Anaglyph 3D Know-How by Fred Wilder

Anaglyph is a type of stereo 3D image created from two photographs taken approximately 2.5 inches apart, the center distance typically between human eyes. The Red color field of the left photo is combined with that of the right photo in such a way as to create the illusion of depth. In America usually the RED, BLUE lens glasses are worn to view the effect, in Europe the RED, GREEN combination is common.

Viewing an anaglyph 3D stereo image is easy. All you need is a Red filter over your left eye and a Blue, or Green, or Cyan filter over the right eye. Any of these will work to view the 3D effect, but for viewing full color anaglyphs, the Red/Cyan combination is best. Now, once you have the filters over your eyes, just relax and allow yourself time to get into the picture. Your eyes will cross slightly as the image comes into 3D focus. The 3D effect only works on the horizontal plane, so moving your head from side to side will aid in seeing deeper into the image and turning off the lights in your computer room will help a bit too.
There are many different types of glasses now available for viewing anaglyphs, from the inexpensive cardboard types, to the best I've tried and the kind I wear regularly, Anachrome. These new glasses are definitely worth the money, and there are many stereoscopic 3D websites on the internet with stereo images you can see for free, along with many posters and comic books on the market.
The cardboard glasses with Red/Cyan lenses work very well and I would suggest you pay a little more money when you buy yours and get the heavy cardboard type. They will last much longer and you will be out maybe a dollar or two more for these. I compared the anaglyphic glasses supplied with the SPY KIDS DVD and they work well for viewing online 3D images. They have a darker shade of Red and Cyan filters compared to my other cardboard 3-D Specs in fact the darker filters provide a similar view experience as the Anachrome glasses sans the large lens area and heavy plastic frames.
Read more on Anachrome and the 3D revolution below.
Cardboard 3d viewers

Modern 3d glasses -Anachrome-

Antique 3D specs
And how I came to make anaglyph artwork. When I was twelve years old I received an old used twin lens reflex camera, the kind you have to look down into in order to focus. I had been offered an inexpensive new camera but declined it because it could not do double exposures and I was wild about the idea of in-camera special effects at that time like double exposures. So the used 1953 Yashica TLR was perfect for my experimental photography. I was very happy and made many double exposures and even was paid cash money for a set of photos I had taken of an Off-Road race in Baja California at the Baja 1000. Not bad for a boy of 12. This eventually lead to my experiments with Holography in the 1980s and later to my creating my own 3D photography and anaglyph images of my dioramas that I make available on CD-ROM.

The first revolution, of course, was the industrial one, and that's where we find our French gentleman named Joseph D'Almeida who used the technique in the 1850s to project anaglyphic 3-D glass stereo lantern slides onto a theatre screen. The audience viewing the exhibition were adorned with Red and Green goggles to witness the very first 3D slide show ever. Man, that must have been the Coolest exhibition in town!
3D time traveler F.WilderEarly optical pioneer F. Wilder circa 1890.
"Anaglyph" is derived from two Greek words meaning "again" and "sculpture". So we again find ourselves discovering this technique in the 21st century. Why did it take over 150 years for it to get really fun? Although there have been many motion picture films made with the anaglyph technique over the last century and a half, and 35mm slides can be projected in anaglyph as well, it wasn't until the computer age, with the widespread use of the RGB monitor, that one could really explore this method in fine detail and ease of use. It is just a happy coincidence that the physical characteristics of a modern computer monitor provide the perfect medium for viewing anaglyphic images. Whether viewing from a CD-ROM or a stereo website online, 3D images that utilize the RGB system or (RED, GREEN, BLUE) of the computer monitor be it a CRT or LCD to encode their illusion of depth in the color of each pixel on the screen, can't be beat.
Television just can't do what the computer monitor does with color, and that's why VHS tapes of 3D movies look so bad on standard T.V. set. Its just a blurry mess.

These glasses are the best I have ever used for viewing full color stereo anaglyph images. They are a new design on the old RED BLUE filters with many features added to make your 3D experience pure joy. The Cyan filter in the right side gives a much clearer view of full color images, and the RED filter has a diopter built into the lens that aids in focusing the RED shifted image in your eyeball. Get a pair today, you owe it to yourself!

I use several different cameras for my anaglyph work, my favorite being a digital camera because it is so easy to get the images out and into the computer. I take two separate pictures by moving my camera from about 1" to 2.5" inches apart for each set of pictures. A set consists of both a Right and Left image. These are then brought into the computer and manipulated in Corel Photo Paint in order to blend the two images and create the Red Blue shift in the color fields. The result, when viewed on a computer monitor with Red/Cyan, glasses, is quite delicious, and CD-ROM collections of anaglyph artwork are the perfect medium for this stereoscopic indulgence.
Fred Wilder


RGB Anaglyph image







Anaglyph Index
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