to your other document with the larger pixel size.

Add Your Grids

Go back to your main document (with the larger pixel size) and make two new layers. Select one of the layers and go to Edit > Fill and a box will pop up. Make sure your Contents is set to "Pattern", then under Options, find Custom Pattern, and select one of the two you just made. These should be on the far right side. Then press OK. Rename this layer - I like to use the color I chose (e.g., Pink).

Repeat these steps for your second layer using the other pattern color you chose and rename the layer for that one.

I prefer doing it this way as it makes it really easy to see the difference between my grids on both of the layers instead of leaving them both the same color.

Set Up Your 3D Template

Choose one of your colored layers and go to Edit > Transform > Distort. Grab the bounding box in the middle and drag it down so it is about 1/3 from the bottom of the document (2/3 down from the top). Note: The lower you drag it down, the lower the viewing angle you will need and vise versa. I found this to work for an approximate viewing angle between 5-6' high, or the size of an average adult.

Next go to Edit > Transform > Perspective and click-and-drag either the left or right bounding box horizontally towards the center of the page so it is about 1/3 inside from the edge.

Click on any tool or space outside of this and a dialogue box will appear to tell you to apply the transformation. Click Apply.

You can save this file as a template now if you'd like so you can save yourself time in the future.

Place Your Image

Now it's time to add our image. Go to File > Place and select the image you want to use. Move it and resize it so that the bottom of the picture touches the bottom of the document page and the entire picture is inside the angled grid.

For me, sometimes it helped to hide my other layers so I could more easily see where the bounds of my distorted grid were.

Once you have it placed, click on any tool and then press Place. If needed, right click on the layer name with your image and rasterize the layer.

Distort Your Image

Select both your Angled Grid layer and your picture layer (Ctrl + Click). Then, go to Edit > Transform > Distort. Now click the middle bounding box at the top again and move it to the top of the page.

Then go to Edit > Transform > Perspective and click either the left or right bounding box and move it outwards until the previously angled grid lines up with the ordinary-looking grid.

Once it does, click any other tool or area outside of the space and click Apply.

 Finalize Your Design for Prep

You can hide your grid layers to vanish them and either save or print your picture. I prefer to put mine into a Word Document so I can easily print it out from my printer without having to adjust formatting for my sizes.

If I want to leave the grids in place, I will either save a copy of the image file with the grids, or take a screen capture of the image with the grids and put it into my Word document.

From here, I make my stencil or use my grid and the grid method to draw my stencil on site. Then color it in and enjoy the reactions!

Child taking a photo with Spider-Man 3D Chalk Art

Other Ways to Try

There's more than one way to create 3d anamorphic art!

If you have the ability to take a picture of your site/location for the artwork before you begin, you can also check out this tutorial by 3D street artist, Naomi Haverland.

And here is another way from what I previously mentioned of another street artist using Corel Draw to make their 3D street art designs.

Give it a Try

I found the design stage to be the hardest part and biggest brain teaser to get through.. Hopefully these steps help make it a little bit easier to create your own 3D anamorphic masterpiece.

If you give this one a try, tell me how it goes!

VIDEO: How to make 3D Anamorphic Chalk Art | 3D Chalk Art Step-by-Step


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