Sunday, March 20, 2011

NOW IN 3-D!!!

During our vacation, Troy experimented (and had me experiment) with taking "3-D pictures." Most people are not aware that one can produce "stereo pairs" of photographs with ordinary cameras, film or digital. Further, most folks are not aware that they can be viewed with no special equipment right here on your computer screen.

Taking them is easy, so long as the subject is holding very still. Method: take a picture. Move the camera 6 cm (2.3") to the right. Take another picture. Pow, you just took a stereo pair. Sure, there are fancier ways, like mounting two cameras side by side (6 cm apart) and triggering them simultaneously, but the results are the same, if the subject will hold still.

Viewing them (without equipment) takes some funny skills that are easy for some, and difficult for others. It's basically the same skill as viewing "The Magic Eye" posters. (These pictures should be a easier than the "Magic Eye" because your brain already knows how to see regular things in 3-D. You don't have to look for the mystery picture.) It is also the same "skill" you used as a kid while looking through the "ViewMaster" to see ultra-3D images of Disney characters and the Grand Canyon.

The stripped down version is to look at the left picture with your left eye, and the right picture with your right eye. Then relax and stop thinking about it and let your brain do its three-D trick. There are many websites dedicated to teaching you how to do this.  This Wiki article is fairly exhaustive in the many possible methods to simulate 3-D.

For a nuts and bolts discussion of HOW to accomplish this without equipment, click here.

Now that you've read up on the theory, and practised up on the dots, you can try these scenes:

In the woods on Asbury campus:

Also on part of the Asbury campus:

Tree roots consuming a rock at Natural Bridge State Park:

A twisted off tree trunk at a rest stop in along I-65 in Indiana:

I hope you've got the trick now, and have had some fun! Troy and Isaac can do this very quickly now and find it very amusing. I am much more challenged in this area, and can only manage it with the dots. I haven't gotten any of the pictures to work...yet.

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