When we saw these animated GIFs with their cool 3D effects, we wanted to find out how they were done. When we did, we were a bit embarrassed to discover how easy it actually is. See the two white vertical lines dividing the GIF into three panels? That’s it, but just by doing so, it makes the foreground object in a moving image pop out like 3D.
The reason why it works is due to how our brains interpret the scene; our eyes view things in 2D, but it’s our brains that put things into three dimensions. When the foreground part of image breaks the white lines – blocking them by moving out in front – it looks like it’s hurling straight at us. While our brains can discern the 3D qualities of a 2D photo or video, this simple trick just enhances it by telling the brain to see things slightly differently. To make your own, it’s best to find a clip where something moves from background to foreground.
Tumblr has a bunch to check out; just search the “#3d gifs” tag.