Thursday, June 14, 2012

Don't Break the Window

Stereo 3D photography requires a different approach to composition and framing than traditional two dimensional photography. Generally, the best subjects are those that have natural depth that will be highlighted by the stereo effect. However, the 3D photographer must always be aware of the stereo window and take care not to break the stereo window.

When you look at a two dimensional image, you are looking at the scene. With a 3D image, you are looking into the scene as if you were looking through a window. The edges of the image form the boundaries of that stereo window. Just like a real window, there can be things to see through the window and there can be things to see in front of the window. But if there is something at the left or right edges that projects forward, the stereo window is violated and the stereo effect no longer works.

This 3D image of an Orchid has a severe window violation.
In the stereo pair it is easier to see how the green bud on the right breaks the stereo window.
These images of orchids from the St. Paul Winter Carnival are examples of severe window violations. The green bud on the right is placed significantly in front of the viewing window but violates the window by projecting beyond the right edge. There is a significant difference between the left and right views at that edge which is confusing to the eyes and prevents a good 3D effect. There is also a window violation on the left with the yellow flower.

This 3D image of an orchid has good depth and no window violations.
In the stereo pair, you can see that no part of the orchid crosses the stereo window.
You can avoid window violations by framing scenes to keep anything that is closer than your primary subject away from the left and right edges of the image. Generally, this means shooting scenes at a wider angle than you might for a 2D image. The second set of orchid images show good 3D depth without any window violations.

Have you tried capturing any 3D images yet?  If so, please share the links.

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