Amazing! 3D pictures without special glasses

Below are some amazing pictures that look 3D without you having to wear any special glasses!

How does it work? The most significant factor which contributes to depth perception is bionocular disparity–it’s the fact that your left and right eye, because they’re separated by a few inches, see a slightly different picture of what is in front of you. Your brain integrates these two pictures into a coherent vision but it uses the difference between the pictures to give you a sense of depth. To see what I mean look away from your computer screen across the room. Alternate closing one eye than the other; notice both the difference between the pictures from each eye and also that with one eye closed the world seems flat.

Most 3D pictures achieve their effect by showing a slightly different picture to each eye. The old fashioned red and blue glasses did it by color filtering; the modern day 3D movies use oppositely polarized lenses.

Below is a new technique I’ve never seen before: by alternating the left and right eye image fast enough your brain integrates them to give you a sense of depth.

[Claud pointed out in the comments below that these images work equally well with one eye closed, so it's probably not binocular disparity but instead motion parallax that causes your brain to perceive depth. Motion parallax is the change in relative position of objects in the foreground and background as you move. Lean left and right as you look across the room and notice how the objects nearest to you change position relative to objects further away. Basically, the images below are simulating movement even while you're sitting stationary at your screen tricking your brain into perceiving depth.]

HT to abduzeedo

24 responses to this post

  1. [...] Increíbles imágenes 3D sin necesidad de gafas!  tasteoftomorrow.com/2010/06/14/amazing-3d-pictures-without-g…  por nofacefarmer hace 2 segundos [...]

  2. Nataraj Subramanian says:

    Hi. Nice article. If the switching between the images is fast enough to become un-noticeable to our eyes, would we then have a truly 3D image? Or would it appear as a plain image as we can’t see switching at all?

    Or what if the switching was fast enough to be noticeable but not very obvious?

  3. Shetty says:

    what nonsense!!!

  4. Gattu says:

    what nonsense is it??
    Whats wrong with your sensory faculties.Have u gone crazzzy???

  5. joeschmoe says:

    interesting idea….but staring at that is painful.
    How fast can you alternate before the human-eye is no longer tricked in this manner? Does it defeat itself at the point that its fast-enough for the eye not to notice the jerkiness?

  6. I haven’t seen this technique before either. I like it. I use a technique where the right eye and left eye photos are placed side by side. To see the 3D effect, the viewer “crosses” his eyes so that the right eye focuses on the photo on the left and the left eye is focusing on the photo on the right. It may feel a bit funny at first but there is no rhythmic motion effect.

  7. Ed says:

    Yup – it works! Pretty cool. Too bad it gives me a headache :(

  8. jaysunn says:

    Very interesting.
    Thanks for the cool post.

    jaysunn

  9. Stu says:

    I know this has been done for quite a while but I’m going to name it now.

    I officially name this effect wigglygifs. It’ll be called that forever even when not using gifs.

  10. krschacht says:

    @Nataraj: Thay’s a good question, it would be worth experimenting with different speeds to see how that impacts the effect. I suspect that if you increase the speed a lot the effect will break down because of persistence or vision, but that’s just a guess.

    @MrWordPress: I’ve seen that effect you described, that’s another good one. I had forgotten about that one. It’s the same principle the Magic Eye posters use (www.magiceye.com), but a lot of people have trouble crossing their eyes just right to get the effect.

  11. Jack H. says:

    It was done on The Colbert Report this past April. :)

    http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Stephen-Colbert-Takes-On-3D-18211.html

    Although, the effect on the show was a bit more seizure-inducing.

  12. colski says:

    There are thousands of 3D images at my website http://www.start3d.com, which uses a similar but much more refined animation to reveal the depth.

    We call it “Piku-Piku” (which means, roughly, “jiggling” or “twitching”).

  13. krschacht says:

    @colski: Impressive! Very interesting that you use motion parallax without stereopsis and it’s still convincing for the brain. This is the first I’ve ever seen this effect before. Thank you for sharing!

    @Jack: Ha, loved it! Colbert was hilarious.

  14. Claud Snowden says:

    Since this effect works even with one eye closed, the explanation cannot be binocular disparity. It is more of an enhanced parallax effect.

  15. krschacht says:

    @Claud: That’s a good point. You’re right, it does work quite well on these pictures with one eye closed so it must be motion parallax.

  16. Amy Mossoff says:

    (From your one-eyed friend): I can’t be absolutely certain, but I think I can see the depth! These images do have more depth to them than I’ve ever seen in a painting or photograph. I’ve never seen any kind of depth on any “3-D” image before, so this is exciting! When I turn my gaze from the image to reality, the real world looks “flat” for just a split-second, but then it regains its “depth.” My current theory is that I do manage to have a good deal of depth-perception, but that my brain (mind?) has to integrate many more factors than you two-eyed folks to achieve it. While looking at these images, my brain rests and I have to restart the integration when I look back at the real world.

    Maybe.

    Can I have my Geordi LaForge glasses now?

  17. krschacht says:

    @Amy: A few comments above someone linked to start3d.com, try that one and see if that one works for you.

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  19. Amy Mossoff says:

    I did look at the images at start3d.com and could see some depth to them, but not as much as these on your site. I’m not sure what you mean about start3d not using stereopsis because it doesn’t seem that these images depend on that either. Both seem to rely entirely on motion parallax, no? But I’m not sure why start3d doesn’t look as 3-d to me.

    I obviously do have some depth perception, but I find myself coming back to these images over and over, wishing the real world looked like that to me.

  20. krschacht says:

    I agree, it does seem that both rely entirely on motion parallax, however I did some experimenting yesterday with the images above slowed down (the rate of switching) and the 3d effect was not as dramatic. I can’t entirely explain that, I wouldn’t think that speed would matter if it were motion parallax.

    It’s fascinating to hear that it doesn’t require two good eyes to work.

  21. Quora says:

    How does the the 3D screen for the Nintendo 3DS work?…

    Not related, but kind of – 3D image illusions: http://tasteoftomorrow.com/amazing-3d-pictures-without-glasses/…

  22. krschacht says:

    I believe the Nintendo 3DS presents a different picture to each eye by using a special (lenticular?) film over the screen. I haven’t seen a 3DS yet, but usually the film has vertical ridges. The film causes all the even pixel columns to be directed to one eye and all the odd pixel columns to the other eye.

    This usually requires that you look at the screen straight on, if you were to look at it from an angle it probably doesn’t work.

  23. okay so I spent the last 20 minutes searching for the same template you’re using and can’t find it. Didn’t want to have to ask but really would like to use it for my blog, could you let me know? I’ll check back here soon for any replies. Thank you

  24. krschacht says:

    I didn’t make these myself, check the link at the very bottom of my post for the source. But you should just be able to make a two frame animated gif that loops. Most graphics apps can create those. Good luck!

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