Monthly Archives: January 2010

New Photograph Lens Overlay Material Evaluation For 3D Photos

Stay tuned!

I’ve just received a sample prototype I had made for me of a new cast lens material which potentially will improve the quality of my photographs. To date, I have been primarily using extruded lenticular lens material with a viewing angle which limits the effective depth that can be perceived. This new material might just be a game changer. There are a few parameters to be determined like the optimum distance from lens to print surface, but I hope to have this figured out this weekend.

More info coming tomorrow! This is very exciting.


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Please Read This Simple Explanation Of What I Am Doing.

Some have complained that this blog is “over their head”. People have asked for a simple explanation so here it is:

First, let me explain my end product. It is a photograph. You look at it just like you look at any photograph. You don’t need special glasses. You don’t need a special viewer. You don’t need ANYTHING. You just look at it. Enjoy.

It is a photograph. A familiar flat rectangle with an image.

However, there is something special about it. And you notice that “something special” when you look at it. What you notice is that you can see the space between things in the photograph. In the case of a portrait, you can see the space under the chin as it sticks out from the neck. You can see the space between hairs and see the texture and dimensionality of fabric. You can see a hand sticking through the surface of the photograph. What you are experiencing is stereopsis. Your brain is processing two different perspectives and merging those two perspectives (one for each eye) into a single image with depth.

It’s not an effect.

Your eyes have stereopsis all the time. The space between our eyes causes each eye to see a slightly different perspective of the world. These two perspectives are merged in our brain into a single image with depth. My photographs, through the use of technology, have multiple perspectives interwoven behind a special lens covering that is bonded to the top of the photograph. This special lens directs a different perspective to each eye. Each eye sees a slightly different perspective just as they do when you look at anything else.

The creation of those different perspectives is critical to the quality of the photograph and the experience of viewing the photograph. Years of experimentation have gone into the development of a 12 camera system that captures multiple precisely aligned perspectives at the same instant with the resolution and dynamic range that compares to what the human eyes see. These different perspectives, when processed with special software in the computer, match what the eyes would normally see in real life.

So, while somewhat complicated to make – they are very simple to enjoy.

My feeling is that all photographs should have depth. It is afterall the way we see. We don’t walk around with one eye closed all of the time. Why should we settle for only one perspective from a single camera lens? I now have a workable (but cumbersome) solution. It would give me great pleasure to package it all up and sell it so that everyone could take 3D photographs. But unfortunately that isn’t practicable. Current technology is expensive and complicated. It reminds me of the early days of photography where big boxes, glass plates, flash pods, drapes and tripods were all essential to make a photograph. And you had to be a chemist. But the continuing effort to improve photography was, and continues, to be worth it. 3D is just another incremental step in improving how we image ourselves and our world. At first, cameras were only capable of long exposures so everything had to be very still for many seconds. Color imaging wasn’t possible. Image size was an issue as lenses were limited. Photograph technology continues to improve and evolve. Autostereoscopic 3D is just another step in its evolution towards more precisely matching what the human eyes see.

I’m loving every minute being one of the pioneers to invest in and incrementally improve photographic technology and technique. The 21st century is time for 3D photographic innovation!

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What Brain Plasticity Does For Advertising With 3D Posters.

An autostereoscopic life size 3D poster presents an illusion that engages the brain in a much different way as compared to a single perspective traditional poster.  If you look at a 3D poster while walking by it your brain is constantly recalibrating depth perception for every shift in gaze. While I haven’t found any scientific measurements published and have not completed any formal scientific tests yet, casual observation at a recent Yankee Candle Store revealed people looking at a 3D poster for considerably longer periods and in an examining sort of way.

It is interesting to note that while every attempt is made with an Almont Green photograph to be life size and as realistic as possible – the objects and people in the image do not change relationships as you walk by the image as they do in real life. This unreal component it turns out is accomodated instantly with our brain’s ability to process different perspectives in each eye without regard to our shift in position – relative to the perspective.  Indeed, the brain changes or alters what is perceived in a way that makes sense.  The imagery within the 3D photograph is moved within the processing of our brain. That’s right! Our brain actually moves the foreground in relation to the background as we move. An impossibility, but yet it happens. The brain changes what we see in the poster as we move.

To demonstrate, look at the diagram below while crossing your eyes  until you perceive three squares of equal size. A dot at the top should help you to be able to align the middle image to the proper size for fusion to 3D in your brain. To aid you crossing your eyes, hold the tip of your finger between your eyes and move it toward the computer monitor and back toward your face while looking at the finger tip and noticing the illustration in the background as it spreads apart and a middle image appears. Once the dots are aligned in the middle, look at the middle image and you should be able to fuse it and see it with stereopsis. The smaller box should look like it is sticking out towards you. After you achieve stereopsis, slowly move your head left and right and you will see the lines running from the big box to the little box change size! Of course, they don’t – but your brain is editing what you are seeing and making constant corrections.

Ok, so why is this important?

Well, in terms of advertising – it has considerable importance. All of this brain activity and processing is happening as a mind investment in the imagery. It is like fly paper in that if there is enough attractant (the image is interesting and compelling to look at) then a passing glance might be strong enough to engage the brain’s processing. And when that happens it has been observed that people will automatically continue to engage what they are looking at for a very long period as compared to a standard poster with a single perspective. The brain is processing the advertising imagery in a much more active way.

The most important part of the above paragraph is that which pertains to the word ATTRACTANT! Where most illusionary imagery that simulates depth fails is with this most critical step. It isn’t enough to have a dimensional image – it must be an image that has attractant along with accurate perspective and dimensionality for stereopsis.

What kinds of imagery have the greatest attractant for 3D. As it turns out, there are very specific things that work considerably better than others and this is something I’ve been experimenting with for years. I can go into great detail about it for those interested in hiring me as a consultant.

If you are an advertiser or retailer that is intrigued by the above, please contact me for more information.

What do you think about this article? I’d love to read your comments!

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A Discussion With Neuroscientist Susan R. Barry, Ph.D.

I figured that one of the best ways to understand the human ability to see in 3D might be to research people who did not have that ability and gained it later in life. Initially, I read that after the age of 3 it was impossible for 3D vision to be acquired. Then I came across the book Fixing My Gaze by Susan R. Barry (aka Stereo Sue). She is a neurobiology professor at Mount Holyoke College. She developed crossed eyes in early infancy, and despite three childhood surgeries, remained cross-eyed and stereoblind. At age 48, she underwent optometric vision therapy and achieved what she and many other scientists and doctors thought impossible: she developed stereovision. Sue has described her vision story and the science behind it in her book Fixing My Gaze.

I found the book absolutely fascinating and I was compelled to reach out to her and ask if she would be able to discuss some important 3D issues with me. She immediately responded by email and what follows is one of our back and forth emails regarding my recent IMAX 3D viewing of James Cameron’s AVATAR.

Almont Green Wrote In An Email To Susan Barry:

A few hours ago I saw Avatar 3D IMAX in Framingham. Also I have been reading threads from postings.  There are very serious things going on with regards to human perception experimentation on a very large scale and growing exponentially with every passing second. 

My experience watching the IMAX movie Avatar felt like I was experiencing mind altering drugs. It was hard to maintain accurate eye tracking – for many scenes my eyes had to diverge so much I felt like Marty Feldman. But it was much more than just experiencing eye discomfort. Standard cinematography technique was no longer familiar. Jump cuts were very startling and created confusion. Camera shake was very unsettling as the motion seen by my eyes did not match what my body was experiencing. Camera pans also created perception confusion as my body did not experience what I was seeing.

Shifts in size and distance – which could never be experienced in real life – had a mind bending extra reality sensation that I can’t describe.

This experience, though startling and somewhat discomforting, was thoroughly compelling and eerily moved from being referential imagery as normal movies are to being perceived as reality and generating a unique emotional response I have never experienced watching a movie.

After the movie, I experienced slight stomach upset and noticed that things looked eerily more sharply defined at the edges. It is as if my eyes were seeing in a subtle new way which lasted for about 30 minutes or so. I don’t experience the sensation now. Things look as they always have.

It was a positive experience that I would like to have again, but I’m not so sure it is a good thing? Now reading about video games coming out in 3D and being seriously promoted makes me wonder about hours and hours spent watching altered perception/reality. Especially, since the experience provides a type of addictive response. I’m not a scientist, but this sure seems like human experimentation on a massive scale with no oversight or concern as to the consequences.

Mr. Cameron spent millions of dollars producing what he felt was a state of the art 3D motion picture. And it had serious flaws in my opinion. I can only imagine low budget games with maybe even reversed eye perspectives or worse!

I think 3D is fantastic, but I have to say that I’m more than just a little concerned.

Susan Barry Wrote In An Email To Almont Green:

Your email was fascinating because many of the experiences you described while watching Avatar were similar to the experiences I had while developing stereovision ie size and distance changes, an increased sense of borders around everything, and an emotional and addictive response. When I first began to see in 3D, the amount of joy I felt was overwhelming, a combination of deep satisfaction and childlike glee.  I thought I was completely over-the-top until I talked with other adults who had also acquired stereopsis in midlife and could not describe the experience without tearing up.

Borders and edges look much sharper to me now than before my vision therapy, and this is not a result of acuity changes.  My acuity was always correctable to 20/20.  An enhanced sense of stereo depth provides an enhanced sense of borders.  Shortly after the movie, your stereo system may have been temporarily tuned up.  I see this same sort of effect after practicing vision therapy each day.  There’s a small but noticeable difference in the sharpness of things, as if everything is more high passed filtered.

When, during vision therapy, I look with polarizing glasses at a polarizing vectogram, the virtual image floats in space.  As it recedes, it appears larger and, as it comes closer, it appears smaller.  These size changes are due to a phenomenon called size constancy which I explain in chapter 7 of my book.  Perhaps, you were getting some of this effect when images floated forward or receded while watching Avatar.

I did not have too much trouble learning to move in an increasingly 3D world because my stereovision came on slowly. But others, for whom stereopsis came on suddenly and in full measure, did feel a disconnect between their movements and their vision and it took a month of re-calibration before they were comfortable.

I loved Avatar, especially the scenes of the jungle receding a great distance at many levels of depth behind the movie screen.  (Prior to gaining stereovision, there was never this sense of continuous depth. Instead there was the plane I was looking at and then a vague background.)  I was tired by the end of the movie, but all movies tire me out.  I saw Avatar on a regular screen, not an IMAX.  Scenes receding far into space would have demanded huge divergence movements if I saw them on IMAX, and I wonder if I would have noticed this effort.  I practice divergence and convergence movements every day and have built up large fusion ranges and endurance.  People really vary in their ability to sustain fusion at different disparities and most people, I would think, would find IMAX 3D viewing pretty exhausting.

When I gained stereovision, I experienced a spatial connection to everything around me.  In the past, I could infer distance and depth from monocular cues (perspective, shadows, object occlusion etc.) but this was very different from feeling myself in a volume of space with these solid, space-filling objects all around me.  While practicing vision therapy procedures, I recognize when my sense of spatial relations is changing because I feel it viscerally – as sweating, perhaps a bit of nausea, trembling of the right hand.  These effects can be subtle but I welcome them now.  I would not be in the least surprised if people felt these same sort of feelings while or after viewing Avatar.

There are also issues with accommodation and vergence.  As we focus our eyes for near viewing (accommodation) there is a coupled turning in of the eyes (convergence).  This relationship is altered in bad 3D movies.  Too many scenes of objects coming right toward you put a lot of stress on the visual system.  So I think your concerns are very valid especially when 3D is applied to addictive and tension-filled video games.  Some 3D movie makers may be very aware of these issues.  Did you see UP?  It was lovely, and the 3D was produced in a careful and gentle way.

Do you know about the Stereoscopic Displays and Applications conference ( )?  I went to it two years ago, and the people at that conference discussed many of these issues.
————————–end of email, signature snipped…

Almont Green comments:  I highly recommend the book Fixing My Gaze. Information is available at:

With her unique perspective, I hope to have many more discussions and soon will show her samples of my autostereoscopic life size high dynamic range 3D photographs. It should be quite insightful to witness her reactions.



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