Stefan D. Voigt

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Create optimized anaglyph in After Effects

Broken - simple anaglyph previewarrow

Broken - Anaglyph Color Cerrection




In this tutorial I will show you how to get a better depth perception with anaglyph stereo.

red & cyan 3D glasses needed


The whole trick is that your audience will never watch your anaglyph movie without the appropriate glasses.
So the only thing that counts is what your viewers will see through their glasses.

Basically you just have to do a color correction with your glasses on and keep adjusting your image until it looks great in anaglyph.
It isn't important how your movie looks without the glasses! (Actually, it will look really awful.)

But it's still hard to adjust the colors and still keep the stereo effect. So here is the trick:
The red color gives your brain the greatest headache. So the best thing is to convert
red into black/grey – just like it would appear in black and white.

Therefore you simply use the following settings for your left eye:

anaglyph color correction effect

Red-Red: 0 %
Red-Green: 70 %
Red-Blue: 30 %








One problem is that the right eye (cyan) gets the color information of two channels, making the image clearer and brighter.
That's why you want to add a little gamma correction to your left eye, to equalize the brightness.
By the way: Our eyes are more sensitive to brightness distinctions than to differences in color.
To adjust the brightness you choose the “levels” tool (Tonwertkorrektur in German) and adjust the gamma there.


Anaglyph Color Correction Gamma

I was using 1,2. Others (from, for example) are recommending 1,5. I think it pretty much relies on your material.
Just make sure your image doesn't get a violet or red cast. You should play around with all values to enhance your stereoscopic impression.

For example, I've used the following settings on Broken to get to my final anaglyph version:


Left stream:

Broken effect example left eye


Right stream:

Broken effect example right eye


To get this:

broken anaglyph color correction film example


But, when I made this tutorial I found out that my movie doesn't need a gamma correction on the red eye.
A gamma correction with the same values on both eyes - so the image just gets brighter - works better.
This way I don't get the slight violet cast:

Brokene anaglyph color correction optimized


Of course the color representation of these versions doesn't get much better than the standard anaglyph.
But the stereoscopic experience improves, because there is less retinal rivalry. So the audience can concentrate more on your story.



Broken Anaglyph with AE Plug-In

My friend and workmate David Shelton, who runs 3dHippie's Blog, has now published a Plug-in for After Effects (and Flash), which uses the optimisation algorithm of Peter Wimmer from!
The best anaglyph you can get!

Get the Plug-In here, and more information about it here!

Related links: - A comparison between the different anaglyph methods; e.g. grey, color and half-color anaglyphs. This site is great! - Scroll down for some anaglyph color correction examples of Spy Kids 3D!



Creative Commons Lizenzvertrag

"Create optimized anaglyph in After Effects" by Stefan D. Voigt  is licensed under a  
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Germany License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available here.



avatar KLODEnet
Hi, thanks for your trick! It's wonderful, and thank of your article, I discovered the powerful of After Effects.

Now, a little question: I have some mpeg4 h.263 with anaglyph, but if I use the red-blue glasses I cannot see a good 3D effect. Can I correct the colors of an anaglyphed video?

Thanks a lot!

avatar Stefan D. Voigt

you can try, but it won't be satisfying.
Have you tried red-cyan glasses instead of red-blue ones?
avatar Liebuimu Joyos
What's up, slightly off topic here (as an aside, excellent site) but are you seeing any complications using your JComments extension not saving feedbacks
I have shared on the community forum but it seems that I am the only one experiencing this issue and it's driving me mad

avatar Stefan D. Voigt

what do you mean with feedbacks?
Replies by visitors?

I am using Chrono Comments for this website and I don't have troubles so far.
Except from spasmodic spam :D
avatar KLODEnet
Well, no... 'cos I don't have red-cyan... But the red-cyan in this site works fine with my red-blue glasses... Anyway, I would try to modify the video, but I don't know how... I mean, I know the basic knowledge of the video editing, but not the highly techniques... Which tool of After Effects you think I can use for testing? And what I need to know?

Thanks a lot, but very-very-lot!!
avatar Stefan D. Voigt
Um well, you should focus on color correction for a purpose like this.
Unfortunately, there are no really good color correction tools built-in in After Effects.
You could try using the Channel Mixer and reduce the green-green values.

green + blue = cyan
cyan - green = blue

Maybe this could transfer your red-cyan anaglyph into a red-blue one and give you some better results.
avatar Brad
Hello! I love the optimized look. It's stunning.

Quick question you may be able to help me out with. I am looking for the best way to render anaglyph video footage from AE, but none of the codecs seem to keep the vivid colors I need. Any suggestions?
avatar Stefan D. Voigt
Hi Brad,

unfortunately there is no good codec for rendering anaglyph pictures.
I would recommend you to render a side by side or vertical stacked view with After Effects.
After that you'll put the stacked view into the stereoscopic player, which gives you a really nice anaglyph.
Here's the link:
avatar joeri
Very good!

This example of you looks great a little further away from the screen.

You should consider 'roundness' for your images.

avatar Stefan D. Voigt
Hello Joeri,

I am currently figuring out how roundness works and how I can implement it into my rig.
The link you posted looks very great! Many thanks for the information! You're awesome! ;D
Maybe I will find a solution there :)

best regards,
avatar carlo macchiavello
unfortunately adobe drop down support to pixel bender in cs6 suite ...
avatar Stefan D. Voigt
I thought this would be more and more supported with every update!
And now they kicked it?!

Please write an email to David Shelton about this: shelton.david(at)
Maybe he can adjust his filter, so it works in the Adobe CS6 Suite.

Still, can't believe this!
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