Why would a museum want autostereoscopic 3D photographs of their objects?


As Jim and I prepare a sample shipment to the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. it occurred to me that it might be useful to explain how an autostereoscopic 3D life-size photograph can be an extremely valuable tool.

First, museums typically have a large inventory of objects that are not on display. With autostereoscopic life-size 3D photography, objects could remain in storage and still be accessible for study and display since a photographic print is about 1/8″ thick with a UV protective museum grade plexiglass cover.  Prints can be stored in flat files for instant access and can also fill unused wall space. Displays are also available that hold a considerable number of photographs just as posters are made available in display fixtures in retail art stores that sell posters. A high-resolution 3D photograph provides a real representation of the object. Important dimensional information is impossible to show with a regular photograph. With a life-size color accurate dimensionally accurate autostereoscopic photograph, all of the nuanced detail of the object can be observed in the same exact way the object could be observed in a plexiglass enclosure.

Second, patrons of museums can own the next best thing to the actual object. A 3D photograph, especially one that is framed in a custom backlit frame, can accurately represent the actual object. While a backlit version is relatively expensive, it does compare in price to a precision giclee canvas print. How much? A 24″ x 18″ backlit framed autostereoscopic 3D photograph from Almont Green could retail at a museum store for well under $1,000.   A print could of the same size could retail for as little as $199. 

Third, for many objects it is difficult to display all sides. The back side of an object could be displayed in a small amount of space in full 3D. Also, similar objects represented by an autostereoscopic life size 3D photograph that have referential value could be next to real objects.

Unlike a regular photograph, which we view and process with our brain as a representation of something. An autostereoscopic life size 3D high dynamic range photograph is viewed as something real. People are compelled to try and reach into the photograph because their brain is telling them that what they are looking at has dimensionality. The objects within the photograph look real to the eye.

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