Anaglyph. Some say it was developed in 1853 by Wilhelm Rollmann in Leipzig, Germany. Hardly cutting edge technology by today’s standards. The development and use of anaglyph imagery ignores the fact that separating color (a form of data compression) is a bad idea for human vision given the physical properties of the human eye. The human eye has limited color vision capability as compared to luminance or brightness. The inside of the eye has receptors called cones and rods with the cones providing the eye’s sensitivity to color. And the cones are primarily concentrated in a tiny area in the macula called the fovea centralis in an area about one one hundreth (1/100th) of an inch in diameter. Pretty tiny huh? But wait, there are three different types of color receptors with response curves weighted in relation to the primary colors red, green and blue. So the real estate in the eye for any given color is perhaps LESS THAN four one thousandths (4/1000ths) of an inch or about the thickness of a human hair – or a speck of dust. So where you might think there were billions of these cones in the eye to see color, you’d be wrong. For seeing the color blue for example, there are only about 140,000 blue sensitive cones. Given that there are roughly 8 million shades of blue possible in a 24 bit image typical for a computer monitor you can see how that might be limiting.
So, here is Wilhelm in the ninteenth century with an idea that using filtered blue color in one eye and filtered red color in the other eye is a good idea for showing a 3D image. And here we are in the twenty-first century STILL USING IT! It was a bad idea then, and it is a bad idea now.
But there is more. The brain now has to take a limited compressed blue color signal from one eye and a limited compressed red color signal from the other eye and merge it into a binocular image and make sense of these weird non-natural signals from each eye to somehow reconcile to a natural color image. Like that’s going to happen? NO it isn’t going to happen! That’s why the color looks so muted and unnatural. IT IS unnatural! It is IMPOSSIBLE for it to BE natural.
With so much missing information it is not hard to understand that the nuance of color shift as presented from different perspectives in each eye is obliterated. This most definitely has an impact on the perception of 3D and it is no surprise that people have used every trick in the book to emphasize 3Dness as a way to compensate for all that is lacking with anaglyph.
Color, shading, texture, highlights, motion and parallax are all intertwined with regards to the information they convey to us. These properties together are essential for the formation of a natural binocular image that is merged within our brains.
To a lesser extent, polarized glasses also diminish the “realness” of 3D. But they do indeed have a negative effect in addition to the cumbersom dumb glasses you have to wear.
The solution is no glasses or glasses that have negligible color loss and minimal distortion. I’m not sure what those glasses would be. Perhaps some kind of optical correction for parallel or cross view images or shutter glasses with super fast refresh. But the preferred truest method is autostereoscopic or glasses free 3D. The WORST is anaglyph.
This is the 21st century and it is time to demand BETTER technology for multi dimensional imaging. And it is time to demand BETTER multi dimensional imaging.