Category Archives: autostereoscopic

Is there a secret problem with depth maps?

It sounds like a great idea to utilize a depth map to extract information and control the depth depicted in an image or series of images. It sounds great for converting a 2D image into a 3D image. It sounds like a great tool for plenoptic cameras to interpolate the data into imagery with depth. Alpha channels are great to use for transparency mapping – so a depth map should be equally useful, shouldn’t it?

Take a look at this depth map:

icedepthmapThis is a depth map created from a plenoptic camera shot of a bunch of ice bits. It is a grayscale image with 256 shades of gray to depict the parts of the ice that are closer to the camera and the parts of the ice that are farther away from the camera. This information is used to adjust the depth of those bits that are closer and farther away by stretching or compressing pixels.

Now check out a rocking animation that uses motion parallax to depict the depth (items closer to you appear to move differently than items that are farther away).


Right away you can notice a few errors in the depth map, and for complex images this is typical and can be edited and “corrected”. But there is something else. Take a close look at the parts of the image where the depth map is seemingly correct. Sure, you can see the depth but does it really look like ice? If you are like me, the answer is no. Ice reflects and scatters light in a way that is unique for each perspective. Indeed, there IS binocular rivalry where one eye sees light reflection and distortion that is not present in the other eye’s perspective. This disparity tells us something about the texture and makeup of what we are looking at. Stretching or compressing pixels eliminates this information and only provides depth cues relating to the spatial position of things. For most people, I suspect it is reasonable to assume that this creates a perception conflict in their brains. There is something perceptually wrong with the image above. It does not look like ice because the light coming off of the two perspectives looks the same. A depth map does not provide information regarding binocular rivalry and creates errors as a result. Errors that can’t be fixed. Herein you see the flaw in using a depth map. It throws away all of the binocular rivalry information. In other words, it throws away the information between perspectives that is different.

In my opinion, depth maps take the life out of an image. It removes important texture information which, I believe, is gleaned from how light shifts and changes and appears and disappears as you alter perspective.

This is the secret fundamental flaw with depth maps. Now you can subjectively look at the image above and deem it to be cool and otherwise amazing. That is all good and well, but the truth is that, compared with looking at the real ice, it is fundamentally lacking and does not depict what is seen when you look at the ice in real life.

So, people ask themselves if this is important and some will say yes and some will say no. And there are many examples where you could argue both points of view. I don’t have an argument with that. My position is only to point out that this flaw exists and it should not be ignored.

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Filed under 1, 3D, 3D Photography, autostereoscopic, S3D, stereopsis, stereovision

Amped 360: Featured Attraction At Boston Tattoo Convention



The standard for tattoo imagery is about to change and Almont Green is out to change it. Coming to the Boston Tattoo Convention, rotational imagery display systems and do it yourself training will be part of a huge AMPED3D exhibit at the show. A fifty camera AMPED 360 array will be set up to capture tattoo images for rotation in addition to information on how rotational images can be created using a single camera and uploaded to the website for display on Facebook and easily embedded within websites. Giant hologram type AMPED3D images will also be on display at the show and available for purchase.  “Right now galleries across the globe are still using photo albums to display 2-dimensional images of their 3 dimensional artwork. With 3D and 360 degree rotational imagery now available, it’s a natural next step in the evolution of tattoo imagery to use smartphones, tablets and display systems to take portfolios to the next level. “– Almont Green,

Click and drag to rotate (or swipe with finger) to see the effect! 

One innovative tattoo business, “Visions Tattoo & Piercing” of Medway, MA already understands the importance of this concept and will be displaying their work on a custom designed rotational monitor system at their booth. “We want both new and existing customers to be able to see our work the way it was meant to be viewed.”- Canman, Visions Owner & Artist

During the show rotational image display systems, training programs and rotational image web hosting options will be available for purchase.  Amazing hologram like AMPED 3D images will also be on display at the event and available for sale at special pricing.





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Amped 3D images are images you can see into. Amped3D photography, created by the artist Almont Green, is accomplished using a unique combination of complex camera hardware, sophisticated proprietary software, materials and painstaking manufacturing techniques. Digital images are precision aligned, processed, and printed with a modified high-resolution printer with each perspective occupying a vertical strip 1/2000th of an inch wide. An amazing, world’s highest resolution 30″x30″ human skull image that comes right out of the frame will be on display and available for purchase.

The result of years of work, Almont Green developed AMPED 3D photography with the help of neuroscientists, brain research centers, vision experts and leading technologists. The images simply must be seen in person to be believed!

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Filed under 1, 3D, 3D Photography, autostereoscopic

I am presenting a paper at SPIE January 25, 2011 at 5:30 PM Paper 7863-49

SPIE (the International Society for Optical Engineering)  See: is holding a conference on 3D imaging from Jan. 23 – 27 in San Francisco, CA. My paper and presentation: “Human perception considerations for 3D content creation” is about the problem of perception conflicts as they relate to 3D imagery and what to do about them.

I first started thinking about this when I saw an old lenticular photograph of Queen Elizabeth. The photograph could be viewed with stereopsis but the Queen looked like she was dead. Watching the movie Beowulf, while not in 3D, also gave me the creeps as the characters had a dead aspect to them. I noticed some 3D lenticular photographs of people presented with a doll-like character. I then started to notice things in 3D movies that didn’t seem right. When details disappeared into blackness or got blown out to white I noticed an uneasy feeling while looking at that part of the 3D presentation.

Indeed, every time something was presented in 3D that was atypical or not possible to see in the real world, I could detect a feeling of conflict present at some level in my subconsious and I started to manifest a sensitivity to it with regards to recognizing when it was happening.

All of these observations got me thinking about the various mechanisims that we use to see and interpret depth, space and texture. Certainly vergence is the primary mechanism, but as I became more aware of supporting clues like accommodation, motion, luminance dynamic range, binocular rivalry, field of view and so on, I came to a realization.  I realized that when non-vergence depth clues weren’t complementary that those elements or perceptions in conflict required suppression to continue viewing without some sort of physical effect occurring (typically unpleasant such as headache, nausea, etc.).

My paper is a start to the investigation of the importance of supporting perception cues as it relates to stereovision.

*Vergence is the simultaneous movement of both eyes in opposite directions to obtain fixation and the ability to see depth.

*Accommodation is the automatic adjustment in the focal length of the lens of the eye to permit retinal focus of images of objects at varying distances. It is achieved through the action of the ciliary muscles that change the shape of the lens of the eye.

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Filed under 3D, 3D HDR, 3D Health Issues, 3D Motion Picture, 3D Photography, autostereoscopic, binocular disparity, binocular rivalry, HDR, High Dynamic Range, Perception Conflicts, S3D, stereopsis, stereovision

Perspective Interpolation – Specularity and Refraction Problems

So, how about converting 2D to 3D or converting two perspective 3D into multi-perspective autostereoscopic… Technology certainly should easily make that possible, right?

The answer is a bit complicated. Because for some images it is quite possible to achieve excellent results. Unfortunately, for many images and scenes it truly is impossible to create accurate 3D from 2D and/or interpolate additional perspectives for autostereoscopic displays.

Case in point? Look at the animation below:

In the background painting there are tiny bits of highly reflective particles embedded in oil paint. These dots of light reflect bright points of light depending upon the perspective. They “come on” quickly as you change perspective because of the paint occlusion where you see them in one eye but not the other. Any program that interpolates views would not know what to do with a picture like this. Morph the dots of light? In real life, they don’t morph, they pop on with the light brightening as the perspective angle changes.

Now, take a close look at the glass gems. Notice how their specularity is influenced by the perspective position relative to the background?  Notice the refraction as you see the background through the transparent glass. Unless you modeled the gems in a 3D program and rendered them, there would be no way to interpolate with a pixel warping program what is going on with the look and texture of these gems as they change perspective.

What happens typically with a conversion is an abysmal mess for items with specularity and refraction. It looks 3D for sure – but in no way is representative of reality. And this is the conundrum. There is no uniformity or consistency with regards to 2D to 3D conversions or 2 perspective to multi perspective conversions. It is completely content based and the results are dependent upon the subject matter.

Binocular disparity and as this example demonstrates, binocular rivalry where one perspective contains elements not visible in the other perspective create monumental problems for conversion.

The solution? Shoot multiple perspectives. And this is the path that I have been forced to take to create consistent and uniform results. Indeed, fewer than 10 perspectives does not yield quality, uniform results in my humble opinion. Can fewer than 10 perspectives work? The answer is yes if what you are photographing has no specularity or refraction properties and the texture is smooth and uniform. But as an artist, I find that restriction way to limiting and live in a world that consists mostly of refractive material (water) and glass and gems and metals. Indeed, just look around and the world is filled with specular and refractive content.

Even portraits pose a problem because unless the person has extremely dry eyes, they glisten as the moisture that coats the eye creates specularity and refraction. Of course, if you don’t have a close up or reduce the resolution then it isn’t that noticeable. But here again, as an artist I find that too limiting.

I do not understand the willingness of people to ignore these problems. While it is true that in many cases specularity and refraction are subtle and nuanced. But given that 3D mimics the way we see real life, shouldn’t 3D be subtle and nuanced? Perhaps the gross over emphasized poke you in the eye effects are doing the potential of 3D a disservice?

That’s my view. But what do I know?


Filed under 3D, 3D Photography, autostereoscopic, S3D, stereopsis

The mediocrity of most 3D lenticular prints is so realistic that it leaps off the image and completely ruins your day!

What does a person say when they are presented with a 3D image where the only redeeming quality of the image is that it is in 3D? I find it disheartening to see so much BAD 3D content. Indeed, my own work could stand improvement – but when I look at what is out there I really cringe.

I think this is a big part of the problem with the acceptance of 3D imagery. There just isn’t a high level of quality. So many are focused on the effect of 3D that they completely ignore things like good image composition, lighting for 3D, telling a story within the photograph and just creating something that is compelling to look at and study.

A good 2D photograph does not a good 3D photograph make!  With a 2D photograph you use lighting and perspective to create a sense of depth and drama. It is the abstraction that stirs the interpretation of the image. Everything about a regular photograph (2D) is processed in the brain through interpretation. If emotion is evoked from looking at a 2D photograph it is through the process of drawing upon what we have seen before and making comparisons of a sort. We make the connection through interpretation and referencing it to other things we have seen.

This dynamic falls apart with 3D imagery. For most 3D images, you notice the “gimmick” of 3D. “Look! Something is sticking out of the picture!”, “Wow, isn’t that amazing!”, etc. But like all gimmicks, they get old fast. When people try to create a 3D image using the same process as that for 2D images a problem surfaces. When we see with stereopsis (3D) we are engaging a part of human perception that relates to seeing things that are real and have a sense of occupying space. Our brain doesn’t try to interpret, but rather seeks to first experience and evaluate what we are seeing. Our brain asks: Is this image real? And then it starts a process to determine the realness which for most 3D imagery takes about a second. So, the first impression is negative (not real) and the level of interest typically fades in a dramatic fashion. “You’ve seen one 3D image, you’ve seen them all”. 

This process doesn’t exist for 2D imagery as there is no expectation that it could be real.

So, two solutions exist to the above problem. Option one would be to make every effort to have the 3D photograph appear as real and accurate as possible. Option two would be to find a way to make it obvious that the image isn’t real and have the brain process the image as referential just as it does with a 2D image.

Both options are extraordinarly difficult to achieve. And herein lies the artistic challenge of 3D imagery. My approach, to date, has been option one because I believe that until one throughly understands how to perfect option one — that option two will be significatly more difficult. I am experimenting with all aspects of multi perspective photography with the goal of achieving a type of viewing engagement that is perceived with “realness”.

Next up for blogging?  How to achieve “realness” with 3D photography.

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Filed under 3D, 3D Photography, autostereoscopic, S3D, stereopsis

How 3D Imagery Links Einstein, Perception, Brain Function, Emotion and More

My study of autostereoscopic imagery , like the layers of an onion, continue to reveal more and more – like Einstein’s theory of relativity. The surprising connection between 3D imagery and space/time theory has captured my imagination. The single biggest difference between a “regular” photograph and an autostereoscopic photograph is the depiction of the space between things. That depiction exists in an autostereoscopic photograph and doesn’t exist in a regular photograph.

When we see and perceive space, we are also experiencing time. Photons of light move through time as they move through space. The time component of stereopsis vision was important for our ancestors – to interpret the speed of the danger moving towards them to determine a fight or flight response, as one example.

But it goes much deeper than that. Seeing the space between things is a component of perception that gives meaning to where we exist and our relationship to the world and our ability to interpret the concept of time. Perhaps, that explains the flood of emotion those that gained stereopsis vision later in life all have reported. The ability to more directly experience the space/time component of our existance sounds pretty compelling to me as something to get emotional about.

Can the real space/time that exists in reality be captured in an autostereoscopic photograph? Of course not. And I don’t think it has to, since our eyes don’t capture everything. But I do think it is critical to incorporate into the photograph what our eyes are able to capture. Because when the brain has to do special gymnastics to make sense of what it is seeing then its ability to translate the imagery into something that makes sense is jeopardized.

Thinking about the above, my approach has been to study what the differences are between true reality and what our eyes and brain are doing to interpret what is real using the equipment that we have.  In that way, I can determine what is important to be included in an autostereoscopic photograph and what isn’t so important. I have discovered many things with this approach that aren’t obvious on the surface. For example, the brain expects certain disparities from the left eye to the right eye. When those disparities are exceeded, the brain makes a big deal about it (giving us a headache for example). When those disparities are too similar, then the brain rejects the imagery as “real” to a greater or lesser extent depending on the content of the imagery.

As to the relationship of time with the space depicted – that has yielded some fascinating areas that I am keen to study in much greater detail. It seems that we do have the ability to make sense of a frozen moment of space/time even though it isn’t anything we would ever experience in real life (or is it?). Many autostereoscopic images illicit emotions associated with looking at dead things. I don’t think this is a coincidence. And I believe the reason for this goes much deeper than simple association of things that don’t move to dead things.

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Filed under 3D, 3D Photography, autostereoscopic, stereopsis

What’s Happening?

I received the go ahead to begin work on the worlds largest high resolution AMPED 3D™ photograph to be displayed at the entrance to Boston Logan Airport’s terminal C. After scouting many locations, one scene will be shot from the end of the runway as the jets take off with Boston in the background. Another scene will be a life size view from the ramp to the open door of a jet (to be determined actual make/model/etc.

I will be using my array of Canon 5D Mark 2 cameras in a custom configuration and there will be a lot of post processing and compositing so as to maintain as much detail as possible with such a large print (twelve feet in length). The image will be viewed from approximately 10 feet away as people pass by it exiting/entering the terminal from the lower level.

The day I was supposed to begin shooting, I had to fly to Kansas for my Mother-In-Law’s funeral and the day after the funeral my father was rushed to the emergency room for blood clots which later turned into a diagnosis as terminally ill which I had to help organize 24/7 care. So, needless to say things got delayed.

Hopefully,everything will be rescheduled and back on track in the first week of September. I will be posting more information soon. However, I am already thinking of ways to accellerate my acquisition of H4D Hasselblad 60 megapixel cameras to build my next system. I am presently talking with various investors – and if you know anyone, you might put them in touch with me! I will be trying to put funding in place by the end of the year so that work on my system can begin in Sweden at the factory.

More coming…

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Filed under 3D, 3D Photography, autostereoscopic