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!