Stereoscopic DIY

Aug 28 2003 Kelly Norton
A few weeks ago with arm painfully twisted, I went to see Spy Kids 3-D. It is not a movie I would have picked if left to my own devices, but I was attending in compliance with someone else’s devices so that took care of that. And, to be honest, once I had about five minutes to consider the last time I saw a 3d movie my devices began to sway. Plus, if nothing else, there is the promise of walking out with a pair of completely useless cardboard-framed glasses, which I will gladly take over the beaten-out-of-sixteen-bucks-and-given-zilch-in-return feeling I had when I left Bruce Almighty. While I’m not going to pour praise onto Spy Kids, I did find it enjoyable. The plot was what you would expect, kid friendly and predictable. The acting was for the most part non-distracting, except for Sylvester Stallone who did perform as expected. The ending was about as uneventful as they come. And yet, none of that matters though when you are a nerd watching a movie set in a virtual world. I did think they did a great job of creating the fictional world inside of a video game. This is also, of course, when the audience was told to don their glasses and take part in the unconscious dodging and swaying that is inevitable when it appears that a tire has just flown out of the screen in your direction. It is priceless watching kids reach towards the screen only to get a handful of their neighbor’s hair.
On the way out, I was feeling pretty good about the movie and concluding that I would even watch it again if given the chance to do so at a reasonable price when subject of 3d movie technology surfaced. I think the original question that Steph posed was something along the lines of: “How do they do that?” As the holder of an engineering degree, I am obligated to answer even if I have to make up something and pad it with enough scientific jargon to distract from the original question. My reply was lengthy and went something like “blah blah perspective blah blah polarization blah blah blue on left blah red on the right blah left right blah not present in conventional theatres blah.” I was happy with it until the next day when I began to wonder if I could make my own 3d movie-esque still images. I figured if nothing else, Steph might actually believe my theory if I could produce an image of my own. Plus, I happen to have just come across a pair of cardboard-framed glasses which were destined for the garbage can if I couldn’t put them to use. After a little head scratching, a little googling, and a great deal of photoshopping; I was starting to see some results. When I finally stumbled across the term anaglyph, my search for help got a little easier. I looked pretty funny browsing around the web wearing my cheap 3d glasses trying to drive away the nauseous feeling you get when your eyes don’t know what the hell you are doing to them. So if you happened to have saved your glasses after seeing spy kids and want to look at something completely pointless and unimpressive, here you go:
anaglyphic cubes