Refers to a variety of technologies that provide a real-life 3D visual appearance that is displayed in print, in a computer, in the movies or on TV. The 3D in this context, also called "stereoscopic imaging," "stereo 3D" and "3D imaging," differs from 3D graphics, 3D computer-aided design (CAD) and regular 3D animations. Such images may be rendered as 3D objects, but viewers clearly do not sense real depth. See 3D graphics and solid modeling.|
With 3D visualization, people, animals and nature seem truly alive as if the viewer could walk right into the environment. Even 3D cartoon characters seem more real. However, 3D visualization is not just for entertainment; the more realistic a 3D training session, the greater the test of a person's reactions.
Virtual reality is a type of 3D visualization that is used in space flight simulators as well as games and entertainment. Wearing 3D goggles, the illusion of reality comes from interacting with physical wheels, dials and pedals, as well as being immersed in a 360-degree environment. Such systems may employ traditional 3D rendering or may use 3D visualization methods as described here. See virtual reality and 3D goggles.
Creating 3D - Stereoscopic Images
The creation of 3D is accomplished by capturing the scene at two different angles corresponding to the distance between a person's left and right eyes (roughly 65 mm). When the stereoscopic (dual) images are directed back to left and right eyes, the brain perceives the illusion of depth. The stereo frames are displayed together but separated by colors, by polarization or by rapidly alternating the frames. A pair of 3D glasses corresponding to the method filters the left image to the left eye and the right image to the right eye. For more details, see 3D glasses.
3D still pictures date back to the 16th century when "binocular" images were viewed cross eyed. In the 1800s, stereoscopic viewers were developed (see stereoscope). Today, 3D stills are created with a 3D camera or a 3D lens on a regular camera.
In the 1950s, the first 3D movie theaters used the anaglyph color method, and the audience wore paper glasses with red and blue/green lenses. This has been superseded by add-on equipment to the movie projector that polarizes the left image onto the screen differently from the right image, and the audience wears polarized glasses that filter each image to the correct eye. Although alternating frames and LC shutter glasses deliver perhaps the best 3D experience, the cost of the glasses prohibits their use in a public venue. See 3D glasses.
3D on Computers and TVs
In 2009, NVIDIA introduced its 3D Vision display adapters, turning 3D games into stereo 3D experiences eagerly welcomed by gaming enthusiasts. In that same year, Texas Instruments added 3D to its DLP rear-projection TV technology. Within a year, other TV manufacturers launched 3D models.
Both computer and TV rapidly display alternating left and right stereo images, requiring the viewer to wear LC shutter glasses. An emitter mounted near the screen transmits infrared signals to the glasses, which open and close the lenses in sync with the stereo frames (see 3D glasses).
Various "auto stereo" methods divide images into multiple blocks and display them as if coming from several angles to provide an illusion of depth without the viewer having to wear 3D glasses. Used in shopping malls and retail stores for advertising and promotions, such equipment is costly, and the 3D illusion varies.