2D to 3D Conversions.This page requires a monitor width of at least 1000 pixels in order to see both images for cross-eyed stereo viewing. Since the photos also have large vertical dimension, it helps to toggle the "full screen" view (F11 in Windows). However, if you haven't mastered that viewing method, these pictures may also be appreciated as 2D flat photos. All are © 2008 by Donald Simanek.
For instructions on free-viewing 3d by the cross eyed method, see the How to View 3D page.
Fake Stereo.The current proliferation of 3D movies has stimulated significant improvements in computer software to facilitate conversion of 2D source material to 3D. It is now less expensive to convert a 2D movie to 3D than to make it properly, from scratch, in true stereo 3D. Anyone can now buy such software (and some is free). Most such tools have a steep learning curve. Several commercial services can do the job for you, for a price.
Fireworks.One of the challenges of still photography, especially stereo photography, is fireworks displays. Consider:
In 3D you have the problem of stereo baseline. Since the fireworks are so far away, the usual 2.5 inch stereo baseline is nowhere near large enough. So you will need to use two cameras separated farther apart, always aimed at the same place in the sky. If the fireworks are one mile away, you'd need a baseline of 176 feet to satisfy the 1/30 rule. And don't forget, these cameras must have synchronized shutters.
Many years ago I experimented with this method, using two identical Kodak Pony film cameras on either end of a 10 foot alumimum bar. The fireworks were on the other side of the river, about a mile away. It was a windy evening, and the cameras were somewhat shaky, even though on tripods. This is clear in the way the bursts' streamers are deflected by the wind, the streamers being "wiggly". I considered the experiment a failure, and did not return to it.
So what can be done if you want better 3d results such as this?
I took advantage of an offer of three free 2D to 3D conversions that came to me by email. I submitted this picture as a challenge, fully expecting that the conversion would be a dismal failure, or that they would take one look at it and give up. The complicated intermixing of three colored bursts, and the nice white spots that give a sparkly effect ought to confuse the heck out of automatic 3D conversion software, or so I thought. But when I got the results back a few days later, I was amazed.
I've long been lukewarm to 3D conversions, whether they are movies or still photos. But there are situations where they may be the best solution to an otherwise difficult 3D scene, or when you have only a 2D photo of a scene you can't reshoot.
The other pictures I submitted for conversion included a portrait (very good results) and a visual illusion (failed miserably). I don't hesitate to recommend that you take advantage of their trial offer of three free picture conversions. I can't guarantee how long that offer will last.
For information, see William3d.
The bottom line for successful fireworks stereos isfake it.
Other conversion examples.
Though William at William3d.com charges $160 per conversion, he clearly takes customer satisfaction seriously. One of the pictures I sent him was a severe test, one of my visual illusion drawings of impossibly intermeshed gears. The conversion failed to achieve my desired result, but William could not have known that. Even though I didn't ask, he went to the trouble of a doing a second conversion, which came out almost as I intended. You can see my own earlier 3D version, done the hard way by hand with a CAD program, on my 3D Illusions page.
When you might need conversions.In view of the high price of 2d to 3d conversion, who needs it? It is not likely to find a market for family snapshots. If you pay that much money the picture has to be worth it. There are some good reasons:
Does a photographer design his own cameras and build them from scratch? Photographers used to do their own darkroom work, but most used commercial photofinishers. Few ever made their own film and sensitized paper (though a few did).
Did the artist or photographer create the beautiful nature scene he reproduces? Did he grow and nurture that beautiful flower? Did he arrange those clouds artistically? Did he design and build that great piece of architecture in the photograph? Did Andy Warhol design that soup can he painted. Should he get credit for the painting? Did the can label designer get any credit or monetary reward when Andy sold the painting?
I've always been contemptuous of the "art" community's standards and values, which strike me as arbitrary and artificial. Some artists are able to make forgeries that even experts can't tell from the original. I can understand that this is a theft of intellectual property, not to be condoned. But what does it say about the self-proclaimed "experts" who sometimes can't tell the difference? The forger is borrowing an idea and a conception from the original artist, but also bringing a high level of skill and ingenuity to creating a result that successfully duplicates the paint, canvas, age and style of the original. That requires a skill level even the original artist may have been incapable of, and ought to be worth some respect.
This "philosophical" issue really becomes tricky when you consider that the 2d to 3d process can, in principle, be used to convert an actual 3d stereo original to a "better" stereo result. Perhaps you wanted a greater interlens separation for enhanced depth, but your camera couldn't do it. If it were an action picture, the option of a cha-cha picture isn't available. A conversion could fix that and create a prize-winner! I don't know whether the conversion services have caught on to that possibility yet, but I suspect one day they will.
Stereo pictures for cross-eyed viewing 3d Gallery One.