I went to this restaurant chain Vapiano and noticed that the items on their menu boards look like they are real 3D objects glued to the board.

How is this effect created? Special kind of lighting?

Unfortunately I did not make a photo myself and only found this rather low quality image below online.

enter image description here

  • \$\begingroup\$ In its simplest form the technique is one of photographing against a well defined background and selecting everything except the background in photoshop or similar. I've seen plenty of tutorials online. It gets much harder with shiny objects that reflect the background colour, and choosing a suitable background for the subject helps. \$\endgroup\$
    – Chris H
    Mar 22, 2016 at 13:38

1 Answer 1


Getting a trompe-l'œil 3D effect is all about the lighting giving you the shadow detail that cues depth perception. Typically, the light has to angle in a certain way to create distinct shadows that give the effect of depth. The light doesn't have to be hard, but too diffuse and the shadows and depth will be lost.

See also the Strobist Lighting 101 post: "Textural Lighting for Detail Shots" and the On Assignment Post: "Hi-Def Asparagus"


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