3D Photography- Stereoscopics & Storms!

Posted by: _Chris_

3D Photography- Stereoscopics & Storms! - 30/05/2010 22:39

I donít know how many of you have tried out, or experimented with stereoscopics (and if anybody has, Iíd love to hear about your experience and ideas!), but for those who havenít, I thought Iíd share some resources and information about how easy it really is to shoot in genuine 3D. With the speed at which Avatar and other 3D movies have exploded into our lives, and the first of the 3D TVs making finance companies that little bit wealthier, thereís no doubt we havenít seen the last of it yet, the only difference being unlike a $4000 TV, stereoscopics hardly even puts a dent in your small change jar!
Now, as I sort of forgot about when I tried to show some basic shots today at the SA catch-up, it does take a while to ďteach your eyesĒ how to do it. Some people pick it up in less than five minutes, but for others like myself, it can take a couple of days to be viewing them 100%, but when you get to that point, you donít even need glasses to see 3D just as realistic as Avatar.
Now you donít even need a special camera to take them. Even most phone cameras will give you a good enough result, as itís not what you shoot your subject with, but how you shoot it. The basic theory behind this and most illusions of depth is that they mimic what the eyes do. The eyes see two slightly different images, essentially the same thing, just 65mm to the side of the other. That 65mm is just enough to triangulate the distance of an object, compare it to other objects, and thus perceive depth. A stereograph is the same thing. Two separate images are taken. The composition remains the same for both of them, the second one is just taken a little to the side of the first, and when viewed through a stereoscope (or the naked eye), the brain can judge depth. Now the key to getting it right is to keep the continuity between the images. The only difference should be the subtle angle. This limits you from shooting fast objects like a car (without a multi lens camera), because if objects donít match up in the images, it just confuses your visual processing, and spoils the rest of the illusion.
To achieve a good demonstration of depth, Iíve found that you need to pivot at least one degree around the subject. This will be just a couple of centimeters for something like a person in the same room. This is also where you can start to go further than what human vision is capable of. When you view very large or distant objects (like an approaching cold front, or a mountain range), the separation of your eyes just isnít enough to perceive any depth, leaving them looking flat. By taking the two pictures with a separation of at least one degree, you can artificially give them a perspective of depth. Imagine looking at a storm cell like it was a miniature in your hand. It would be a whole new way to appreciate structure. The key to this though would be speed, trying to cover the distance of a degree, without the cloudscape changing too much. To cover a one degree between photos of an object thatís 1km away, you need at least 17.4m, and for something thatís 10km away, 174m. Remember to keep continuity between the photos though, so perhaps shooting wide, then cropping the two images to remove uneven foreground material, and match size and composition. Ultimately, for me it would be amazing to see lightning this way. Lightning, unless very close, often looks very flat. It would be a way to really appreciate the shape and structure of lightning. To capture lightning though would of course take two cameras operating simultaneously, coordinated by two people.
After taking your images, the best way to view them, as well as train your eyes, is with a simple stereoscope. Very simple instructions of how to build one, along with more information on stereoscopics can be found here- http://www.funsci.com/fun3_en/stscp/stscp.htm . I built one with plastic advertising board, and cheap reading glasses for next to nothing, that works perfectly. If anybody wants one, Iíd be happy to post one up for the parts and postal cost only (probably $15-$20, just PM me). You can also view them straight on the screen and get the full 3D experience, although this does take a trained eye. Just put on a pair of reading glasses, set your eyes back around 30cm from the screen, and place a piece of cardboard or thin book on end between your eyes and the screen to divide the two images. The images also should be printed no larger than 6cmX9cm. Images larger than this force the eyes to diverge. This size also means that the two photos that make up one image can be printed on one standard 10cmX15cm printed.
Below are a selection of images Iíve taken over the last couple of days in 3D. My intention, when the opportunity presents its self, is to start taking some 3D pictures along with the normal photos and videos while chasing, and as I do so, Iíll share them on here. Until then, I hope you enjoy!

This last one is the result of experimentation. The original lightning pic was only a single image, so Iíve taken an image taken before the strike with a slight angle difference, then copied the lightning sky onto that. Then Iíve altered the bolt slightly by stretching the distant parts of the bolt slightly to one side, then Iíve done the same to closer parts of the bolt, just a little more stretched, stretching it more the closer the bolt is, mimicking the way closer objects have a greater visual difference between eyes. The results are quite promising so far, and could become quite realistic with further refining.
Posted by: Helen

Re: 3D Photography- Stereoscopics & Storms! - 31/05/2010 06:59

Nice work, Chris. For me, photos 2, 3 and 4 have worked best with the treatment, with the standout being the windmill. I can adjust my eyes automatically on a good stereoscopic image (no need for more glasses here wink ) as I can with Magic Eye pictures.

Flickr has some extraordinary examples of stereoscopic and 3D images (red and cyan glasses needed) that one could get lost in all day. smile
Posted by: _Chris_

Re: 3D Photography- Stereoscopics & Storms! - 31/05/2010 13:39

Thanks Helen, your right too, there are some really insperational examples on Flickr. I've taken a couple more while in the hills this morning. These will probably be the last non weather images I post on here, and hopefully I get the oppertunity for something dramatic soon. The first one I feel is the most realistic I've done so far.

Posted by: Astro_man

Re: 3D Photography- Stereoscopics & Storms! - 31/05/2010 21:15

Nice work Chris, and thanks for the tute. Very helpful.... hmmm the ideas are pouring in already....
Posted by: _Chris_

Re: 3D Photography- Stereoscopics & Storms! - 31/05/2010 22:55

Thanks Astro, I think the simplicity of it leaves it open to any number of ideas. I've gone through some previous pics trying to find compatible images. Two (four) from a waterspout a couple of months ago seem to have some depth to them. I would be over the moon to shoot something like that again specifically for stereogram grin

Posted by: Unstable

Re: 3D Photography- Stereoscopics & Storms! - 01/06/2010 03:27

Well done for launching a thread on this topic in such a comprehensive manner Chris smile I'll attempt the challenge of seeing the above pairs in stereo later today if my eyes are up to it. I probably have a pair of stereo glasses somewhere - I'll see if I can unearth them.
On this page
there are two photos of the same cg taken from the same location, by Dave (Strike3) and Teckert respectively. There are doubtless many other such "pairs" of photos on the WZ forums. They'd need some adjusting for different camera settings etc which is way out of my field.

Posted by: _Chris_

Re: 3D Photography- Stereoscopics & Storms! - 01/06/2010 11:46

Actually Unstable, once you crop and resize evenly, it works pretty darn well. There's not quite a degree difference on the bolt, but there's still more depth than natural human vision... and they're amazing images too! There is already a preference in the human eye for one to see a slight reddish hue, and the other slightly more blue (due to having slightly more red/blue cone cells in each eye, demonstrated by blindfolding one eye of an artist and having them paint the same picture twice, with alternating eyes.), so the slight color difference between the two pictures is no problem at all. I'm not going to post any edits without the permission of Dave and Tim, but it was an excellent idea Unstable.
Posted by: teckert

Re: 3D Photography- Stereoscopics & Storms! - 01/06/2010 19:18

fine by me Chris..... geeze US - did you just somehow remember those shots or what?????? That was almost 5 years ago!!! (bloody hell how time flies) Still probably in my top 3 lightning photos too...
Posted by: Unstable

Re: 3D Photography- Stereoscopics & Storms! - 02/06/2010 07:49

"geeze US - did you just somehow remember those shots or what??????" - I remembered writing a post asking if anyone could get the two images to work as a stereo pair but nobody rose to the challenge. I used Google to locate that post. By the way, I just put "geeze US - did you just somehow" into Google to see whether it had scanned the WZ forums since yesterday and it found your post - I wonder if it's routinely scanning the WZ forums every day?
I wonder if there are a few similar pairs of photos taken when you and Hillsrain and perhaps others were on the summit of Hillsrain's hill photographing at night? Remember that spectacular storm which slowly came in from the west on a Saturday evening a few years ago? You went down to Hillsrain's place. I don't recall where our other photographers went.
I've started the process of training my eyes Chris - it will take a little while to learn the trick smile
Posted by: teckert

Re: 3D Photography- Stereoscopics & Storms! - 02/06/2010 09:25

Yer I reckon Dave & Tim have very similar photos... mine werent as good without a decent long lens...
If you scroll to the top of this page and see 'who's online' you will see 'spiders'.... thats why you would probably find this post of mine on Google within minutes of me posting...
Posted by: Dave (Strike3)

Re: 3D Photography- Stereoscopics & Storms! - 06/06/2010 13:30

Yeah no probs here Chris, use it...
Posted by: _Chris_

Re: 3D Photography- Stereoscopics & Storms! - 06/06/2010 13:52

Cheers Tim & Dave, very much appreciated. They're fantastic pictures! Anyway........

Also, an attempt at shooting crepuscular rays. I'd love to shoot the "Jacobs Ladder" type in stereo.
Posted by: Unstable

Re: 3D Photography- Stereoscopics & Storms! - 07/06/2010 05:00

Chris I speculate that for weather-related stereoimages and their viewing to gain a foothold on WeatherZone, there needs to be a matchup between the method of presenting the stereophotos, and a cheap, easily purchased and effective type of stereoviewer. The simpler the method the photographer can use to prepare and post the pairs of stereoimages, and the easier members can obtain stereoviewers to look at them without getting eyestrain, the more success.
I wonder what good stereoviewers suitable for looking at stereopairs on monitors are easily purchased in Australian shops or on the internet?
PS I've just been browsing this website which describes some different stereoviwers http://stereographer.com/viewers.html
Posted by: _Chris_

Re: 3D Photography- Stereoscopics & Storms! - 07/06/2010 08:00

Unfortunately, the only methods mentioned on that web site that work directly off a standard monitor are the side by sides that I've already been posting, and the anaglyphs. Methods like the first one mentioned use a combination of polarized light on the screen, and polarized filters in the glasses. A standard monitor has no way to polarize light. This is why the new line of 3D-TV's that do this cost 4K. Anaglyphs on the other hand are easier to view, however there is quite a loss in color range. The other viewing mediums that arenít slides or transparencies are just other ways to view side sides, however lenses specifically designed for the purpose may provide some advantage?
Posted by: Unstable

Re: 3D Photography- Stereoscopics & Storms! - 07/06/2010 09:26

Thanks Chris for your response. As soon as I get some stereotime I'll do some more study on the subject.
Happy stereophotographing smile
Posted by: bigwilly

Re: 3D Photography- Stereoscopics & Storms! - 10/06/2010 18:37

I first came across stereoscopic photography when we had some aerial photos taken for work. You could pin the stereocope images to a notice board (the images were probably 12" square) and study them quite indepth. After years and years of the Magic Eye books, I can immediately get the stereo effect on the images above.

The second time I came across it was on a photography forum/board; it was a bloke experimenting with nude models. The results were quite titillating to say the least!!! poke

A bloke I know who owned a camera shop in my old town actually pursued this with some vigour. He made up a jig that sits on one's tripod. After taking the first photo, you simply unlocked the camera and slid it along the jig to a variety of positions, depending on distance from subject. I never actually saw any of his photos, but the theory sounded good!
Posted by: Unstable

Re: 3D Photography- Stereoscopics & Storms! - 11/06/2010 08:41

Bigwilly do you have an opinion on what is the best way to display 3D weather photos on these forums? Is it stereopairs as above, or perhaps 2 color anaglyph images, or some other way? What would work best for you and your eyes?

On the topic of anaglyph images, the Wikipedia article I've just been reading would probably be informative for anyone like me who is learning about modern 3D from scratch

Does anyone know where in Adelaide I could purchase a pair of anaglyph glasses like these?

Posted by: bigwilly

Re: 3D Photography- Stereoscopics & Storms! - 11/06/2010 12:44

For weather images, where colour cast and hue are important, I think stereoscopic images would be the way to go. It can get hard on your eyes if you don't have a stereoscopic set of glasses, but providing you don't try and go through pages and pages of them I don't really think it would be much of a problem at all.

It has been my experience that you loose a lot of detail and quality through anaglyph images.

Also keep in mind there's two ways to look at an image in stereoscope:

Cross-eyed and Wall-eyed

The image below uses wall-eyed for the top and cross-eyed for the bottom. In the past I have only ever used cross-eyed, but just now - and it took me about 15 minutes to get it - I got the wall-eyed image.

Lady on bus

Once you get it, I think the wall-eyed gives a better picture and isn't quite as taxing on the eyes as cross-eyed.
Posted by: Unstable

Re: 3D Photography- Stereoscopics & Storms! - 13/06/2010 06:58

Thanks Bigwilly for posting your views on what is the best way to display 3D weather photos and the lady link smile
When Helen returns to posting I hope she has a look at the bus lady - she says she can see stereo by eye without aid - see if she likes wall-eye or cross-eye best.
I'm going to get a pair of anaglyph glasses and try that method on some anaglyph photos because my 60's eyes are usually a bit strained by lengthy sessions on the computer so I'm reluctant to stress them out trying to either cross or wall them smile
It would be good to see stereo weather photos developing a significant presence on the Weatherzone forums.
Posted by: Helen

Re: 3D Photography- Stereoscopics & Storms! - 13/06/2010 08:11

I should mention that when looking at these photos, I don't actually go cross-eyed (or wall-eyed) per se, but rather have a shift in focal perception. So the examples of that "Lady on bus" image are a real beauty for the 3-D effect in both... and at the same time, too. smile
Posted by: _Chris_

Re: 3D Photography- Stereoscopics & Storms! - 13/06/2010 10:51

Thank you for your thoughts bigwilly. Would the aerial photographs be taken a great distance apart, and thus have very exaggerated depth. I've seen old air force stereograms taken in this manor before in a small museum. Still on the subject of other viewing mediums, when I produce a stereogram, I'm also filing away the two original pics in full resolution. This means if I decide to, and find a method to, I could publish them later as an anaglyph for instance(and I might start publishing an anaglyph along with steriograms from now on if I can find the software to produce them). I also wonder whether 3D home entertainment will someday become as mainstream as flat screen and DVD/Bluray is today, and if in a number of years, there is simple software to render your own 3D photo disks. At least when this technology first arrives, we could be the first with any material. On another note, that rig sounds like a fantastic idea bigwilly.
Posted by: bigwilly

Re: 3D Photography- Stereoscopics & Storms! - 16/06/2010 11:55

Chris, I can't recall the specifics (such as altitude and distance between cameras) but whatever they were they did lead to a slight exageration of depth within the images.

I don't imagine such a rig would be too hard to knock up either. It would just be a case of determining your distances and the easiest way to lock your camera in place.
Posted by: Things

Re: 3D Photography- Stereoscopics & Storms! - 24/06/2010 21:26

Going cross eyed is almost natural for me, didn't even take a second to see the stereo image.

Stereo lightning is a good one, nice work! smile
Posted by: nitso

Re: 3D Photography- Stereoscopics & Storms! - 14/12/2010 16:56

Hmm I've just noticed a crappy Aiptek 3D digicam going on special for $239.00 + postage. I can't imagine it smacks of quality, but even a cheap 3d image processor might be worth the wow value when it's taking video from a gust front or a tropical cyclone smile

I don't have much cash (I've splurged on better weather monitoring equipment this season with a wireless Davis VP2, Kestrel 4000 and associated PC goodies) but I reckon I might be able to find another couple of hundred for a 3D digi cam. Any thoughts ppl??

Posted by: nitso

Re: 3D Photography- Stereoscopics & Storms! - 14/12/2010 22:32

Nope scrap what I just wrote, it appears as though a lot of people were unhappy with that cheap digi above. It turns out Aiptek have been misleading ppl. Apparently 30fps is 11fps and 720 HD is lower than 640 res. I think I might just hold onto my $200 for a few months yet. There are some reasonably cheap 3D digi camcorders that should be out early next year in the 500 - 600 dollar mark (hopefully before the end of the cyclone season).
Posted by: Unstable

Re: 3D Photography- Stereoscopics & Storms! - 19/12/2010 11:42

Thanks for posting that info Nitso. I didn't even know there were such things. Hopefully the technology will rapidly improve and by the time you decide to buy there will be good ones on the market smile .
As always a reminder to everyone considering purchasing a new camera to read reviews on reliable camera websites, and ask for opinions on reliable forums etc before you take the plunge.
Posted by: core puncher

Re: 3D Photography- Stereoscopics & Storms! - 19/12/2010 14:10

I seen on a TV show this morning (volume was muted as i was moderatelly hungover) but they had a section on 3D tech, Had a Lumix dslr with a optional 3D lense and a 3D vidcam also and then linked the footage through a toshiba 3D lappy. end results looked good through one eye, Pitty i wasnt able to find the energy to dig under the pillow for the remote.
Might do a little research later on the show and the products reviewed. It was on NBN at around 10ish am.