Tag Archives: 3d glasses

We don’t see with our eyes? What?

Ladies and gentlemen, we do not see with our eyes. Indeed, humans can see without eyes.

That sounds pretty idiotic doesn’t it?

But it is a true and proven fact as compared with opinion. Some elaboration: Our brains are responsible for our perception of vision. Our eyes are only data collection devices that transmit information to our brain for interpretation. Without a conscious brain, we see nothing. With a conscious brain, amazing things are possible. Take a look at this:

Scientists are currently hard at work finding ways to interface data collection devices to the brain. I could site numerous examples of people perceiving vision where electrical impulses activate regions of the brain. One experiment had a profoundly blind person “see” braille patterns. Other experiments using cameras as eyes are currently under way. Another experiment made it possible for a person to see color using audio stimulus from a resonating implanted chip to bone interface.  We can extend our ability to perceive things beyond the limitations of the data collection devices we are born with.

There are human instincts motivating us to extend our perceptions as they relate to self-preservation, pro creation and nutrition. Without those instincts we would surely be extinct by now. Our ability to perceive the space between things is extremely useful. Eyes spaced apart facilitate increased recognition of motion, useful to determine potential threats. It widens field of view and aids in our ability to reduce near field of view obstructions like leaves and vines by having two eyes horizontally spaced apart. Ever notice how the brain automatically prioritizes the eye that has a less obstructed view?

An important point is that the brain adapts to the data collection devices that we have. Where they deviate from the norm the brain adapts and we resist naturally anything that challenges our perception of the world, even if it differs from that norm. That’s why you hear people with compromised stereovision say that there is something wrong with 3D motion pictures. Their norm could be that they can’t easily fixate both eyes on a single point in space. Perhaps they have compromised accommodation adaptation. Most will argue strongly against any suggestion that their perception of the world is compromised (ego/emotion).

What’s this have to do with 3D glasses? 3D glasses facilitate data collection for those with the ability to process the data (which is most of us). Of course, there will be push back from those without this capability and the bias will be to say there is something wrong with the glasses or 3D and not something deficient with the person! That’s one part of the push back and it is significant. The second part is related, and it has to do with the benefit and reward associated with going to the trouble of putting the glasses on. Movies that force the eyes to splay apart or remain crossed for extended periods over the course of a 90 minute movie will create discomfort because the brain doesn’t like that. It deviates from the norm. Eyestrain is brain induced in the same way stress creates back pain. The brain likes to tell us when things aren’t right. It’s called self-preservation and has helped to keep us from going extinct. Last, but not least, going to the trouble of putting on 3D glasses must offer a return on that investment in the same way any other add on device to our data collection apparatus would do. The benefit must be strong enough, or we will push back against it.

What are the signs of a low return on investment? If you hear: “wow that was cool” don’t be suckered into thinking you have a success. Anyone can have a “wow” reaction the first time they experience it. After some repetition, “wow” can quickly become boring. “Wow” does not equal long term value. “Wow” is fleeting. This is a partial explanation why 3D gains popularity and then wanes and then gains popularity and then wanes.

But getting back to the issue of the glasses… If there are superior data collection devices that are less cumbersome and provide greater accuracy and provide superior brain engagement then glasses will eventually be replaced by that method. Could it be hologram technology? Sure! Could it be something else? Absolutely! Predicting the future is a tricky thing. The superiority of any given enhancement for our perception data collection devices can be highly subjective and not always predictable. I read somewhere that Benjamin Franklin talked about the superiority of contact lenses and that someday everyone would wear them. Contacts have been perfected and perfected and are quite amazing. Why would anyone still choose to wear glasses when contacts are clearly superior?

Guess what? Most of the time we use emotion to decide things. Emotion can be irrational and go counter to logic. Ego and emotion are extremely powerful determiners of behavior. Emotion explains unexpected behavior and stereovision is tied to emotion in a different way than when we look at flat imagery. Generally speaking, the human brain has not fully adapted the illusion of motion picture 3D as it differentiates from everyday 3D perception. It is similar and dissimilar at the same time which can create perception conflict.

To the extent that, as artists, we can exploit human data collection devices, we can create art that engages in amazing ways. If it is compelling enough, people will find a way to pursue it!

Technology is a tool to use to achieve a goal. Where technology is lacking, humans will find a way to make it better if it is required to achieve a goal.  Each idea creates a new goal. If the technology isn’t working for you, get off your butt and do something about it! Everyone reading this has the opportunity to make a difference. Life is short – get busy!


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News? “Science Proves 3-D Movies Hurt Your Brain”

I came across this link:
3D Hurts Your Brain
 to a “news” article titled “Science Proves 3-D Movies Hurt Your Brain” and am compelled to comment.  How they go from the UC Berkeley study that says 3D movies CAN cause eyestrain along with headaches, to a headline that shouts: 3D MOVIES HURT YOUR BRAIN —  is nutty journalism. It is as if “3D movies” are all one thing.  That just isn’t the case at all.

If I told you to hold a pencil six inches away from your nose and stare at the eraser for an hour — guess what? That could cause eyestrain. And if a 3D movie has copious amounts of negative parallax (stuff coming out of the screen) and your eyes are trying to focus on the screen plane but converge much closer, then YES it causes many people to experience eyestrain.  If the scene has a lot of camera shake for those crash and burn scenes your brain will sense motion with your binocular vision but your inner ear will tell the brain you are sitting still. Conflicts of this nature create motion sickness. It is no different than spinning on a merry-go-round where your inner ear has conflicting information to other perceptions as you spin around.

It would have been more productive for the article to state that “poorly implemented 3D camera work can cause eyestrain and motion sickness in the cinema – especially if you sit close to the screen”. Of course, that wouldn’t be a sensational headline. Accurate perhaps, but not sensational.

I think if any alarm bells should be going off, it shouldn’t be about movies. It should be about video games where kids spend hours and hours in front of a computer monitor – soon to be 3D monitor, where perception learning and development can be effected. Again, use the stare at the pencil eraser example. Any atypical eye focus and direction for prolonged periods can’t be good. It is a type of vision therapy which is different from normal “view the world” seeing. Stare at a pencil eraser for hours at a time, day after day and it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out that you might create problems looking at things in the distance. You are “teaching” your eye/brain to constantly focus on a pencil eraser 6″ from your nose, creating a preference for that type of viewing. The eye/brain connection in this case would merely be trying to adapt to a vision requirement. 

In my opinion, 3D content will continue to improve and people will come to understand there is a difference between quality 3D and poor 3D.  Avatar was certainly much better technically than any other 3D movie to date. Can it be better? Yes! Could it be worse? Yes! There are many new technologies for 3D currently in the lab that will be amazing when they eventually come to market in the next five to ten years. Unfortunately, right now there is a bum’s rush to capitalize on Avatar’s success and there are all sorts of companies popping up claiming to do 2D to 3D movie conversions. That means there is going to be a lot of 3D crap coming to market.

Buyer beware!

3D is art and science, not a commodity or ingredient to be added on demand.

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What’s wrong with using those colored glasses to see 3D?

Anaglyph. Some say it was developed in 1853 by Wilhelm Rollmann in Leipzig, Germany. Hardly cutting edge technology by today’s standards.  The development and use of anaglyph imagery ignores the fact that separating color (a form of data compression) is a bad idea for human vision given the physical properties of the human eye. The human eye has limited color vision capability as compared to luminance or brightness. The inside of the eye has receptors called cones and rods with the cones providing the eye’s sensitivity to color. And the cones are primarily concentrated in a tiny area in the macula called the fovea centralis  in an area about one one hundreth (1/100th) of an inch in diameter.  Pretty tiny huh? But wait, there are three different types of color receptors with response curves weighted in relation to the primary colors red, green and blue. So the real estate in the eye for any given color is perhaps LESS THAN four one thousandths (4/1000ths) of an inch or about the thickness of a human hair – or a speck of dust.  So where you might think there were billions of these cones in the eye to see color, you’d be wrong.  For seeing the color blue for example, there are only about 140,000 blue sensitive cones.  Given that there are roughly 8 million shades of blue possible in a 24 bit image typical for a computer monitor you can see how that might be limiting.

So, here is Wilhelm in the ninteenth century with an idea that using filtered blue color in one eye and filtered red color in the other eye is a good idea for showing a 3D image. And here we are in the twenty-first century STILL USING IT!  It was a bad idea then, and it is a bad idea now.

But there is more. The brain now has to take a limited compressed blue color signal from one eye and  a limited compressed red color signal from the other eye and merge it into a binocular image and make sense of these weird non-natural signals from each eye to somehow reconcile to a natural color image. Like that’s going to happen? NO it isn’t going to happen! That’s why the color looks so muted and unnatural. IT IS unnatural! It is IMPOSSIBLE for it to BE natural.

With so much missing information it is not hard to understand that the nuance of color shift as presented from different perspectives in each eye is obliterated. This most definitely has an impact on the perception of 3D and it is no surprise that people have used every trick in the book to emphasize 3Dness as a way to compensate for all that is lacking with anaglyph.

Color, shading, texture, highlights, motion and parallax are all intertwined with regards to the information they convey to us. These properties together are essential for the formation of a natural binocular image that is merged within our brains.

To a lesser extent, polarized glasses also diminish the “realness” of 3D. But they do indeed have a negative effect in addition to the cumbersom dumb glasses you have to wear.

The solution is no glasses or glasses that have negligible color loss and minimal distortion. I’m not sure what those glasses would be. Perhaps some kind of optical correction for parallel or cross view images or shutter glasses with super fast refresh. But the preferred truest method is autostereoscopic or glasses free 3D.  The WORST is anaglyph.

This is the 21st century and it is time to demand BETTER technology for multi dimensional imaging. And it is time to demand BETTER multi dimensional imaging.


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