Tag Archives: 3d

Why Stereoscopic 3D Fails

Why doesn’t the world embrace the illusion of S3D?

It is perhaps the most compelling visual effect that exists for cinema. We have many examples of illusions that become giant successful adaptations. What is it about S3D that keeps holding it back and generates considerable negative press and reviews?

In my opinion there isn’t a singular simple explanation. That is probably the reason for varying degrees of failure in a world of elevator pitches and split second decision making.

Two views, while sufficient to create a compelling illusion, do not fully satisfy the confusing foray S3D makes into the blurring of referential imagery and what I call experiential imagery. We are used to seeing multiple perspectives and on being able to converge our eyes and focus on a specific point in space (unless, like this fellow you are crossing your eyes).

We are used to having multiple confirming points of reference substantiating what we are looking at to be what we think we are looking at.

Some of the many simple explanations are:

–when the reason for looking at something isn’t compelling enough to look at it, then it is going to fail to get attention

–many people do not have normal stereovision

–the ability to suppress perception conflicts is not uniform across the population

A more complex explanation:

–requires education in the field of neuroscience.  The following questions must be addressed:
–How does the brain fuse the input from two eyes into a singular image that depicts space?
–Do we perceive the space between things or do we truly experience it with our vision system?

Many scientists argue that our entire visual system is an illusion that the brain creates, and doesn’t represent reality in the way we think that it does.

The mistake of picking a single simple explanation in terms of success or failure is perhaps the reason S3D comes and goes. The saying: “if you build it they will come” does not always hold true.

So, why choose a career in 3D?

Given the above, why would I choose a career creating imagery that depicts the space between things? Because it is possible to create compelling images to view. It is possible to suppress perception conflicts. Many people DO have normal stereovision. Using science and knowledge of neuroscience it is possible to take advantage of the illusions of the brain.

But the main reason I go forward: art.

As a friend of mine is fond of saying: The Earth without art is simply “Eh”.



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AMPED 3D Exhibition May 18 – 20 At NYC Tattoo Convention

The following images will be on display at Roseland at the New York City Tattoo Convention.


and more…  The exhibition will be in the basement at Roseland. For information on the NYC tattoo convention go to http://nyctattooconvention.com

All of the above AMPED 3D images are either life size or larger than life size. Prizes will be given away at the event – for more information check out http://amped3d.net


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The Growing 3D Backlash / 10 Problems…

Anyone who doesn’t appreciate the negative sentiment regarding 3D has their head in the sand. The main issues regarding negativism in no particular order are:

1.) Some people can’t see 3D at all. They have lazy eye or strabismus or some other vision problem. Maybe as much as 15% of the population have difficulty with 3D or can’t see it at all.

2.) Some people have difficulty seeing 3D – especially BAD 3D that forces the viewer to cross or align their eyes in an atypical manner. They leave the theater with a headache or eyestrain. (This percentage of the population is likely higher than 15%)

3.) The “3D” aspect to the movie is purely gratuitous with poke you in the eye visuals that have nothing to do with anything. The addition of 3D does not make the movie “better”.

4.) Wearing glasses, especially wearing glasses OVER glasses is a drag. Plus, it is a good possibility that the glasses are damaged or scuffed or dirty and in many cases very uncomfortable to wear.

6.) Poorly calibrated projectors and an overly dark image, in many cases, diminish the experience.

7.) FAKE 3D! There is simply no technology that makes it possible to create “perfect” 2D to 3D conversion. The overwhelming majority of conversions are just plain bad. Ask yourself this: if part of the image is obscured by something in front of it, how can you magically make it appear? You can’t. You have to fake it and create an approximation of what you think it probably looked like. Outside of some major production like Star Wars with huge budgets for conversion, do you really think the money will be spent to do a first rate conversion job?

8.) 3DTV. There are so many problems. TV size and glasses and available content and different standards with varying quality and now the “promise” of no-glasses 3DTV “coming soon” just to confuse people about what might be available and that there might be some simple upgrade to their existing set.

9.) Speaking of 3DTV… the hype over sports is a FAIL. Content producers are ignoring consumer complaints about the players looking like “dolls” or “chess pieces”. The 3D is typically unnatural with depictions that subliminally suggest the viewer has a giant head.

10.) Poor content. 3D should be an equal production component to the whole program. How much depth and how it is depicted is hugely important. Stability between left and right views is hugely important. Evaluation through eyetracking the length of time a scene should remain on screen is hugely important. Imagery breaking frame out of context and jump cuts to different perspective and depth relationships are all bad ideas. Producers should ask themselves: “why should this scene be in 3D?” and then go about the details based upon the answer to that question.

Enough with the “Avatar this” and “Avatar that”. What worked for Avatar doesn’t guarantee that the 3D moniker has any value. There is something special that happens when people see with stereopsis and fuse two perspectives into a single perspective with depth. Things take on a realness quality that needs to make sense in the context of 3D imagery. Stereopsis takes up a huge portion of the brain’s processing and most oversimplify the complexity to an enormous degree.  The fact that the brain can take a crude approximation of two perspectives and interpret it to something that can be perceived with depth is a quantum demonstration of the brain’s plasticity to make sense out of imperfect visual input.

I am spending a great deal of time looking under the hood to understand what the brain is doing when it processes multi perspective input. Without this understanding and appreciation of the problems, there is a distinct possibility that the push back against 3D could grow and severely limit its success. This would be very unfortunately because 3D has astonishing potential to visually engage and inspire and change people’s lives in terms of expanding the human experience of what can be perceived.


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