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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Note: This is a repost of an old tutorial whose links to pictures were broken with the software update at HF.

A 3-part tutorial series on ChromaDepth 3D wall panels. Please look for the other two tutorials: Building Haunt Wall Panels and Painting ChromaDepth 3D Haunt Wall Panels.

Last tutorial of the series is completed! Yay!!! This tutorial explains how the ChromaDepth 3D illusion works, ideas to scare and how to design images for your haunt panels. Please watch the video to get a great overview of this tutorial:

Last year I was blown away with a 3D maze called TerrorVision at The Darkness haunt in St. Louis. The greeter at the door hands you a pair of ChromaDepth 3D glasses and you enter a world of 3D color. For me, it was an illusion I had never seen before. Monsters were literally hovering in the room and I was stepping over imaginary boulders. It was AWESOME!

This didn't use movie 3D technology to achieve this effect. This was something else. It's called ChromaDepth 3D which uses colors to give that 3D illusion.

Here's how you see an image when you have the ChromaDepth 3D glasses on. Red colors advance and blue colors recede. On a flat panel it tricks you into thinking that the red is two feet in front of the painted panel and the blue looks like it’s 2 feet behind the panel. With that – you have uncovered some evil power to fascinate, intimidate and frighten ToTs.

ChromaDepth glasses look like other 3D glasses but the thin plastic lenses (thin like transparency sheets) act like tiny prisms that separates colors into different depths. These are not anything like those old blue and red lensed 3D glasses (anaglyph) you used to get watching old 3D movies. Even the new 3D movie glasses (polarized) you get now aren’t the same as Chromadepth. This is using completely different technology. It is all dependent on colors on the haunt panel to give the depth.

Just like the album cover of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, it takes what you see and spreads out the colors. Red and orange looks to you like it is in front and advancing. Yellow stays put. Green, purple and blue looks like it's in the back and receding.

The stacking order of the colors from the left: receding to advancing.

So again, red advances and blue recedes. And, not just advances a little. At the right distances it can look like it's advancing up to two feet from the panel and recede up to two feet from the panel. That's a total depth illusion of four feet! Black backgrounds and black lines are critical in helping the colors stand away from each other. Also, fluorescent colors add even more vibrancy to the illusion. This all makes it perfect for black light rooms. It's just a great illusion to scare on Halloween.

With this in mind, there are dozens of ways you can scare your ToTs with the ChromaDepth 3D illusion.

You could surround them with red flames.

Disorientate them with floating red faces...

… and lightning on the floor.

An evil eye.

Glimpse of a dark forest cemetery.

A vast room (note – that bat is painted flat on the panel, lol!)

A vortex.

Don’t forget that floor!

Endless flaming skulls…

Bottomless pit.

Supernatural gloopy things.

You could even paint your props

Other ideas: Make illusionary entrances. Ghost footsteps on the floor. A giant face appearing to emerge from the wall. Put a descending set of stairs on the floor with spider webs. You could scare them with a giant red hand reaching out towards them. The illusions are only limited to your imagination.


8,400 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Designing ChromaDepth Images:

Comic books are terrific resources to get action-packed scenes for your haunt images and should be a go-to. They are already outlined in black which is very helpful getting the colors separated to give you great depth. Start by collecting many images of a subject you are thinking of using.

Scan into the computer so you have them in the .jpg file format. Now you have a pallet of choices you can use in Photoshop. You can use any photo editing software program to create and test your illusions. It's a lot quicker than hand drawing and coloring. You can easily manipulate colors and try different effects with the ChromaDepth glasses on.

Next, collect images of the backgrounds you are thinking of using. Backgrounds can be a wall of barrels, pipes, stacks of boxes, mountains.... anything that would be faraway in your scene. You will be making these blue because blue background images are critical to get maximum depth in your panel.

Create Canvas: Measure the size of the actual haunt panel you will be painting. If it's 5' wide and 8' tall make a black canvas in Photoshop to be 5" wide and 8" tall so it will keep the correct proportions.

Background: Now look through your pallet of background choices and pick out what you'd like as the background in your scene. Use the 'Lasso' tool or 'Magic Wand Tool' to select the outline of the background. Right click 'Copy' and then right click 'Paste' into the canvas you are working in. Using the 'Move' tool you can resize it and move around the canvas until you get in into a place that looks good to you.

Make the background blue using the 'Adjust Hue/Saturation' tool to make it as blue as you can. If you need it to be even bluer, use the 'Color Variations' tool.

Subjects: For the subjects use the same procedure as you did for the background. Continue to take bits and pieces of the .jpg images until you've constructed a scene that looks good to you. Don't be afraid to try out different colors. With the ChromaDepth 3D glasses on, keep messing around with the colors until you get a nice deep, impressive scene.

Outline: Once you are satisfied with the composition and the colors, outline the main subjects in black. I like to use the 'Spray' brush so the outline fades away at the edges.

Thin Lines: Make the 'Spray' brush thinner and go over all the lines in the composition so it is clearer and helps separate the colors even more.

Shading and Details: Using the 'Spray' brush again but more translucent and wider, shade the subjects so they get a more rounded appearance and will look 3D even without the glasses. They will now start to look alive.

Finally, add little details that help make the picture look more active and will help with the ChromaDepth illusion you are after.

Photoshop helps/tricks:

Clone: If you need to expand a section of a subject, use the 'Clone Stamp' tool. You can also make a 'Pattern Stamp' tool and use that for even wider areas.

Poster Edges Filter: If you have background or subject art that is too realistic or is a photograph not in the comic book style, you can make it so. Under 'Filters/Artistic' select the 'Poster Edges' filter. With a few adjustments, it will now take on the comic-book style.

Plastic Wrap Filter: This filter is used to make things look shiny, wet and dimensional. I like to use it for toxic ooze. Can also be used for blood. First, outline and fill in with color the toxic ooze. Using the 'Dodge' tool (for highlights) and the 'Burn' tool (for lowlights), make the ooze look a bit more 3D. Select the 'Plastic Wrap' filter. Finally, use the 'Smudge' tool drawn downward to give it some sense of gravity.

Play with filters: Filters are a lot of fun and do amazing effects with the click of a mouse. Try some out to see if you like the changes.

Undo: Use the 'Undo' tool a lot. You can test things out and then hit 'Undo' to see the previous version. This allows you to try out ideas without committing to it if you don't like it.

Thanks for checking out this tutorial.

8,400 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for reposting this, Terra! Really startling effect. Painting the image onto the canvas would be my big problem-artistic ability is not my strength. :confused:
If you look for the paired tutorial for this - Painting Chromadepth - I show using a projector makes it a lot easier. Here is that video for a quick look:
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