Convert a 2D image into a 3D animation in Blender

In this fast speed video tutorial we use the free Blam -addon in order to quickly turn a regular photograph into a 3D scene with a technique sometimes referenced as camera mapping or camera projection.

You can download Blam here:

Written instructions:

We have downloaded an addon called blam.

Let’s quickly install and activate it in the preferences.

Now we have these additional photo modeling tools at our disposal in the toolbar.

Let’s change the window type to the movie clip editor

Then click on the open button and bring in your 2d image.

Now we’ll use the grease pencil by holding control d, and draw a minimum of two lines parallel to each other, along the geometry of our image. These will help blam to understand the perspective of our image.

Next we’ll create a new grease pencil layer and identify some more lines perpendicular to the first two lines.

Now we can tell blam the orientation of our lines. Then we’ll open up a 3d window and hit the calibrate active camera button.

Blam now estimates the focal length of the image and shows the value it came up with here.

Let’s drop the opacity of our background, select our camera and try to rotate it so that the underlying 3d grid matches the features in our image better.

Now it’s time to start adding our geometry. We’ll add primitive 3d shapes and try to align them with the geometry in the image the best we can.

We will now create a rough sketch of the scene. Don’t worry, we will speed this up so you won’t get bored.

When your objects are ready, select the object you want to project onto, and hit the “project background image” button. If you move the camera, you will now see a rough 3d version of your image. The illusion will break if you get too close though, because the ground plane will start showing duplicates of the buildings. This can be fixed by creating a copy of the image and removing the buildings in an image editor like Photoshop, and then projecting that second image on the ground plane. We also alpha mapped the foreground trees for a more accurate result. Here’s a version with those improvements.

Thanks for watching and see you next time on One Minute Video!

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