Have you ever wanted to see a nebula in 3D? Who hasn't. Now you can, courtesy of Finnish astrophotographer J-P Metsavainio.
He turned an already spectacular image of IC 1396 into a mesmerizing 3D animation with the use of 3D modeling software.
The results speak for themselves. While it's not a true 3D view point of the nebula, you can't really have more than one perspective point at that distance, it's gorgeous.
"I have developed a method to turn my images to various 3D-formats. My work flow is based on scientific data from the object, distance and the source of ionization are usually known," Metsavainio explained.
He took apart the original photo and created several layers, based on distance. He then created 3D shapes for all those layers.
Moving the different layers in relation to each other gives the impression of depth. It's a 7mb GIF, so it may take a second to load.