Instagram 3D Pop-Out Photo Effect in Photoshop [Free Editable Template!]


Let me introduce to you a new method to feature your latest photos in a fun, quirky way—an Instagram 3D pop-out photo effect worthy of double-taps from your family and friends!

This will be one of my Photoshop tutorials where I’ll teach you how to create an editable template that you can keep on using for other photos, thus, saving you more time!

Setting Up The Photoshop Document

Start by opening an Instagram Post Template and naming the layer “IG Overlay.”

To follow along you can download the editable template here.

For the subjec t, I will use a photo of a girl jumping in the air that I have downloaded from Unsplash, or you can use any photo that you want! 

Open the image in Photoshop and using the Move tool, click-and-drag the photo onto the tab with the Instagram template. Upon releasing your mouse, the photo will lay on top of your working document.

Start by renaming your layer to “Outside” as the contents of this layer will be popping outside of the IG Overlay.

Linking Both Layers

Next, duplicate the layer by pressing Ctrl J (Windows) or Command J (MacOS) and rename it to “Inside,” as the contents of this layer will stay inside of the IG Overlay. 

Then click-and-drag the layer and place it at the bottom of the layer stack, directly below the IG Overlay layer. 

Select the Outside layer and hold Ctrl (Windows) or Command (MacOS) and select the Inside layer as well.

With both layers selected, excluding the IG Overlay, click on the chain link icon that you can find at the bottom of the Layers panel to create a link between the two layers. 

With Linked layers you apply changes to both layers, such as repositioning or transforming it without having to select both layers.

By selecting only one of the layers and moving it, you can see that the same changes are applied to both layers.

Setting up a Ruler Guide

For now, disable the Outside layer. 

To add guides, first enable your ruler. Press Ctrl R (Windows) or Command R (MacOS). You can also go into View > Ruler to enable or disable the Ruler

With the ruler enabled, you can create a guide by click-and-dragging from either of the vertical and horizontal rulers onto your canvas.

Place a horizontal guide right above where the image post ends.

PRO TIP: If you accidentally drag a vertical guide but you wanted a horizontal one, you can invert it before placing it down by holding Alt (Windows) or Option (MacOS) and it will immediately transform into a horizontal guide; this works the other way around as well.

Enable the Outside layer once again.

Transforming the Image

Press Ctrl T (Windows) or Command T (MacOS) to transform the layers at the same time, and you only have to select either one of the layers to do this.

Press Ctrl 0 (Windows) or Command 0 (MacOS) to see the transformation handles that lie outside of the canvas and give you a bird’s eye view of the whole document. 

Just as if you were sorting out how to screenshot on asus laptop, then you can click-and-drag on one of these handles to scale and fit the image within the frame of your IG Overlay. When you are satisfied with the scaling, double-click on the hand tool to fit the image to the screen.

Creating a Selection of the Subject

To truly create an impressive Instagram 3D pop-out photo effect, the Outside layer should only show the jumping girl without its background.

To do this, select the Quick Selection tool and on your Options Bar, click on the Select Subject button to allow Adobe Sensei to do its magic.

Upon clicking on the Select Subject button, Adobe’s A.I. will make a reasonably good selection with minor faults that we can easily change. 

Hold the Alt (Windows) or Options (MacOS) key while clicking-and-dragging on areas you want to deselect. 

Since most of her upper body will be inside the frame of the IG Overlay, the selection doesn’t have to be perfect, except for her lower legs and feet, where it will show beyond the IG Overlay frame.

With the selection active, click on the Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel to add a layer mask and only show the subject.

If you select the Move tool and move around the layer, you will notice how the subject in the Outside layer is now completely separated from the background. Since we linked both of the layers together in the earlier process, it becomes easier for you to place the subject wherever you want within the frame.

Making it Realistic

To make it more realistic, double-click on the side of the Outside layer to bring out the Layer Style window. 

Click on the Drop Shadow and double-click to reveal the adjustments you can apply to it.

For the first step, you can click-and-drag on the subject to move the placement of the shadow.

Next, make sure the color of your new shadow is similar to the color of the shadows in the actual image.

Double-click on the color thumbnail to bring out the Color Picker window. 

Then, use the Eyedropper tool to click on the shadow on the actual image and select it as your new Drop Shadow color. 

Press OK to exit the window.

Feel free to adjust the Distance, Spread, Size, and Opacity of the drop shadow to your preference. When you’re happy with the adjustments, press OK to exit the window.

Getting Rid of the Shadow in the Original Background

If you look closely, there’s a noticeable difference between the shadow of the subject on its original background versus the newly-applied Drop Shadow. To avoid this, press Ctrl G (Windows) or Command G (MacOS) to create a Clipping Mask

By creating a Clipping Mask, any effects or adjustments applied to the current layer will only affect the layer directly below it.

By moving around the Outside layer, the Drop Shadow is now only visible when parts of the subject overlap with the IG Overlay.

Fine-Tuning the Mask

Zoom in to your image and see if there are details where you can improve the masking of the background.

By zooming into the area behind the knees, there is a tiny part of the original background left unmasked.

To start hiding that tiny detail, click on the Layer Mask thumbnail. Then use the Brush tool, set the foreground color to black (#000000), and paint over that tiny area to conceal it with the mask.

Likewise, if you made a mistake and accidentally hid pixels, just set the Foreground color to white (#ffffff) to reveal those pixels again.

Double-click on the Hand tool to fit the image to the screen and see your new masterpiece! 

To save the image as a JPEG file, go to File > Export > Export. On the File Settings, set the Format to JPEG

Then click on the Export button at the bottom to wrap it up, and it’s ready to be uploaded!

How to Upload Your Instagram 3D Pop-Out Photo Effect Directly from Your Laptop

While the usual way to upload photos onto Instagram is from your mobile devices, there’s an excellent option if you want to upload photos directly from your laptop or desktop! 

My favorite program is Windowed. The user interface looks exactly like Instagram on your mobile device. 

To upload photos, click on the plus (+) icon on the bottom of the window and select your file.

You can also find other programs that work both on Windows and MacOS that will be perfect for you.


Let me know if this tutorial has been helpful for you, and don’t forget to tag us on Instagram #ptcvids

Free Instagram 3D Pop Out Photo Effect Template

Download the PSD Here.

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