How 3D Actually Works

3D is, if the television, film and game industries are to be believed, the future. Whether they're right or not is still up for discussion, but just in case they are, you may as well know how it all works.

Here's how the three main types of displaying 3D images in the modern era work. The top one, anaglyph, is what you will have used in the past, and may still use on select novelty products (including games). The middle one is how you will have seen Avatar at the movies, and how most upcoming 3D television sets - and Sony's 3D firmware for the PS3 - will work.

The bottom one, Parallax Barrier 3D, is the future, allowing 3D images to be projected without the need for those stupid glasses.



    *brain implodes*

    The red/blue glasses, although they produce the ugliest image, are the most practical for home use.
    You dont need a 3D tv to view the image. But the colours and image quality is horrible!
    'Final Destination 3D', 'My Bloody Valentine' and 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth' are proof of this.

    The second method, as seen with Avatar, give a fantastic image and great colours, but for home use isnt that practical. You cant lie on the couch to watch TV. Just tilting your head sideways will cause the image to blur because the horizontal/vertical orientation of the glasses will be out of line with the screen image.
    Also, requires a 3D tv to work. Rather than the first option where the left and right image is shown at the same time, with this method the two projectors rapidly alternate. Eg: left eye, right eye, left eye, right eye.
    Is good at the cinema when the digital projectors run at very high frame rates, but current 3D tv's have very low frame rates (for 3D display, but fine for regular viewing) so the image is very jittery and hard to watch.

    The third option, no glasses, has the same problem as the second, PLUS you have to remain within a certain distance and very limited viewing angle to the tv.
    Too bad if more than one person wants to watch something.

    Personally, I dont believe 3D tv will take off at home for a long long time.
    Its all a big push right now for the up and coming Avatar home release.

    The only avenue I see is targeting gamers.

      The 2nd method wasn't used for Avatar. The above is linear polarisation, where as Avatar used circular polarisation.

      The primary difference is you can tilt your head (even hand upside down if you wish) with circular polarisation.

      Many people are using twin projectors in the home with polarisation filters and RealD

        Id like to know just how many people is 'many'.
        Id say next to none.

        "The primary difference is you can tilt your head (even hand upside down if you wish) with circular polarisation."

        I don't believe that is true. Circular polarization doesn't produce an infinite degree of viewing angle. It's still just two images that you need to keep your eyes level with.

        But if what you're saying is true, I would be fascinated and would appreciate being able to read where you got the information.

    And none of these work for some people whose brains don't merge the two images, such as those with a "lazy eye" or convergent squint or somesuch. As I understand it, because the eyes aren't perfectly aligned, the brain never develops the ability to merge the two images into one and the person sees much the same as a person with one eye (ie lower depth perception but they adjust). Except they can switch eyes. My wife is one such person. Apparently it helped tremendously when she was in the army and shooting (targets).

    Also not mentioned here, is the method which uses shutter glasses to filter left and right images to each eye.

    nVidia 3D Vision uses this method, and while it's still not ideal, as you're wearing LCD glasses that are slightly more bulky than polarized lenses.

    New TVs coming onto the market, will start to support higher refresh rates, making them compatible with LCD shutter glasses for 3D viewing as an option.

    And the glasses themselves should continue to become lighter and cheaper.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now