Monthly Archives: February 2011

You Do Have Double Vision, You Just Don’t Notice It…

If you have two eyes, you have double vision. Each eye sees a different view of the objects in front of your eyes.

Try this experiment.

Two blurry pencils are one pencil seen with double vision

Get two pencils. Hold one pencil about 18″ away from your face slightly to the right and hold the other pencil at arms length slightly to the left. While staring at the closest pencil and keeping it in focus, make an effort to become aware of the pencil in the distance. Hey, there are two of them back there. What’s up with that?

Now look focus on the pencil in the distance and stare at it. No, there aren’t two pencils back there anymore. But wait! While holding focus on the pencil farthest away you now can become aware of two pencils being held about 18″ away (if you didn’t move).

Now pencil in front is doubled

If you are like most people, you never noticed that you had double vision because your brain fixates on the object you are focusing on. Everything else is perceived as a type of background noise that we simply don’t pay any attention to.

Notice also that the pencil that you aren’t focused on isn’t doubled exactly. One eye will be slightly dominant over the other eye and you will perceive one of the doubled pencils with what appears to be a level of transparency that differs from the other one.

Guess what? The farther away you put the pencils the less you notice the double vision. But it is still there out to about thirty – fifty feet at which point the difference is so subtle that you brain can completely mask the disparity and you can’t perceive it as distinct double vision.

For a multi perspective photograph, something radically different happens. Your eyes move apart and closer together as they look at things in the 3D photo that appear closer and farther away, but they stay focused on the surface of the photograph. The suppression of double vision is a different experience because the focus doesn’t change. As the difference increases (close to far away) it actually can become uncomfortable for some people to look at since the brain is expecting to focus the eyes differently for something up close and compared to something farther away. But just like the perception conflict of the inner ear to vision for astronauts floating in zero G, with a bit of practice – and keeping the amount of distance depicted not that great at first – it can be accommodated by most people.

The same is true for motion pictures. If the producers don’t get crazy with the amount of depth they try to create and have stuff appear to come way out of the screen, this taxing of the brain to overcome perception conflict doesn’t have to reach headache levels.



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In an apparent backlash against 3D, Joe Beercan today stabbed himself in the left eye leaving him with sight in only his right eye. “I had to do it, I just can’t stand seeing things in 3D”, said Mr. Beercan. With the proliferation of 3D movies and seeing the world in 3D it just became too much for Mr. Beercan to live with.

Asked if Mr. Beercan thought this might be a growing trend he reported that he has started the “Pirate EyePatch Company”. He believes that many will follow his lead and poke out one of their eyes to eliminate the suffering of having to look at things in 3D. His new company makes it possible for those that have poked out their eye to make an elegant fashion statement.

“Moshe Dayan would be very proud to know he inspired my line of eye patches” said Mr. Beercan. At last, there is a solution to the imposition of 3D by Hollywood and consumer electronics industry oppressors like Sony who are trying to force people to look at 3D movies! We can all teach these evil companies a lesson by poking out our left eyes.

When asked “why the left eye”, he said “who would poke out their right (correct) eye?”.  “Clearly, the left eye is the wrong eye. If God had given us two right eyes then we wouldn’t be forced to poke out our left one, now would we? Of course, I would expect the media to be totally biased and on the side of those that think people should be forced to see 3D.”


This is a complete made up fake story that never happened. However, many people have posted such negative comments about 3D that it inspired me to create this fake news article. I am not making fun of those who have suffered an eye injury and I am not advocating self mutilation of any kind whatsoever and especially anything related to harming vision. This article was meant as satire much like that of The Onion. If anyone finds it offensive I apologize. Also, I cast no negative aspersions on people with the name “Beercan”. I also do not intend to offend anyone that enjoys beer or any alcoholic beverage. This article has no political slant and any inferred association with a political party or media outlet is in no way intended. The reference to Moshe Dayan was not meant to imply anything or any endorsement of anything. I do not hold the opinion that there are any conspiracies at work with regards to Hollywood or Sony or any other consumer electronics manufacturer. This fake article does not represent my opinion about anything. It was written completely with the intent of being a joke, being satire, being nothing more than a thought provoking message of the absurd. If I am barraged with more than two dozen complaints, I will remove this post from my blog as it is not my intent to provoke negative reaction. For those of you in the eyecare field that read my blog, I hope this humor can be received in the way intended. I am so appreciative of all of the work of vision professionals that aid people with their vision every day. Perhaps it is callous to make fun and jest about losing the sight in one eye and I am willing to thoughtfully consider anyone’s comment to that effect. I am doing my best to make as clear of a disclaimer as possible but am more than willing to consider all criticism in terms of what may or may not be appropriate sarcasm for a blog of this nature where topics of importance like Strabismus are mentioned and discussed. I had many reservations with regards to posting this, and I almost did not post it… but I think that it can be read in the manner in which it was intended – as sarcasm – to make fun of the vitriol that many are unleashing on 3D cinema that is not warranted. By that I mean “all 3D is terrible” and words to that effect.

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Five Useful Tips For 3D Motion Picture Makers

First, to be honest I’ve given a lot of thought to giving up my multi perspective work for two perspective cinematography. Schlepping around a dozen or more cameras does get tiresome at times and the thought of only two… Naw, on second thought multi perspective is in my blood. But a little two camera work here and there makes for a nice diversion!

For those of you making 3D motion pictures, I have five tips for you to think about.

Tip One
Eye tracking research shows that for any given scene, your audience has a lot more to look at and notice in 3D than they do with 2D. Especially when you have a larger depth of field people scan the background looking for things. Camera movement will emphasize objects behind the main object of interest especially if they have some amount of dimensionality like cars or boxes or people. Therefore, don’t be in a hurry. Linger about three times longer for a given scene than you would when shooting 2D. Your audience will appreciate it. Fast cuts are very disconcerting for 3D audiences. It is like yanking away a toy from a child before they are done looking at it. It doesn’t make them happy!

Tip Two
Don’t shake the camera. Spatial reality is MUCH stronger with 3D than with 2D and if your visual world is shaking and your body (specifically your inner ear) isn’t, then your audience will get queasy and might even puke! Forget about those Star Trek scenes with camera shake in 3D — unless you really WANT to make your audience sick. If you MUST shake the camera, make it very quick and follow up with a scene with ZERO camera movement.

Tip Three
Glide the camera left to right if the shot goes from a higher perspective to a lower perspective and glide the camera right to left if shooting from a lower perspective to a higher perspective.  The brain responds better to clockwise motions, especially in 3D. A gliding motion adds motion parallax cues that heighten the 3D experience and help to offset conflicting 3D cues such as accommodation/vergence decoupling. (Don’t believe me? Ask any neuroscientist.)

Tip Four
Avoid crushed blacks and blown out whites. While artistic and cool when used for 2D work, you end up creating false context for 3D imagery. In the real world, our pupils change size to accommodate luminance changes. We don’t normally see crushed blacks or blown out whites and it wrecks havoc with maintaining binocular disparity and good vision fusion. It can be a great effect for 2D but it is not so great for 3D.

Tip Five
Keep your lenses CLEAN! Dust or moisture on one lens and not on the other lens or Dust on both lenses creates false binocular rivalry. This is a terrible thing to deal with in post and can ruin the whole shoot!  Have OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) when it comes to keeping your lenses in pristine condition. At times, the effect can go unnoticed initially. It is a danger that lurks in the shadows that can bite you in the rear end with a vengeance!

If you like these tips, or if you don’t like these tips, let me know! I’d love to hear from you in the comments.


Filed under 3D, binocular rivalry

In 1838 Wheatstone Opened Eyes To The Physiology Of Vision…

My friend Gregg Favalora, principal at Optics for Hire in Arlington, MA posted a thread on the linkedIn Non-Glasses 3D Display Technology group about how amazing it was that Sir Charles Wheatstone “started our field with just one sentence in 1838”.  This really got me thinking…

Creating 3D illusions and the study of the physiology of vision has been going on for at least 173 years within the scientific community. Present a slightly different perspective of something to each eye and bada bing it can be perceived with spatial information. Even if those two perspectives are imaged on flat surfaces (drawings or photographs) depth is perceived. That was a pretty cool observation in 1838.

While the physiology of vision is indeed fascinating, I am much more intrigued by what the brain is doing with the information that is provided to it. I think it is time to move on from the thinking of the nineteenth century and the obcession with physiology. 

Did you know that other senses (like feeling heat or hearing certain sounds for example) play a role in what people characterize as vision–or have some effect with regards to what is perceived visually. Blind people see things with their mind. Some people see words and letters with color (synesthesia) and some people see little color. Some of this is physiology but the part that is purely brain processing provides new scientific pathways to explore in the 21st century.

The Star Trek oil filter visor worn by the character Geordi La Forge may one day be a reality that offers a completely new way to see and perceive the world. (it probably won’t be made from an oil filter though…)

What if we could perceive sound visually? Or “see” the wind? What would expanding or compressing our visual abilities with regards to color, luminance and spatial components do or offer?

There is much to do and accomplish in our lifetime. Wheatstone set the bar pretty high, but we should all strive to set it higher! There is much to learn. And guess what? I’m still trying to perfect AMPED 3D photography well over 100 years after 3D photography was invented! The whole 3D industry still has a very long way to go before we deserve the word “perfection” used to describe what is the present state-of-the-art. I, for one, don’t believe we will get there until we have a greater understanding of the role the brain plays in seeing the space between things.

What do you think?

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My visit with Dr. Pradeep of NeuroFocus!

Meeting with Dr. Pradeep, founder of NeuroFocus

What does neuromarketing have to do with AMPED 3D™ photography?

A Lot!

About 25% of the brain is involved in processing things that we see. And when we engage our ability to see things in 3D, areas of the brain light up that don’t light up when we look at a regular 2D photograph. There is enough data already existing to support the premise that 3D photography not only engages us with novelty, but that it can also engage us emotionally and trigger many responses in our “older brain” that influence behaviour in amazing ways. This explains why mothers cry with joy when looking at an AMPED 3D photograph of their baby or small child. Look at this woman’s reaction about 9 seconds into the video as she suppresses the onset of an emotional response looking at an AMPED 3D baby photograph:


Then she engages her “new brain” and struggles with how to describe and interpret what she is seeing. Clearly, it isn’t the “pop out” factor or novelty that moved her. It was a much deeper “old brain” emotional response to what she was seeing. This is where neuromarketing is helping me to make better photographs that are emotionally satisfying and moving in ways that talk to the subconscious mind.

A great deal is dependent upon how the photograph is constructed. The subject matter and how the subject is portrayed in context. How the subject is lighted, the dynamic range and contrast of the photograph and even the colors depicted all interact with how the brain “sees” a 3D photograph.

By studying neuroscience and reading books by Dr. Pradeep and other leading neuromarketing experts I am gaining insight that is proving invaluable to my efforts towards making more effective AMPED 3D photography a reality.

Stay tuned for upcoming blog posts that reveal what I am learning about how your brain looks at my photography. If you own a company, you might want take a look at my new blog: about how your customers look at my photography.

By the way, I highly recommend Dr. Pradeep’s book: The Buying Brain for anyone interested in learning more about neuromarketing and how the brain interprets things.

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