We are going to show you how to make 3-D photos with any digital camera and some free software. We will also explain how 3-D photography works and as a special treat, we havve got a gallery of 3-D gadget photos to view along with how to make 3-D photos from NASA images.
Before we get started, we figured it would be good to explain why 3-D photos work.
Humans over time have evolved with many capabilities which offer an advantage over non-humans (at least for now) opposable thumbs for gripping stuff, big brains for figuring out stuff, and Binocular vision for seeing two points of view at the same time. This allows us to perceive depth (i.e. see things in three dimensions). The ability to tell if a tree branch is 3 feet or 3 inches away is pretty important, as is being able to tell if that lion is 30 yards or 30 feet away. Both our eyes are on the front of our faces and each see a slightly different view of the same thing. Close one eye, then close the other, you’ll notice there’s a slightly different view of the same thing. Our brains put these together so get a 3-D image of our surroundings.
Anaglyphs, the type of 3-D photos we’re going to make, do the same thing by tricking our eyes into doing the same thing they normally do, just with a flat picture. The anaglyph is a single image (usually black and white) that has red/blue “outlines” on it which, when viewed with 3-D glasses, appears to jump out at you. The image gets processed so each eye sees a slightly different view and our brain combines them to give the effect of depth perception.
If you have 3-D glasses handy, look at a color wheel from any image editing program, you’ll notice that the red areas are bright and the blue areas are dim when viewing through the red lens, and the opposite is true when viewed through the blue lens. This effect gives the images depth, lighting, and the overall 3-D effect in our brains.
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