Wednesday 7 July 2010

Viewing Photos in 3D for Cambridge Open Studios

3D films have been all the rage this year and 3D television is also promised soon. I was therefore inspired to return to taking photographs of subjects, so that they could be used in 3D images for my Cambridge Open Studios 2010.

The process is quite simple:

  • Photograph a subject, then
  • move 6 or 7 centimeters to the left and photograph it again
  • Display the pictures next to each other, with the Right photograph on the left, and the Left photograph on the right.
  • Stand at a distance from the photos and allow your eyes to cross slightly
  • If successful, you will suddenly see three images, with the central one in 3D and the two flanking it in 2D
  • This process is called "cross viewing" and can adapted to images of any size.
Can you cross view the images in the Picasa slideshow (follow the link in the slideshow above)? please give it a try and comment!

My experience was that about 30% of people could cross view images easily, so I had to rapidly readjust my intention to make the whole of my Cambridge Open Studios exhibition 3D this year! However, I have also set up some images with mirrors that can be seen in 3D for over 95% of people.

Perhaps the most intriguing 3D picture for me was the aerial view from my low flying Air Berlin flight from Stuttgart to Duesseldorf.

I photographed some cooling towers at a Power station. Because I was using a pocket camera with a slow response time, the plane had traveled a few hundred meters before I took the second of the two pictures. The result is a definite 3D image, demonstrating Hyperdimensionality (it is more 3 D than you would normally observe).

Taking photos fro 3D images has a long history after its invention by Sir Charles Wheatstone in 1838, with 3D peepshow machines (with saucy images) being set up in the early part of the 20th century and of course with aerial reconnaissance flights, where the images could be used to determine the heights of buildings for both civilian and military purposes. Wikipedia gives an excellent review of all the different forms and viewing methods at

So, please do have a go and comment on whether you are able (or not) to see the images and what you think!

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