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Make 3D photos with any camera

Maybe you don't believe it is even possible. But you should. It's
possible and it is very easy. It is great to have a professional
equipment for making professional 3D pictures, but you will be
able to make good 3D photos by an ordinary camera or
camcorder. How to do it? We will tell you in this article.









Before talking about making 3D photos, let's talk shortly about what target we want to
reach how exactly will our spatial (3D) picture look like. Everybody knows an ordinary
photo - it's flat and it looks flat. 3D photo contains informations about the distance of
every object on the photo from the camera. That's the reason why 3D photo doesn't look
flat. But the title 3D is a little bit inaccurate these pictures are stereograms
(stereographs). You can see the objects on a stereogram in space, but you can't rotate the
stereogram and see them for example from the back. It's not real 3D record, it's 'only'
For taking 3D photos you can use any camera - a digital camera, film camera and even
a camcorder or webcam. It's similar to classical photo - if you have better camera (and
you are a good photographer) then you have better pictures. In 3D photography it's
necessary to transfer the taken pictures to the computer. It's easy if you have a digital
camera or a digital camcorder. If you have an ordinary film camera you have to use
scanner and with analog camcorder you have to use a special PC card for loading video.
The taken pictures are then modified in a computer with a special software - you can
find it on our pages. You can order - and download here - it's full version, but there is
limited FREE version as well here, which paints small circles and the text '3DJournal FREE' to the finished picture. You can see 3D photos through special glasses, which you
can buy with one of our subscribers packets. And one more important thing: We talk here
about 3D photos which are made with an Anaglyph method (with red/blue glasses) - it's
affordable for everybody. Similar procedures you can use for other methods as well. You
First steps of making of 3D photos are the same as by taking of standard flat photos.
You have to choose (or create) the right scene. To get 3D photo (stereogram) it's
necessary to take two pictures - one from the position of your 'left eye' and the second
from the position of your 'right eye'. It's easy. Just take a snap and then shift the camera a
few inches to the right (or to the left) and take second snap. You can use a tripod, but it
At the time of taking first and second picture the camera should be in the same height
and to have the same gradient. If you bend the camera in the time between taking these
two snaps, for example in the direction to the ground or to the sky (or in the way that the
scene is sloped to the right or to the left), it will be difficult to make final 3D picture (and
An useful advice how to shift the camera in the best way you can read in this article,










Preparing or selection of the scene is a little bit more complicated in 3D photographing
than in the case of normal 2D photos. To emphasize the 3D effect we recommend to
select a scene, where are objects of different distance from the camera. If you, for
example, take a picture of mountains far away, it's good idea to select a scene, where
there is a tree or a big stone in foreground. The tree or the stone then emhasizes the 3D
The situation is simpler in the case you take a picture of a room. There you can usually
find some thigs which are closer and some in longer distance. For example a birthday
When we are talking about children - there is one more important thing you shouldn't
forget. The scene can't change between taking of the two pictures (the left one and the
right one). If it changes then the two pictures don't show the same scene and creating of
3D photo is impossible. It could be easy to manage in many cases - people are used to be
still when photographed and they can stay still two or three seconds longer. But it could
be a problem for example with animals. In these cases you will need a special
After preparing the scene you can take the pictures. If you take a photo of a 'standard
scene', you should shift the camera (between the first and second snap) for 3 inches - it's
approximately the distance of human eyes. If you take
picture of objects which are in longer distance from the
camera, you can shift the camera more, in the case of very
near object you have to use shorter distance.
There are two recommended ways of taking left and
right pictures, but the first step is always the same: You
choose one point in the scene (a tower far away, a tree
nearby, your sister's eye). Then you can take the pictures
in this way: The selected point is exactly in the center of
the picture for the left and for the right picture. And the
second way: On the second photograph you shift the point
by the same distance you have shifted the camera. You can see it on the picture here.
(First way is A, second is B). Don't forget that if the point is far away and you shifted the
camera by 3 inches then the shift on the object far away won't be visible (we believe you
can't recognize 3 inches on the tower 10 miles away). So you can direct the camera to the

1) Select a good scene and then remember one point on
the scene (a stone, a man, a tree) and try to get it to the
vertical axis of the finder of the camera (look at the
picture here). Good idea is to 'attach' it to a sign in the




finder - for example to the cross in the center. Some cameras have special signs in the
finder - the time, the distance etc. You can use one of them.
3) Don't move your body - only the camera - by 2 - 3 inches.
4) Check the position of the selected point (the stone, the man, the tree) - it should be
in the same height on the vertical axis. Take a second snap.
One more very useful tip how to shift the camera in the best way you can find in this
If you can, then set the camera in the way it focuses all the scene. Cheap automatic
cameras do it usualy in this way. It's unsuitable to focus only the main object of the scene
Transfer your photos to the computer and start the program 3DJournal (you can
download it's free version from our pages ). It's easy to use. Just push the buttons at the
right edge of the window of 3DJournal - the first button, the second button, the third
First button loads the left photo, second one loads the right photo. Third button makes
3D picture. You should see mixed the original snaps and some red and blue 'ghosts'. Look
at it using 3D glasses. Isn't it OK? No problem. Let's make a few corrections.
Because of possible distortions by taking left and right photos by an usual camera
without a tripod we've build software functions to the 3DJournal, which are able to
correct most of the problems. You can use arrows to the up, down, left and right to shift
one of the images, you can rotate it to get the best possible 3D picture. You can also make
Detailed informations about how to use the program 3DJournal you can find in this
And that's all. We recommend to try to do a few photos with the same scene and with
different scenes. If you don't choose a complicated scene (very near objects, for example
in distance shorter than 2 meters) and don't make a basic mistake (a big shift of the
This article is about the basics - and there is lot of thing to be said further. You can read
it all in our other articles. Tips for making the best 3D pictures you can read in one of our
articles - and one more important hint about how to easily get 3D pictures here .
Dear Friends,
The number
of people
interested in
is steadily
because of its

magic: stereo
draws the
viewer right
into the
centre of the
would like to
their friends
and relatives,
the scenes
memories of
holidays, at
home and
abroad, their
activities or
simply their
in this way.
There is a
and pleasure
for you and
your friends
with the well
known plastic
(three D)
which can be
viewed with
special stereo
viewed with
glasses or
(and viewed)
with help of

filters, or
crossedeye 3Dglasses e.g.
or even
design or on
There is a
interest in
stereo video.
However we
are all limited
by the lack of
camera sets
to allow us to
capture stereo
snapshots and
shoot stereo
videos in a
simple way.
This, in my
opinion, is
the main
factor infl
Only logged-in subscribers can insert messages.
Return to the main page of the message board

This, in my opinion, is the main factor influencing and limiting further
growth of participation of amateur photographers in this field of
photography. It is possible to create stereo photographs using a single
camera; however it doesnt allow the taking of snapshots and prohibits the
shooting of videos. The world wide trend is obvious - the interest in stereo

photography and video is still growing. The production of LCD stereo

screens, on a lenticular basis, suitable for viewing stereo photographs and
videos is already in progress. The production of other more simple viewing
equipment (briefly mentioned above) has been taking place for some time
and it is possible to purchase various stereo glasses and stereo projectors. It
is also possible to acquire stereo photographs, stereo videos and even stereo
computer games. There is a wide array of stereo photos from all over the
world, and from Mars, available on the internet. Unfortunately, the most
important universal synchronised,



remote control stereo cameras suitable for close ups, distance pictures and
macro photographs are still not available on the market. It is this which led
me to completing a study, based on personal experience, to investigate this
field. My study defines the characteristics necessary for stereo equipment
suitable for both amateurs and professionals. This study aims not just to be
a guide for amateur photographers interested in the areas of stereo
photography and video but mainly as the first impulse for the producers of
photo technology and equipment. Who dares wins! If this study leads to
expansion in stereo photography and video then my work will have had real
meaning. I am a member of the 3DJournal club in the Czech Republic.
There are many similar clubs worldwide and they surely face similar
problems. I hope that this note could help to motivate them to further work.
Warm greetings to all interested in 3D-technics and to its producers from
Stereo (3D) photography and video It is possible to create 3D-photographs
using only one camera. The one unit is moved left and right or vice versa
and then shot using a 3D-base. 3D-base is the distance in which the camera
is moved; it is the average distance between eyes i.e. cca 65mm - 90 mm,
but a bigger distance usually provides a better final 3D-effect. In general the
distance between the two cameras should be about 1/30 of the distance from
the object to be photographed. Using this method one can only capture
static scenes as it is essential to have no changes between shots. Examples
are: rooms without any movement (people, animals) buildings (beware of
clouds, birds, flags) Any movement caused by people, wind, sea changes
etc. can cause considerable damage to the 3D-effect. Stereo video cannot be
created using this method. 3D-snapshots are also possible to create using a

stereo adaptor, but they are difficult to source and excessively priced. A
stereo adaptor is





A stereo adaptor is limited; you cannot create pictures in the usual ratio
(4/3). This is because it must accommodate both shots, left and right,
leaving you with a 2/3 ratio - portrait shape. The resolution is also halved
but the benefit is that you dont need the synchronization required when
using two separate cameras at the same time. A built-in flash can be used
when a stereo adaptor doesnt block the scene to be illuminated. This
prohibits the use of a stereo adaptor with most compact, built-in flash
cameras. It is also possible to use a stereo adaptor for shooting stereovideos. Another option is to use two cameras placed so the central lines of
their lenses are parallel in a distance of 3D-base, i.e. from the previously
mentioned 65 mm up to many meters if taking distant pictures of scenery or
on the contrary as small as possible while taking stereo-pictures in a macro
regime. Both cameras have to expose the shots at the same time this is
usually achieved by using a rem
a remote control. Stereo-video can be created using the same technique. To
create really high quality 3D-photographs (including snapshots, pictures
taken with flash and especially videos) it is necessary to synchronize both
digital cameras or video-cameras. Using the highest depth of field is the key
to achieving the finest quality picture. Therefore both cameras used must
have fixed focus lenses, or they must be used together with optical zoom
and shutter priority mode while set to hyper focal distance. This is the
only way to achieve a sharp image from half of hyper focal distance up to
infinity. (Hyper focal distance for certain cameras or more precisely the
focal distance of its lens is the distance of the focused photographed
object when everything from half of this hyper focal distance to infinity is
focused/sharp). The shutter priority can be substituted by pre-set scenes i.e.
scenery or panfocus which is in fact setting the optics to fixed focus for





for smaller distances from the lens. At the same time it is necessary to keep
the same zoom rates for both cameras. For snapshots where we do not have
enough time to set both cameras, cameras with fixed focus priority are
better even though it is usually possible to fix the settings (in this case the
shutter). The fixed focus option also has another advantage - the time
necessary for focusing, which with the high quality equipment can be from
a few tenths up to more than one second is eliminated. Synchronization of
two cameras using shutter release only is viable provided you choose
cameras where the time which elapses between the activation of the release
and real exposure is matching. This time can vary with different cameras.
This is complicated further when using flash as there are more time
variables. So the ideal situation is to use two fully synchronised cameras
when the control unit would control both cameras from a distance using
cable crossover, or wire
or wirelessly as with some cameras with remote or infra release controls.
(Take care when shooting video as the remote does not necessarily
commence shooting a video shot!). Right now according to this definition
the ideal cameras or video cameras are not yet available on the market. To
take pictures or videos in macro format it is necessary to have the 3D-base
as small as possible. Therefore it is necessary to place one of the cameras
head down so the optical centre lines of both lenses lay in one parallel
horizontal level as close to each other as possible. From the existing
cameras we can make minimum base from cca 22mm (for example Fuji
FinePix Z3 which on the other hand lacks the shutter priority and even
panfocus). That would correspond using the above mentioned relation for
3D-base (x30) with a distance from photographed 3D object of 66cm. In
reality it is possible to use a smaller coefficient (e.g. x10 which corresponds
with 20 cm) if we are happy with a narrowed f
with a narrowed final picture. The optimal characteristic and parameters for
the cameras used for stereo-photography of normal (stereo-base = 60 to
90 mm), far away (stereo-base bigger than normal) and macro (stereobase smaller than normal) would therefore be: 1) Optics fixed focus or
panfocus (settable for different distances) or shutter priority (with fast focus
for both cameras). 2) The width of camera as small as possible enabling use
of a small 3D-base for 3D-pictures while placing cameras side by side (65

to 90 mm).It is possible to compensate for this condition by placing one of

the cameras head down. 3) The distance of the lens central line from the
side of the camera should be as small as possible to be able to reduce 3Dbase (see item 2) and for macro-photographs. 4) Placement of the lens
halfway of the height of camera to enable the use of a simpler supporting
structure for cameras (while placing one camera in the opposite position to r





opposite position to reduce the 3D-base) or even better production of left
cameras with the lens placed mirror ways to the left (as though for left hand
people). 5) Addition of remote control shutter release (functional for video
cameras too!). Control unit connected with cable must not be joined on the
side of the cameras so as not to enlarge its operational width, best would be
to connect it from the back or front. In case of infra remote control it would
be suitable to place the infra sensor so it also functions from the back or
more precisely from any or settable direction. The optimal solution would
be control of both cameras totally synchronously by one common
programme. 6) All control functions of cameras except the release which
we cannot control directly but remotely only - should be available and
viewable from the back - this enables easy access in the position head
down. The shutter release can be in the normal position on top of the
camera so the devices are
the devices are usable separately for common mono-photography. 7)
Protrusions on the sides of the camera should not widen it unnecessarily
e.g. fixing point for a strap. 8) Thread for tripod is practically inevitable for
fitting the camera to supporting stereo-structure. 9) LCD monitor of at least
one camera should be clearly visible in all conditions (strong sunshine,
darkness). This would render the view finder pointless. 10) Resolution
should be minimally 3Mpix which creates pictures up to 10x15 cm. With
resolution higher than 3Mpix it is possible to create cuts from a finished
stereo-picture. 11) Suitable (especially for 3D-macro) would be the ratios of
sides of a picture 3/2 eventually even 16/9 because the edges of the pictures
(left at left picture and right at right one) inevitably get lost in relation to the
length of 3D-base and the distance of photographed object. This is
applicable to a lesser degree for all stereo-pictures. 12) Video min.


12) Video min.640/480 Pixels and min.25 pictures/s. 13) Necessary
synchronization of flashes of both cameras or use of just one flash but
synchronised with lens shutters of both cameras or use of LED reflectors
which are being used to light the scenes for videos instead. Production and
sale of stereo-sets and the possibility to buy additional individual elements
would be suitable.

3D movie can be - using special methods - created even from a 2D movie as well. More
about it you can read in this article. On the next lines you can read about how to create a
real full-fledged 3D movie using 2 recorders (for example 2 movie cameras).
To record a 3D movie you should keep the same guidelines as for taking of 3D photos.
Both recorders (for example movie cameras) should be directed to the same direction and
should be near to each other - in a distance which is appropriate to 1/30 of the distance of
the nearest recorded subject. (You can read more about the rules in this article ).
If you use one or two still cameras then they have to be able to take movies and it must
be possible to convert the 2 movies (taken from the left side and from the right side) to
the same framerate. If you use movie cameras then there is no such problem - the
framerate is standardized there.
How to do it
We will use the Virtual Dub software - you can download it here (you can find the link
on our download page as well - on this page we update the link if necessary). We will use
this software to convert our movie to BMP pictures.
Open your left video file (open video file) and save to a directory as an image sequence
(save image sequence choose BMP and Minimum number of digits in name choose in
the way to have all image file names of the same length if you for example convert 4
200 frames of your movie then choose Minimum number... to 4). Then do the same for
your right movie.
Now open in the 3DJournal software first frame of the left movie and first frame of
your right movie and create first 3D image. Use corrections as necessary. And save it.
Now choose Extra function of the 3DJournal software and in the section
movie/animation/batch set the number of frames of your movie to be converted to 3D.
Check the names of image files (for example vid3d0001.bmp for Save). And press button
Start processing. Wait until the images are processed.
And now the last step: In the Virtual Dub software convert the 3D images back to a

movie. Use item: Open video file and open your first 3D image. Then Save as AVI. And
your 3D movie is finished.
The movie on this page was created using 3DJournal software and advices from this
and other articles on this web. Then we published it on (there is only in
320x240 resolution, Xvid codec - so the quality of the movie was strongly degraded by
uploading to YouTube). How to Make Your Own Eye-Popping 3-D Pictures
[edit] Intro
Since settling in on the red planet, the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity
have sent back a number of 3-D postcards to countless fans outfitted in red- and bluetinted spectacles. To some, the realistic pictures of the rocky martian terrain may seem
magical, but the concept behind the illusion is in fact quite simple.
"Basically, 3-D pictures trick your brain into doing what it does all the time in the real
world," says Zareh Gorjian, a graphic artist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory who
makes 3-D pictures and animations of Mars for a living, both the black-and-white kind
and the more advanced color versions.
So simple is the trick that, with a little effort, anybody with a camera, a computer
equipped with photo-editing software, and a pair of tinted glasses can make their own 3D pictures of Mars, family members, pets or anything else worth placing in front of a
Gorjian, who has been toying with the technique for 10 years, transforms all sorts of
pictures into 3-D feasts for the eyes, including his latest vacation photos. "It's just fun,"
he says.
The key to 3-D imaging lies in simulating a left and right eye. For the Mars Exploration
Rovers, this is accomplished with the aid of a left and right camera eye. Images from the
rovers' stereo camera lenses (either the hazard-avoidance cameras, the navigation
cameras or the panoramic cameras) are tinted in red and blue, then merged into one
blurred picture, which pops off the page when viewed through a pair of red- and bluetinted glasses.
"Your brain thinks it is seeing two separate left and right images and so does what it
always does -- combines them into one picture," says Gorjian.

These basic 3-D photos are called anaglyphs and work best when viewed in black and
white. Color anaglyphs are trickier because red and blue objects appear only to one eye.
"You give up full color when you use the red and blue glasses," says Gorjian.
Instead, he and his colleagues at JPL's Multimission Image Processing Laboratory create
3-D color photos using two sophisticated techniques: polarization and infraredtransmission. In polarization, the light from left and right eye images is polarized, or
made to travel in opposing, perpendicular directions. In infrared-transmission, left and
right eye images are flickered back and forth on a special screen faster than an eye can
blink. Both strategies require specialized glasses for viewing.
But black-and-white 3-D images do not require fancy tools or equipment and can be
snapped and clicked into being by following these directions recommended by Gorjian:

[edit] Video Tutorial

How to make 3D Anaglyph Images using Photoshop

[edit] The Process

[edit] Step 1
Start out by picking a subject. People are a good place to begin because they tend to pop
out in 3-D photos. Place the subject in a setting with a lot of angles and depth (not in
front of a flat wall), and about 10 to 15 feet from the camera. Hold the camera steady by
securing your elbows in your chest and snap a picture. Make sure your subject stays very
still, then step just a tiny bit to the right, about the distance between your eyes or less, and
take the same picture. When you slide over for the second shot, you -- and most
importantly your camera -- should move in a parallel line.
Note: If Mars is your subject, the pictures have already been taken for you. Scan through
the raw images on the JPL web site and pick out left and
right eye images for your favorite photo (only images taken by the rovers' navigation
cameras, hazard-avoidance cameras and panoramic cameras come in pairs). The stereo
images will look identical, but you can tell if an individual image is from the left or right
camera eye by clicking on it and looking at the file name displayed in the web address
bar. Left camera eye image file names will contain the letter "L" four characters in from

the end, and right eye image file names will similarly carry an "R." Two raw image
examples can be found at

[edit] Step 2
The next step involves transferring the images into photo-editing software. Any program
will work as long it allows for red, blue and green color channels to be manipulated
independently. The following instructions will refer to Adobe Photoshop. If your pictures
are digital, just open them up in the software. If your pictures are hardcopies, transfer
them to a computer using a scanner, or drop them off at a photo-developing store and ask
for digital files (any file type will work).

[edit] Step 3
Once the left and right eye pictures are open, convert them both to grayscale by clicking
on the 'Image' menu bar and selecting 'mode' then 'grayscale'. Next, assign the left eye
image red, green and blue channels by going back to the 'Image' menu bar and selecting
'mode' then 'RGB' (the image will still appear gray). Do not repeat this step for the right
eye image.

[edit] Step 4
Now you are ready to merge the left and right images. To begin, make sure the left eye
image is still selected. Open the channels display menu by clicking on the 'Window'
menu bar and choosing 'channels.' Highlight the blue and green channels (press the shift
key to highlight both at the same time). Important: only the blue and green channels
should be shaded blue. At this stage it doesn't matter which boxes to the left of the
channels show eyeballs (eyeballs indicate which channels are displayed).

[edit] Step 5
Go back to the right eye image, select the whole thing (go to 'Select' menu bar, then press
'all') and copy it (go to 'Edit' menu bar, then press 'copy'). Switch back to the left eye
image and paste (go to 'Edit' menu bar, then press 'paste'). Now, highlight the RGB color
channel; an eyeball should appear in all four channel boxes. At this point, you should see
a blurred red and blue picture.
An alternative to this step is to use only the blue channel instead of the blue and green
when pasting into the left eye image.

[edit] Step 6
You are almost done. But first the left and right eye images need to be better aligned.
Start by highlighting only the red channel in the channels display menu (it should be
shaded blue). The next step is crucial because it allows the red-tinted picture to be shifted
over while the blue-tinted picture is still visible. Go to the RGB channel and click only on
the square box to the left. An eyeball should appear in all four boxes, but only the red
channel should be shaded. Now pick a point in the center of the picture to match up; for
example, if a person is your subject, eye pupils are a good target. Zoom in on the target
by selecting the magnifying glass icon in the tool bar then click on the target until it
appears fairly large.

[edit] Step 7
Next, select the 'move' tool located in the upper right corner of the tool bar. Using the up
and down arrow keys, slide the red-tinted image over until your target matches up and no
longer shows any rings of color.

[edit] Step 8
Zoom back out. Objects toward the outside of your picture should still be haloed in red or
blue. In other words, the overall goal in this step is to limit the colored tints as much as
possible. To cut out excess red or blue at the far edges of your picture, crop it using the

crop tool, also located in the tool bar (once you've outlined your picture with the tool, go
to the 'Image' menu bar then press 'crop').
Your creation is ready to be viewed! Just don your paper glasses (the left eye should be
tinted red) and watch the picture jump out at you from your monitor screen or a printed

[edit] Images

This series of screenshots

illustrates the steps outlined
in the story describing how to
make 3-D images. The
images used here are Gorjian
and his fianc's Hawaiian
vacation photos.
Steps 4-5

Steps 7-8

[edit] See Also

This screenshot shows the

final product. If you slide on
your red- and blue-tinted
glasses, you'll see Gorjian
and his fianc pop out of the

Step 6

This screenshot shows the

final product. If you slide on
your red- and blue-tinted
glasses, you'll see Gorjian
and his fianc pop out of the

Create a brushed metal texture using Photoshop CS

How-To Tuesday: Make 3-D photos

by Phillip Torrone, posted Aug 24th 2004 at 11:40AM

(best viewed with 3-D glasses)

This week's how-to is a fun one, we're going to show you how to make 3-D photos with
any digital camera and some free software. We'll also explain how 3-D photography
works and as a special treat, we've got a gallery of 3-D gadget photos to view along with
how to make 3-D photos from NASA images.

What are 3-D photos?

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

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.

The reason a lot of 3-D photos are in black and white is that with a color photo red and
blue objects aren't quite as visible since we're blocking those colors out once we put on
the glasses. So in our example we're going to make the images black and white. Color
images work, you'll just need to avoid those colors in your photos.
Other types of 3-D...
There are other types of 3-D photos. Interlaced, which requires LCD glasses, is usually
expensive, Wall-Eyed, those "Magic Eye" posters you need to stare at for a minute to see
the images, and Cross-Eyed, two images side by side that look 3-D when you cross your
eyes. If you're interested in making those types, Google around for resources, but
anaglyphs are the easiest ones to make and only require cheap red and blue filtered
glasses, so we went with those.
And speaking of the glasses, it's time to make some.
Getting started
For this how-to, you likely have everything you need as far as hardware goes, the only
item you might not have are the 3-D glasses, but those aren't too hard to find. In general,
there are a lot of ways to make 3-D photos, but here's the way we made ours and what we


Digital camera

PC (With Windows XP, SP1 or above)

Free Software, Callipygian 3D Photo Editing Software.

3-D Glasses. These red and blue 3-D glasses usually come with a comic book, or
some special video game/TV promotion. We got ours at Borders books in the kids
section with a 3-D Dinosaur book. If you can't find any at a comic or book store, you
can also order some from many places online, Ward's Natural Science has 15 pair for

Installing the free app, Callipygian 3D

It's a good idea to download and install "Callipygian 3D" now, depending on your system
set up, you may or may not need the .NET Framework (the app will tell you) if you do,
you can get it here.
If you don't have a PC with XP or use a Mac or other system, we'll go over how to make
these manually later in this how-to.
Taking the photos
We're using a Sony T1 digital camera, taking the photos at VGA quality (640 x 480),
though you can take them at any resolution you'd like.
Now this is the most important part of the how-to: you're going to need to take two
pictures of your subject/scene. The first and second picture should be at the same exact
level (height) and only one to two inches apart. We're basically going to reproduce what
your eye would normally see. If the images are taken too close or too far, the final image
won't look 3-D.
It takes a few times to get the best images, but with digital photography you're not
wasting film, so we usually take a few dozen. It's usually best to be 10 to 15 feet from the
subject and to have a few objects like people or robots to give the photo depth. Outside

photos tend to look the best. If you have a tripod to keep the camera level that'll help out,
also be careful not to turn the camera in on the second photo, each one should be parallel
like your eyes. If you're taking pictures of people, make sure they stay perfectly still for
each photo (for this reason, we prefer robots).
When we make these 3-D, we convert some of them to grayscale images, while you don't
need to do this, they tend to look better. If you want to shoot images and plan to keep
them color, you'll be able to tweak the images in the 3-D application.
Just to recap...

Find a subject that will be still, and has foreground and background objects to
give the photo depth.


Take the photo 10 to 15 feet away from the main subject.


Move the camera (not you) one to two inches to the right or left, at the same level.
If you camera has a viewfinder that helps too.


We usually take a photo, move to left on the second one to keep it simple.


Take lots of photos, it's only electrons.

Getting the images on your PC

After taking your pictures, import them on to your PC the way you usually do, we just
pop in our memory card and drag the folder off the card.
We usually keep our images in the pairs we took them, we'll even rename them and add a
R or L to the image(s) to keep track of them as well.
Using Callipygian 3D
Now that we have a pair of images (one taken a couple inches away from the other, of the
same scene) and converted them to grayscale, we can now import them in to the 3-D
image maker.
You should have installed Callipygian 3D by now, click Start > Programs >

The main menu has two panels, a right and left one.

At the bottom of the menu is a pulldown list of Selection Styles, choose "Arbitrary
Click File > Open and choose an image for the left and right images, or you can drag and
drop the images directly on the right and left areas on the menu.

If you took the photos in the wrong order, you can flip them by clicking Edit > Swap Left
and Right.
Now that the photos are in, select the area on the left photo you'd like to make 3-D, click
and hold the mouse button down while dragging the mouse.

Once you select the area click View3D > Anagplyph. You'll now see a preview window
where you can make some adjustments, the sliders moves the image right or left, up or
down, it's a good idea to put your 3-D glasses on now as you adjust them and get the best
3-D image.

There are other options at the bottom of the menu, where you can tweak the images
colors depending on how you shot it, we usually choose Red/Cyan (black/white) but you
can also choose other the other settings depending on the photos you shot. A little side
note, Cyan is a blue color for the non-designery folks out there.

Red Cyan Full Color-Default mode that takes the Red component from the Left
image, and the Cyan component from the Right Image.
Red Cyan Tweaked Color-Similar to above, but with primary colors (R, G,
B) desaturated to reduce retinal rilvalry.
Red Cyan Grayscale Red-The left channel is converted to Grayscale using
the NTSC weights, and mapped to the red channel. This makes an easierto-see 3D image, at the expense of color fidelity.

Red Cyan Black White-Both Left and Right are converted to Grayscale. This makes
an easyto-see 3D image, but with no color information.
Green Magenta Full Color-Uses Green/Magenta instead of Red/Cyan. For
LCD projectors viewed with polarized glasses (not the red and blue ones).
Magenta Green Full Color-Uses Magenta/Green instead of Red/Cyan.

Play around with each one with your 3-D glasses on to see which one works best.

When you've got your 3-D image the way you want it, click File > Save 3D View. This
single image will be saved to your local system at the same resolution it was shot (for our
example, VGA).

We usually save ours at the best quality and crop / edit in other image applications if
And that's it! We usually keep a few of these images on our laptop and PDAs just for fun
and even have a flat panel display at home that plays these files so when folks come over
they can see some neat 3-D photos. You can also print them out
Here's the final image.

Making 3-D photos manually...

If you don't have PC or Windows, you can use PhotoShop or Gimp and make the photos
manually, it takes a bit longer, but here's how to do that.
Just about any photo application will do, PhotoShop, PaintShop Pro, GiMPas long as
the application supports the red, blue and green color channels to be changed.
For this example, we're going to use PhotoShop.
Open you files, we had named ours BOTL.JPG and BOTR.JPG.

Convert both files to grayscale (this usually makes the 3-D effect "pop" more) Image >
Mode > Grayscale.

Go back to the left image and put it in RGB mode (Image > Mode > RGB).

Go to Window > Channels and select the Green and Blue Channels (Shift + Click). The
Image should turn blue-ish.
Go to the right image, and go to Edit > Select All (Command + A) then Edit > Copy
(Command + C).

Go back to the left image, and click Edit > Paste (Command + V). Then Click the RGB
Color Channel in the Channel Window. The image should now have Red and Blue colors.
Click the Red Channel in the Channels Window, then Click the "Move Tool" in the Tool
palette, move the image to align the 2 images over each other. You can use the arrow on
click and drag it with the mouse, now is a good time to put on the 3-D glasses, once you
line it up properly it will appear 3-D, if there is extra image information crop the image,
then save it.

That's it!
Bonus Tip...
NASA's Mars Rovers (Spirt and Opportunity) take 2 photos with their navigation and
hazard-avoidance cameras, just like we did for our examples. If you go through the
gallery of RAW images, you can find pairs of images and make your own Mars photos.

Opportunity RAW Images can be found here.

Spirt RAW Images can be found here.
They way to tell which ones are pairs are to match up the URL (web address), the last
part of the address has a R (for right) and L (for left).
For example, here are two images you could make a 3-D image of...
Link 1.
Link 2.
Note the only difference in the links are the R and L, and the minor shift in the photos.
Here's the final image, all 3-D'd up.

We spotted this on a JPL article (also about making 3-D images) and there are literally
thousands of images to use.

3-D Gadget Gallery

Last up, here's a few quick 3-D photos we made of some of the gadgets and bots around
here, enjoy!

Phillip Torrone can be reached via his personal site: or











What is "Stereo" or "3D"?

The word "stereo" originates from the Greek and means "relating to space". Today, when
we talk about stereo, we usually refer to stereophonic sound. Originally, the term was
associated with stereoscopic pictures, which were either drawn or photographed. In order
to avoid confusion with stereophonic sound, one now often talks about 3D pictures and
especially 3D-film, where 3D, of course, stands for three-dimensional.
A person lives in a three-dimensional, spatial, environment. Without a feeling for space,
we can not move within it. Our perception of space is created almost exclusively by our
eyes. There are many ways to orient oneself in space, e.g., by perspective, gradation of
color, contrast and movement.
The lenses of the eyes in a healthy human being project two slightly different pictures
onto the retinas, which are then transformed, by the brain, into a spatial representation.
The actual stereoscopic spatial observation is a result of this perception through both
A number of otherwise healthy two-eyed people, however, have eye-defects since birth,
that make stereoscopic viewing impossible. As babies, they have, in the literal sense of
the word, learned to "grasp" the world. They safely orient themselves in their
environment by employing one of the other above mentioned methods. Even a person
with only one eye learns how to move around safely, using non stereoscopic cues.
The normal picture on paper or film is only one-eyed. It is photographed with only one
lens and can, therefore, not convey a true spatial perception. It is only a flat picture. But
we do not have to abstain from the known natural effect. By taking two lenses and
imitating the eyes, we can create such a space image.

When we examine with or without optical instruments a stereo picture created in such a
manner, we form a similar perception of space in our mind.
The two necessary, somewhat different, single views can be generated by different
methods. We can produce them like the old stereo artists did, first draw one, then the
other single view. We may also take the exposure one after the other with a normal single
lens camera. It is evident that the subject must not move during this procedure, otherwise
the two pictures would be too different. A better approach is to imitate the head and
mount both lenses in a common chassis. Now we have a true stereo camera. Basically it
is only the joining of two mono-cameras. It is also possible to take stereo pictures with
two coupled cameras. The two lenses can also be combined as interchangeable stereo
optics in a single camera.
3D-Photography duplicates the way we view a 3D object or scene by taking a pair of
photographs separated by a distance equal to the separation between a typical person's
eyes. The two pictures then have a viewpoint similar to the view seen by the left and right
eye. These images, if directed to the left and right eyes, are fused by the brain into a
single image with the appearance of depth. Perhaps the most well-known example of this
is the View-Master many of us have played with as children (of all ages).
A quick look in the dictionary will give you a basic idea of the terms "Stereoscopy" and
"Stereoscopic Photography":
Science and technology dealing with two-dimensional drawings or photographs that
when viewed by both eyes appear to exist in three dimensions in space. A popular term
for stereoscopy is 3D. Stereoscopic pictures are produced in pairs, the members of a pair
showing the same scene or object from slightly different angles that correspond to the
angles of vision of the two eyes of a person looking at the object itself. Stereoscopy is
possible only because of binocular vision, which requires that the left-eye view and the
right-eye view of an object be perceived from different angles. In the brain the separate
perceptions of the eyes are combined and interpreted in terms of depth, of different
distances to points and objects seen. Stereoscopic pictures are viewed by some means that
presents the right-eye image to the right eye and the left-eye image to the left. An
experienced observer of stereopairs may be able to achieve the proper focus and
convergence without special viewing equipment (e.g., a stereoscope); ordinarily,
however, some device is used that allows each eye to see only the appropriate picture of
the pair. To produce a three-dimensional effect in motion pictures, various systems have
been employed, all involving simultaneous projection on the screen of left- and right-eye
images distinguished by, for example, different colour or polarization and the use by the
audience of binocular viewing filters to perceive the images properly. In holography the
two eyes see two reconstructed images (light-interference patterns) as if viewing the
imaged object normally, at slightly different angles.

Stereoscopic Photography
Many of the landscape photographers also took stereographs. These double pictures,
taken after 1856 with twin-lens cameras, produce a remarkable effect of three dimensions
when viewed through a stereoscope. Stereography, first described in 1832 by the English
physicist Charles Wheatstone, is uniquely photographic, since no artist could draw two
scenes in exact perspective from viewpoints separated only 2 inches - the normal
distance between human eyes. Wheatstone's mirror stereoscope, however, was not
practical for use with photographs, and the invention languished until the Scottish
scientist Sir David Brewster designed a simplified viewing instrument, which was
exhibited at the 1851 Great Exhibition in the Crystal Palace, London. Queen Victoria was
entranced by the stereo daguerreotypes she saw there, and with the introduction of the
collodion process, which simplified exposure and printing techniques, three-dimensional
photography became a popular craze.
In 1854 the London Stereoscopic Company was formed. Their chief photographer was
William England, whose lively street scenes of New York City in rainy weather and
views of Niagara Falls taken in 1859 were the wonders of the day. The instantaneous
street scenes, which showed pedestrians and vehicles stopped in their tracks, were made
possible because the small size of the stereo-camera reduced exposure times to less than
half a second. To minimize movement street views were usually taken from a first-floor
window with the camera focused directly down the street. (Such views later inspired
several Impressionists to paint similar street scenes.) Between 1860 and about 1920 a
stereo viewer was as ubiquitous in British and American homes (where a simplified and
cheap hand viewer was introduced by Oliver Wendell Holmes [the American physician
was a great lover of photography]) as the television set is today. Millions of stereographs
were circulated in the years before newspaper reproduction of photographs, and their
impact was enormous.
Contributions to the Physiology of Vision.Part the First. On some remarkable, and
hitherto unobserved, Phenomena of Binocular Vision. By CHARLES
WHEATSTONE, F.R.S., Professor of Experimental Philosophy in King's College,
Received and Read June 21, 1838.

WHEN an object is viewed at so great a distance that the optic axes of both eyes are
sensibly parallel when directed towards it, the perspective projections of it, seen by each
eye separately, are similar, and the appearance to the two eyes is precisely the same as
when the object is seen by one eye only. There is, in such case, no difference between the

visual appearance of an object in relief and its perspective projection on a plane surface;
and hence pictorial representations of distant objects, when those circumstances which
would prevent or disturb the illusion are carefully excluded, may be rendered such perfect
resemblances of the objects they are intended to represent as to be mistaken for them; the
Diorama is an instance of this. But this similarity no longer exists when the object is
placed so near the eyes that to view it the optic axes must converge; under these
conditions a different perspective projection of it is seen by each eye, and these
perspectives are more dissimilar as the convergence of the optic axes becomes greater.
This fact may be easily verified by placing any figure of three dimensions, an outline
cube for instance, at a moderate distance before the eyes, and while the head is kept
perfectly steady, viewing it with each eye successively while the other is closed. Plate XI.
fig. 13. represents the two perspective projections of a cube; b is that seen by the right
eye, and a that presented to the left eye; the figure being supposed to be placed about
seven inches immediately before the spectator.

The appearances, which are by this simple experiment rendered so obvious, may be
easily inferred from the established laws of perspective; for the same object in relief is,
when viewed by a different eye, seen from two points of sight at a distance from each
other equal to the line joining the two eyes. Yet they seem to have escaped the attention
of every philosopher and artist who has treated of the subjects of vision and perspective. I
can ascribe this inattention to a phenomenon leading to the important and curious
consequences, which will form the subject of the present communication, only to this
circumstance; that the results being contrary to a principle which was very generally
maintained by optical writers, viz. that objects can be seen single only when their images
fall on corresponding points of the two retin, an hypothesis which will be hereafter
discussed, if the consideration ever arose in their minds, it was hastily discarded under
the conviction, that if the pictures presented to the two eyes are under certain
circumstances dissimilar, their differences must be so small that they need not be taken
into account.
It will now be obvious why it is impossible for the artist to give a faithful representation
of any near solid object, that is, to produce a painting which shall not be distinguished in
the mind from the object itself. When the painting and the object are seen with both eyes,
in the case of the painting two similar pictures are projected on the retin, in the case of
the solid object the pictures are dissimilar; there is therefore an essential difference
between the impressions on the organs of sensation in the two cases, and consequently
between the perceptions formed in the mind; the painting therefore cannot be confounded
with the solid object.

After looking over the works of many authors who might be expected to have made some
remarks relating to this subject, I have been able to find but one, which is in the Trattato
della Pittura of LEONARDO DA VINCI * [* See also a Treatise of Painting, p. 178.
London, 1721; and Dr. SMITHS Complete System of Optics, vol. ii. r. 244, where the
passage is quoted.]. This great artist and ingenious philosopher observes, that a painting,
though conducted with the greatest art and finished to the last perfection, both with
regard to its contours, its lights, its shadows and its colours, can never show a relievo
equal to that of the natural objects, unless these be viewed at a distance and with a single
eye. For, says he, if an object C (Plate X. fig. 1.) be viewed by a single eye at A, all
objects in the space behind it, included as it were in a shadow E C F cast by a candle at A,
are invisible to the eye at A; but when the other eye at B is opened, part of these objects
become visible to it; those only being hid from both eyes that are included, as it were, in
the double shadow C D, cast by two lights at A and B, and terminated in D, the angular
space E D G beyond D being always visible to both eyes. And the hidden space C D is so
much the shorter, as the object C is smaller and nearer to the eyes. Thus the object C seen
with both eyes becomes, as it were, transparent, according to the usual definition of a
transparent thing; namely, that which hides nothing beyond it. But this cannot happen
when an object, whose breadth is bigger than that of the pupil, is viewed by a single eye.
The truth of this observation is therefore evident, because a painted figure intercepts all
the space behind its apparent place, so as to preclude the eyes from the sight of every part
of the imaginary ground behind it.

Had LEONARDO DA VINCI taken, instead of a sphere, a less simple figure for the
purpose of his illustration, a cube for instance, he would not only have observed that the
object obscured from each eye a different part of the more distant field of view, but the
fact would also perhaps have forced itself upon his attention, that the object itself
presented a different appearance to each eye. He failed to do this, and no subsequent
writer within my knowledge has supplied the omission; the projection of two obviously
dissimilar pictures on the two retin when a single object is viewed, while the optic axes
converge, must therefore be regarded as a new fact in the theory of vision.

It being thus established that the mind perceives an object of three dimensions by means
of the two dissimilar pictures projected by it on the two retin, the following question
occurs: What would be the visual effect of simultaneously presenting to each eye, instead
of the object itself, its projection on a plane surface as it appears to that eye? To pursue

this inquiry it is necessary that means should be contrived to make the two pictures,
which must necessarily occupy different places, fall on similar parts of both retin.
Under the ordinary circumstances of vision the object is seen at the concourse of the optic
axes, and its images consequently are projected on similar parts of the two retin; but it
is also evident that two exactly similar objects may be made to fall on similar parts of the
two retin, if they are placed one in the direction of each optic axis, at equal distances
before or beyond their intersection.
Fig. 2. represents the usual situation of an object at the intersection of the optic axes. In
fig. 3. the similar objects are placed in the direction of the optic axes before their
intersection, and in fig. 4. beyond it. In all these three cases the mind perceives but a
single object, and refers it to the place where the optic axes meet. It will be observed, that
when the eyes converge beyond the objects, as in fig. 3., the right hand object is seen by
the right eye, and the left hand object by the left eye; while when the axes converge
nearer than the Objects, the right hand object is seen by the left eye, and conversely. As
both of these modes of vision are forced and unnatural, eyes unaccustomed to such
experiments require some artificial assistance. If the eyes are to converge beyond the
objects, this may be afforded by a pair of tubes (fig. 5.) capable of being inclined towards
each other at various angles, so as to correspond with the different convergences of the
optic axes. If the eyes are to converge at a nearer distance than that at which the objects
are placed, a box (fig. 6.) may be conveniently employed; the objects a a' are placed
distant from each other, on a stand capable of being moved nearer the eyes if required,
and the optic axes being directed towards them will cross at c, the aperture b b' allowing
the visual rays front the right hand object to reach the left eye, and those from the left
hand object to fall on the right eye; the coincidence of the images may be facilitated by
placing the point of a needle at the point of intersection of the optic axes c, and fixing the
eyes upon it. In both these instruments (figs. 5. and 6.) the lateral images are hidden from
view, and much less difficulty occurs in making the images unite than when the naked
eyes are employed.

Now if, instead of placing two exactly similar objects to be viewed by the eyes in either
of the modes above described, the two perspective projections of the same solid object be
so disposed, the mind will still perceive the object to be single, but instead of a
representation on a plane surface, as each drawing appears to be when separately viewed
by that eye which is directed towards it, the observer will perceive a figure of three
dimensions, the exact counterpart of the object from which the drawings were made. To
make this matter clear I will mention one or two of the most simple cases.
If two vertical lines near each other, but at different distances from the spectator, be
regarded first with one eye and then with the other, the distance between them when
referred to the same plane will appear different; if the left hand line be nearer to the eyes
the distance as seen by the left eye will be less than the distance as seen by the right eye;
fig. 7. will render this evident; a a' are vertical sections of the two original lines, and b b'
the plane to which their projections are referred. Now if the two lines be drawn on two
pieces of card, at the respective distances at which they appear to each eye, and these
cards be afterwards viewed by either of the means above directed, the observer will no
longer see two lines on a plane surface, as each card separately shows ; but two lines will
appear, one nearer to him than the other, precisely as the original vertical lines
themselves. Again, if a straight wire be held before the eyes in such a position that one of
its ends shall be nearer to the observer than the other is, each eye separately referring it to
a plane perpendicular to the common axis, will see a line differently inclined ; and then if
lines having the same apparent inclinations be drawn on two pieces of card. and be
presented to the eyes as before directed, the real position of the original line will be
correctly perceived by the mind.

In the same manner the most complex figures of three dimensions may be accurately
represented to the mind, by presenting their two perspective projections to the two retin.
But I shall defer these more perfect experiments until I describe an instrument which will
enable any person to observe all the phenomena in question with the greatest ease and
In the instruments above described the optic axes converge to some point in a plane
before or beyond that in which the objects to be seen are situated. The adaptation of the
eye, which enables us to see distinctly at different distances, and which habitually
accompanies every different degree of convergence of the optic axes, does not
immediately adjust itself to tIme new and unusual condition ; and to persons not
accustomed to experiments of this kind, the pictures will either not readily unite, or will
appear dim and confused. Besides this, no object can be viewed according to either mode
when the drawings exceed in breadth the distance of the two points of the optic axes in
which their centres are placed.
These inconveniences are removed by the instrument I am about to describe; the two
pictures (or rather their reflected images) are placed in it at the true concourse of the optic
axes, the focal adaptation of the eye preserves its usual adjustment, the appearance of
lateral images is entirely avoided, and a large field of view for each eye is obtained. The
frequent reference I shall have occasion to make to this instrument, will render it
convenient to give it a specific name, I therefore propose that it be called a stereoscope,
to indicate its property of representing solid figures.

The stereoscope is represented by figs. 8. and 9; the former being a front view, and the
latter a plan of the instrument. A A' are two plane mirrors, about four inches square,
inserted in frames, and so adjusted that their backs form an angle of 90 with each other;
these mirrors are fixed by their common edge against an upright B, or which was less
easy to represent in the drawing, against the middle line of a vertical board, cut away in
such manner as to allow the eyes to be placed before the two mirrors. C C' are two sliding
boards, to which are attached the upright boards D D', which may thus be removed to

different distances from the mirrors. In most of the experiments hereafter to be detailed, it
is necessary that each upright board shall be at the same distance from the mirror which is
opposite to it. To facilitate this double adjustment, I employ a right and a left-handed
wooden screw, r l; the two ends of this compound screw pass through the nuts e e', which
are fixed to the lower parts of the upright boards D D', so that by turning the screw pin p
one way the two boards will approach, and by turning it the other they will recede from
each other, one always preserving the same distance as the other from the middle line f. E
E' are pannels, to which the pictures are fixed in such manner that their corresponding
horizontal lines shall be on the same level: these pannels are capable of sliding backwards
and forwards in grooves on the upright boards D D'. The apparatus having been
described, it flow remains to explain the manner of using it. The observer must place his
eyes as near as possible to the mirrors, the right eye before the right hand mirror, and the
left eye before the left hand mirror, and he must move the sliding pannels E E' to or from
him until the two reflected images coincide at the intersection of the optic axes, and form
an image of the same apparent magnitude as each of the component pictures. The pictures
will indeed coincide when the sliding pannels are in a variety of different positions, and
consequently when viewed under different inclinations of the optic axes; but there is only
one position in which the binocular image will be immediately seen single, of its proper
magnitude, and without fatigue to the eyes, because in this position only the ordinary
relations between the magnitude of the pictures on the retina, the inclination of the optic
axes, and the adaptation of the eye to distinct vision at different distances are preserved.
The alteration in the apparent magnitude of the binocular images, when these usual
relations are disturbed, will be discussed in another paper of this series, with a variety of
remarkable phenomena depending thereon. In all the experiments detailed in the present
memoir I shall suppose these relations to remain undisturbed, and the optic axes to
converge about six or eight inches before the eyes.

If the pictures are all drawn to be seen with the same inclination of the optic axes, the
apparatus may be simplified by omitting the screw r 1 and fixing the upright boards D D'
at the proper distances. The sliding pannels may also be dispensed with, and the drawings
themselves be made to slide in the grooves.

A few of outline figures, calculated to give rise to the perception of objects of three
dimensions when placed in the stereoscope in the manner described, are represented from
figs. 10. to 20. They are one half the linear size of the figures actually employed. As the
drawings are reversed by reflection in the mirrors, I will suppose these figures to be the
reflected images to which the eyes are directed in the apparatus; those marked b being
seen by the right eye, and those marked a by the left eye. The drawings, it has been
already explained, are two different projections of the same object seen from two points
of sight, the distance between which is equal to the interval between the eyes of the
observer; this interval is generally about 2 inches.
a and b, fig. 10. will, when viewed in the stereoscope, present to the mind a line in
the vertical plane, with its lower end inclined towards the observer. If the two
component lines be caused to turn round their centres equally in opposite
directions, the resultant line will, while it appears to assume every degree of
inclination to the referent plane, still seem to remain in the same vertical plane.
Fig. 11. A series of points all in the same horizontal plane, but each towards the
right hand successively nearer the observer.
Fig. 12. A curved line intersecting the referent plane, and having its convexity
towards the observer.
Fig. 13. A cube.
Fig. 14. A cone, having its axis perpendicular to the referent plane, and its vertex
towards the observer.
Fig. 15. The frustum of a square pyramid; its axis perpendicular to the referent
plane, and its base furthest from the eye.
Fig. 16. Two circles at different distances from the eyes, their centres in the same
perpendicular, forming the outline of the frustum of a cone.
The other figures require no observation.

For the purposes of illustration I have employed only outline figures, for had either
shading or colouring been introduced it might be supposed that the effect was wholly or
in part due to these circumstances, whereas by leaving them out of consideration no room
is left to doubt that the entire effect of relief is owing to the simultaneous perception of
the two monocular projections, one on each retina. But if it be required to obtain the most
faithful resemblances of real objects, shadowing and colouring may properly be
employed to heighten the effects. Careful attention would enable an artist to draw and
paint the two component pictures, so as to present to the mind of the observer, in the
resultant perception, perfect identity with the object represented. Flowers, crystals, busts,
vases, instruments of various kinds, &c., might thus be represented so as not to be
distinguished by sight from the real objects themselves.
It is worthy of remark, that the process by which we thus become acquainted with the real
forms of solid objects, is precisely that which is employed in descriptive geometry, an
important science we owe to the genius of MONGE, but which is little studied or known
in this country. In this science, the position of a point, a right line or a curve, and
consequently of any figure whatever, is completely determined by assigning its
projections on two fixed planes, the situations of which are known, and which are not
parallel to each other. In the problems of descriptive geometry the two referent planes are
generally assumed to be at right angles to each other, but in binocular vision the
inclination of these planes is less according as the angle made at the concourse of the
optic axes is less ; thus the same solid object is represented to the mind by different pairs
of monocular pictures, according as they are placed at a different distance before the
eyes, and the perception of these differences (though we seem to be unconscious of them)
may assist in suggesting to the mind the distance of the object. The more inclined to each
other the referent planes are, with the greater accuracy are the various points of the
projections referred to their proper places; and it appears to be a useful provision that the
real forms of those objects which are nearest to us are thus more determinately
apprehended than those which are more distant.

A very singular effect is produced when the drawing originally intended to be seen by the
right eye is placed at the left hand sidle of the stereoscope, and that designed to be seen
by the left eye is placed on its right hand side. A figure of three dimensions, as bold in
relief as before, is perceived, but it has a different form from that which is seen when the
drawings are in their proper places. There is a certain relation between the proper figure
and this, which I shall call its converse figure. Those points which are nearest the
observer in the proper figure are the most remote from him in the converse figure, and
vice vers, so that the figure is, as it were, inverted; but it is not an exact inversion, for
the near parts of the converse figure appear smaller, and the remote parts larger than the
same parts before the inversion. Hence the drawings which, properly placed, occasion a

cube to be perceived, when changed in the manner described, represent the frustum of a
square pyramid with its base remote from the eye: the cause of this is easy to understand.
This conversion of relief may be shown by all the pairs of drawings from fig. 10. to 19. In
the case of simple figures like these the converse figure is as readily apprehended as the
original one, because it is generally a figure of as frequent occurrence; hut in the vase of a
more complicated figure, an architectural design, for instance, the mind, unaccustomed to
perceive its converse, because it never occurs in nature, can find no meaning in it.

The same image is depicted on the retina by an object of three dimensions as by its
projection on a plane surface, provided the point of sight remain in both cases the same.
There should be, therefore, no difference in the binocular appearance of two drawings,
one presented to each eye, and of two real objects so presented to the two eyes that their
projections on the retina shall be the same as those arising from the drawings. The
following experiments will prove the justness of this inference.
I procured several pairs of skeleton figures, i. e. outline figures of three dimensions,
formed either of iron wire or of ebony beading about one tenth of an inch in thickness.
The pair I most frequently employed consisted of two cubes, whose sides were three
inches in length. When I placed these skeleton figures on stands before the two mirrors of
the stereoscope, the following effects were produced, according as their relative positions
were changed. 1st. When they were so placed that the pictures which their reflected
images projected on the two retin were precisely the same as those which would have
been projected by a cube placed at the concourse of the optic axes, a cube in relief
appeared before the eyes. 2ndly. When they were so placed that their reflected images
projected exactly similar pictures on the two retin, all effect of relief was destroyed, and
the compound appearance was that of an outline representation on a plane surface. 3rdly.
When the cubes were so placed that the reflected image of one projected on the left retina
the same picture as in the first case was projected on the right retina, and conversely, the
converse figure in relief appeared.

If a symmetrical object, that is one whose right and left sides are exactly similar to each
other but inverted, be placed so that any point in the plane which divides it into these two
halves is equally distant from the two eyes, its two monocular projections are, it is easy to
see, inverted facsimiles of each other. Thus fig. 15, a and b are symmetrical monocular
projections of the frustum of a four-sided pyramid, and figs. 13. 14. 16. are corresponding
projections of other symmetrical objects. This being kept in view, I will describe an

experiment which, had it been casually observed previous to the knowledge of the
principles developed in this paper, would have appeared an inexplicable optical illusion.
M and M' (fig. 21.) are two mirrors, inclined so that their faces form an angle of 90 with
each other. Between them in the bisecting plane is placed a plane outline figure, such as
fig. 15 a, made of card all parts but the lines being cut away, or of wire. A reflected image
of this outline, placed at A, will appear behind each mirror at B and B', and one of these
images will be the inversion of the other. If the eyes be made to converge at C, it is
obvious that these two reflected images will fall on corresponding parts of the two retin,
and a figure of three dimensions will be perceived; if the outline placed in the bisecting
plane be reversed, the converse skeleton form will appear; in both these experiments we
have the singular phenomenon of the conversion of a single plane outline into a figure of
three dimensions. To render the binocular object more distinct, concave lenses may be
applied to the eyes; and to prevent the two lateral images from being seen, screens may
be placed at D and D'.

An effect of binocular perspective may be remarked in a plate of metal, the surface of
which has been made smooth by turning it in a lathe. When a single candle is brought
near such a plate, a line of light appears standing out from it, one half being above, and
the other half below the surface; the position and inclination of this line chances with the
situation of the light and of the observer, but it always passes through the centre of the
plate. On closing the left eye the relief disappears, and the luminous line coincides with
one of the diameters of the plate; on closing the right eye the line appears equally in the
plane of the surface, but coincides with another diameter; on opening both eyes it
instantly starts into relief * [* The luminous line seen by a single eye arises from the
reflection of the light from each of the concentric circles produced in the operation of
turning; when the plate is not large the arrangement of these successive reflections does
not differ from a straight line.]. The case here is exactly analogous to the vision of two
inclined lines (fig. 10.) when each is presented to a different eye in the stereoscope. It is
curious, that an effect like this, which it must have been seen thousands of times, should
never have attracted sufficient attention to have been made the subject of philosophic
observation. It was one of the earliest facts which drew my attention to the subject I am
now treating.

Dr. SMITH + [+ System of Optics, vol. ii. p. 388. and r. 526.] was very much puzzled by
an effect of binocular perspective which he observed, but was unable to explain. He
opened a pair of compasses, and while he held the joint in his hand, and the points
outwards and equidistant from his eyes, and somewhat higher than the joint, he looked at
a more distant point ; the compasses appeared double. He then compressed the legs until
the two inner points coincided; having done this the two inner legs also entirely
coincided, and bisected the angle formed by the outward ones, appearing longer and
thicker than they did, and reaching from the hand to the remotest object in view. The
explanation offered by Dr. SMITH accounts only for the coincidence of the points of the
compasses, not for that of the entire leg. The effect in question is best seen by employing
a pair of straight wires, about a foot in length. A similar observation, made with two flat
rulers, and afterwards with silk threads, induced Dr. WELLS to propose a new theory of
visible direction in order to explain it, so inexplicable did it seem to him by any of the
received theories.

The preceding experiments render it evident that there is an essential difference in the
appearance of objects when seen with two eyes, and when only one eye is employed, and
that the most vivid belief of the solidity of an object of three dimensions arises from two
different perspective projections of it being simultaneously presented to the mind. How
happens it then, it may be asked, that persons who see with only one eye form correct
notions of solid objects, and never mistake them for pictures? and how happens it also,
that a person having the perfect use of both eyes, perceives no difference in objects
around him when he shuts one of them? To explain these apparent difficulties, it must be
kept in mind, that although the simultaneous vision of two dissimilar pictures suggests
the relief of objects in the most vivid manner, yet there are other signs which suggest the
same ideas to the mind, which, though more ambiguous than the former, become less
liable to lead the judgment astray in proportion to the extent of our previous experience.
The vividness of relief arising from the projection of two dissimilar pictures, one on each
retina, becomes less and less as the object is seen at a greater distance before the eyes,
and entirely ceases when it is so distant that the optic axes are parallel while regarding it.
We see with both eyes all objects beyond this distance precisely as we see near objects
with a single eye; for the pictures on the two retin are then exactly similar, and the mind
appreciates no difference whether two identical pictures fall on corresponding parts of the
two retin, or whether one eye is impressed with only one of these pictures. A person
deprived of the sight of one eye sees therefore all external objects, near and remote, as a
person with both eyes sees remote objects only, but that vivid effect arising from the
binocular vision of near objects is not perceived by the former; to supply this deficiency
he has recourse unconsciously to other means of acquiring more accurate information.
The motion of the head is the principal means he employs. That the required knowledge
may be thus obtained will be evident from the following considerations. The mind
associates with the idea of a solid object every different projection of it which experience
has hitherto afforded; a single projection may be ambiguous, from its being also one of

the projections of a picture, or of a different solid object; but when different projections
of the same object are successively presented, they cannot all belong to another object,
and the form to which they belong is completely characterized. While the object remains
fixed, at every movement of the head it is viewed from a different point of sight, and the
picture on the retina consequently continually changes.
Every one must be aware how greatly the perspective effect of a picture is enhanced by
looking at it with only one eye, especially when a tube is employed to exclude the vision
of adjacent objects, whose presence might disturb the illusion. Seen under such
circumstances from the proper point of sight, the picture projects the same lines, shades
and colours on the retina, as the more distant scene which it represents would do were it
substituted for it. The appearance which would make us certain that it is a picture is
excluded from the sight, and the imagination has room to be active. Several of the older
writers erroneously attributed this apparent superiority of monocular vision to the
concentration of the visual power in a single eye * [* We see more exquisitely with one
eye shut than with both, because the vital spirits thus unite themselves the more, and
become the stronger: for we may find by looking in a glass whilst we shut one eye, that
the pupil of the other dilates.Lord BACONS Works, Sylva Sylvarum, art. Vision.].
There is a well-known and very striking illusion of perspective which deserves a passing
remark, because the reason of the effect does not appear to be generally understood.
When a perspective of a building is projected on a horizontal plane, so that the point of
sight is in a line greatly inclined towards the plane, the building appears to a single eye
placed at the point of sight to be in bold relief, and the illusion is almost as perfect as in
the binocular experiments described in 2, 3, 4. This effect wholly arises from the
unusual projection, which suggests to the mind more readily the object itself than the
drawing of it; for we are accustomed to see real objects in almost every point of view, but
perspective representations being generally made in a vertical plane with the point of
sight in a line perpendicular to the plane of projection, we are less familiar with the
appearance of other projections. Any other unusual projection will produce the same

If we look with a single eye at the drawing of a solid geometrical figure, it may be
imagined to be the representation of either of two dissimilar solid figures, the figure
intended to be represented, or its converse figure ( 5.). If the former is a very usual, and
the latter a very unusual figure, the imagination will fix itself on the original without
wandering to the converse figure; but if both are of ordinary occurrence, which is
generally the case with regard to simple forms, a singular phenomenon takes place; it is
perceived at one time distinctly as one of these figures, at another time as the other, and
while one figure continues it is not in the power of the will to change it immediately.

The same phenomenon takes place, though less decidedly, when the drawing is seen with
both eyes. Many of my readers will call to mind the puzzling effect of some of the
diagrams annexed to the problems of the eleventh book of Euclid; which, when they were
attentively looked at, changed in an arbitrary manner from one solid figure to another,
and would obstinately continue to present the converse figures when the real figures
alone were wanted. This perplexing illusion must be of coimmon occurrence, but I have
only found one recorded observation relating to the subject. It is by Professor NECKER
of Geneva, and I shall quote it in his own words from the Philosophical Magazine, Third
Series, vol. i. p. 337.
The object I have now to call your attention to is an observation which has often
occurred to me while examining figures and engraved plates of crystalline forms; I mean
a sudden and involuntary change in the apparent position of a crystal or solid represented
in an engraved figure. What I mean will be more easily understood from the figure
annexed (fig. 22.). The rhomboid A X is drawn so that the solid angle A should be seen
the nearest to the spectator, and the solid angle X the farthest from him, and that the face
A C D B should be the foremost, while the face X D C is behind. But in looking
repeatedly at the same figure, you will perceive that at times the apparent position of the
rhomboid is so changed that the solid angle X will appear the nearest, and the solid angle
A the farthest; and that the face A C D B will recede behind the face X D C, which will
come forward, which effect gives to the whole solid a quite contrary apparent

Professor NECKER attributes this alteration of appearance, not to a mental operation, but
to an involuntary change in the adjustment of the eye for obtaining distinct vision. He
supposed that whenever the point of distinct vision on the retina is directed on the angle
A, for instance, this angle seen more distinctly than the others is naturally supposed to be
nearer and foremost, while the other angles seen indistinctly are supposed to be farther
and behind, and that the reverse takes place when the point of distinct vision is brought to
bear on the angle X.
That this is not the true explanation, is evident from three circumstances: in the first
place, the two points A and X being both at the same distance from the eyes, the same
alteration of adjustment which would make one of them indistinct would make the other
so ; secondly, the figure will undergo the same changes whether the focal distance of the
eye be adjusted to a point before or beyond the plane in which the figure is drawn; and
thirdly, the change of figure frequently occurs while the eye continues to look at the same
angle. The effect seems entirely to depend on our mental contemplation of the figure
intended to be represented, or of its converse. By following the lines with the eye with a

clear idea of the solid figure we are describing, it may be fixed for any length of time; but
it requires practice to do this or to change the figure at will. As I have before observed,
these effects are far more obvious when the figures are regarded with one eye only.
No illusion of this kind can take place when an object of three dimensions is seen with
both eyes while the optic axes make a sensible angle with each other, because the
appearance of the two dissimilar images, one to each eye, prevents the possibility of
mistake. But if we regard an object at such a distance that its two projections are sensibly
identical, and if this projection be capable of a double interpretation, the illusion may
occur. Thus a placard on a pole carried in the streets, with one of its sides inclined
towards the observer, will, when he is distant from it, frequently appear inclined in a
contrary direction. Many analogous instances might be adduced, but this will suffice to
call others to mind ; it must however be observed, that when shadows, or other means
capable of determining the judgement are present, these fallacies do not arise.

The same indetermination of judgement which causes a drawing to be perceived by the
mind at different times as two different figures, frequently gives rise to a false perception
when objects in relief are regarded with a single eye. The apparent conversion of a cameo
into an intaglio, and of an intaglio into a cameo, is a well-known instance of this fallacy
in vision; but the fact does not appear to me to have been correctly explained, nor the
conditions under which it occurs to have been properly stated.
This curious illusion, which has been the subject of much attention, was first observed at
one of the early meetings of the Royal Society * [* BIRCHS History, vol. ii. p. 348.].
Several of the members looking through a compound microscope of a new construction
at a guinea, some of them imagined the image to be depressed, while others thought it to
be embossed, as it really was. Professor GMELIN, of Wurtemburg, published a paper on
the same subject in the Philosophical Transactions for 1745 ; his experiments were made
with telescopes and compound microscopes which inverted the images; and he observed
that the conversion of relief appeared in some cases and not in others, at some times and
not at others, and to some eyes also and not to others. He endeavoured to ascertain some
of the conditions of the two appearances; but why these things should so happen, says
he, I do not pretend to determine.
Sir DAVID BREWSTER accounts for the fallacy in the following manner + [+ Natural
Magic, p. 100.] : A hollow seal being illuminated by a window or a candle, its shaded
side is of course on the same side with the light. If we now invert the seal with one or
more lenses, so that it may look in the opposite direction, it will appear to the eye with
the shaded side furthest from the window. But as we know that the window is still on our
left hand, and as every body with its shaded side furthest from the light must necessarily
be convex or protuberant, we immediately believe that the hollow seal is now a cameo or
bas-relief. The proof which the eye thus receives of the seal being raised, overcomes the

evidence of its being hollow, derived from our actual knowledge and from the sense of
touch. In this experiment the deception takes place from our knowing the real direction of
the light which falls on the seal ; for if the place of the window, with respect to the seal,
had been inverted as well as the seal itself, the illusion could not have taken place. The
illusion, therefore, under our consideration is the result of an operation of our own minds,
whereby we judge of the forms of bodies by the knowledge we have acquired of light and
shadow. Hence the illusion depends on the accuracy and extent of our knowledge on this
subject; and while some persons are under its influence, others are entirely insensible to
These considerations do not fully explain the phenomenon, for they suppose that the
image must be inverted, and that the light must fall in a particular direction but the
conversion of relief will still take place when the object is viewed through an open tube
without any lenses to invert it, and also when it is equally illuminated in all parts. The
true explanation I believe to be the following. If we suppose a cameo and an intaglio of
the same object, the elevations of the one corresponding exactly to the depressions of the
other; it is easy to show that the projection of either on the retina is sensibly the same.
When the cameo or the intaglio is seen with both eyes, it is impossible to mistake an
elevation for a depression, for reasons which have been already amply explained; but
when either is seen with one eye only, the most certain guide of our judgement, viz. the
presentation of a different picture to each eye, is wanting; the imagination therefore
supplies the deficiency, and we conceive the object to be raised or depressed according to
the dictates of this faculty. No doubt in such cases our judgement is in a great degree
influenced by accessory circumstances, and the intaglio or the relief may sometimes
present itself according to our previous knowledge of the direction in which the shadows
ought to appear; but the real cause of the phenomenon is to be found in the
indetermination of the judgement arising from our more perfect means of judging being
Observers with the microscope must be particularly on their guard against illusions of
this kind. RASPAIL observes * [* Nouveau Systme de Chimie Organique, 2me edit. t. 1.
p. 333.] that the hollow pyramidal arrangement of the crystals of muriate of soda appears,
when seen through a microscope, like a striated pyramid in relief. He recommends two
modes of correcting the illusion. The first is to bring successively to the focus of the
instrument the different parts of the crystal; if the pyramid be in relief, the point will
arrive at the focus sooner than the base will; if the pyramid be hollow, the contrary will
take place. The second mode is to project a strong light on the pyramid in the field of
view of the microscope, and to observe which sides of the crystal are illuminated, taking
however the inversion of the image into consideration if a compound microscope be
The inversion of relief is very striking when a skeleton cube is looked at with one eye,
and the following singular results may in this case be observed. So long as the mind
perceives the cube, however the figure be turned about, its various appearances will be
but different representations of the same object, and the same primitive form will be
suggested to the mind by all of them: but it is not so if the converse figure fixes the

attention; the series of successive projections cannot then be referred to any figure to
which they are all common, and the skeleton figure will appear to be continually
undergoing a change of shape.

I have given ample proof that objects whose pictures do not fall on corresponding points
of the two retin may still appear single. I will now adduce an experiment which proves
that similar pictures falling on corresponding points of the two retin may appear double
and in different places.
Present, in the stereoscope, to the right eye a vertical line, and to the left eye a line
inclined some degrees from the perpendicular (fig. 23.); the observer will then perceive,
as formerly explained, a line, the extremities of which appear at different distances before
the eyes. Draw on the left hand figure a faint vertical line exactly corresponding in
position and length to that presented to the right eye; and let the two lines of this left hand
figure intersect each other at their centres. Looking now at these two drawings in the
stereoscope, the two strong lines, each seen by a different eye, will coincide, and the
resultant perspective line will appear to occupy the same place as before; but the faint
line which now falls on a line of the left retina, which corresponds with the line of the
might retina on which one of the coinciding strong lines, viz. the vertical one, falls,
appears in a different place. The place this faint line apparently occupies is the
intersection of that plane of visual direction of the left eye in which it is situated, with the
plane of visual direction of the right eye, which contains the strong vertical line.

This experiment affords another proof that there is no necessary physiological connection
between the corresponding points of the two retin,a doctrine which has been
maintained by so many authors.

13. Binocular Vision of Images of different Magnitudes.

We will now inquire what effect results from presenting similar images, differing only in
magnitude, to analogous parts of the two retin. For this purpose two squares or circles,
differing obviously but not extravagantly in size, may be drawn on two separate pieces of

paper, and placed in the stereoscope so that the reflected image of each shall he equally
distant from the eye by which it is regarded. It will then be seen that, notwithstanding this
difference, they coalesce and occasion a single resultant perception. The limit of the
difference of size within which the single appearance subsists may be ascertained by
employing two images of equal magnitude, and causing one of them to recede from the
eye while the other remains at a constant distance ; this is effected merely by pulling out
the sliding board C (fig. 8.) while the other C' remains fixed, the screw having previously
been removed.
Though the single appearance of two images of different size is by this experiment
demonstrated, the observer is unable to perceive what difference exists between the
apparent magnitude of the binocular image and that of the two monocular images to
determine this point the stereoscope must be dispensed with, and the experiment so
arranged that all three shall be simultaneously seen ; which may be done in the following
manner:The two drawings being placed side by side on a plane before the eyes, the
optic axes must be made to converge to a nearer point as at fig. 4., or to a more distant
one as at fig. 3., until the three images are seen at the same time, the binocular image in
the middle, and the monocular images at each side. It will thus be seen that the binocular
image is apparently intermediate in size between the two monocular ones.
If the pictures be too unequal in magnitude, the binocular coincidence does not take
place. It appears that if the inequality of the pictures be greater than the difference which
exists between the two projections of the same object when seen in the most oblique
position of the eyes (i. e. both turned to the extreme right or to the extreme left),
ordinarily employed, they do not coalesce. Were it not for the binocular coincidence of
two images of different magnitude, objects would appear single only when the optic axes
converge immediately forwards; for it is only when the converging visual lines form
equal angles with the visual base (the line joining the centres of the two eyes) as at fig. 2.,
that the two pictures can be of equal magnitude; but when they form different angles with
it, as at fig. 24., the distance from the object to each eye is different, and consequently the
picture projected on each retina has a different magnitude. If a piece of money be held in
the position a, (fig. 24.) while the optic axes converge to a nearer point c, it will appear
double, and that seen by the left eye will be evidently smaller than the other.

14. Phenomena which are observed when objects of different forms are simultaneously
presented to corresponding parts of the two retin.
If we regard a picture with the right eye alone for a considerable length of time it will be
constantly perceived; if we look at another and dissimilar picture with the left eye alone
its effect will be equally permanent; it might therefore be expected, that if each of these
pictures were presented to its corresponding eye at the same time the two would appear
permanently superposed on each other. This, however, contrary to expectation, is not the
If a and b (fig. 25.) are each presented at the same time to a different eye, the common
border will remain constant, while the letter within it will change alternately from that
which would be perceived by the right eye alone to that which would be perceived by the
left eye alone. At the moment of change the letter which has just been seen breaks into
fragments, while fragments of the letter which is about to appear mingle with them, and
are immediately after replaced by the entire letter. It does not appear to be in the power of
the will to determine the appearance of either of the letters, but the duration of the
appearance seems to depend on causes which are under our control: thus if the two
pictures be equally illuminated, the alternations appear in general of equal duration; but if
one picture be in ore illuminated than the other, that which is less so will be perceived
during a shorter time. I have generally made this experiment with the apparatus, fig. 6.
When complex pictures are employed in the stereoscope, various parts of them alternate

There are some facts intimately connected with the subject of the present article which
have already been frequently observed. I allude to the experiments, first made by DU
TOUR, in which two different colours are presented to corresponding parts of the two
retin. If a blue disc be presented to the right eye and a yellow disc to the corresponding
part of the left eye, instead of a green disc which would appear if these two colours had
mingled before their arrival at a single eye, the mind will perceive the two colours
distinctly one or the other alternately predominating either partially or wholly over the
disc. In the same manner the mind perceives no trace of violet when red is presented to
one eye and blue to the other, nor any vestige of orange when red and yellow are
separately presented in a similar manner. These experiments may be conveniently
repeated by placing the coloured discs in the stereoscope, but they have been most
usually made by looking at a white object through differently coloured glasses, one
applied to each eye.
In some authors we find it stated, contrary to fact, that if similar objects of different
colour be presented one to each eye, the appearance will be that compounded of the two

colours. Dr. REID * [* Enquiry, Sect. xiii.] and JANIN are among the writers who have
fallen into this inconsiderate error, which arose no doubt from their deciding according to
previous notions, instead of ascertaining by experiment what actually does happen.

No question relating to vision has been so much debated as the cause of the single
appearance of objects seen by both eyes. I shall in the present section give a slight review
of the various theories which have been advanced by philosophers to account for this
phenomenon, in order that the remarks I have to make in the succeeding section may be
properly understood.
The law of visible direction for monocular vision has been variously stated by different
optical writers. Some have maintained with Drs. REID and PORTERFIELD, that every
external point is seen in the direction of a line passing from its picture on the retina
through the centre of the eye; while others have supposed with Dr. SMITH that the
visible direction of an object coincides with the visual ray, or the principal ray of the
pencil which flows from it to the eye. DALEMBERT, furnished with imperfect data
respecting the refractive densities of the humours of the eye, calculated that the apparent
magnitudes of objects would differ widely on the two suppositions, and concluded that
the visible point of an object was not seen in either of these directions, but sensibly in the
direction of a line joining the point itself and its image on the retina; but he
acknowledged that he could assign no reason for this law. Sir DAVID BREWSTER,
provided with more accurate data, has shown that these three lines so nearly coincide
with each other, that at an inclination of 30, a line perpendicular to the point of
impression on the retina passes through the common centre, and does not deviate from
the real line of visible direction more than half a degree, a quantity too small to interfere
with the purposes of vision. We may, therefore, assume in all our future reasonings the
truth of the following definition given by this eminent philosopher : As the interior
eye-ball is as nearly as possible a perfect sphere, lines perpendicular to the surface of the
retina must all pass through one single point, namely the centre of its spherical surface.
This one point may be called the centre of visible direction, because every point of a
visible object will be seen in the direction of a line drawn from this centre to the visible
It is obvious, that the result of any attempt to explain the single appearance of objects to
both eyes, or, in other words, the law of visible direction for binocular vision, ought to
contain nothing inconsistent with the law of visible direction for monocular vision.
It was the opinion of AGUILONIUS, that all objects seen at the same glance with both
eyes appear to be in the plane of the horopter. The horopter he defines to be a line drawn
through the point of intersection of the optic axes, and parallel to the line joining the
centres of the two eyes; the plane of the horopter to be a plane passing through this line at
right angles to that of the optic axes. All objects which are in this plane, must, according

to him, appear single because the lines of direction in which any point of an object is seen
coincide only in this plane and nowhere else; and as these lines can meet each other only
in one point, it follows from the hypothesis, that all objects not in the plane of the
horopter must appear double, because their lines of direction intersect each other, either
before or after they pass through it. This opinion was also maintained by DECHALES
and PORTERFIELD. That it is erroneous, I have given, I think, sufficient proof, in
showing that, when the optic axes converge to any point, objects before or beyond the
plane of the horopter are under certain circumstances equally seen single as those in that
Dr. WELLSS new theory of visible direction was a modification of the preceding
hypothesis. This acute writer held with AGUILONIUS, that objects are seen single only
when they are in the plane of the horopter, and consequently that they appear double
when they are either before or beyond it; but he attempted to make this single appearance
of objects only in the plane of the horopter to depend on other principles, from which he
deduced, contrary to AGUILONIUS, that the objects which are doubled do not appear in
the plane of the horopter, but in other places which are determined by these principles.
Dr. WELLS was led to his new theory by a fact which he accidentally observed, and
which he could not reconcile with any existing theory of visible direction ; this fact had,
though he was unaware of it, been previously noticed by Dr. SMITH; it is already
mentioned in 8., and is the only instance of binocular vision of relief which I have
found recorded previous to my own investigations. So little does Dr. WELLSS theory
appear to have been understood, that no subsequent writer has attempted either to confirm
or disprove his opinions. It would be useless here to discuss the principles of this theory,
which was framed to account for an anomalous individual fact, since it is inconsistent
with the general rules on which that fact has been now shown to depend. Notwithstanding
these erroneous views, the essay upon single vision with two eyes contains many
valuable experiments and remarks, the truth of which are independent of the theory they
were intended to illustrate.
The theory which has obtained greatest currency is that which assumes that an object is
seen single because its pictures fall on corresponding points of the two retin, that is on
points which are similarly situated with respect to the two centres both in distance and
position. This theory supposes that the pictures projected on the retin are exactly similar
to each other, corresponding points of the two pictures falling on corresponding points of
the two retin. Authors who agree with regard to this property, differ widely in
explaining why objects are seen in the same place, or single, according to this law. Dr.
SMITH makes it to depend entirely on custom, and explains why the eyes are habitually
directed towards an object so that its pictures fall on corresponding parts in the following
manner: When we view an object steadily, we have acquired a habit of directing the
optic axes to the point in view; because its pictures falling upon the middle points of the
retinas, are then distincter than if they fell upon any other places; and since the pictures of
the whole object are equal to one another, and are both inverted with respect to the optic
axes, it follows that the pictures of any collateral point are painted upon corresponding
points of the retinas.

Dr. REID, after a long dissertation on the subject, concludes, that by an original property
of human eyes, objects painted upon the centres of the two retin, or upon points
similarly situated with regard to the centres, appear in the same visible place; that the
most plausible attempts to account for this property of the eyes have been unsuccessful ;
and therefore, that it must be either a primary law of our constitution, or the consequence
of some more general law which is not yet discovered.
Other writers who have admitted this principle have regarded it as arising from
anatomical structure and dependent on connexion of nervous fibres; among these stand
Dr. WOLLASTON and Professor MLLER.
Many of the supporters of the theory of corresponding points have thought, or rather have
admitted, without thinking, that it was not inconsistent with the law of AGUILONIUS;
but very little reflection will show that both cannot be maintained together; for
corresponding lines of visible direction, that is, lines terminating in corresponding points
of the two retin, cannot meet in the plane of the horopter unless the optic axes be
parallel, and the plane be at an infinite distance before the eyes. Some of the modern
German writers * [* Tortual, die Sinne des Menschen. Mnster, 1827. Bartels, Beitrage
zur Physiologie der Gesichtssinnes. Berlin, 1834.] have inquired what is the curve in
which objects appear single while the optic axes are directed to a given point, on the
hypothesis that objects are seen single only when they fall on corresponding points of the
two retin. An elegant proposition has resulted from their investigations, which I shall
need no apology for introducing in this place, since it has not yet been mentioned in any
English work.
R and L (fig. 26.) are the two eyes; C A, C' A the optic axes converging to the point A;
and C A B C' is a circle drawn through the point of convergence A and the centres of
visible direction C C'. If any point be taken in the circumference of this circle, and lines
be drawn from it through the centres of the two eyes C C', these lines will fall on
corresponding points of the two retin D D'; for the angles A C B, A C' B being equal, the
angles D C E, D C' E are also equal; therefore any point placed in the circumference of
the circle C A B C' will, according to the hypothesis, appear single while the optic axes
are directed to A, or any other part in it.

I will mention two other properties of this binocular circle: 1st. The arc subtended by two
points on its circumference contains double the number of degrees of the arc subtended
by the pictures of these points on either retina, so that objects which occupy 180 of the
supposed circle of single vision are painted on a portion of the retina extended over 90
only; for the angle D C E or D C' E being at the centre, and the angle B C A or B C' A at
the circumference of a circle, this consequence follows. 2ndly. To whatever point of the
circumference of the circle the optic axes be made to converge, they will form the same
angle with each other; for the angles C A C', C B C are equal.
In the eye itself, the centre of visible direction, or the point at which the principal rays
cross each other, is, according to Dr. YOUNG and other eminent optical writers, at the
same time the centre of the spherical surface of the retina, and that of the lesser spherical
surface of the cornea; in the diagram (fig. 26.), to simplify the consideration of the
problem, R and L represent only the circle of curvature of the bottom of the retina, but the
reasoning is equally true in both cases.
The same reasons, founded on the experiments in this memoir, which disprove the theory
of AGUILONIUS, induce me to reject the law of corresponding points as an accurate
expression of the phenomena of single vision. According to the former, objects can
appear single only in the plane of the horopter; according to the latter, only when they are
in the circle of single vision; both positions are inconsistent with the binocular vision of
objects in relief, the points of which they consist appearing single though they are at
different distances before the eyes. I have already proved that the assumption made by all
the maintainers of the theory of corresponding points, namely that the two pictures
projected by any object in the retin are exactly similar, is quite contrary to fact in every
case except that in which the optic axes are parallel.

GASSENDUS, PORTA, TACQUET and GALL maintained, that we see with only one
eye at a time though both remain open, one according to them being relaxed and
inattentive to objects while the other is upon the stretch. It is a sufficient refutation of this
hypothesis, that we see an object double when one of the optic axes is displaced either by
squinting or by pressure on the eye-ball with the finger; if we saw with only one eye, one
object only should under such circumstances be seen. Again, in many cases which I have
already explained, the simultaneous affection of the two retin excites a different idea in
the mind to that consequent on either of the single impressions, the latter giving rise to
the idea of a representation on a plane surface, the former to that of an object in relief;
these things could not occur did we see with only one eye at a time.
Du TOUR * [* Act. Par. 1743. M. p. 334.] held that though we might occasionally see at
the same time with both eyes, yet the mind cannot be affected simultaneously by two
corresponding points of the two images. He was led to this opinion by the curious facts
alluded to in 14. It would be difficult to disprove this conjecture by experiment; but all
that the experiments adduced in its favour, and others relating to the disappearance of
objects to one eye really proves, is, that the mind is inattentive to impressions made on
one retina when it cannot combine the impressions on the two retin together so as to
resemble the perception of some external objects; but they afford no ground whatever for
supposing that the mind cannot under any circumstances attend to impressions made
simultaneously on points of the two retin, when they harmonize with each other in
suggesting to the mind the same idea.
A perfectly original theory has been recently advanced by M. LEHOT + [+ Nouvelle
Thorie de la Vision, Par. 1823.], who has endeavoured to prove, that instead of pictures
on the retin, images of three dimensions are formed in the vitreous humour which we
perceive by means of nervous filaments extended thence from the retina. This theory
would account for the single appearance to both eyes of objects in relief, but it would be
quite insufficient to explain why we perceive an object of three dimensions when two
pictures of it are presented to the eyes; according to it, also, no difference should be
perceived in the relief of objects when seen by one or both eyes, which is contrary to
what really happens. The proofs, besides, that we perceive external objects by means of
pictures on the retin are so numerous and convincing, that a contrary conjecture cannot
be entertained for a moment. On this account it will suffice merely to mention two other
theories which place the seat of vision in the vitreous humour. VALLEE ++ [++ Trait de
la Science du Dessein, Par. 1821, p. 270.], without denying the existence of pictures on
the retina, has advocated that we see the relief of objects by means of anterior foci on the
hyaloid membrane; and RASPAIL [ Nouveau Systme de Chimie Organique, t. 2. p.
329.] has developed at considerable length the strange hypothesis, that images are neither
formed in the vitreous humour nor painted on the retina, but are immediately perceived at
the focus of the lenticular system of which the eye is formed.


It now remains to examine why two dissimilar pictures projected on the two retina give
rise to the perception of an object in relief. I will not attempt at present to give the
complete solution of this question, which is far from being so easy as at a first glance it
may appear to be, and is indeed one of great complexity. I shall in this place merely
consider the most obvious explanations which might be offered, and show their
insufficiency to explain the whole of the phenomena.
It may be supposed that we see but one point of an object distinctly at the same instant,
the one namely to which the optic axes are directed, while all other points are seen so
indistinctly, that the mind does not recognize them to be either single or double, and that
the figure is appreciated by successively directing the point of convergence of the optic
axes successively to a sufficient number of its points to enable us to judge accurately of
its form.
That there is a degree of indistinctness in those parts of the field of view to which the
eyes are not immediately directed, and which increases with the distance from that point,
cannot be doubted, and it is also true that the objects thus obscurely seen are frequently
doubled. It may be said, this indistinctness and duplicity is not attended to, because the
eyes shifting continually from point to point, every part of the object is successively
rendered distinct; and the perception of the object is not the consequence of a single
glance, during which only a small part of it is seen distinctly, but is formed from a
comparison of all the pictures successively seen while the eyes are changing from one
point of the object to another.
All this is in some degree true; but were it entirely so, no appearance of relief should
present itself when the eyes remain intently fixed on one point of a binocular image in the
stereoscope. But on performing the experiment carefully, it will be found, provided the
pictures do not extend too far beyond the centres of distinct vision, that the image is still
seen single and in relief when this condition is fulfilled. Were the theory of corresponding
points true, the appearance should be that of the superposition of the two drawings, to
which, however, it has not the slightest similitude. The following experiment is equally
decisive against this theory.
Draw two lines inclined towards each other, as in Plate XIX. fig. 10, on a sheet of paper,
and having caused them to coincide by converging the optic axes to a point nearer than
the paper; look intently on the upper end of the resultant line, without allowing the eyes
to wander from it for a moment. The entire line will appear single and in its proper relief,
and a pin or a piece of straight wire may without the least difficulty be made to coincide
exactly in position with it; or, if while the optic axes continue to be directed to the upper
and nearer end, the point of a pin be made to coincide with the lower and further end or
with any intermediate point of the resultant line, the coincidence will remain exactly the
same when the optic axes are moved and meet there. The eyes sometimes become
fatigued, which causes the line to appear double at those parts to which the optic axes are
not fixed, but in such case all appearance of relief vanishes.. The same experiment may
be tried with more complex figures, but the pictures should not extend too far beyond the
centres of the retin.

Another and a beautiful proof that the appearance of relief in binocular vision is an effect
independent of the motions of the eyes, may be obtained by impressing on the retinal
ocular spectra of the component figures. For this purpose the drawings should be formed
of broad coloured lines on a ground of the complementary colour, for instance red lines
on a green ground, and be viewed either in the stereoscope or in the apparatus, fig. 6, as
the ordinary figures are, taking care, however, to fix the eyes only to a single point of the
compound figure; the drawings must be strongly illuminated, and after a sufficient time
has elapsed to impress the spectra on the retin, the eyes must be carefully covered to
exclude all external light. A spectrum of the object in relief will then appear before the
closed eyes. It is well known that a spectrum impressed on a single eye and seen in the
dark, frequently alternately appears and disappears: these alternations do not correspond
in the spectra impressed on the two retin, and hence a curious effect arises; sometimes
the right-eye spectrum will be seen alone, sometimes that of the left eye, and at those
moments when the two appear together, the binocular spectrum will present itself in bold
relief. As in this case the pictures cannot shift their places on the retina in whatever
manner the eyes be moved about, the optic axes can during the experiment only
correspond with a single point of each.
When an object, or a part of an object, thus appears in relief while the optic axes are
directed to a single binocular point, it is easy to see that each point of the figure that
appears single is seen at the intersection of the two lines of visible direction in which it is
seen by each eye separately, whether these lines of visible direction terminate at
corresponding points of the two retin or not.
But if we were to infer the converse of this, viz. that every point of an object in relief is
seen by a single glance at the intersection of the lines of visible direction in which it is
seen by each eye singly, we should be in error. On this supposition, objects before or
beyond the intersection of the optic axes should never appear double, and we have
abundant evidence that they do. The determination of the points which shall appear single
seems to depend in no small degree on previous knowledge of the form we are regarding.
No doubt, some law or rule of vision may be discovered which shall include all the
circumstances under which single vision by means of non-corresponding points occurs
and is limited. I have made numerous experiments for the purpose of attaining this end,
and have ascertained some of the conditions on which single and double vision depend,
the consideration of which, however, must at present be deferred.
Sufficient, however, has been shown to prove that the laws of binocular visible position
hitherto laid down are too restricted to be true. The law of Aguilonius assumes that
objects in the plane of the horopter are alone seen single; and the law of corresponding
points carried to its necessary consequences, though these consequences were unforeseen
by its first advocates, many of whom thought that it was consistent with the law of
Aguilonius, leads to the conclusion that no object appears single unless it is seen in a
circle passing through the centres of visible direction in each eye and the point of
convergence of the optic axes. Both of these are inconsistent with the single vision of
objects whose points lie out of the plane in one case and the circle in the other; and that
objects do appear single under circumstances that cannot be explained by these laws, has,

I think, been placed beyond doubt by the experiments I have brought forward. Should it
be hereafter proved, that all points in the plane or in the circle above mentioned are seen
single, and from the great indistinctness of lateral images it will be difficult to give this
proof, the law must be qualified by the admission that points out of them do not always
appear double.

IN 3. of the first part of my "Contributions to,the Physiology of Vision," published in

the Philosophical Transactions for 1838, speaking of the stereoscope, I stated, The
pictures will indeed coincide when the sliding pannels are in a variety of different
positions, and consequently when viewed under different inclinations of the optic axes ;
but there is only one position in which the binocular image will be immediately seen
single, of its proper magnitude, and without fatigue to the eyes, because in this position
only the ordinary relations between the magnitude of the pictures on the retina, the
inclination of the optic axes, and the adaptation of the eye to distinct vision at different
distances, are preserved. The alteration in the apparent magnitude of the binocular
images, when these usual relations are disturbed, will be discussed in another paper of
this series, with a variety of remarkable phenomena depending thereon."
In 1833, five years before the publication of the memoir just mentioned, these yet
unpublished investigations were announced in the third edition of HERBERT MAYO's
Outlines of Human Physiology" in the following words: " Mr. WHEATSTONE has
shown, in a paper he is about to publish, that if by artificial means the usual relations
which subsist between the degree of inclination of the optic axes and the visual angle
which the object subtends on the retina be disturbed, some extraordinary illusions may be
produced. Thus, the magnitude of the image remaining constant on the retina, its apparent
size may be made to vary with every alteration of the angular inclination of the optic
I shall resume the consideration of the phenomena of binocular vision with this subject,
because the facts I have ascertained regarding it are necessary to be understood before
entering on the new experiments relating to stereoscopic appearances which I intend to
bring forward on the present occasion.
Under the ordinary conditions of vision, when an object is placed at a certain distance
before the eyes, several concurring circumstances remain constant, and they always vary
in the same order when the distance of the object is changed. Thus, as we approach the
object, or as it is brought nearer to us, the magnitude of the picture on the retina increases
; the inclination of the optic axes, required to cause the pictures to fall on corresponding
places of the retin , becomes greater; the divergence of the rays of light proceeding from
each point of the object, and which determines the adaptation of the eyes to distinct
vision of that point, increases ; and the dissimilarity of the two pictures projected on the
retin also becomes greater. It is important to ascertain in what manner our perception of
the magnitude and distance of objects depends on these various circumstances, and to
inquire which are the most, and which the least influential in the judgements we form. To

advance this inquiry beyond the point to which it has hitherto been brought, it is not
sufficient to content ourselves with drawing conclusions from observations on the
circumstances under which vision naturally occurs, as preceding writers on this subject
mostly have done, but it is necessary to have more extended recourse to the methods so
successfully employed in experimental philosophy, and to endeavour, wherever it be
possible, not only to analyse the elements of vision, but also to recombine them in
unusual manners, so that they may be associated under circumstances that never naturally
The instrument I shall proceed to describe enables these abnormal combinations to be
made in a very simple and effectual manner. Its principal object is to cause the binocular
pictures to coincide, with any inclination of the optic axes, while their magnitudes on the
retin remain the same ; or inversely, while the optic axes remain at the same angle, to
cause the size of the pictures on the retin to vary in any manner.
Two plane mirrors inclined 90 to each other are placed together and fixed vertically
upon a horizontal board. Two wooden arms move round a common centre situated on this
board in the vertical plane which bisects the angle of the mirrors, and about 1 inch
beyond their line of junction. Upon each of these arms is placed an upright pannel , at
right angles thereto, for the purpose of receiving its appropriate picture, and each pannel
is made to slide to and from the opposite mirror. The eyes being placed before the
mirrors, the right eye to the right mirror and the left eye to the left mirror, and the pannels
being adjusted to the same distances, however the arms be moved round their centre, the
distance of the reflected image of each picture from the eye will remain exactly the same,
and consequently its retinal magnitude will be unchanged. But as the two reflected
images do not occupy the same place when the pictures are in different positions, to cause
the former to coincide the optic axes must converge differently. When the arms are in the
same straight line, the images coincide while the optic axes are parallel ; and as they form
a less angle with each other, the optic axes converge more to occasion the coincidence.
When the arms remain in the same positions, while the pannels slide towards or from the
mirrors, the convergence of the optic axes remains the same, but the magnitude of the
pictures on the retin increases as the distance decreases. By the arrangement described,
and which is represented by figs. 1 and 2 Plate I., the reflected pictures are always
perpendicular to the optic axes, and the corresponding points of the pictures, when they
are exactly similar, fall upon corresponding points of the retin . The instrument has an
adjustment for otherwise inclining them if it be required.

Let us now attend to the effects produced. The pictures being fixed at the same distance
from the mirrors, there is a certain adjustment of the arms at which the binocular image
will appear of its natural size, that is, the size we judge the picture itself to be when we
look at it directly ; in this case the magnitude of the pictures on the retin and the
inclination of the optic axes preserve their usual relation to each other. lf now the arms be
moved back, so as to cause a less convergence of the axes, the image will appear to
increase in magnitude until the arms are in a straight line and the optic axes are parallel ;
and, on the other hand, if the arms be moved forwards, so as to form a less angle, the
optic axes will converge more, and the image will appear gradually smaller. In this
manner, while the retinal magnitude remains the same, the perceived magnitude of the
binocular object varies through a very considerable range.
The instrument being again adjusted so that the image shall be seen of its natural size ; on
sliding the pictures nearer the mirrors its perceived magnitude will be augmented, and on
sliding them from the mirrors it will appear diminished in size. During these variations of
magnitude the inclination of the optic axes remains the same.
The perceived magnitude of an object, therefore, diminishes as the inclination of the axes
becomes greater, while the distance remains the same ; and it increases, when the
inclination of the axes remains the same, while the distance diminishes. When both these
conditions vary inversely, as they do in ordinary vision when the distance of an object
changes, the perceived magnitude remains the same*. [* Several cases of the alteration of
the perceived magnitude of objects are mentioned by Dr. R. SMITH (Complete System of

Opticks , 1738, vol. ii. p. 388, and rem . 526 and 532 ) ; and Dr. R. DARWIN
(Philosophical Transactions, vol. 1xxvi. p. 313) observed that when an ocular spectrum
was impressed on both eyes it appeared magnified when they were directed to a wall at a
considerable distance. The facts noticed by these authors are satisfactorily explained by
the above considerations.]
Before I proceed further it will be proper to explain the meaning of some of the terms I
employ. I call the magnitude of the object itself, the real or objective magnitude; the
magnitude of the picture on the retina, the retinal magnitude ; and the magnitude we
estimate the object to be from its retinal magnitude and the inclination of the optic axes
conjointly, I name the perceived magnitude. I do not use the term apparent magnitude,
because, according to its ordinary acceptation, it sometimes means what I call retinal, and
at other times what I name perceived magnitude.
We have seen in what manner our perception of magnitude is modified by the new
associations which this instrument enables us to form ; let as now examine how our
perception of distance is affected by them. lf we continue to observe the binocular picture
whilst it apparently increases or decreases, in consequence of the inclination of the optic
axes varying while the magnitude of the impressions on the retin remains the same, it
does not appear either to approach or to recede ; and yet if we attentively regard it in any
fixed position, it is perceived to be at a different distance. On the other hand, if we
continue to regard the binocular picture, enlarging and diminishing in consequence of the
change of retinal magnitude while the convergence of the axes remains the same, we
perceive it to approach or recede in the, most evident manner ; but on fixing the attention
to it, when it is stationary, at any instant, it appears to be at the same distance at one time
as it is at another.
Convergence of the optic axes therefore suggests fixed distance to the mind ; variation of
retinal magnitude suggests change of distance. We may, as I have above shown, perceive
an object approach or recede without appearing to change its distance, and an object to be
at a different distance, without appearing to approach or recede ; these paradoxical effects
render it difficult, until the phenomena are well apprehended, to know, or to express,
what we actually do perceive.
It is the prevalent opinion that the sensation which accompanies the inclination of the
optic axes immediately suggests distance, and that the perceived magnitude of an object
is a judgement arising from our consciousness of its distance and of the magnitude of its
picture on the retina. From the experiments I have brought forward, it rather appears to
me that what the sensation which is connected with the convergence of the axes
immediately suggests is a correction of the retinal magnitude to make it agree with the
real magnitude of the object, and that distance, instead of being a simple perception, is a
judgement arising from a comparison of the retinal and perceived magnitudes. However
this may be, unless other signs accompany this sensation the notion of distance we thence
derive is uncertain and obscure, whereas the perception of the change of magnitude it
occasions is obvious and unmistakeable.

To see, in their full extent, the variations of magnitude exhibited by the instrument I have
described, it is necessary to attend to the following observations.
As the inclination of the optic axes corresponding to a different distance is habitually,
under ordinary circumstances, accompanied with the particular adaptation of the eyes
required for distinct vision at that distance, it is difficult to disassociate these two
conditions so as to see with equal distinctness the binocular picture when the optic axes
are parallel, and when they converge greatly, although the pictures remain, in both cases,
at the same distance from the eyes. The adaptation is, therefore, not entirely dependent on
the divergence of the rays of light which proceed from the object regarded, but also, in
some degree, on the inclination of the optic axes. I have acquired by practice considerable
power of adjustment, or rather disadjustment , of the eyes, and can, without having
recourse to artificial means, see the binocular picture distinctly when its perceived
magnitude is widely different. Those to whom such an effort is painful may employ
short-sighted spectacles to see the binocular picture when the eyes converge within the
limit of distinct Vision for the distance at which the pictures are placed ; and long-sighted
spectacles when the eyes converge beyond that limit, or become parallel.
There is a means of avoiding to a very considerable extent the influence of the adjustment
of the eyes, and thereby enabling the pictures to be seen distinctly within the entire range
of the inclination of the optic axes. This is by looking at the reflected images in the
mirrors through two very minute apertures, not larger than fine pin-holes, placed near
each eye, and illuminating the pictures by a very strong light ; sunshine in the middle of
the day answers the purpose very well. By this expedient the divergence of the rays of
light is greatly diminished, and the adaptation of the eyes does not materially influence
the result.

Leaving this subject, I will now revert to the stereoscope and its effects.
Since 1838 numerous modifications of the stereoscope have occurred to me, and several
ingenious arrangements have also been proposed by Sir DAVID BREWSTER and Prof.
DOVE ; but there is no form of the instrument which has so many advantages for
investigating the phenomena of binocular vision as the original reflecting stereoscope.
Pictures of any size may be placed in it, and it admits of every kind of adjustment.
I have constructed a very portable reflecting stereoscope which is represented at fig. 3.
The sides fold over the mirrors, and the mirrors then fold into a box, which is not larger
than 6 inches in any of its dimensions. To avoid the second feeble reflection from the
anterior surface of the silvered glass, which has a bad effect when the attention is
attracted to it, I have sometimes employed reflecting prisms. The reflecting surfaces of
the prisms should be silvered in order to obviate the unequal brightness of the field of
view on each side of the limit of total reflection ; and as it would be too costly to employ

very large prisms, they should have an adjustment to accommodate their distance to the
width between the eyes of the observer.

I have, for many years past, employed also another means to occasion, without any
straining of the eyes, the coincidence of the pictures so that the image in relief shall
appear of the same magnitude and at the same distance as the object which they represent
would do if it were itself directly regarded. In this apparatus, prisms being employed to
deflect the rays of light proceeding from the pictures, so as to make them appear to
occupy the same place, I have called it the refracting stereoscope.
It is represented by fig. 4. It consists of a base 6 inches long and 4 inches broad, upon
which stands an upright partition, 5 inches high, dividing it equally ; this partition is
capable of extension by means of a slide to double the length, and carries at its upper
extremity a board placed parallel to the base, and of the same dimensions. In this upper
board there are two apertures an inch square, one on each side of the partition, the centres
of which are 2 inches from each other ; in these apertures are fixed a pair of glass
prisms having their faces inclined 15, and their refractive angles turned towards each
other. The stereoscope pictures are to be placed on the base, and their centres ought not to
exceed the distance of 2 inches.

A pair of plate-glass prisms, their faces making with each other an angle of 12, will
bring two pictures, the corresponding points of which are 2 inches apart, to
coincidence at a distance of 12 inches, and a pair with an angle of 15 will occasion
coincidence at 8 inches.
The refracting stereoscope has the advantage of portability, but it is limited to pictures of
small dimensions. It is well suited for Daguerreotypes, which are usually of small size,
and, on account of the nature of their reflecting surface, must be viewed in a particular
direction with respect to the light which falls upon them ; whereas in the reflecting
stereoscope it is somewhat difficult to render the two Daguerreotypes equally visible. For
drawings and Talbotypes it however offers no advantages, though it is equally well suited
for them when their dimensions are small.
Stereoscopic drawings afford a means of illustrating works with figures of three
dimensions, instead of with mere plane representations. Works on crystallography, solid
geometry, spherical trigonometry, architecture, machinery, &c., might be thus rendered
more instructive, from the perfect counterpart of the solid figure seen from a single point
of view being represented, instead of merely one of its plane projections. For this purpose
the corresponding binocular figures must be engraved in parallel vertical columns, and
their coalescence may be effected by viewing them through a pair of prisms, similar to
those employed in the refracting stereoscope, placed in a frame at the proper distance
from each other. lf the engravings should be less than 2 inches apart, the prisms may be
dispensed with by persons who have command over the adaptation of their eyes,
particularly if they be short-sighted.

At the date of the publication of my experiments on binocular vision, the brilliant
photographic discoveries of TALBOT, NIEPCE and DAGUERRE, had not been
announced to the world. To illustrate the phenomena of the stereoscope I could therefore,
at that time, only employ drawings made by the hands of an artist. Mere outline figures,
or even shaded perspective drawings of simple objects, do not present much difficulty ;
but it is evidently impossible for the most accurate and accomplished artist to delineate,
by the sole aid of his eye, the two projections necessary to form the stereoscopic relief of
objects as they exist in nature with their delicate differences of outline, light and shade.
What the hand of the artist was unable to accomplish, the chemical action of light,
directed by the camera, has enabled us to effect.
It was at the beginning of 1839, about six months after the appearance of my memoir in
the Philosophical Transactions, that the photographic art became known, and soon after,
at my request, Mr. TALBOT, the inventor, and Mr. COLLEN (one of the first cultivators
of the art) obligingly prepared for me stereoscopic Talbotypes of full-sized statues,
buildings, and even portraits of living persons. M. QUETELET, to whom I
communicated this application and sent specimens, made mention of it in the Bulletins of
the Brussels Academy of October 1841. To M. FIZEAU and M. CLAUDET I was
indebted for the first Daguerreotypes executed for the stereoscope. The beautiful
stereoscopic representations of statuary, architecture, machinery, natural history
specimens, portraits of living persons, single and in groups, &c., which have recently
been produced by M. SOLEIL and M. CLAUDET, are now too well known to the public
to need more than a slight reference to them.
With respect to the means of preparing the binocular photographs (and in this general
term I include both Talbotypes and Daguerreotypes), little requires to be said beyond a
few directions as to the proper positions in which it is necessary to place the camera in
order to obtain the two required projections.
We will suppose that the binocular pictures are required to be seen in the stereoscope at a
distance of 8 inches before the eyes, in which case the convergence of the optic axes is
about 18. To obtain the proper projections for this distance, the camera must be placed,
with its lens accurately directed towards the object, successively in two points of the
circumference of a circle of which the object is the centre, and the points at which the
camera is so placed must have the angular distance of 18 from each other, exactly that of
the optic axes in the stereoscope. The distance of the camera from the object may be
taken arbitrarily, for, so long as the same angle is employed, whatever that distance may
be, the pictures will exhibit in the stereoscope the same relief, and be seen at the same
distance of 8 inches, only the magnitude of the picture will appear different. Miniature
stereoscopic representations of buildings and full-sized statues are therefore obtained
merely by taking the two projections of the object from a considerable distance, but at the
same angle as if the object were only 8 inches distant, that is, at an angle of 18.

To produce the best effect, it is necessary that the pictures be so placed in the stereoscope
that each eye shall see its respective picture at the proper point of sight: if this condition
be not attended to, the binocular perspective will be incorrect.
For obtaining binocular photographic portraits, it has been found advantageous to
employ, simultaneously, two cameras fixed at the proper angular positions.
I subjoin a Table of the inclinations of the optic axes which correspond to different
distances ; it also shows the angular positions of the camera required to obtain binocular
pictures which shall appear at a given distance in the stereoscope in their true relief.
Inclination 2
of the
optic axes

10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30

Distance 71.5 35.7 23.8 17.8 13.2 11.8 10.1 8.8 7.8 7.0 6.4 5.8 5.4 5.0 4.6
in inches
The distance is equal to a /2 cotang /2; a denoting the distance between the two eyes,
and the inclination of the optic axes.

As the inclination of the optic axes diminishes by the removal of an object to which they
are directed to a greater distance, not only does the magnitude of the pictures projected by
it on the retin proportionately diminish, but the dissimilarity of the pictures becomes
less. The difference of distance between any two points of each of the pictures will
diminish until the projections become sensibly similar. Under the usual circumstances
attending the vision of a solid object placed at a given distance, a particular inclination of
the axes is invariably accompanied by a specific pair of dissimilar projections ; and if the
distance be changed, a different inclination of the axes is accompanied by another pair of
projections ; but, by means of the stereoscope, we have it within our power to associate
these circumstances abnormally, and to cause any degree of inclination of the axes to
coexist with any dissimilarity of the two pictures. To ascertain experimentally what takes
place under these circumstances M. CLAUDET prepared for me a number of
Daguerreotypes of the same bust, taken at a variety of different angles, so that I was
enabled to place in the stereoscope two pictures taken at any angular distance from 2 to
18, the former corresponding with a distance of about 6 feet, and the latter with a
distance of about 8 inches. The effect of a pair of near projections seen with a distant
convergence of the optic axes, is to give an undue elongation to lines joining two
unequally distant points, so that all the features of a bust appear to be exaggerated in
depth. The effect, on the contrary, of a pair of distant projections, seen with a near
convergence of the axes, is to give an undue shortening to the same lines, so that the

appearance of a bas-relief is obtained from the two projections of the bust. The apparent
dimensions in breadth and height remain in both cases the same.

To reproduce the conditions of the binocular vision of a solid object as completely as
possible by means of its two plane projections, it is necessary, as I have before stated, that
the projections shall be such as correspond exactly with the inclination of the optic axes
under which they are viewed. I have already shown in 20 what takes place when this
condition is not strictly observed, and I may add that the mind is not unpleasantly
affected by a considerable incongruity in this respect; on the contrary, the effect in many
cases seems heightened by viewing the solid appearance, intended for a determinate
degree of inclination of the axes, under an angle several degrees less ; the reality is as it
were exaggerated. When the optic axes are parallel, in strictness there should be no
difference between the pictures presented to each eye, and in this case there would be no
binocular relief ; but I find that an excellent effect is produced when the axes are nearly
parallel by pictures taken at an inclination of 7 or 8, and even a difference of 16 or 17
has no decidedly bad effect.
This circumstance enables us to combine the ideal amplification arising from viewing
pictures placed near the eyes under a small inclination, or even parallelism, of the optic
axes mentioned in 17, with the perception of solidity arising from the dissimilarity of
the projections ; for this purpose, the pictures in the refracting stereoscope, or their
reflected images in the reflecting instrument, must be viewed through lenses the focal
distance of which is equal to the distance between them and the pictures ; the perceived
magnitude of the binocular image will increase with the nearness of the pictures, and
depends almost entirely on the disassociation of the retinal magnitude from its usually
accompanying inclination of the optic axes, the actual magnifying power of the lenses
having a very small influence.
The sole use of the lenses is to render the rays of light parallel, which it is necessary they
should be for distinct vision when the optic axes are parallel. When the reflecting
stereoscope is employed, this means of magnifying the effect is not of much utility, as
pictures of any size may be adapted to that instrument. But in the case of the refracting
stereoscope it may be advantageously made use of. By combining lenses with the
refracting stereoscope, described in 18, Daguerreotypes somewhat wider than the width
between the eyes may be employed. Sir DAVID BREWSTER has used, to effect the
same purpose, semi-lenses with their edges directed towards each other, which serve at
the same time to render the rays less convergent and slightly to displace the pictures
towards each other. Two corresponding Daguerreotypes, each not exceeding in breadth
the width between the eyes, being placed close to each other, and viewed with lenses of
short focal distance, will even without the aid of the prisms give an apparently highly
magnified binocular image in bold relief.

There is a peculiarity in such images worthy of remark ; although the optic axes are
parallel, or nearly so, the image does not appear to be referred to the distance we should,
from this circumstance, suppose it to be, but it is perceived to be much nearer, and indeed
more so, as the pictures are nearer the eyes, though the inclination of the optic axes
remains the same, and should therefore suggest the same distance ; it seems as if the
dissimilarity of the projections, corresponding as they do to a nearer distance than that
which would be suggested by the former circumstance alone, alters in some degree the
perception of distance.
I recommend, as a convenient arrangement of a refracting stereoscope for viewing
Daguerreotypes of small dimensions, the instrument represented, fig. 4, shortened in its
length from 8 inches to 5, and lenses of 5 inches focal distance placed before and close to
the prisms.

I now proceed to another subject to the consideration of those phenomena which I
have termed Conversions of Relief.
In 5 of my first memoir I noticed the remarkable circumstance, that when the drawing
intended to be seen by the right eye is presented to the left eye in the stereoscope, and
vice vers , a totally different solid figure is perceived to that seen before the
transposition. I called this the converse figure, and showed that it differs from the normal
figure in the circumstance, that those points which appear the most distant in the latter,
appear the nearest in the former.
The pictures being, in the first place, presented directly to their corresponding eyes, as in
the refracting stereoscope, and exhibiting therefore the resultant image in its normal
relief, the conversion of the relief may be effected in three different ways, 1st, by
transposing the pictures from one eye to the other, as mentioned above ; 2ndly, by
reflecting the pictures, while they remain presented to the same eye, as in the reflecting
stereoscope ; and 3rdly, by inverting the position of the pictures without transposing
The following considerations will explain the cause of the conversion of relief in the
preceding cases.
lf two different objects, or parts of an object (fig. 5 a ), have a greater lateral distance
between them on the right-hand picture than that which they have on the left-hand
picture, the optic axes must converge more to make the left-hand than to make the righthand objects coincide, and the left-hand object will appear the nearest.
lf the pictures be now transposed from one eye to the other (fig. 5 a' ), the greatest
distance will be between the corresponding points of the picture presented to the left eye ;

the optic axes must therefore converge less to make the left-hand objects coincide, and
the right-hand object will appear the nearest.
lf the pictures, remaining untransposed , be each separately reflected (fig. 5 b ), the
relative distances of the corresponding objects remain the same to each eye, and the lefthand object will still appear nearest ; but in consequence of the lateral inversion of the
objects in each picture by reflexion , that which was previously on the left will now be on
the right, and therefore, the object which before appeared nearest, will now appear
When the pictures are turned upside down, still remaining untransposed (fig 5 c ), the
objects are reversed with respect to the right and left, in the same manner as they are
when reflected, and the lateral distances between the objects remaining the same to each
eye, precisely the same conversion of relief is produced as in the preceding case, except
that the resultant image is inverted. The diagram (fig. 5) represents all the possible
changes of the two binocular pictures ; those marked N show the normal relief, and those
marked C the converse relief.

But it may be asked why, if the reflection or inversion of the binocular pictures of an
object gives rise to the mental idea of the converse relief, the same converse relief is not
observed when the object itself is reflected in a mirror, or inverted. The reason is this ;
that in the former cases the projections to each eye are separately reflected or inverted,
still remaining presented to the same eye, whereas, by the reflection or inversion of the
object itself, not only are the projections reflected or inverted, but they are also

transposed from one eye to the other ; and these circumstances occurring simultaneously
reproduce the normal relief.
Fig. 6 will render this evident in the case of reflexion : A is the object, B its reflexion in
the mirror CD ; RB and LB are the directions in which the right and left eyes view the
reflected image respectively, and l A and r A the directions in which the eyes would view
the corresponding face of the object directly.

In the case of an inverted object, it is obvious that that projection which was before seen
by the right eye must be seen by the left eye, and the contrary.
It is possible to make this normal or converse relief appear while one of the pictures
remains constantly presented to the same eye. This result may be thus obtained. Having
taken a photograph of the object, which should be one the converse of which has a
meaning, take two others at the same angular distance (say 18), one on the right side, the
other on the left side of the original. Of the three pictures thus taken, if the middle one be
presented to the right eye, and the left picture to the left eye, a normal relief will be seen ;
but if the right picture be presented to the left eye, the other remaining unchanged, a
converse relief will be seen. In like manner, if the middle picture be presented to the left
eye, and the right picture to the right eye, a normal relief will appear ; but if the left
picture be presented to the right eye, the converse relief will present itself. It must be

observed, that the normal and converse reliefs , when the same picture remains presented
to the same eye, belong to two different positions of the object.

Hitherto I have taken into consideration only those cases of the conversion of relief which
are exhibited by binocular pictures in the stereoscope, when they are transposed, reflected
or inverted ; I shall now proceed to show how phenomena of the same kind may be
elicited by regarding objects themselves, by means of an instrument adapted for the
purpose. As this instrument conveys to the mind false perceptions of all external objects, I
have called it the Pseudoscope. It is represented by fig. 7, and is thus constructed : two
rectangular prisms of flint glass, the faces of which are 1.2 inch square, are placed in a
frame with their hypothenuses parallel, and 2.1 inches from each other ; each prism has a
motion on an axis corresponding with the angle nearest the eyes, so that they may be
adjusted that their bases may have any inclination towards each other ; and the frame
itself is adjustable by a hinge at a , in order to bring the prisms nearer each other to suit
the eyes of the observer.

The instrument being held to the eyes, and adjusted to an object, so that it shall appear
single, each eye will see a reflected image of that projection of the object which would be
seen by the same eye without the pseudoscope. This is exactly the contrary of what
occurs when the eyes regard the reflected image of an object in a looking- glass ; the left
eye then sees the reflected image of the right-hand projection, and the right eye the
reflected image of the left projection, as shown by fig. 6.
Plane mirrors cannot be substituted for the reflecting prisms, for this reason ; the
refraction of the rays of light at the incident and emergent surfaces of the prisms enables
the reflexion of an object to be seen when the object is even behind the prolongation of
the reflecting surface, as shown at fig. 8, and thus the reflected binocular image may be
seen in the same place as the object itself, whereas the images cannot be made by means
of plane mirrors thus to coincide.

When the pseudoscope is so adjusted as to see a near object while the optic axes are
parallel, to view a more distant object with the same adjustment, the axes must converge,
and the more so as the object is more distant ; all nearer objects than that seen when the
axes are parallel, will appear double, because the optic axes can never be simultaneously
directed to them. lf this instrument be so adjusted that very distant objects are seen single
when the eyes are parallel, all nearer objects will appear double, because the optic axes
can never converge to make their binocular images coincide. lf the attention is required to
be directed to an object at a particular distance, the best mode of viewing it with the
pseudoscope is to adjust the instrument so that the object shall appear at the proper
distance and of its natural size. In this case the more distant objects will appear nearer
and smaller, and the nearer objects will appear more distant and larger.
In ordinary vision, whenever the distance of an object varies, the magnitude of the picture
on the retina, and the degree of convergence of the optic axes, always maintain a constant
relation to each other, both increasing or decreasing together ; and the perceived
magnitude, suggesting to the mind the real magnitude of the object, in consequence
thereof remains the same. The instrument I described in 17 shows what illusions arise
when the usual relations of these elements of our perceptions are disturbed, by causing
one to remain constant while the other varies. The pseudoscope exhibits the still more
curious illusions, which result from combining these elements inversely, so that as an
object becomes nearer, its larger picture on the retina is accompanied by a less
convergence of the optic axes. With the pseudoscope we have a glance, as it were, into

another visible world, in which external objects and our internal perceptions have no
longer their habitual relation with each other.
I will now proceed to describe some of the illusions produced by the aid of this
instrument. Those which may be strictly designated conversions of relief, in which the
illusive appearance has the same relation to that of the real object as a cast to a mould, or
a mould to a cast, are very readily perceived. I must however remark, that it is necessary
to illuminate the object equally, so as to allow no lights or shades to appear upon them,
for their presence has a considerable influence on the judgement, and is one of the
principal causes of the perception of the proper relief when a single eye is employed.
The inside of a tea-cup appears as a solid convex body ; the effect is more striking if there
are painted figures within the cup.
A china vase, ornamented with coloured flowers in relief, presents a very remarkable
appearance ; we apparently see a vertical section of the interior of the vase, with painted
hollow impressions of the flowers.
A small terrestrial globe appears as a concave hemisphere ; on turning it round on its axis,
it was curious to see different portions of the spherical map appear and disappear in a
manner that nothing in external nature can imitate.
A bust regarded in front becomes a deep hollow mask ; the appearance when regarded in
profile is equally striking.
A framed picture hanging against a wall, appears as if imbedded in a cavity made in the
A medal, or the impression of a seal, is perfectly converted into a representation of the die
from which it has been struck ; and, on the other hand, the mould or die of a medal, or an
engraved seal, becomes a fac -simile of the medal or raised impression. It will also be
observed, that if the medal be placed on a flat surface, as a sheet of paper, it will appear
sunk beneath the surface ; and if it be placed in a hollow of the same size, it will appear
to stand above the surface as much as it actually is below it.
These appearances are not always immediately perceived ; and some much more readily
present themselves than others. Those converse forms which have a meaning, and
resemble real forms we have been accustomed to see, are those which are the most easily
apprehended. Viewed with the pseudoscope, notwithstanding the inversion of the pictures
on the retina, the natural appearance of the object continues to intrude itself, when
sometimes suddenly, and at other times gradually, the converse occupies its place. The
reason of this is, that the relief and distance of objects is not suggested to the mind solely
by the binocular pictures and the convergence of the optic axes, but also by other signs,
which are perceived by means of each eye singly ; among which the most effective are
the distributions of light and shade and the perspective forms which we have been
accustomed to see accompany these appearances. One idea being therefore suggested to

the mind by one set of signs, and another totally incompatible idea by another set,
according as the mental attention is directed to the one and abstracted from the other, the
normal form or its converse is perceived. This mental attention is involuntary ; no
immediate effort of the will can call up one idea while the other continues to present
itself, though the transition may be facilitated by intentionally removing some of the
signs which suggest the preponderating idea ; thus the converse form being perceived,
closing either eye will most frequently cause an instant reversion to the normal form ; and
always, if the monocular signs of relief are sufficiently suggestive.
I know of nothing more wonderful, among the phenomena of perception, than the
spontaneous successive occurrence of these two very different ideas in the mind, while all
external circumstances remain precisely the same. Thus a small statuary group, an elegant
and beautiful object, without any apparent cause becomes converted into another totally
dissimilar object uncouth in appearance, and which gives rise to no agreeable emotions in
the mind ; yet in both cases all the sensations that intervene between objective reality and
ideal conception continue unchanged.
The effects of the pseudoscope I have already mentioned, may be strictly called
conversions of relief, because the illusive appearance is in each case the converse
impression of the relief of the real object. If, however, the object consists of parts
detached from and behind each other, the preceding term is inappropriate to denote the
effects which result, but the more general expression conversion or inversion of distance
may be employed to designate them. I proceed to call attention to a few such effects.
Skeleton figures of geometrical solids, as cubes, pyramids, &c., readily show their
Two objects at different distances, being simultaneously regarded, the most remote will
appear the nearest and the nearest the most remote.
An ivory foot rule, held immediately before the eyes a little inclined to the horizon with
its remote end elevated, appears inclined in the opposite way, its nearer end elevated, and
as if the observer were looking at its lower surface. Its form also undergoes a change.
Since the nearest end, the retinal magnitude of which is the largest, appears farthest from
the eyes, and the nearest end, the retinal magnitude of which is greatest, appears near the
eyes, the rule will no longer be perceived to be rectangular, but trapezoidal. If the rule be
placed horizontally, and it be regarded with the pseudoscope at an angle of 45, it will
appear with the form just described standing vertically.
Any object placed before the wall of a room will appear behind the wall, and as if an
aperture of the proper dimensions had been made in the wall to allow it to be seen ; if the
object be illuminated by a candle, its shadow will appear as far before the object as in
reality it is behind.
The appearance of a plant is very remarkable ; as the branches which are farthest from the
eye are perceived to be the nearest, those parts which are actually obscured by the

branches before them, appear broken away and allow the parts apparently behind them to
be seen. A flowering shrub before a hedge appears to be transferred behind it ; and a tree
standing outside a window may be brought visibly within the room in which the observer
is standing.
I have before observed that the transition from the normal to the converse perception is
often gradual ; I will give one instance of this as an illustration. The object was a page of
medallions embossed on card-board, and the raised impressions were protected from
injury by a thick piece of mill-board having apertures in it made to correspond to each
medallion. The page was placed horizontally, illuminated by a candle placed beyond it,
and looked at through the pseudoscope at an angle of 45 ; for the first moment the page
appeared as it would have done without the instrument ; soon after the medallions
appeared level with the upper surface, and the shadows on the upper parts of the circular
apertures were converted into deep depressions as if cut out with a tool ; they next, from
horizontal, became vertical, each standing erect on the horizontal plane, and immediately
afterwards the reliefs were all changed into hollows ; finally, the page itself stood
vertical, but with that change of form which I indicated in the case of the rule, the upper
edge appearing much shorter than the lower edge: the series of changes being now
complete, the final form remained constant as long as the object was regarded.
In endeavouring to analyse the phenomena of converse perception, it must be borne in
mind that the transposition of distances has reference only to distances from the retin ,
not to absolute horizontal distances in space. Thus, if a straight ruler be held in the
vertical plane perpendicular to the optic base, and also inclined 45 to the horizon so that
its upper end shall be the most distant, when the eyes are directed horizontally towards it,
the rule will appear exactly in the converse position. lf the rule be now removed lower
down in the same vertical plane, its inclination remaining unchanged, so that to look upon
it the plane of the optic axes must be inclined 45, it will appear unaltered in position,
because its two pictures are parallel on the retin , and the optic axes would require the
same convergence to make the upper and lower ends coalesce. The rule being removed
still lower down, instead of its position being apparently reversed, it will appear to have a
greater inclination on the same side than the object itself has. In the first case the more
distant end is actually farthest from the eyes ; in the second the near and remote ends are
equally distant ; and in the third the nearest end is most distant.
Attention to what I have just stated will explain many anomalous circumstances which
occur when the eyes are differently directed towards the same object. It may also be
necessary to remark, that the conversion of distance takes place only within those limits
in which the optic axes sensibly converge, or the pictures projected on the retin are
sensibly dissimilar. Beyond this range there is no mutual transposition of the apparent
distances of objects with the pseudoscope ; a distant view therefore appears unchanged.
Some very paradoxical results are obtained when objects in motion are viewed through
the pseudoscope. When an object approaches, the magnitude of its picture on the retin
increases as in ordinary vision, but the inclination of the optic axes, instead of increasing,
becomes less, as I have already explained. Now an enlargement of the picture on the

retina invariably suggests approach, and a less convergence of the optic axes indicates
that the object is at a greater distance ; and we have thus two contradictory suggestions.
Hence, if two objects be placed side by side at a certain distance before the eyes, and one
of them be moved forwards, so as to vary its distance from the other, its continually
enlarging picture on the retina makes it appear to come towards the eyes, as it actually
does, while at the same time it appears at every step at a greater distance beyond the fixed
object ; from one suggestion the object appears to approach, from the other to have
receded. I again observe that retinal magnitude does not itself suggest distance, but from
its changes we infer changes of distance.
I have hitherto only described the pseudoscope constructed with two reflecting prisms.
This is the most convenient apparatus for effecting the conversion of distance and relief
that has occurred to me ; but other means may be employed, which I will briefly mention.
1st. Two plane mirrors are placed together so as to form a very obtuse angle towards the
eyes of the observer ; immediately before them the object is to be placed at such distance
that a reflected image shall appear in each mirror. The eyes being placed before and a
little above the object, must be caused to converge to a point between the object and the
mirrors ; the right-hand image of the left eye will then unite with the left-hand image of
the right eye, and the converse relief will be perceived. The disadvantages of this method
are that only particular objects can be examined, and it requires a painful adaptation of
the eye to distinct vision.
2ndly. Place between the object and each eye a lens of small focal distance, and adjust the
distances of the object and the lenses so that distinct inverted images of the object shall
be seen by each eye ; on directing the eyes to the place of the object the two images will
unite, and the converse relief be perceived. As the rays of light proceeding from the
images have a greater divergence than those which would proceed from the point to
which the optic axes are directed, long-sighted persons will see the binocular image more
distinctly by wearing a pair of short-sighted spectacles. In this experiment the field of
view is very small on account of the distance at which it is necessary to place the lenses
from the eyes ; but I have been enabled in this manner to see beautifully the converse
relief of a small ivory bust and of other small objects, which however should be inverted
in order to see them direct.
3rdly. The inverted images of the lenses, instead of being received immediately by the
eyes as just described, may be thrown on a plate of ground glass as in the case of the
ordinary camera-obscura, and may be then caused to unite by the means employed in any
form of the refracting stereoscope.

The cases of the conversion of relief when the object is regarded with one eye only, some
of which were known more than a century ago, were taken into consideration and

endeavoured to be explained by me in 11 of the first part of this memoir, and Sir

DAVID BREWSTER* [* Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, vol. xv. p. 365
and 657.] has published some interesting and instructive observations on the same subject
; I will therefore not revert to this matter here, but only to say that I have myself never
observed the conversion of relief when looking with both eyes immediately on a solid
object, and if it has been observed by others under such circumstances, I should be
inclined to attribute the effect to an inequality in the impressions on the two eyes so that
one only is attended to. But the plane shaded representation of a solid object, the relief of
which is not very deep, may easily be made to appear at will either as the solid which it is
intended to represent or as its converse, even when both eyes are employed. This effect is
strikingly observed in the glyptographic engravings of medals of low relief, and depends
entirely on whether the light is so placed that it would cast the same shadows on the real
object as are represented in the picture, or that it would cast shadows in the opposite
direction. In the former case the picture appears with the relief it was intended to
suggest ; in the latter with the converse relief. I have observed similar effects with
Daguerreotypes of medallions and cameos, and with carefully shaded drawings of simple
1. Every picture must be sharp from near to far distances.
2. In the finished framed pictures there is to be no vertical parallax. Identical points
in both single views must always lie on the same horizontal.
3. The entire picture should appear as lying behind the Stereo Window.
4. The photographic base must be about one thirtieth of the distance from the camera
to the nearest object.
5. With one mono-camera, only stereo exposures of non-moving objects may be
6. The camera should not be tilted (rolled).
7. Both single-views may not be transposed.
8. The orientation direction of the polarizing filter spectacles must form a "V" to
match available standard 3-D-glasses.
9. The projection screen must not depolarize, e.g., as a "silver screen".
The word "stereo" originates from the Greek and means "relating to space". Today when
we talk about stereo we usually refer to stereophonic sound. Originally the term was
associated with stereoscopic pictures, which were either drawn or photographed. In order
to avoid confusion with stereophonic sound, one now often talks about 3-D pictures and
especially 3-D-film, where 3-D, of course, stands for three-dimensional.

A person lives in a three-dimensional, spatial, environment. Without a feeling for space,

we can not move within it. Our perception of space is created almost exclusively by our
eyes. There are many ways to orient oneself in space, e.g., by perspective, gradation of
color, contrast and movement.
The lenses of the eyes in a healthy human being project two slightly different pictures
onto the retinas, which are then transformed, by the brain, into a spatial representation.
The actual stereoscopic spatial observation is a result of this perception through both
A number of otherwise healthy two-eyed people, however, have eye-defects since birth,
that make stereoscopic viewing impossible. As babies, they have, in the literal sense of
the word, learned to "grasp" the world. They safely orient themselves in their
environment by employing one of the other above mentioned methods. Even a person
with only one eye learns how to move around safely, using non stereoscopic cues.
The normal picture on paper or film is only one-eyed. It is photographed with only one
lens and can, therefore, not convey a true spatial perception. It is only a flat picture. But
we do not have to abstain from the known natural effect. By taking two lenses and
imitating the eyes, we can create such a space image (fig. 1.1).
When we examine with or without optical instruments a stereo picture created in such a
manner', we form a similar perception of space in our mind (fig. 1.2).

Figure 1.1

Figure 1.2

The two necessary, somewhat different, single views can be generated by different
methods. We can produce them like the old stereo artists did, first draw one, then the
other single view. We may also take the exposure one after the other with a normal single
lens camera (fig. 1.3a) It is evident that the subject must not move during this procedure,
otherwise the two pictures would be too different. A better approach is to imitate the head
and mount both lenses in a common chassis. Now we have a true stereo camera (fig.
1.3b). Basically it is only the joining of two mono-cameras. It is also possible to take
stereo pictures with two coupled cameras (fig. 1.3c). The two lenses can also be
combined as interchangeable stereo optics in a single camera (fig. 1.3d).

Figure 1.3
It is also possible to make two exposures with only one lens by placing a beamsplitter
attachment in front of this lens. The splitter is constructed from mirrors, prisms, or a
combination of both. This divides the optical path so that two separate pictures are
formed on a single film frame (fig. 3e).
The report that the ancient Greeks already knew of stereoscopic interaction have been
declared as fairy tales. The same is true for the report that Leonardo da Vinci drew stereo
pictures. These incorrect statements stem almost exclusively from the Englishman David
Brewster, who wrote a lot about stereoscopic concerns.
The true discoverer of stereoscopy is the well known English physicist Charles
Wheatstone, who also invented the Wheatstone bridge. On June 21, 1833 he lectured to
the Royal Society in London on his discoveries concerning stereeoscopic phenomena.
This lecture was also printed and became generally known. He supported his accidental
discovery, which resulted from acoustical experiments, with drawn pictures, and
developed the first stereoscopic viewer, which worked with mirrors.
On August 19, 1839, the Frenchman Daguerre disclosed his method of generating
permanent photographic pictures. These were taken with the camera obscura, invented by
the Frenchman Niepce in 1822. Thereby it became possible not only to draw stereograms,
but to photograph them as well.

Figure 2.1
Many early photographers flooded in this new field. But since only a few were informed
of the basics, much nonsense resulted. It was already noted in Liesegang's
"Photographisches Archiv" in 1869 that incorrectly photographed stereograms cause
headaches. The English physicist David Brewster improved the stereoscope and in 1849
the first true stereo camera with two lenses (fig. 2.1) was built. In 1855 the Frenchman
Barnard invented the first frontal stereo attachment constructed with mirrors for single
lens cameras. Later, the Englishman Brown improved on his design. The stereo viewer
(stereoscope) was further developed by the Germans, Helmholtz and Pulfrich.
The stereo craze of that time had already diminished by 1900 and was only stimulated by
the so-called Kaiser-Panorama of Fuhrmann (fig. 2.2) from Berlin for a short period of
time. This consisted of a set of many stereo viewers situated side by side in a circle. The
stereo slides rotated step-wise on a drum at a certain speed from one viewer to the next.

Figure 2.2

Only after 1918 did stereo photography become once again popular. Stereo cameras in
format 6x13 cm and 45 x 107 mm came into existence. The best known were the
Vrascope from Jules Richard, the Heidoscope and Rolleidoscope from Franke &
Heidecke, as well as the Stereoflektoscope from Voigtlnder.
After 35 mm film with the miniature format, and especially color slide film had made an
appearance, a new wave of stereo photography came into existence using the small
cameras with a format of 24x23 mm, e.g., the Stereo-Realist, the Kodak Stereo, the Edixa
and the Iloca. Cameras with a format of 24x29 mm were, for example the Belplasca and
the Vrascope f40.
In addition, interchangeable twin stereo lenses were developed for the Contax and Leica
along with the supplementary mirror- and prism-attachments. Henceforth one could make
stereo exposures with portable cameras with a format of 24x36 mm. This resulted in two
single views with a vertical format of 18x24 mm. Stereo attachments were also built for
single lens cameras: so-called beamsplitters which likewise used the horizontal format of
24x36 mm divided into two single frames in a vertical format of 18 x 24 mm.
In the year 1936 three approaches were discovered for the economical and industrial
production of polarization filters (Bernauer, Kaesemann, Land and Mahler). Thus, picture
separation became possible even in color photographs. With their help, the amateur could
project his stereo slides onto a silver projection screen. This, of course, generated a lot of
interest, and led to the construction of true stereo projectors with two lenses.
As one can see, a colorful past. Unfortunately, 3-D projectors like used 3-D cameras,
have almost completely disappeared from the market. We must then start anew with
Adam and Eve, namely with Wheatstone and Brewster. However, we do have the
experience of over 100 years of stereo photography at our disposal.
3.1 Out-of-focus photographs are unacceptable
Every person endeavors to see objects as clearly as posssible, otherwise he feels uneasy.
For this reason many people wear glasses. Our eyes are able to focus on distances greater
than 25 cm. For closer distances, a magnifying glass is needed.
The eyes must not only accommodate, but also converge, i.e., the eye's axes must shift
toward the object. Looking cross-eyed is a false or artificial form of convergence.
Even the softest or most blurred photographs or graphics are "clearly" seen, because the
eyes are focused on the structure of the paper or on the raster in the print.

During stereoscopic viewing, the brain must not only focus, but must also blend or fuse
the two images on the retinas into a spatial image. This causes headaches when the
pictures are out-of-focus. The sharp lines needed to focus upon are missing.
First Stereo Rule: All pictures must be sharp from front to back.
Put into photographic terms this means that the depth of field must be made as large as
possible by utilizing smaller apertures. The working aperture is usually at least 5.6, or
better yet 8 or 11.
Accommodation is not a factor when viewing stereo photographs since all of the picture's
points lie in one plane.

3.2 Correct picture positioning

In chapter 1 we learned that the stereoscopic impression is created by the somewhat
different retina images. The emphasis lies on the word "somewhat". Therefore, we can
not only present the eyes two different pictures of the same object when viewing a stereo
picture. The difference between the two single views must conform to certain rules that
stem from the physiology of the eyes. Some people are able to look cross-eyed "like a
flounder", but this is only a horizontal shift of the eye's axes. Looking cross-eyed in a
vertical direction is not possible. If the eyes are forced to focus in this manner headaches
results. From this follows: Second Stereo Rule: In the picture there is to be no vertical
parallax. Identical points in the single views must always lie on the same horizontal.
Therefore, no single view may lie crooked in respect to the other!! !.
Consequently, the small difference between the two retina images occurs only from
horizontal deviations. They lie in the so-called panum area of the eyes. The size of this
area differs from person to person, as does the separation of the eyes. For this reason
there are no set requirements to fulfill. If one does not wish to view one's stereo pictures
only by oneself, but also proudly presents them to one's friends, one should voluntarily
follow certain rules. The pictures should be of a standardized format (compatible),
especially if one wants to participate in 3-D slide competitions.
When viewing framed stereo pictures in a stereoscope, the viewed objects lie in different
planes. One of these is created by the frames of the picture. This is either caused by the
inside edge of the slide frame, or by the usually white border of the paper pictures. While
viewing, this border creates a sort of window, the so-called stereo window. It is often
desired and in contests even required that the entire picture appears as lying behind the
window. This then constitutes the Third Stereo Rule.
By shifting the single views in the horizontal direction, the spatial image can be moved in
front of, or in back of the stereo window. A large separation between the single views
moves the spatial image back, whereas a smaller separation moves it forward. With this, a

decrease or increase in picture size occurs, as can be seen in figure 3.1.

Figure 3.1
Most of the exposures may be taken at a distance between 2 m and infinity. One should
simply accept 2 m as the stereo window distance.
The separation of the centers of the picture windows in the camera is usually larger than
the lens separation by a length of (delta = deviation). Full use of the format is then
achieved when the spatial image is moved to behind the stereo window. This shift in the
picture window is also denoted as a built-in stereo window (fig. 3.2).

Figure 3.2
Since the separation of the eyes (normally called: interpupillary distance) is very
dissimilar in each person and race (differing by as much as 20 mm from a separation of
50 mm to one of 70 mm), one has settled upon a measurement of 63.5 mm as the
international standard. The stereoscopes or viewers should also satisfy this requirement.
Variations in eye separation may be compensated for by a correspondingly large diameter
of the viewing lenses, or by an adjustable lens separation on the stereoscope.
4.1 The photographic base
The exposure criteria follow directly from the general viewing conditions (3).
The lens separation or base should ideally be equal to the separation of the eyes, the
standard of 63.5 mm.
If one photographs with this normal base and with a focal length (equal to the picture's
diagonal), a space with depth expansion of 2 m as the near-point distance and infinity as

the far-point distance, a result of is obtained as the difference between the near-point
separation and the far-point separation on the picture plane (on the film). The
difference is also called deviation or on-film parallax.
One can therefore conclude that every stereo photoqraph, where this near-point/far-point
separation difference is not or only slightly transgressed, can be viewed without any
problems and that no trouble with fusion or blurring will occur.
The ratio between the base of 63.5 mm and the near-point distance of 2 m is
approximately 1 : 30. Deduction and Fourth Stereo Rule: The base or the lens
separation should be 1/30 of the near-point distance.
The formula for this, which is given later, is not totally linear. Therefore this value of
1/30 for the base is valid only for near-point distances down to approximately 30 cm.
The deviation is not a constant. Its size depends on an individual's stereo viewing ability.
Whose who seldom view stereo photographs often encounter problems with this. After
viewing for a short time, it becomes effortless. Photogrammeters who often work with
stereograms can easily view pictures with a larger deviation. Their eyes are just better
trained. For amateur 35 mm stereo pictures 2x 24 x 23 mm and 2x 24 x 29 mm one can
set = 1.2 mm. For the format 2x 6 x 6 cm (6 x 13) = 2,8 for a focal length f = 85 mm.
If you correctly understood the previous material you know that the deviation depends on
the choice for the distance of the stereo window and on the normal focal length used.
These values correspond with the 1/30 rule.
In stereo literature the value for the ratio base/near-point distance is often given as 1/50
(0.02) and a 70'-condition is discussed. In English speaking countries the value of 1/30 is
clearly preferred. With a value of 1/50 the stereo window lies at 3 m. That means that
space is literally given away. On the other hand, it is not necessary to stop-down as far.
The 70-minutes condition is based on a theoretical error and is heavily debated. It deals
with an angle = 70 minutes of arc (fig. 4.1).

for example:
base (lens separation) = bo
stereo window distance= asw
focal length








2 * asw




2 * 2000

2 * 37.5



2 * 2000

2 * 85

Explanation of terms
Distance is the range between the camera and the
object to be photographed in the direction of the optical
axis. Separation is the range between corresponding
points perpendicular to the optical axis, e.g., on the
Figure 4.1
The plates of the graphs depicting the photographic base necessary for stereo exposures
stem from a formula derived later (chapter 9) and from the assumption that is held
constant. Graph 1 (section "Graphs") shows that in a close range distinctly different
values hold for the different picture formats and corresponding normal focal lengths.
With longer focal lengths this also holds for a larger near-point distances and is of no
consequence for the amateur.
Graph 2 holds for users of single lens reflex cameras with interchangeable lenses with a
35 mm format, and graph 3 holds the same for 6 x 6 -cameras. Special reference is
necessary to the fact that the required base may only be determined from the near-point
distance and not from the depth of space to be depicted. It must be adjusted for by the
aperture in conjunction with the depth-of-field-scale on the lens. In graphs 1 and 2 it is
interesting to note that the base and the enlargement factor are closely related. If one
employs a set enlargement factor in close-up photography, the base is then also fixed,
independent of what focal length is being used. Naturally the near-point distance or the
focus distance changes.

When considering the values for the base taken from the graphs the camera does not have
to be toed-in.
The sketch in figure 4.2 shows why one must reduce the base, i.e. the lens separation,
when one wants to take distortion free stereo close-up photographs with parallel lens
axes. The value for should be held constant.

Figure 4.2

4.2 Depth of field

From every modern camera one can read the depth of field directly from a scale located
at the focus adjustment. Depth of field is dependent on the chosen aperture and grows as
the aperture gets smaller (larger aperture values: the ratio is always 1 : aperture number!).
When the focus is set for a far distance the frontal depth is always smaller than the back
depth, which approaches infinity. Depth of field, however, drops off rapidly with small
distances and becomes almost symmetrical (front depth approximately equal to the back

depth), for example, with an aperture of 22 and an enlargement factor of 1 : 1, it

approaches 2.6 mm.
Depth of field, just like the photographic base, when examining in terms of the
enlargement factor, is independent of the focal length. Therefore it is suggested to work
from the enlargement factor when taking macro or micro stereo photographs because the
everything, including the factor for the exposure time, is already determined.
For that reason, graph 4 shows the depth-of-field for the macro and micro regions, the
stereo base for = 1.2 and 3 mm and the exposure factor dependent on the enlargement
factor. In practice one will first determine how much depth of field one requires for the
picture in mind, e.g., 5 cm. Then, from graph 4, one has the choice between an
enlargement factor of 0.04 with aperture 1.4 and 0.22 with aperture 32. A predetermined
enlargement factor of, e.g., 0.15 results in an aperture of 16 and, with = 1.2 for a 35
mm format, a base of 8 mm and an exposure factor of 1.35. From graph 2 we can
determine that this corresponds to a near-point distance of 40 cm with a focal length of 50
mm. This yields a focal distance of 42 cm. On the other side, a normal base of 65 mm
would correspond to an enlargement factor of approximately 0.02. That provides, for
example, a depth-of-field of 55 cm with an aperture of 2.8.

4.3 Deviations from the ideal Case

One can take close-ups with a small base by toeing-in mono cameras upon the close-up
object or - this was possible with old stereo cameras - move the lenses toward each other
(still possible today with old plate cameras). One can also mount stereo simple prisms,
usually in form of glasses, in front of the lenses of a stereo camera, thereby converging
the lens axes onto the close-up object (fig. 4.3). These prisms can also be manufactured
as close-up lenses which enable one to get even closer to the object. Special tables are
then necessary to focus because the reduction in focal length causes the distance scale on
the camera to be incorrect. In addition, the viewfinder is off and the entire operation is
more or less hampered by much distortion. If one works with two coupled cameras, one
seldom achieves a base that corresponds to the normal eyes separation or to the values
taken from the graphs. this excessively large base causes the space to appear smaller than
it actually is. If this effect is noticeable, one speaks of a model or doll house effect. This
Effect is called lilliputism. The a base is called giantism. It leads to the effect that the
space looks larger than it really is. In practice we hardly ever have to deal with this case.

Figure 4.3
In the ideal case, the optics within the viewer should have the same focal length as was
used during exposure. A longer focal length of the viewing lenses leads to an
exaggeration of the depth, whereas too short a focal length produces the opposite effect
(fig. 4.4). It so happens that a larger base and a smaller viewing focal length partly cancel
each other out. On the other hand, experiments with test subject have shown that stereo
pictures taken with a bigger base were preferred as being more "natural" by their viewers.

Figure 4.4
Changing the spatial impression through
different focal lenths of the viewing optics
If the base becomes excessively large the picture may seem to "fall apart". Such stereo
pictures cannot be viewed and causes headaches.

From the formula for the base it also follows that when one uses the longer focal length
of a telephoto lens, a smaller base is needed and vice versa. In figure 4.5 this is easily
demonstrated. Owners of cameras with interchangeable lenses should work with short
focal lengths when photographing with coupled cameras.

Figure 4.5
All the preceding considerations and the calculations of the stereo base assume that the
lens axes are parallel, because only this results in undistorted pictures. But in some cases,
the dimension of mono camera do not allow bringing the axes as close together as
wanted. Then the use of front coated mirrors can help to deviate the beam at 90. But the
smallest base depends always on the dimension of the cameras, as shown in figure 4.6
and 4.7. One needs only one mirror (fig. 4.6), but then one single view is reversed to the

Figure 4.6

Figure 4.7

If one does not want to take so many pains, or when the mono cameras are still to large,
the only alternative left is to converge the axes of the cameras. One must converge on the
near-point of the object (fig. 4.8). Then the stereo window plane equals to the
convergence plane. But remember: The closer the near-point distance, the bigger the
distortions. With two coupled normal 35 mm cameras one gets a base of about 12 - 15
cm, twice as big as the normal stereo base. So the smallest near-point distance should not
be closer than 3 m.

Figure 4.8
As one can deduce from the above, one does not have to be "stingy" with the base. In the
normal practice of amateur stereo photography, one will not notice photographs which
are not exactly spatially correct, or not true in scale. This is for simple reason that the
scale is missing. Therefore depth cues are often used as element of professional stereo

4.4 The time criterion

In 3.2 it was mentioned that identical or homologous points in the picture should always
lie on the same horizontal. They must, however, also conform to the entire perspective
conditions. This is only the case when both single views are synchronously exposed. If
not, then a shift of position of the moving object appears in the "later" exposed picture.

If one takes stereo photographs with one mono camera with the aid of a shifting device or
attachment to move the camera in a parallel manner, the single views must naturally be
exposed one after the other. The light source, usually a flash, must not be attached to the
camera, otherwise the "sun" moves between the two exposures, and disruption occurs in
the shadows of the picture.
The degree of synchronisation depends on the speed of the moving object being
photographed. A slow pedestrian naturally allows for larger tolerances than does a
speeding race car.
Focal plane shutters must be carefully synchronized, especially when photographing with
a flash. It can then happen that one part of one of each view is all or partially covered by
the shutter. Diaphragm shutters can cause underexposure of a single view since when not
fully open, they act as an aperture. From the above follows the Fifth Stereo Rule: With
one mono camera only stereo exposures of fixed objects in short succession may be
made. Drifting clouds or rustling leaves may already lead to distortions and disruptions.

4.5 Stereo attachments: A means to close-ups

One classifies stereo attachments into two types. The first type is placed on twin-lenses as
in figure 1.3d in order to increase the base. The other type works as a beamsplitter, with
which one can take stereo photographs with normal single lens cameras (fig. 1.3f). Both
have the limitation that the attachment must be set exactly horizontal on the camera. The
picture's image area is divided into two equal parts with a dividing line of approximately
1 mm (fig. 4.9).
There is nothing special to mention concerning the first type: it has the characteristics of
a normal stereo camera and works only as base spreader. Its pictures lie correctly side by
side on the film as in a true stereo camera, while the beamsplitter's pictures are

Pictures taken with Stereo-attachments

twin lens camera
single lens camera
base spreader
vertical format
horizontal format
Figure 4.9

For viewing these uniquely achieved pictures, corresponding viewing equipment is

required. With beamsplitters two different principles are employed. The first gives
vertical format pictures that stand side by side, while the second produces pictures in a
horizontal format with the top edges of each adjacent to the top of the other.
One makes a distinction between beamsplitters that divert and those that detour the beam.
The beamsplitter producing the horizontal format was manufactored under the name of
"TRI-DELTA" by the American company TRI-DELTA Engineering and is of the type that
detours its beam. As one can see from figure 4.10, the path of the beam is almost bent by
90 which leads to an unusual camera positioning. To aid in aiming the camera, a
telescopic viewfinder was installed in the attachment.

Figure 4.10
The beamsplitter with a normal, diverted beam path is available, or was available, with
two different base lengths. The normal model has a base length of 65 mm (fig. 4.11b) for
an effective photographing range of ' - 0.8 m. (Only the attachment from ASAHIPENTAX is currently still available.) In addition, a special edition of a diverting double
prism (from Wenham was available (fig. 4.11c) with a base of 12 mm for an effective
photographing range of 2 - 0.15 m. Sometimes available is the STITZ stereo attachment
with adjustable mirrors and apertures for a focal length range of 50-300 mm. It allows
convergence at different distances and can therefore also be used for close-ups.

Figure 4.11
The normal beamsplitters are all constructed for normal 35 mm cameras with lenses of a
focal length of approx. 50 mm. Therefore they function only with lenses of that focal
length. An exception is the 65 mm attachment from Zeiss-Ikon (I do not know if the other
brands also work: I measured it with the Zeiss-Ikon attachment. I did the experiment with
the short base attachment from Zeiss-Jena and with the Tri-Delta. It did not work). Figure
4.12 shows the range in which one can combine other focal lengths with the Zeiss-Ikon
attachment. This attachment is intended for a focal length of 45 mm. The measurements
were conducted with a 50 mm Tessar. A setting of ' creates a far-point separation of 21.5
mm on the picture plane of both of the single views. The near-point separation may then
be 19 mm to the middle separation of the single views or else the near-point enters the
stereo window. This measurement is attained by a distance setting (image plane - object
plane) of 0.8 m.

Figure 4.12
All picture settings with these measurements from 21.5 to 19 mm are therefore possible.
A focal length of 100 mm has proven to be a practical limit. That results in an
enlargement factor of 1.3. At a focal length of 110 mm, an enlargement factor of 2.4
results. For that purpose, bellows of a length greater than 350 mm at a distance setting of
0.5 m are already necessary. The camera and bellow should be mounted at the center of
gravity. Also consider that, with an enlargement factor of 1 or 2,, an exposure factor of 4
or 9 is necessary.
Since this construction is the only way to take stereo close-ups of moving objects, it is
worth the effort. One should, however, use a flash, a circular ring flash if possible.

4.6 Practical hints

We learned in section 3.2 that stereo pictures may not contain any vertical parallax. It is
therefore worthwhile to mount a small spirit level on the camera, or even install it in the

viewfinder. I have, for example, installed a small spirit level on he masking plate of an
old Zeiss-Ikon viewfinder, so that it is reflected in the image. Sixth Stereo Rule: The
camera may be not set at an angle if one wishes to save a considerable amount of time
during the mounting of the picture, or the lens axes are not to be revolved.
A little tilting or inclination (pitch) of the lens axes of the camera is allowed. The falling
lines do not usually distract as much as they do in a flat picture. When one views these
stereo picture in the stereoscope, one can even restore the "original" spatial impression by
raising or lowering the head so as to find the correct angle at which the photograph was

4.7 Drawn stereo pictures

By conforming to the previously mentioned conditions, the single views can also be
drawn or painted (Dali). They are usually printed side by side or one on top of the other
as anaglyphs (see chapters 5.2 and 7). Do it as the animated effect film producers do:
draw on multi-layer transparent sheets, one for each depth plane. When the first single
view is finished, make a copy of it. Then shift the different layers one against the other to
create the deviation needed between the near-point plane and Zeiss-Ikon Stereo
Attachment the far-point plane. Remember: The maximal deviation depends on combined
with lenses of different focal lengths the size of your drawing. Experience makes wise!


5.1 Framing and Mounting Requirements
Previously we saw that preceding correct procedure during exposure can extremely
simplify the task of actually framing and mounting the picture, whether it be a slide or a
print. In the worst case our result appears as in figure 5.1, i.e. both single views were
exposed with a single camera and differently tilted. In the same figure it is shown how
one can correct the problem without any adjusting device if the pictures are not to dark.
One lays the two film pieces over one another and views them against a bright light.

Figure 5.1
One then brings prominent points or lines together so that they cover one another, edges
of buildings or horizontal lines, for example. By holding them fixed in this position with
a paper clip or clothes pin , one can now make a cut at the bottom with a sharp knife and
ruler as horizontal as possible so that both slides have the bottom edge in common. This
may now pass through the perforation; but this does not matter. This common edge must
now lie parallel to the bottom edge of the frame's opening, which is not much of a
Now one can provide the correct height using thin parallel wood strips or pieces of
cardboard. Crafty hands can cut a parallel strip with one long diagonal incision into two
prism-shaped sections. These can be pushed along the line of the cut parallel to any
desired height. One can also construct a parallelogram. But then the legs must be
absolutely equal, otherwise the parallel quality vanishes. From the above instructions
follows the supreme law of framing stereographs: A vertical error (h in fig. 5.3) is
forbidden. Also see the second stereo rule.

Figure 5.2

Figure 5.3

Figure 5.4

The prohibition against the vertical error holds for all parts of the picture, which includes
the restriction of mutual tilting.
Naturally one can follow all instructions and still come up with a result as in fig. 5.2. It
can probably be viewed and projected without any headaches. But you must agree: it is
not nice!

The positioning of the single views was already discussed in chapter 3.2 and figure 3.1.
Here it is once again repeated: By shifting the single views in the horizontal direction, the
spatial image can be moved into the front or into the back of the stereo window. A large
separation between the single views moves the spatial image back, whereas a smaller
separation moves it forward.
Opinions on the "correct" separation of the two single views in the horizontal directions
are divided. Academic thought holds that the spatial image must always stand behind the
stereo window: the near-point separation bN in figure 5.4 must then always be about 0.1
mm larger than the frame separation b in figure 20. One may deviate from this (bN<b)
only if a pronounced novelty effect is desired, for example, an elephant's trunk or a
giraffe's neck extending through the stereo window into the crowd.
This method has the advantage that no "ghost images" of the vertical frame edges appear.
This method is currently required in all stereo contests.
The opposite of this is framing with respect to far-point separation: The measurement b in
figure 5.4 should then equal the frame separation b in figure 5.5.

Figure 5.5
The third version requires the most important element in the picture to stand in the stereo
window. These methods constitute different points of view which can not be harmonized.
From DIN 19040 part 8: Near-point : closest point realized in the stereo picture

Far-point : farthest point realized in the stereo picture

Even a mere part of a twig in the foreground counts as the near-point!
At the bottom of figure 5.5 a "true" stereo mask conforming to DIN 4531 is shown. The
frame separation is always 62 mm.
In the following figures 5.6-5.9, a section from DIN 4531 along with other possible
stereo formats is displayed.

Figure 5.6
Stereo picture of nominal size
41 x 101 mm, shown of effective
size of single views 23 x 28 mm

Figure 5.7
Stereo picture of nominal size
50 x 50 mm, effective size of
single views 23 x 16 mm (high)

Figure 5.9
Small picture stereo disk
with 7 sections
(View-Master, Meopta etc. ..)
Figure 5.8
Small picture stereo card
with 10 sections
(Lestrade etc. ...)

Three different sizes of Realist masks, currently manufactured by SIGMA (USA) are
available. The windows have a width of 21.5 mm for the normal mask. the medium mask
has a width of 20.5 mm, and the close-up mask has a width of 19.5 mm.
With close-ups, the contents of the pictures is shifted toward the outer edges of the
picture window (fig. 3.2). Since the pictures are inverted, the contents moves inward
when viewing with a stereoscope. The outer edges with the usually distracting contents
can then be covered by windows which are up to 2 mm narrower. Of course, distracting
elements can also be covered when different formats are being used, e.g., mounting the
23 x 28 mm format in Realist masks in order to achieve a better composition of the
The correct marking of the stereo pictures is important: they should all receive a round
marking in the lower left-hand corner when they are upright and the viewing side is
facing the front. During projection this mark is then always in the upper right and facing
the lamp housing.
Stereo slides in single frames are marked in a similar manner. The only difference being
that the right picture is marked with green and the left picture with red as it is with
starboard and port in the navigation.
Such labels can be obtained in office supply stores: self-adhesive from AVERY No. 3010
red and 3179 green with a diameter of 8 mm. Colored marking pens may also be used.
Labeling of the slides should likewise be under the or with stereo frames between the
pictures so that one can read it while viewing. During projection the labeling will be
upside down.
Stereo slides in which both single views lie on one uncut piece of film must be especially
marked. As we have already seen in the requirements for exposure. there are two different
possibilities: exposures with two small lenses in an interchangeable enclosure or
exposures with one lens and a beamsplitter attachment. With the first the single views lie
in a correct fashion on the film in the camera while with the last they lie reversed. The
slides are marked according to the number of lenses with one or two circles (fig. 5.7).
During exposure the individual single views are upside down in the camera. In order to
view them one must therefore invert them. If they, as in a true stereo camera, were made
on one piece of film, then the right single view is on the left and the left single view is on
the right. For mounting in a real stereo mask the slides must be cut from the film strip
(fig. 5.10). If this is not respected, a space inverted pseudoscopic spatial image results
(fig. 5.11). The background appears in front and the foreground in the back.

Figure 5.10
This is how the single views
are arranged in the masks

Figure 5.11
Reversal of the spatial image
resulting from an exchange
of the single views

Stereo pictures taken with two lenses on one piece of film that may not be cut require a
special viewer that optically corrects this transposition of the image (fig. 5.12).
When mounting the slides in glass, especially the true 41 x 101 mm stereo slides, one
should always orient from the top edge of the slide. It is at the bottom during projection
and determines the quality of the projection. Some of the glass plates have much
tolerances. This must be taken into consideration.
The edges of the glass covers and the mount should constitute a plane. One sets the slide
upside down on a straight surface and insures that all edges lie evenly at the bottom and
that the side edges are correctly aligned. The whole package is then held together by
clothes pin or something similar and the open edges are covered with adhesive tape.
Finally the top edge of the slide is taped. This taped side must be absolutely flat so that all
previous work is not in vain.

5.2 Image Differentiation

For the creation of the spatial image in the brain it is necessary for both of the single
views to be individually presented to the eyes.
Different methods are available to achieve this:
1. Subtractive procedure. It can be further subdivided:
a) geometric beam selection in the viewer
b) physical beam selection through anaglyph or polarizing techniques
c) temporal beam selection through successive transmission
2. Additive procedure: Image differentiation through a raster process.

In the viewer or stereoscope a partition is sufficient for image differentiation. With 35

mm formats it is, however, unnecessary since the viewing range of the relatively short
focal lengths of the viewing optics do not overlap. The outside of the partition should be
matte black. The velvet-like self-adhesive materials from Alcor or Decofix are ideal.

Figure 5.12
Figure 5.13
Viewing and Projecting stereo slides 2x 23x16 mm in 50x50 mm mounts
The stereo slides exposed with a stereo attachment onto a 24 x 36 mm format require
special viewers. The middle separation of the two single views is only 19 mm, while the
eye separation from the standard is accepted as 63.5 mm. As with the first Wheatstonian
stereoscope, mirrors are employed to accommodate the difference in separation. Only
here one must go from a smaller single view separation to the larger separation of the
eyes. As was noted in 4.5 in the discussion concerning the different types of stereo
attachments, one has to consider with what type of attachment was exposed; if the
pictures are correctly positioned or if they are interchanged. (Also see the standard
framing procedure (figure 5.7) With the interchanged single view positioning as is
produced by exposure with twin lenses, the correct positioning must be recreated for the
eyes with an appropriate arrangement of mirrors (fig. 5.12).

It should immediately be mentioned here that during projection an attachment for

projection of both types may be used. The position of the polarizing filters must,
however, be correctly chosen. The mirrors in the projection attachment must be
adjustable. The aperture between the two light beams, with which edge distortion can be
screened out, is also important (fig. 5.13).
For the viewing of larger picture format so-called mirror-stereoscopes are available (fig.
5.14). The viewing path is diverted by two mirrors. With formats over 25 x 25 cm one
can even do without viewing optics. These large formats are used in the aerial
measurement of land (topographic mapping).

Figure 5.14
Scheme of the ray path in a
mirror stereoscope
Another way of viewing of larger 3-D formats, also in color, is to put them one above the
other (fig. 5.15).Prism spectacles without enlarging divert the eyes axes. The correct
viewing distance depends on the format of the picture, correctly said from the vertical
separation of the centers of the pictures or the angle between the diverted eyes axes of
13. So you must adjust yourself till you see only one spatial image. It is used mainly for
3-D illustrations in books or magazines. The most known brand is the German KMQsystem. The TVLI Company, Long Island is the US-partner with the trade mark
LEAVISION. The system is called "over / under" and enables to view 3-D on a TV-screen
without polarizing filters. There are also spectacles which can be adjusted in a range of 016. So one can view from different distances.

Figure 5.15
KMQ Prism Glasses
To save space, such pictures are also printed one on top of the other. For that purpose one
usually utilizes complementary colors, most often red and blue-green. Complementary
colors lie exactly opposite of each other in Oswald's circle of color and appear black
when viewed subtractively. If one holds two filters of these colors back to back against
the light, they together must appear black.
One denotes this method as an anaglyphic procedure. It was already described in 1853 by
Rollmann. The word "anaglyph" stems from the Greek and means "prominent relief".
This procedure can be used correctly only on black and white pictures.
Conforming to DIN 6170 sheet 1, the right single view is printed or drawn in red and the
left view in blue-green. During viewing through anaglyph spectacles with red filters on
the left and blue-green filters on the right, the left single view appears dark upon a red
field and the right one appears dark upon a green field. Both blend together into a dark
spatial image upon a light field. The order of the anaglyph spectacles can be easily
remembered: it is the same as the location of the signal lamps on ships:
Right/starboard/green and left/port/red.
This standard is not always followed. Therefore one must view the frontispiece of a
recent book: La tlvision en Relief (3-D television) of the Frenchman Marc Chauvierre
with one's glasses "reversed" in order to obtain the correct spatial image.

For the projection of black and white stereo slides one does not have to color them
accordingly but instead must place the respective color filters onto the appropiate
projection lens.
The English LEE FILTERS Company Ltd., Andover, Hants., SP10 5AN, manufactures
such filters. The labeling on the filters is "Primary red" No. 106 and "Primary green" No.
For color slides a different process is required: one that employs neutral gray filters.
Natural light oscillates in all directions (azimuths). If one sends the light through a filter,
which one can imagine as a narrow grating made from very thin, parallel strings, only
that part of light oscillating in the direction of the strings will pass through. The light is
polarized. Therefore these filters are called polarizing filters (fig. 5.16).

Figure 5.16
If one introduces a second polarizing filter into the light path, only a part of the polarized
light is allowed to pass depending upon the positioning of the second filter. This part
becomes null, i.e., it becomes dark, when the angle of the polarizing filters to one another
becomes 90. The amount of attainable darkness is a measurement of the quality of the
polarizing filters. Even when the polarizing filters are parallel to one another, only a part
of the light passes through since these also act as gray filters.
The desired image differentiation is achieved by associating each eye and its
corresponding path of beam with two polarizing filters. These pairs must be parallel to
one another and crossed towards each other. One filter is placed on a projector lens and
the other in front of one eye as a spectacle. Because of this, each eye sees the light, i.e.,
the picture from the corresponding projector lens.
Polarized light is also found in nature where it is usually oscillating either vertically or
horizontally. In order to avoid distortions from such light, according to DIN 19040 part 8,

the oscillating direction for polarizing filters used in stereo viewing must be located
under 45. The two oscillating directions should form a "V" whose legs are
perpendicular: Eighth Stereo Rule.
This requirement is already fulfilled in commercial polarizing glasses. The POLAROID
Company, USA , which manufactures such glasses of different qualities and price ranges,
also offers polarizing filters for projectors of different models. One must compromise
between the quality of the polarization and the amount of light the filter allow to pass.
For the projection surface only a material must be used that does not depolarize, i.e., that
does not change the polarization of the light (ninth Stereo Rule). Therefore the so-called
"silver screens" are used. They are usually sprayed with an aluminum paint. However, the
application of a protective coating often inhibits the desired effect. Not every sliver
screen is therefore suitable for stereo projection. (Also see the do-it-yourself directions.)
Temporal image differentiation by the successive transmission procedure was first used in
the projection of 3-D movies. Primarily, because of technical problems, it did not become
The right and left single views are successively, one after the other, projected onto the
screen. The corresponding eye must be uncovered and the other one covered. During
projection this is no problem. With a still picture for example, the respective picture is
either uncovered or covered by a moving aperture. In a movie, the single views are
alternately positioned on the same strip of film (single-strip procedure).
The difficulty lies with the opening and closing the eye covering. This covering must not
only be temporally synchronized, but it must also be synchronized with regard to
In addition, all of this causes quite a bit of strain upon the eyes. One uses so-called
"clapper glasses" with Venetian blinds. An advantage of this procedure is that no lightlosing anaglyph or polarizing filters are used and that no silver screen is required. An
invention by the English physicist Dr. Robinson is the latest in special glasses, which can
be lightened or darkened by electrical fields. The electronic switching in the glasses can
be controlled by infrared rays emitted by specially equipped color televisors, which also
alternately display the right or left single views. Since the transmitter must also be
especially constructed and since this new system is not compatible with the current one,
we will probably have to wait quite a while for 3-D color television.
With the raster procedure, also be called lenticular, several pictures are used in the
creation of the spatial image. One therefore talks about partial views, which are nested in
each other as rasters, rather than of left and right single views. There are both mechanical
and optical rasters. All of the methods have in common that the finished pictures cannot
be constructed by amateurs. they can be viewed by the naked eye and are generally well
known from the spatial looking postcards that are available in many stores nowadays.

A camera with four lenses, with which one can take such exposures, has been introduced
by the NIMSLO Company, USA. The film must, however, be sent to this company, which
holds the patent, for special processing of the "paper" pictures.

5.3 3-D Projection

A good 3-D slide presentation is the high point of every experience. A prerequisite is an
equally good mounting job, since even the best projectionist cannot correct large mistakes
made during mounting. With an automatic presentation every thing must be perfect.
Every stereo projector must in addition to the focusing dial have usable controls for
horizontal and vertical alignment. These controls must not only be adjusted, but operated.
These possibilities must be though of even with two coupled separate projectors.
The stereo rules 1 - 3 do not hold exclusively for slides or exclusively for prints.
During 3-D projection, and the usual enlargement of up to more than 100 times,
infringements of rules 2 and 3 are especially noticeable. They are therefore once again
repeated here: In the finished framed and mounted picture there is to be no vertical
parallax. Identical points in the single views must lie on the same horizontal, and the
entire picture should appear as lying behind of the stereo window.
It follows from this that the vertical setting control is the most important on the projector.
Not only the errors incurred in framing the slides become evident during viewing, but
also the almost unavoidable errors or tolerances in the slide guide in the projector itself.
The slide holder may not have too much play or may it be too tight. Especially the latter
is most likely to produce vertical distortions if the slides are not correctly situated at the
But the mechanism that positions the slide in front of the light source also must not have
too much play. This is particular the case when the slides, as with single projectors, are
moved with grasping levers. A sliding mechanism is inherently better. It is imperative that
the picture change occur during a period of darkness, however short. The eyes react with
headaches if they have to view stereo pictures on top of, or in each other.
As we saw with the subject of image differentiation, the two single views are projected
on top of each other onto the screen. In doing so the lenses or the entire projectors are
aligned in such a way that the inner edges of the slides lie exactly on each other. With
true stereo slides 41x101 mm a single calibration is sufficient since the separation in the
mounts should always be the same. With two 5 x 5 slides the above-mentioned tolerances
come into play. Here the vertical position must in certain cases be readjusted during
presentation. The top and bottom edges of the mount must also lie on top of the other. It

is best to use one or two empty frames for the first adjustment.

Figure 5.17
Stereo slide show with two projectors
and polarizing filters
The accessories required for image differentiation such as anaglyph or polarizing filters
can be mounted anywhere between the light source and the screen. Because of the heat
one should, however, select a position between the the slide and the lens.. Polarizing filter
may be only directly fastened on the lenses if these are not rotated during focusing.
Otherwise their relationship with the polarizing glasses it lost. During projection it is
unimportant which projector shows the right or left single view. It is sufficient that the
correct ordering of the image differentiation accessories is retained. The projectors can be
located side by side or one on top of the other. The latter results in less image distortion.
Sometimes it is necessary that heat insulation be placed under the top projector so that it
is not unnecessary heated by the one below. Because of warranty reasons one fastens the
required setting controls onto the base on which the projector rests rather than onto the
projector itself.
As was noted earlier, the polarizing filters in the commercial glasses are already set in
correct V-position. As single sheets they can be purchased in square or round formats.
With the square format the direction of the oscillation is already under 45, i.e., diagonal
to the outside edges. Because of this they are easy to adjust and may require only a
rotation of 90. For calibration, one covers one half of the glasses. The open eye must
then see only the light from the corresponding projector. As a control one covers one lens
at a time.
With round filters the method is identical. One rotates the opposite filter until the picture
darkens. For example, the projector showing the right single view is controlled by the left
eye. An adjustment to darkness is more sensitive that one to brightness. The final setting

should be marked on the filter and on the holder so that no re-adjustment need take place
when the filter is removed for cleaning. It is convenient to cover the filtering sheets with
glass plates such as those from old photo plates.

5.4 Rear Projection

Rear screen projection is also possible with stereo slides, and even produces significantly
brighter pictures than are possible with a silver screen. Naturally this requires more room,
such as an opening in a wall, if the projector sits on the back side of the projection
surface. People in houses that have large sliding doors such as those found in some old
residential buildings are in good shape. But an opening between the kitchen and the
living room will suffice.
One can use doll glass plates (etched plates depolarize!) But with larger plates the weight
is too great and the chance of breaking the glass too high. Special plastic plates that have
the same effect are available (MARATA). They are also available in frames up to a few
square meters and cost no more than a good silver screen.
The projector or projectors must not be at eye level when using rear projection or else a
fleck of light results. One places the projector a little lower and projects at an angle
upwards. In doing so one can use a short focal length and one must not forget to place the
slide into the projector reversed, so that the audience views it correctly.
These procedures can also be applied to achieve true spatial backgrounds in room
photographs, with that, however, a polarizing filter must be placed on the corresponding
camera lens and it must be exactly set, as with the polarizing glasses.

Figure 5.18
Table Top Stereo Viewer (rear projection)
The amateur photographer of narrow format movies can produce 3-D movies by making
use of the beamsplitter accessories previously mentioned. These must also be placed in
front of the projector during projection.
Since a vertical format is not suited for movies, one employs special beamsplitters that
produce a wide picture such as the TRI-DELTA stereo attachment, or the ELMO stereo
attachment ESM 1.
Both types of stereo attachment have pros and cons. The ELMO is directly constructed
for movie cameras with the usual large lens diameters. It is therefore quite large: 24 cm
wide; 15 cm high and 6 cm deep. One is supposed to be able to zoom with it to a focal
length of 48 mm. Since it creates a large partitioning strip between the single views,
relatively much of the picture area is lost. The TRI-DELTA (see fig. 4.10) has a diameter
of 40 mm. It creates a narrow partitioning strip between the single views. I do not know
whether it has zooming capabilities. This attachment has the disadvantage that it requires
the camera to point upwards. It is best to make use of the mirror attachment provided for
projection also during exposure so that one can film in the conventional position.
One must, however, be aware that because of the small size of the split format, the
required polarizing filters, and the relatively weak light output of the film projectors, a
picture width of up to only 80 cm can be expected on the silver screen.

Naturally, talented hobbyists can make 3-D films with two attached Super 8 movie
cameras. One must then couple the drive shafts in such a manner that the two apertures
open simultaneously. This may also be achieved electronically through a quartz
controlled synchronisation device. One can also couple the zoom drives and the distance
setting mechanism by using soft, endless belts, such as those used in sewing machines.
For close-ups one can also use simple prism attachments as with stereo cameras.
The same holds for the coupled projectors; the main problem lies with synchronizing the
coupling between the film advance mechanism. As a result, one then has a significantly
larger, brighter picture.
A multitude of inquiries, many of them recent, indicate that that the interest in anaglyphic
pictures, and especially in their construction, has grown. As some publications show, a
spatial exhibition invokes better insights. For example, physical or chemical relationships
become clearer in crystal patterns and atomic structures. With these there were and still
are two problems: The actual construction of the drawings as such, and the subsequent
"coloring" with matching anaglyph colors.
The spatial representation always requires two single views, which are quite similar, but
not totally the same, where the differences depend upon the separation of the eyes and the
distance to the picture. The more complicated the form of the object or image to be
portrayed, the more work is required to calculate the small differences in the positions of
the identical points in the single views that stem from the three x-y-z coordinates of the
Formerly, it was a tremendous task, requiring many consultations of values from
trigonometric tables. Today, one can perform this a lot quicker and more precisely with
the aid of computers, and can even leave the drawings up to plotters. These calculations
can also be performed with scientific calculators, with low prices for the basic
programmable models. The cited calculation programs are written for the TEXAS
INSTRUMENTS TI 57, a popular, affordable programmable calculator. One can even
attach printers onto somewhat more expensive devices so that even the note taking
becomes superfluous.
The second problem lies with the drawings of the anaglyphs, especially in the assignment
of the complimentary colors, usually blue-green and red (see chapter 5.2). The most
trouble is caused by the blue-green since it is relatively translucent, not fully covering
color which brings the color of the drawing medium, i.e., the writing, drawing or printing
paper, into play. Naturally the color of the filters in the anaglyph glasses must be
considered. Experimentation for each case is the only help.
In this context, the basic principle of anaglyphs is once again alluded to: the one color
must match the corresponding color of the filter in the glasses so that it cannot be

observed. It must, however, appear black with the opposite color. The latter is easy since
a dark gray already acts like black. The former, specifically with blue-green, is not quite
as easy. Often a light gray tone remains and can be disturbing.
From the preceding it follows that, under DIN 6170, where blue-green is required for the
right eye and red for the left eye in anaglyph filters for glasses, the right single view must
be colored red and the left single view blue-green.
A suitable paper is Reflex T 2000, a highly transparent drawing paper with a reactive
surface. Suitable inks are Pelikan red, Pelikan light green, Pelikan dark green and Pelikan
black for the lines in the picture plane. Blue-green toners: Light green and dark green
diluted with small portions of distilled water: 1 part ink to 1 part water. From these
dilutions one then mixes 2 parts dark green with one part light green. This basic mixture
is then tested against the selected paper with the help of the glasses. It is adjusted through
the addition of either light green or water. An eye dropper is a handy tool.
The choice of colors for blue-green with the filter of the glasses can be only a
compromise, a residual image is always present. Ultimately it is a matter of contrast
versus background. The toning is depending on the paper, red/green glasses, and lighting.
The contrasts change when dark to black paper instead of light paper is used as the base
of the anaglyphs. These are called negative anaglyphs. Green viewed through a green
filter "disappears" against a light background, green viewed against a dark background is
clearly distinguishable. The complementary colors then exchange their roles. During the
examination of the color choices, it must be taken into consideration that the combination
of the green color and the red filter as well as the red color and the green filter appear as
dark as possible. Red color and a green filter work well together, green color and a red
filter do not.
New problems arise with the printing of negative anaglyphs. Red and green lines may not
be printed but must be marked off against the surface, in about the same manner as in
intarsias. For people wishing to draw negative anaglyphs, opaque colors, which allow
nothing of the black undercoat to show through, are required. Because of their
consistency, these covering colors cannot be manipulated with tubular quill pens. The old,
adjustable, drawing pen is ideal. Especially suited are the luminous colors: white, red,
green and blue. When working with the drawing pen, the colors must be diluted with
water to a point where they just begin to drip. Green requires a small addition of blue.
Here, testing is also advised.
The transfer from the calculated picture drawn on graph paper to the black cardboard
ensues with the aid of a needle. The intricate holes are marked with white ink. the
positioning of a ruler is then no longer a problem.
The negative anaglyphs become especially impressive when viewed in a darkened room
under UV-lights. In addition to the beautiful effects, new practical application are also
possible. Two possibilities are: Eye examination and photography. Photographs created in
such a manner do not produce quite the effect that luminescent colors do, but it has been

shown that with the red/green glasses the spatial image reappears. Because of the
fluorescent light and small bright areas, it is best to take some test exposures. A light
meter provides only a rough estimate of the exposure time.
Positive and negative anaglyphs can be overlaid if they were created with equal
projection values (base, separation). The positive anaglyphs must be drawn onto
transparent paper. The sketches must contain orienteering marks so that the first spatial
image correctly blends into the second. The x-axis in the ground plane is recommended
as an orienteering point because it is from here that the viewing position of the eyes with
distance d and height h is established. Both sheets are covered with a thin plate of glass
so they remain fixed and do not contain any air bubbles. All lines appear dark upon a
light background. This procedure is especially interesting when geometric dependencies
are being studied.
Transparent paper on a black surface is still perceived as "dark" with negative anaglyphs.
With the positive anaglyphs on the other hand, the background is evidenced as being
"light". The result is then a bright, stick model in which a dark stick model is implanted
With this, one obtains a good differentiation between the two parts of the picture. Since
the dark lines of the positive anaglyph are more evident because of the increase contrast,
one must decide which part of the picture should be represented by the negative
anaglyphs and which by the positive ones. By using a combination of lights - lamp light
and UV light - the picture gains in luminescence.
Two works by Prof. R. Burkhardt (Institute for Photogrammetry, TU Berlin), with regard
to the red/green glasses, give some information of the problems of interaction between
the paper, printing color, filters and the physiological characteristics of the eyes: The
color measuring of anaglyph glasses and study on anaglyph printing colors (1972).
Photographic filters of many diverse shades are available from LEE-FILTERS company,
Andover, England. Filters suited for the red/green glasses are: Primary red No. 106 and
Primary green No. 139. When viewing negative anaglyphs under UV-light, a supplement
of fluorescent green No. 219 can be advantageous.
The finished but not yet colored, single views should now be checked for the correct
spatial format with a stereoscope (displacing a single view on the x-axis). With this one
must consider that since the anaglyph projections are in the ground plane, a certain
amount of distortion takes place. With a normal lens stereoscope this is possible only if
the single views are not any larger than 6 x 6 cm. For anaglyphic viewing, however, the
format can be as large as desired, which is the main advantage. One can now reduce the
single views. (In almost every photocopying center there is a machine that reduces to
smaller sizes, and sometimes even enlarges, i.e., by a factor of 0.71 or 1.41, for example.
This can be repeated until the desired format has been reached. However, one could also
construct a mirror stereoscope (see fig. 5.14) or view the pictures one above the other
with prism glasses (see fig. 5.15).

The bulk of the work must be spent on determining the spatial coordinates of the object to
be drawn and on the painstaking recording of the data. One numbers all of the required
points in a certain order and constructs an appropriate table (see the example later in this
chapter). It is best to begin with the easiest location in the coordinate system where the
xyz-values agree with the dimensions of the object. Only then does one shift everything
onto a symmetrical axis so that after rotation the object into the most advantageous
position for the picture, the new xy-values are easier to calculate (see the program for
this). One must keep in mind that the measurement of the object must be correct to a
tenth of a millimeter because this can be easily reproduced when drawing on the graph
paper. The trigonometric values are rendered to many decimal places by the calculator so
that the result has a corresponding number of places after the decimal point. These,
however, are not required. They are rounded to the nearest tenth of a millimeter, or one
can program the calculator so that only one decimal point is displayed (button Fix1).
Finally, one moves everything on the y-axis behind the xz-plane so that one does not have
any negative y-values.
Figures 7.1a - 7.1d, as well as figure 7.2, shows an example of the steps involved in the
transformation of the x- and y-values of a cube into the x3 and y3 values required by the
calculation program (also see the table later in this chapter). Figure 7.2 probably suffices
for technically schooled people that are used to imagining objects from drawings in one
plane. Figure 7.1 attempts to shows this through perspective drawings.

Z-axis perpendicular
to the plane
Figure 7.2

Figures 7.1a - 7.1d

units = basic coordinates

shift to make axis
rotation to the most
favorable angle
d/3 shift behind the X/Z plane

Even in anaglyphs the amount of depth of field, t, in relation to the near-point, E, and the
base, b, plays an important role. So that no double pictures appear, all of the elements in

the picture that create the overall impression must lie within the panum area of the eyes.
The object must lie within a viewing angle . This angle is reported as 70' = 1.17
(b/2) + e

10 + e

tcm =

= ca.
b/2 1/tan

for a base of 6.5 cm.


155 - e

The value e is made up of d, the separation of the standing line and the main x-axis + the
smallest value of y3 from the table. In regard to the already calculated cube, d = 30 cm
and y3 = 0.15 cm.
10 + 30.15


155 - 30.15

= 7.4 cm

This value is greater than the length of the cube, 6 cm. The angle is constructed from the
connecting line T - Or - l shown in fig. 7.5 which also shows the position of the other

Figure 7.3

Notes to the table:

The given image equation hold for anaglyphs intended to be viewed in a book. During the
calculation one imagines the object - or the model of the object - standing on the ground
plane (x;y) in about the first octant (space is geometrically divided into 4 positive octants
above the ground plane and 4 negative octants below the ground plane) and projecting
from the two eye points Or and Ol onto the ground plane. From experience it is known
that front pictures provide little viewing quality. Therefore the object is s that a favorable
viewing direction results. The ordering of the coordinates was chosen that the unchanged
coordinate - here the z-coordinate because of the rotation about the z-axis - is easily
recognized. The following shift in the x-direction towards the left was also due to
viewing reasons, but point 3 still lies in the first octant. An additional shift in the ydirection would also be reasonable so that the object entirely behind the x;z-plane when
viewed from O. How large the shift should be becomes evident only after the execution
of the first rotation. In the valuation of the image equations A(h,d,b) the ordering xr, xl
was chosen since with these anaglyphs the left single views lie on the right and the right
single views lie on left. With the shift x1T-6 the single views are separated.
This process is not always necessary. When viewing the results one should note that the
undistorted pictures are seen only when the initial image values, distance d and height h
and picture in the ground plane, are obeyed. Different image equations hold for projection
onto a perpendicular screen (see later in this chapter).
The Cube as Test Picture
The picture of the cube serves not only as a means of proofing the image with regard to
the creation of the spatial image and the elimination of distortion when the image values
are adhered to, but also as a template for the development of new pictures. The picture of
the cube marks out the entire space in which one could place a new model and gain an
image of the staked out size (see fig. 7.8).

Figure 7.4
taken with a time interval of quite four years
1st picture: April 20th, 1896, 8h, 18', 3"
2nd picture: February 7th, 1900, 6h, 15' 30"
Libration (oscillation of the moon axis) 15
Place: Equatorial Coud, Paris

Rotation of Points about the Origin in a xyz-Coordinate-System

technical totation about the angle .
Counter Clockwise:
mathematical rotation from the 1st to the 2nd quadrant.
(R = 90)
Counter Clockwise:
= x * sin(R - ) - y * cos (R - ) = x * cos ) - y * sin
= y * cos(R - ) + y * sin (R - ) = x * sin + y * cos
The above example deals with a rotation about the z-axis. With totations around the x- or
y-axis the corresponding labels of the other axes must be substituted:
by x :

/ x / z;

/ y / z; by y :

/ x / z ; / x / z;

Calculation program:













1 sin cos(R 2 cos sin(R 3 x x y
4 y z z


enter memory values









continued on right ...

before starting the

x = 1 STO 3
y = 2 STO 4


enter new x, y-values

Literary References:
(1) R. Sachsenweger, Stereo-Sehbungen, ein Bilderbuch fr Kinder von 4 - 10 Jahren;
Fischer-Verlag, Stuttgart 1977
(2) U. Graf, Konstruierte Anaglyphen, Deutsche Mathematik 1911/2
(3) Schwidefski u. Ackermann, Photogrammetrie, Teubner-Verlag, Sttuttgart 1976
(4) J.P. Frisby, Seeing, Illusion, Brain and Mind, Oxford University Press 1979
(5) R. Schmidt, Lehre der Perspektive und ihre Anwendung, Bauverlag Wiesbaden,
Berlin 1978
(6) R. Schmidt, Darstellende Geometrie mit Stereo-Bildern, Bauverlag Wiesbaden, Berlin

The Image Equations for Anaglyphs (Book Anaglyphs)

Directions for construction of anaglyphs are found in Schmid, Lehre der Perspektive.
The equations:
h * x - b/2 * z
r =

h * x + b/2 * z
l =

when z = =, then
original points.

= x and

l =


= y, i.e. in the ground plane the pictures coincide with the

Calculation Program for Image Equations "Anaglyphs"








00 LBL 0

4 RCL 3

1 RCL 2

6 RCL 6

3 RCL 6


5 STO 7

enter memory values

before starting the




1 RCL 3

5 RCL 5

3 RCL 6

7 RCL 1

6 RCL 7



9 RCL 6


2 RCL 7

20 RCL 2


r, l

2 RCL 4
continued on right ...


3 RCL 2

1 sin cos(R 2 cos sin(R 3 x x y
4 y z z

9 RCL 4

9 RCL 7

7 RCL 2


5 GTO 0
enter new x, y, z-values

Example =
x = STO
y = STO
0.5 1
cos 0.86

Figure 7.5
Stereoscopic pictures "Anaglyphs" (picture in the ground plane)
The Image Equations for Stereoscopic Pictures
Picture plane is perpendicular to the ground plane (Stereoscope, Projection).
The equations:
d * x + b/2 * y

d * x + b/2 * y



r, l



Calculation Program for Image Equations "Stereoscopic pictures"







24 RCL 3

00 LBL 0

1 RCL 5

6 RCL 5

3 RCL 1

5 STO 7


9 RCL 7


7 RCL 1


enter memory values
before starting the

9 RCL 4

3 RCL 2

1 RCL 3

5 RCL 5

3 RCL 5

7 RCL 1

9 RCL 6

6 RCL 7



2 RCL 7


r, l

20 RCL 1

2 RCL 4
continued on right ...

5 GTO 0
enter new x, y, z-values

Figure 7.6
Stereoscopic pictures (picture perpendicular to the ground plane)

After calculation of the

kite-shaped surface, the
left single view was
shifted toward the left by 6
cm. A stereo picture of the
surface, which can be
viewed with a stereoscope
with lenses, originates in
this way.
In order to obtain
anaglyphs, place a piece of
transparent paper on the
right single view and draw
out the exes of the figure
in black and color the
remaining lines with red.
Set the sheet with the red
dolor onto the left single
view so that the points 1
and 5 lie upon each other.
Trace over with green ink.

Figure 7.7 (above)

broken kite surface, base coordinates and stereo picture
Figure 7.8 (below)
cube 6 cm, template for book anaglyph

The cube is shown as a

book anaglyph, but
naturally is not printed this
way because of the cost.
Therefore it cannot be
spatially viewed.

Colored pens can be used instead of colored inks mentioned earlier in this chapter. The
green "Schwan-Stabilo HL 66" markers are ideal. For better coverage one should draw
two lines in place of one., which can be tricky. The red "Edding 1701 M red" is ideal. The
green lines must be drawn first, however, otherwise some of the red is carried into the
green lines when they cross. This combination is especially well suited for viewing under
lamp light.
For daylight viewing one should expose the green drawing to sunlight for 1 - 1 hours
before drawing the red lines . This causes the green to lose a great deal of its luminescent
The green colors of "Schwan-Stabilo Boss" and the sunlight-sensitive red color from
"Faber-Castell textliner 48 fluorescent" are ideal for extremely large drawings requiring a
line width of 5 mm.

Pens suitable for anaglyph transparencies are "Schwan-Stabilo Pen 96 P Fine, 196
Superfine Permanent Red and Green". "Rotring ink K 595 703 Red and K 595 707
Green" can be used in place of pens. These bind to drawing material and therefore
produce lines which do not smear. The green must be thinned with dilution K 595 290 in
a ratio of approx. 1 : 1. A piece of blotting material must be placed in the tip of the
drawing pen in order to achieve an even line. Otherwise the pen dries out quickly. Raster
films from LETRASET Project-a-tone PTT red and green can be used as a supplement to
the figures if special surfaces must be covered.

The Path to a Stereo Picture
The simplest, but not the most precise, method is the following: One positions oneself,
makes an exposure, repositions one's upper body so that the camera is shifted sideways
approx. 7 cm, and makes the second exposure. One must be careful that the camera is not
tilted from one exposure to the next. This problem can be avoided by orienting oneself to
a horizontal line in the background. It is much easier to do with a camera with motor

Sliding brings Success

After the primitive method of shifting the body, there is a procedure that brings exact
results and is used even by professionals. For this, though, we need the help of a stereo
slide bar. It can be constructed - as one pleases - as a simple device, or also as a precision
instrument. First the simple method, which does not cost anything, if you own a tripod.
Mount your camera and note the resting points of the tripod's legs. It is advantageous
when 2 or 3 legs of the tripod stand in a parallel line to the object being photographed.
Now it is up to your skill to move the tripod as parallel as possible to the object after the
first exposure. Have no fear, it is not as bad as it sounds, because you can be guided by a
few technical means. We have already seen one of them in our introduction: Orient
yourself to available straight lines: Floor patterns, corners of curbs, etc., or simply scrape
a line into the ground or place a straight pole onto the floor for the tripod to slide along.

Figure 8.1
A somewhat nicer, more exact, procedure results from two pieces of plywood that we
fasten onto the tripod with a clamp as depicted in figure 8.1. The wider board serves as
the base. The narrow board serves as a ruler, along which the back of the camera is
guided; we can also apply our markings onto it. The dimensions of the boards are
naturally dependent on the dimensions of your camera.
Our next design for a slide bar already approaches professional devices. The slide bar is
constructed from parts which we build ourselves from plywood (fig. 8.2).

Figure 8.2
In principle, the structure resembles a flat wooden box, whose practical construction of
its lid and bottom allow them to slide together.
The dimensions are once again dependent upon the size of the camera: our data refers to
35 mm cameras with a film size of 24 x 36 mm. In the lid we mount a long tripod bolt
which is secured with a lock washer (fig. 8.3). If the plywood is too thick we must lower
the camera bolt into the wood a bit so that a few threads are able to grip the camera. For
the connection to the tripod, we install a reduction screw (a hollow screw that has threads
on the inside), into the bottom of the slide-bar. A few drops of quick drying glue prevent
the screw from turning when removing the slide bar from the tripod.

Figure 8.3
This procedure suffices for light cameras. For heavier or more expensive cameras, a more
stable fastening is required. One can buy standard nuts into which the threads of the
reduction screw or even the threads of the tripod bolt fit. The attachment then comes
about as shown in fig. 8.4. Here also the bolt may have to be sunk into the wood in order
to create a solid connection. The attachment to the tripod is widened by the addition of a

board as thick as a bold with a place cut out for the bolt.

Figure 8.4
A variant of our wooden slide bar: Use ready made light metal profiles. From these the
top and bottom of our slide bar can be constructed with some plywood and glue (fig. 8.5).
The attachment of the tripod bolt is identical to that of the wooden slide bar.

Figure 8.5
Now to the best of the slide bars: The Hobbythek Patented Slide Bar
Ball bearings make sliding easy. Therefore we used a cabinet drawer rail to construct a
stereo slide bar from it (fig. 8.6). This rail is available in many different forms, materials
(plastic and metal), and dimensions. They are used to make drawers, bread cutters or
other household devices which can be easily and safely pulled out of kitchen furniture.
These rails are available in stores for furniture supplies and hardware stores, or in do-ityourself centers. Our rail is made from metal and is approx. 35 cm long. The two halves
(i.e., the lid and the bottom) sideways each make a groove, in which metal ball bearings
provide for easy movement. On both ends there are guards so that the rail does not "jump
the track". We remove one of these guards with a drill; now we can easily separate the
rail. Be careful not to lose any of the small metal ball bearings. The rail is now ready for
transformation into a stereo slide bar.

Figure 8.6
We drill through the "lid" of the rail at the four places shown in fig. 8.8 cover it with
epoxy and lay two narrow pieces of plywood with a thickness equal to that of the head of
our tripod bolt upon it. The two wood strips leave a crack in the middle as big as the
diameter of the head of the tripod bolt (fig. 38).
Now we take a piece of up to 5 mm thick plywood and cut a piece with a width equal to
that of the first two strips (this time as long as the entire length) and mount it in the
middle with a drilled hole. The diameter of the hole is given by the tripod bolt (fig. 8.7).

Figure 8.7
In this hole we place the tripod bolt and cover both wooden surfaces with glue and stick
them together. Through the four holes that we initially drilled in the "lid", we screw a
small flat head screw which offers extra strength in holding the glued wood strips on the
metal surface.
On the side where we removed bolts and nuts to insure that the two halves of the rail do
not completely separate during use. An angle-iron on the "bottom" of our rail provides
the link to the tripod. Here also a tripod screw with threads on the inside and a
corresponding nut lend a safe attachment. A board about as thick as the head of the bolt
with a piece cut out, again strengthens the setup (fig. 8.9).

Figure 8.8

Figure 8.9

As you will see, extraordinary exposures are possible with this "slide bar" method. In
addition, there is the advantage that even commercial stereo cameras do not possess; one
can vary the exposure base. The separation should be reduced with close-ups, i.e., when
one wants to make a large photograph of a vase of flowers, or of the inner working of a
wrist watch. The photographic base should be enlarged when one wishes to obtain spatial
effects with motifs that are more than 20 m distant. But be careful: Do not be exorbitant,
otherwise an unnatural effect will result. It is best to experiment!

A seesaw, but not for rocking

Another way to bridge the separation of 6.5 - 7 cm between picture 1 and picture 2 is the
stereo seesaw. In principle this is a movable parallelogram (fig. 8.10). What is necessary
for its construction?

Figure 8.10
We again suggest a device made out of wood (but aluminum and plastic can also be
used). Two pieces of plywood of approximately 1 cm thickness (A and B) are attached
with 4 wooden crossbars (1, 2, 3, 4) in such way that they can still be moved with ease
but do not have too much play. The size of the two again depends on the size of your

camera. Between the two boards we glue two blocks (C and D). They should be a bit
higher than the head of the tripod bolt, so that a stable construction results.
The attachment of the tripod bolt on the bottom and on the movable top is the same with
the stereo slide bar. Here is another tip on how you can quickly calculate the length of the
4 wood strips. Place the boards on top of each other and mark the middle. From this
point, move
3.5 cm to both sides. Now shift the top board 3.5 cm to the right or left and insert the two
blocks between them. It is best to hold everything in a vise because now the holes must
be drilled. You measure the length M from the end of the board to the middle to
determine the location of the holes. This distance is then transferred to the cross-bars
which are then drilled. Leave enough wood on the right and left of the holes so that the
wood does not break around the holes. Sand the corner smooth. In the illustration we
provide a couple of suggestions on how you can construct your stereo seesaw a bit
differently: The basic design, however, centers around a movable parallelogram (fig.

Figure 8.11
This method of taking both exposures has a marked disadvantage. Namely, one can take
pictures only of a still object since even a change in eye position of a person being
photographed for a portrait can ruin the stereo exposure; moving leaves or twigs in nature
are out of question.

The Stereo Camera brand known as "Home-Made"

As an about-to-be stereo fan, you should consider obtaining two cheap, identical cameras
that can be coupled together and possibly fitted with a common shutter release
mechanism. With a little skill even this release is not necessary, one must only depress
both shutter releases as simultaneously as possible. The stereo pictures produced by these
cameras can be only as good as the quality of the camera model permits. In the end, this
is usually a matter of price. Naturally we cannot give mounting instructions for every
possible model of camera. But here are a few tips to help you with your choice from the
vast selection available:
1) When the two cameras are side by side or on top of one another, the separation
between the centers of the lenses should not be greater than 5 - 6 cm (fig. 8.12).

Figure 8.12
2) It is possible that the lens separation exactly matches the separation of the eyes, i.e.,
6.5 - 7 cm, when the two cameras are joined bottom to bottom (fig. 8.13). However, this
is not recommended since it is almost impossible to build a common shutter release. This
is no problem if shutter release cables are at hand because one can operate with a double
cable shutter release in this case (fig. 8.14). Another disadvantage with this type of
mounting is that the camera may be unevenly situated with respect to each other.
Especially when the lenses are not in the center of the camera body.

Figure 8.13

Figure 8.14

The joining of the two cameras is now fairly simple. One measures the separation of the
lenses placed one on top of the other to obtain the length of the connecting pieces which
need to be attached to the cameras in order to separate the lenses by 6.5 - 7 cm. One cuts
a piece (fig. 18.15) of wood into the correct dimensions and glues it to the top of the
bottom camera. A second piece of wood should be glued on (fig. 8.16) depending upon
how disrupted this surface is due to operation instruments such as the film advance lever,
shutter release, hot shoe, etc. The second camera's bottom is now glued to these boards.

Figure 8.15

Figure 8.16

With this, it is important that in the end, the cameras are mounted parallel and
perpendicular to one another. A few cheap cameras are not too stable. For these we
recommend that the sides of the bodies also be connected with a glued on strip.
The simultaneous shutter release mechanism is constructed as follows: One glues small
pieces of wood onto the shutter release and drills small holes facing the front of the
cameras into them. The holes then hold a wire bent from 2 - 3 mm diameter welding rod
(fig. 8.15).
A few more tips on the subject of stereo photography:
1. Always hold the camera horizontally during exposure.
2. Stereo photographs must be sharp from the front to the back. Distortion as a
creative element is not appropriate.
3. Find subjects where the spatial impression that you are striving for comes into
play. The division of the picture into front, middle and background is very
important for this.
4. Lighting plays an important role! Light from the side or the front emphasizes the
spatial effect, whereas back lighting causes the subject to appear flat.
5. If you want to take stereo pictures with a flash, the flash must not change position
for the second exposure. This would result in the object being illuminated too
flatly. For this reason we have envisioned an attachment to the stereo seesaw and
slide bar that causes the flash to remain stationary during the the shifting of the
camera (fig. 8.17).

Figure 8.17

Looking Cross-eyed is part of the Answer

Suppose we have our two single views and wish to view them spatially. The simplest and
cheapest way to do this is to view them without any viewing aids. This method requires
quite a bit of practice and is a strain on the eyes; in addition there are people who are
unable to evoke a spatial image in this manner. In spite of this some advise (fig. 8.18):
Relax your eyes and focus into the distance - in a certain sense on infinity - and then slide
the two pictures into your viewing area, trying to see them in focus.
You will now recognize three pictures: your two photographs on the left and right and the
spatial image in the center (fig. 8.19). If the middle picture still appears double, try to
resolve this problem by slightly raising, lowering or tilting the picture. Sharpness is
achieved by moving the picture farther from the eyes or closer to them.

Figure 8.18

Figure 8.19

The mounting of the two original pictures is crucial to this spatial viewing. Suppose you
took the pictures with an instant camera and shifted the camera exactly the distance of
eye separation, i.e., 6.5 - 7 cm. The mounting of the pictures must cause the most
important points of the single views to have a similar separation. It is, however, better to
make the separation somewhat smaller, e.g., 6 - 6.5 cm. This is because the eyes are used
to looking a bit cross-eyed when viewing close-up. The finished picture should have the
standard format 6 x 13 cm. In the middle of the two 6 x 6 pictures there remains a small
bridge a few millimeters wide. It is best if you select a point from the left picture, a
corner of a building, the nose of a person, or even a flower, and find this point in the right
picture (fig. 8.20). Now place the picture next to each other so that the chosen points are
separated 6 - 6.5 cm.

Figure 8.20

The picture will most likely overlap in the middle. Cut the pictures so that none of the
important parts of the picture are destroyed. Do not cut as in (a), but as in (b). In order to
do this, place the pictures on top of each other, in such a manner that the selected points
have a separation of 6 - 6.5 cm. Now we can easily determine our cutting line (fig. 8.21).
A maxim concerning this: Only objects or people that are visible on both single views
appear spatial. Objects that lie on the outer left-hand edge of the left single view are not
visible on the right single view due to the shifting of the camera, appear flat and
flickering in the stereo picture (fig. 8.22).

Figure 8.21

Figure 8.22

Therefore a little skill is necessary in order to mount the pictures correctly. After having
spent a lot of effort on the mounting, the disappointment is great, when relatives and
acquaintances with whom you wanted to share your success cannot do so because they
are not flexible enough with their eyes. Not to worry, this can be easily remedied.


A Stereo Viewer for Paper Pictures
Our Hobbythek stereo viewer is modeled after an old American stereo viewer which was
common around 1860. 0n1y a lens hood is not included since it yields no advantage and
only hinders people with glasses. It is constructed from 7 simple parts: see fig. 8.23: the
lens holder (A), the railing (B), the sliding bar (C), the wire picture holder (D), the
separating wall (B), the handle (F) and the lenses (G). The lens holder (A) is cut
according to dimensions from a wooden board (plywood or particle board) approx. 10
mm thick. Mark the midpoint of the lenses on this board. They lie 40 mm distant from the
bottom edge and 35 mm away from the middle line. The diameter of the holes is
dependent on the lenses used. Double convex lenses (magnifying glasses) with a diameter
of 30 - 40 mm and a focal length of approx. 70 mm are the best suited. It is immaterial
whether they are glass or plastic. The holes can be made quickly and cleanly with a hole
saw which is sold as an attachments to drills. A fretsaw does the job equally well but
takes a little longer.
At the exact middle - under the lens holder - we glue and nail a 5 mm thick, 30 mm wide
and 200 mm long, plywood strip. It serves as a rail for the picture slide bar which we

construct from 10 mm thick plywood. The slide bar will be 180 mm long and 20 mm
wide (Fig. 8.24).

Figure 8.23

Figure 8.24

The underside contains a 31 mm wide and 6 mm deep groove. The groove is then closed
off to the bottom with a narrow strip of tin which can be cut from a tin can if nothing else
is at hand.
The wire holder for our pictures are now bent out of 1 - 2 mm thick wire (fig. 8.25). For
this we need 2 pieces of 130 mm long wire. We mark the middle at 65 mm and bend it at
this point around a round object with a diameter of about 5 mm. This is easy if you insert
a suitable screw into the board and bend the wire around this screw. Now mark the wire
approx. 5 mm from the bend and bent it again. This time at a right angle to our screw. The
finished wire holder is then installed into the picture slide bar. Two holes in the diameter
of the wire are drilled into the right and left of the slide bar, 60 mm distant from the
center; the separation between the holes on each end is 5 mm. The wire frames are
inserted into these holes and fastened with 1 or 2 taps from a hammer.
Next we mount the handle. A round or square piece of wood with a length of 100 mm is
nailed and glued under the rail at a point 2 cm away from the lens holder (fig. 8.26).

Figure 8.25

Figure 8.26

We glue and nail a piece of 70 mm high and 80 mm long plywood into the angle between
the lens holder and the rail. This wood serves as a viewing blind to cover the two outer
pictures and show only the stereo picture. The large sections are now complete and our
lenses can be put into place. The lenses are glued into the inside of the lens holder with a
quick drying glue or epoxy. Our finished trimmed pictures are mounted onto cardboard
which fits into our wire picture holders. The seam between the pictures must lie in a line
with the viewing blind.
Finally we search for the point where our stereo picture attains the greatest sharpness by
moving the picture holder back and forth. Have fun viewing!

No Problem - Success in a Snap
In addition to paper pictures, there are also pictures on transparencies, which are
preferred by many photography enthusiasts because of their brilliance. Constructing a
stereo viewer is even simpler (fig. 8.27). Take two small slide viewers (Agfa or Kodak
Gucki or comparable viewer) and a strip of cardboard not too stiff. Cut two holes, eye
separation apart, into the cardboard for the eyepieces of the slide viewer. The center of
the cardboard is notched on the bottom so that the stereo viewer rests comfortably on the
nose. The two slide viewers are now put into place and the stereo viewer is complete. The
entire apparatus may be a bit flexible. This will simplify viewing slides which are not
mounted entirely straight. More on this later.
A somewhat more elegant solution to the problem of fastening the two slide viewers is a
connection made out of a soft strip of tin. A metal tongue from a letter file can be used.
We bent it into a long "U" and glue it between the two viewers with a piece of doublesided tape. For safety, it is then covered with a piece of plain tape. With this metal strip
you can also connect slide viewers powered with batteries (fig. 8.28).

Figure 8.27

Figure 8.28

Slides that do not fall from their Frames

Before one can spatially view the processed slides, they must be mounted. The mounting
procedure must be carried out with utmost precision because when one projects the two
slides onto each other, they must be exactly framed if one does not want to continually
adjust the slide projectors. This precision mounting is best done in the following manner:
One first needs a well lit surface. Slide enthusiasts probably have a light box. Those who
do not own one should construct a set-up as depicted in the drawing (fig. 8.29). It consists
of a glass plate about 30 x 30 cm, a piece of white cardboard or paper of approx. the same
size, and a table or desk lamp. Prop the glass plate up so that it makes a 30 angle with
the surface. The white cardboard is now set under the plate and illuminated with the
lamp. The top edge of the glass plate should be covered with a strip of black cardboard
about 10 cm wide so that one does not look directly into the light while working. One
now has a working space 30 cm wide and 20 cm high. Glue a sheet of transparent
millimeter graph paper onto it and then glue a right angle constructed from wooden strips
onto the graph paper. The frame provided by the wooden strips is used to align the slides.
Then highlight two of the small squares of the millimeter graph paper by coloring in the
adjoining squares (fig. 8.30).

Figure 8.29

Figure 8.30

The two squares should be lie on a diagonal in opposite corners since this provides the
most accuracy. One now mounts the first slide so that the image sits in the frame without
any tilt. Then note the parts of the picture that are visible in the highlighted squares and

frames the other slide in such a manner that the same parts of the picture lie in the
designated squares. With this method, the slides have exactly the same position within
their frames and a slide show without problems is achieved.
There is another thing you should watch for: This procedure does not work with the
cheapest slide mounts since the margin of accuracy in respect to size is too large. In
addition, the slides should be fastened to their frames so that they do not move around.
With regard to this, self-sticking frames are ideal since the slide sticks to the frame and
cannot shift around (fig. 8.31).

Figure 8.31


A multitude of complaints concerning the high prices of silver screens (with adequate
polarizing qualities) and disappointment with the stands of these screen has prompted
people to consider painting the wall of a living room or lecture hall with a high quality
silver paint once and for all.
There are some different types of aluminum-bronze paints available from paint stores
and/or from mail order photographic equipment suppliers, which have been applied to
different surfaces and measured for their optical polarizing qualities. Instead of an overall
review, here is the final conclusion: Only one was second to none.
But these experiments were made with German paints, therefore it makes no sense to
give the manufacturer's name. All that helps is again self-experimentation.
The spray painting,of a piece of white plastic stretched over a particle board (available
from hobby stores and furniture shops) is very easy and virtually risk free if it is painted
using long, crossing strokes. When this method is followed, no priming, filing or sanding
is necessary and the amount of glare is kept constant, even when viewed from the side. It
might be handy to think ahead and design the screen to fit into the back seat of a car or to
mounted on the roof.


A very good aligning device can be built from a cross slide stage. A small lathe support
such as one from a watchmaker is the best. Onto the platter on which the turning rod is
usually fastened, one mounts a shaft, bent in to places at right angles (U or double T
aluminum shafts are available from hobby shops or hardware stores). They are similar in
shape to a fretsaw.
The space between the two shanks must be large enough so that a flat light box fits inbetween. The slide mounts are placed against sturdy restraints on the top of the box. The
holder for the piece of film to be aligned is attached onto the free end of the arm so that
the point of rotation of the arm lies exactly in the middle of the slide. With this setup, the
piece of film can be aligned exactly with respect to angle, height and width. Two viewing
lenses are fastened over the light box, through these, the alignment process can be
stereoscopically observed. A 100% exact aligning device can be had by installing another
graduated dial over the slides. The graduated dial need have only a single horizontal line
with two small perpendicular lines separated a distance equal to the separation of the
frames of the mount (62 mm) if the position of this dial can be changed up and sideways.
Naturally, the horizontal line must be exactly parallel to the slide mounts.


As was stated in chapter 4, "The Exposure Base", the near-point/far-point separation
difference, in short: "deviation", is not a constant, but rather a professional agreement. If,
however, one agrees to use the 1/30-rule and the value derived from it for = 1.2 mm for
miniature formats and approx. 3 mm for a format of 2x 6x6 (6x13), as one has for
amateur stereo photography, it must be held constant within the equations. If one wishes
to use other values, i.e., for photogrammetry, the graphs 1 - 3 should not be used, but
should instead be taken from the ladder table, graph 6 (see appendix).
Deviation = constant
bN - bF = = constant
For simplifications, assume:
bF = bO
The triangle with the opposite angles

are similar, therefore:



2 * aN

2 a'












* aN * (











Since the value of a', the image distance in the camera, can hardly be measured, it is
replaced with help of a well-known optical formula.
The assumption: aN/a = 1 distorts the result only ever so slightly. With a large amount of
depth of field ts, a can be significantly larger when aN is big.
The value aN/f then is very large. With a small aN the value of a, the object distance =
focal range, is not much larger, since then the depth of field ts, dependent on the aperture,
is also not large.
The value of aN/f is then small too. Subtracting 1 or 0.8, for example, makes no
According to the above equation, the stereo base bO is dependent upon the selected stereo
window distance from which is derived, from the focal length f and the near-point
distance aN. and usually f are constants so that only the near-point distance remains.

The far-point distance is not of importance and must be considered in the choice of the
If one calculates the enlargement factor V from the known formulas for the focal length f,
object- and image distance a, a' and substitutes them into the equation for the calculation
of the base, this equation simplifies to bs = /V.
Since both the depth of field and the exposure factor are dependent on the enlargement
factor, all the relations can be depicted on graph 4. This is of special interest to macroand micro-stereo-photography, where a lot of work involves the enlargement factor.
Graph 5 shows the base dependent on the enlargement factor with different focal lengths
= picture diagonals.
Graph 1: Stereo Base dependent on Near Point Distance with normal Focal length

Graph 2: Stereo Base dependent on Near Point Distance with interchangeable Focal

Graph 3: Stereo Base dependent on Near Point Distance with interchangeable

Lenses for sizes 6 x 6 cm

Graph 4: Depth-of-Filed in Macro- and Micro-Range - Stereo Base and Exposure

Factore dependent on Enlargement Factor

Graph 5: Stereo Base dependent Enlargement Factor

Graph 6: The Calculation of the Stereo Base