While a Google search will certainly yield many hits for “2D to 3D conversion” this is terribly misleading. You can create 3D “things” out of a 2D photograph but you can’t convert a 2D into a real 3D photograph in a real sense because the content to do that isn’t present within a single perspective photograph. There will be missing obstructed imagery that can only be interpreted. But even more worrisome than obscured objects within the photo is that binocular rivalry will be totally inaccurate as it isn’t possible to interpret this phenomena from a single photograph.
What is binocular rivalry?
It is unique to two-perspective fused vision. It isn’t perception of depth, but what it adds is a richness that is what stereopsis vision achieves when we look at the real world. Binocular rivalry exists as an optical comparator of similar things within a multi-perspective photograph or even a two perspective stereocard. Any differences are perceived with an oscillating relief or flicker when there is great disparity. Where differences are more subtle, as with the qualities of texture and surface, such as the appearance of metallic objects or gemstones, we sense the attribute of rivalry in a way that greatly lessens ambiguity. We can more accurately identify metal material than even the most precise camera imaging analysis equipment. Stereo vision provides a binocular comparison of a surface and our brain separates its true appearance from the interference of reflected light. We both ignore the noise of the subject’s illumination and perceive it with the ability to lessen its ambiguity. This can be easily demonstrated when looking at metallic pigments or fabric impregnated with metallic substances.
Just as when color is reduced or eliminated we can still see. Certainly black and white television was very popular at one time. But just as color was missing and appreciated when it became available, the same is true for the accurate representation of binocular rivalry. 2D to 3D conversions can’t do this accurately. You might enjoy looking at the result just as people enjoyed looking at black and white TV. But these conversions are missing fundamental information that is substituted with false imagery.
If you want accurate 3D you must have more than one perspective to work with. You have two eyes and a brain to process all of the information from two perspectives into a single fused image with depth. Binocular rivalry, convergence and disparity are all essential and require more than one perspective to be accurate in the same sense that what we see in the world is accurate.
So, the real title of this blog entry should be “A Regular Photograph Can Only Be Converted To A Fake 3D Image – It Can’t Match A Two Perspective Image”.