Here’s something cool you may have never seen! A TRANSPARENT monitor! :-) Actually, its just a trick… but I’m gonna teach you a really easy way to do it (skip to the tutorial)! And after you make a few bets with your office buddies and win some cash, send some my way!
Just to set the tone, you’ll get the picture (pun intended) pretty quick by looking at the sample images here, but a transparent screen is one that has a wallpaper set on it that exactly matches whatever is in the picture behind the screen, thereby causing it to appear to be transparent.
This especially makes for a fun screensaver, so that when your computer goes to sleep it appears to become transparent. Keep in mind that the effect is VERY directional. So you have to be viewing it from just the right angle or everything appears to be slightly off.
Here’s a whole batch of sample images of transparent screens, and then I’ll show you exactly how to make one yourself!
You can also get fancy and try some of these!
Ok, now on to how it’s done! For our purposes, I’m going to use Photoshop since its the most widely used editor. But if you have another application that uses layers, you should be able to easily replicate this process.
- Clean up your desktop (optional :-) and set the background to a bright green color. You want to pick a crazy green color, or something else unusual that won’t match anything in your background, because it’s going to make anything that color disappear!
- Set your camera on a tripod and take a picture of the exact scene you want, without your laptop or monitor in the photo.
- Place your monitor, laptop, tablet or whatever screen into the scene and take a second photo without moving your camera at all. Also, I would suggest manually focusing and keeping the same focus if your camera can do that.
- Open the two photos in Photoshop as separate layers in a single new image, ensuring that the image with the screen is the one on the top.
- From the SELECT menu, choose COLOR RANGE.
- Place the eyedropper tool over the Green screen and click in the green area to select that entire color. You might need to fiddle with the options a bit to get the optimal mask with your given screen choice.
- After the area is selected, CUT or DELETE the area and you should see right through the screen to whatever was behind it!
So that you don’t have to go and take your own photos, here are my practice images.
If you make something cool be sure to Tweet it at me (@johnpoz) so I can see what you did! :-)