3D anaglyph photos and videos have been around for more than a decade now. An anaglyph image is nothing but two images of the same subject superimposed over each other with a slightly different perspective using two contrasting colors. The photos are either shot once with two separate cameras or twice using a single camera.
Using a single camera, the two images are shot from the same distance of the subject, but are shot with a slight distance of 3 to 4 inches from each other. Humans can see the world around in 3D because the left and right eyes are seeing two different images of the same subject, but at slightly different angles. These two images are processed by the brain to create a 3D image, by which one can see the depth in an image. Similarly, to create a 3D image, you would need two photos of the same subject from different angles in the same way that the human eyes would see it.
Shooting stereo images
An anaglyph image employs two different colors, usually red and cyan, and when viewed from two–colour glasses, a 3D stereoscopic image is formed. In this workshop, we will show you how to shoot stereo photographs and convert them into 3D anaglyph stereoscopic images using a simple free utility called Anaglyph Maker 3D. The method employed in shooting stereo images is a little trickier than that for shooting single photos. Usually, not everyone would have two digital cameras, let alone two of the same make and model. So in order to make do without two cameras, we will experiment with a single camera itself.
The trick is very simple; you would need to shoot two images of the same subject from slightly different positions.For the first image, just shoot an image of the subject from a distance. Then slide the camera to the right or left by 3 to 4 inches and click the second image. You will have to make sure that the distance, focus, lighting and all other settings of the camera remain identical for both the photos required for the stereo image. Finally, download the photos to your computer and the images as 'left' and 'right' respectively. You now have stereo images finally ready to create a 3D photo. You can practice this method by shooting still life with a single camera mounted on a tripod. The tripod will help you shoot images from the same height, thus eliminating any differences between the two photos, and will also minimize the possibilities of image blur due to handshakes.
Shooting everyday life would be little problematic in this case, because the subject(s) will definitely move and the two photos (left and right) will not be identical. To overcome this issue, you will need to have two similar cameras situated side-by-side, set to the identical settings, and triggered at the same time. A camera mounted on a tripod or piece of wood which separates them by 3 to 4 inches can be designed. You will also need a remote trigger to capture the images from the two cameras at the same time. If the cameras are identical and can be operated by an IR remote, the same remote can be used for triggering the exposure at the same time. Else, you will need to design a wired remote using a double pole-double throw switch to do the same.
Download the Anaglyph Maker 3D utility from http://www.stereoeye.jp/software/index_e.html and run ‘AnaMaker.exe’. Once the utility is started, click on ‘Load Left Image’ and ‘Load Right Image’ and load the two photos that you previously shot using your digital camera.
If you do not have any images ready, the software folder has two sample images, through which you can get an idea of how it works. Once the images are imported, select the type of anaglyph image you would like to create (gray, color, red-green, red-blue, etc) and click on the ‘Make 3D image’ button. The anaglyph image is finally displayed on the right pane. This image can be adjusted according to your preferences. Adjust the brightness, contrast, or align the two images to get the best results.
You can now preview the image using the stereo 3D spectacle which uses a red and cyan filter. The spectacles can be made at home or bought from the market too. PVR and a few cinema theatres retail these 3D anaglyph glasses for around Rs 25 each. Once the image is satisfactory, you can save the image or print it. Do not forget to align the two images to the left and right or up and down accordingly to get the best 3D image.
How to make your own glasses
Making your very own 3D anaglyph stereoscopic glasses is very easy. All you need to make a pair at home is a regular spectacle frame and two colour filters - red and cyan; one for each eye. You can either make your own frame using some thick card paper cut out to form a frame, or use any old regular spectacle frame and replace the existing lenses with the colour filters.
The color filters should be red and cyan (buy good quality cellophane plastic sheets, which can be found at any stationery store). Cut out the cellophane sheets to the exact measurements required to cover each of the frames. Finally, paste the red and cyan sheet on the left and right frame respectively. Your glasses are complete and ready for use.
Creating 3D anaglyph photos is fun. Print and frame your photographs in 3D and showcase them to your friends and family. You can also create 3D anaglyph videos using similar techniques with StereoMaker for Windows (www.foundationcompany.com). Interesting 3D anaglyph stereoscopic photo samples can be found on the internet.