How to Make a 3D Parallax Wallpaper for Your Smartphone from Your Own Single Photo

Do you want an awesome custom wallpaper for your smartphone made from your own photo? Today I’m going to be walking you through how to make a 3D parallax effect wallpaper. By utilizing your phone’s gyroscope, this effect will make your object (or person) ‘pop’ out of the photograph to give a 3D depth effect when you move the phone. Check out the video below to see the final result and tutorial. You can also read on for the full written step-by-step guide:

Video Tutorial


Step-By-Step Written Guide

Note: This tutorial will focused on Android smartphone users. The app used is only available for Android phones, however the iPhone has similar apps that this may be applied to.

1.Choose a photo you want to try the parallax effect with. You only need a single photo. An image with a person or object in the air will likely make the most out of this effect, but feel free to experiment.

2. Import the photo into Photoshop. You can use another photo editor, like this remove object online tool, that can easily remove an object/person in an image. Photoshop will make things much easier with its Spot Healing Brush Tool (if you weren’t already convinced how great of a program Photoshop is, I wrote a whole review on it. It’s currently available for only $9.99/month).

3. Using the Spot Healing Brush Tool, found in the left hand toolbar, brush over your object. The more your object stands out, the better this tool works. After going over your object once you may have to clean up a few spots. It’s not a huge deal if there are minor mistakes in the background. Your object will likely cover up these blemishes. Note: You can repeat this step if there are more objects you wish to remove (the more objects in your image you remove at the beginning, the more layers can be in your final parallax wallpaper).

The Spot Healing Brush does an excellent job of removing and replacing objects.

4. After only your background remains, import the image again.

5. This time instead of removing the object/person, you will be making a selection of the object. There are several methods that will allow you to do this. The Quick Selection Tool is likely the easiest way if there is a lot of contrast between your object and the background. Otherwise, the Pen Tool will work as well (and can even be more precise depending on the amount of time you spend clicking around the edges).

Tip: After using the Quick Selection Tool, click on refine edge to smooth and feather around the edges.

6. Copy (CTRL + C) and paste (CTRL+V) the selection. This will create a new layer with only your object.

7. Save the background layer, as well as the layer with only your object in it. The easiest way to do this is by right clicking on each of these layers ->  Export As. When saving the layer with your foreground object, make sure to to save it as a transparent file type (PNG works the best).

Look at the bottom right of the preview to view the file size. You aren’t going to want either your foreground or background to be over 1 MB (this can cause your phone to lag a little). Scale the size down to achieve a smaller size.

8. Once each layer is saved to your PC, send the files over to your phone. I find the easiest way to do this is by emailing the images as attachments to myself. I’m then able to open the email up on my phone to download them. You can also hook your phone up by USB to transfer the images.

9. Download the app 3D Wallpaper Parallax Free in the Play Store (again, this is for Android users. iPhone users have similar apps available, but not this exact one).

10. Open the app up. You’ll be shown a bunch of pre-made wallpapers. In the bottom right tap the plus button.

11. Tap Choose from Gallery. Go ahead and find wherever you stored your images at. Choose your background first. This will bring up a new window with your background in it.

12. Tap Add Layer -> Choose from Gallery, and then select your foreground object. You’ll be brought back to where you can edit each layer.

13. Hit the Preview button in the bottom right to see how it looks. You may have to go back to resize each layer (by using two fingers). The dotted line box is the area you’ll see first on your phone. Don’t reduce the size too much, otherwise you’ll see black areas when moving your phone around after going beyond the image’s edges.

14. When you’re satisfied with your wallpaper tap Set As Wallpaper while in the preview.

That’s it! Enjoy your custom 3D parallax wallpaper made from your own photo. It’ll definitely get people asking how you did it. Subscribe to TheHighTechHobbyist’s newsletter at the bottom of the page if you’d like to see more tutorials like this. Also, subscribe on Youtube to stay updated on any video tutorials coming out. There is a lot planned for the next few months!

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