By Fred Truck
Copyright © 2012 by Fred Truck
A Little Background
In 1973, I became interested in the work of Marcel Duchamp. This was not an unusual event in itself, as thousands of artists in my generation were undergoing a similar development.
One of the first things I noticed about Duchamp’s writings was his interest in perspective, and different ways to approach it. I became aware of his interest, also, in anaglyphs, 3-D pictures that could be viewed with red/green glasses.
Only much, much later did I find that Duchamp had tried to make anaglyphs of his famous last work, Etant Donnes, but had abandoned the attempt. He really didn’t have the technology to make anaglyphs, or the advantages of red/cyan glasses to see 3-D pictures with.
By this time, I was making anaglyphs myself, from digital photographs I took, but I was restless. I was looking for my own way of making 3-D.
In developing the process described below, my practice went through different phases I recorded in three different essays. They can be found here:
Clicking on these images will take you to the essays.
This led me to the following invention I am disclosing publically as a way of protecting my claim of first inventor, but also in the hopes that others interested in 3-D will try this on their own.
Traditional anaglyphs require two photographs of the same image, differing only slightly in point of view. In digital implementation, the red channel of the second RGB (red green blue) image replaces the red channel of the first image. When viewed through red/cyan glasses, the composite image is separated. The red channel is seen only by the left eye, which has the red lens over it. The green and blue channels are seen only by the right eye, which has the cyan lens over it. The human mind synthesizes the channels, generating an illusion of depth because each eye is receiving a slightly different point of view.
This approach presents serious issues for a photographer interested in 3-D imagery. It rules out action photographs, or images of things that change rapidly, such as traffic, or stitched images. Traditional anaglyphs have been made from a single photograph, but the methods used involve generating a second point of view from the original, and are time consuming and laborious. Additionally, even very successful anaglyphs create objects with no 3-dimensional depth or weight. They appear as cardboard cutouts suspended in space.
There are many different 3-D imaging methods that I ran across in my patent search. Most are handily referenced in this paper:
I have coined the word “chromobinocular” to cover the process I invented to generate a 3-D image from a single, digital color photograph or a single stitched image made from many digital color photographs. My Chromobinocular technique addresses and solves these issues mentioned above.
The Chromobinocular Process converts standard RGB (red green blue) digital photographs from 2-dimensional images to 3-dimensional images, when the image is viewed through red/cyan glasses.
Before beginning, realize that this process can be realized using an advanced software graphics package such as Photoshop™ or GIMP, both of which have a blending mode called linear burn. Linear burn:
Looks at the color information in each channel and darkens the base color to reflect the blend color by decreasing the brightness. Blending with white produces no change.—Photoshop™ Help
To use the Chromobinocular Process:
1. Open a photograph in advanced graphics software.
Linear Burn on Red Channel
2. Perform a linear burn on the red channel of the image as shown above.
3. Shift the red channel image x number of pixels to the left.
4. Shift the green and blue channels x number of pixels to the right.
The more the channels are shifted apart, the deeper the image appears, until the channel discrepancy can no longer be resolved by the human mind.
5. To eliminate the border areas where the red channel and the blue and green channels no longer register with each other, resize the image horizontally, making it 2x number of pixels smaller.
Because different images have different resolutions, how far the channels are actually moved will vary. Using a combination of the typical move tool, and the keyboard arrows, this formula will determine how many pixels a given channel is shifted right or left, where n = the number of times the arrow key is struck, and r = the screen resolution of the image, 72 is the standard low resolution of jpegs and tifs, and a = the actual number of pixels:
The standard shift in either horizontal direction is 2 strokes of the arrow key, but this may vary in certain cases depending on the picture.
6. View the image through standard anaglyph red/cyan glasses.
The resulting images are 3-dimensional, but they are not traditional anaglyphs. I’ve called them anaglyphs in the past because the viewer must use red/cyan glasses to see the 3-D, and the red and green/blue channels are shifted out of phase with each other to create stereopsis. Rather than different points of view, the binocular effect is created by color. This gives objects in the 3-D image weight and depth. For this reason, I call images that result from my Chromobinocular process anaglyph 2.0.
Notice how my Chromobinocular process gives depth to the Seurat painting.
By the nature of the style my photographs often take, I’ve found it useful to use red channel shifts to the right, rather than shifts to the left. This gives these pictures an out-of-frame effect. Rather than building the image in from the screen, the image is built from the screen out, as in this image, Magnificent Juniper:
The technique I used in this image is the same as the standard listed above, only the directions of the shifts are reversed. Red to the right, blue and green to the left.
After typing a few corrections and making a few passages more clear, I took a look on the Internet to see what was offered in the way of 3-D conversions of 2-D photographs. I’d seen most of these offerings before, but there are always a few new ones. Currently you have a choice of methods and more are being developed regularly, eventually someone will develop the standard. I think my chromobinocular process is the standard you’re looking for.