This 3D image is to be viewed through red/cyan filters. Click on the image for full size for viewing. Created with StereoPhoto Maker.
An important part of Imaging’s mission is to direct readers to new and surprising ways to waste huge amounts of time on utterly pointless photographic exercises. And we have come up with a doozy this week.
As you are aware, 3D is the imaging buzzword these days. Cinemas, TV makers and camera manufacturers are all looking to make an extra buck or two from fitting us out with funny looking spectacles and hurling stuff straight at our heads. The 3D craze is lasting longer this time around than in its previous incarnations, but there are signs that the fascination with it is fast fading. So, before it goes away why not give 3D a try at no cost to yourself, except time.
At stereo.jpn.org/eng/stphmkr/ you can download a piece of software that will automatically and quickly convert a pair of images into a stereo picture. StereoPhoto Maker works on PCs and on Macs that have PC emulation installed.
The simplest and cheapest way to keep yourself amused over a wet weekend is to set up a still life arrangement of bits and pieces and photograph it twice, moving the camera about 75mm to the left or right for the second shot. Use a small aperture to increase depth of field, which helps the 3D effect.
We experimented with different lens focal lengths from 50mm in film equivalent terms to 100mm, trying to find what will give a “normal” angle of view. Actually we are ignorant of the physics of binocular vision, so don’t take our word for anything – experiment. It does seem that the closer the camera is to the subject the more difficult it is for StereoPhoto Maker to correctly align the two images.
You can take the stereo pair of images using two cameras if you can figure out how to set them up with lens centres 75mm apart and with the shutters firing simultaneously. Can’t be bothered? We don’t blame you.
Once you’ve got your stereo pair of image files it’s a simple drag and drop process to open them in StereoPhoto Maker. Then the complications start, depending on whether you want to finish up with a grey or coloured anaglyph image on the PC monitor, or a pair of side-by-side prints to be viewed like Granny’s old stereo viewer, or you want to look at the finished product on a 3D TV. For the sake of simplicity we chose the anaglyph image route.
Anaglyph is the superimposed red/cyan pair which, when viewed through the complementary red/cyan (cellophane paper will do the job) spectacles, pops up in 3D. StereoPhoto Maker will correctly align the two images, convert them to grey scale or preserve colour, colour them red/cyan and produce a viewable image in less than a second. It is really impressive.
To see an example of the anaglyph output put on your red/cyan specs and go to the gallery of photos taken by the creator of StereoPhoto Maker.