Cool 3D Tools

Dogwood Anaglyph

I’ve discovered a treasure trove of 3D tools. Japanese developer Muttyan has put together HUGE collection of applications for viewing and creating stereoscopic images and videos. These include side-by-side stereographs as well as anaglyphs using a variety of color and polarizing schemes.

Screen shot 2011-04-06 at 7.31.06 AM

Online since 2003, the site design looks like it’s stuck in the 1990’s, but the content is current and comprehensive, and that’s what matters.

I first stumbled onto the site looking for a way to create 3D views of Google Earth.  I had wondered if there was a way to create an off-set image that could be converted to anaglyphs.  I found Muttyan’s Stereo Google Earth page, and started exploring.

This page uses two instances of the Google Earth plugin to present side-by-side images of chosen locations.  I started with an overhead screen capture, such as this one of downtown Greenville… Continue reading “Cool 3D Tools”

Experiments with Stereo Photography

Pelham Mill Dam Anaglyph

Since I had been working some much with old stereographs and converting them into 3D anaglyphs, I wanted to try my own stereographs.  My first attempts were OK, but not great.  I was attempting to use one camera to create two images, but the results were often unpredictable.

I did learn a a trick with this process, though.  Fairly decent results can be obtained by first putting your weight on your right foot and snapping a shot, then shifting your weight to your left foot and shooting.  That gives just about the right amount of separation for a good stereo image.

Unfortunately, this process has some drawbacks.  First, it’s awkward if you want to get a shot that’s not easily taken from a standing position, say, a low show of flowers or a still life.  Also, it won’t work if there is any movement.  You need some way to snap two images simultaneously.

I did come up with a way to do just that.  I found a couple of VERY cheap cameras online.  My only criteria was that the cameras had to have at least 3 megapixels, have a tripod mount, and have a self-timer.  My solution was the Global Point Trekker camera, which cost me a little over $10 through (ignore the $34 price on their home website.)

Global Trekker Camera Continue reading “Experiments with Stereo Photography”

A Collection of Stereographs

Stereogram Cards I finally got my hands on an actual set of antique stereograph cards.  This is a collection of 32 cards by the H. C. White Company, and includes scenes from Havana, Cuba, Manila in the Philippines, several other interesting locations.  There are also some humorous staged scenes included in the lot.  These are all polychrome color cards, and have the copyright date of 1905 on them. I found some of the subject matter fascinating.  This shot of the beach at Atlantic City is a far cry from today’s image of Jersey Shore…

11 In Surf Sand and Sun Atlantic City

If you look closely at the individual in the foreground, you’ll see that it’s a man and not a woman. He’s just wearing a weird yellow hat. Continue reading “A Collection of Stereographs”

Stereograph Collections


I think I mentioned that while growing up we had an old stereographic viewer and collection of stereograph cards as seen above. I used to love playing with it, and it seemed like we had quite the collection. While I was still on this 3D kick I decided to check to see if there were other collections online besides the one I found at the University of South Carolina Library. It turns out that there are an AMAZING number of images available online, if you know where to look.

The first thing I did was just a simple Google Image Search for the term “stereograph.” That turned up lots of interesting hits, and some potential sources for more images. It looked like a good many of these led back to the Library of Congress, and that’s where I hit paydirt.

My first search on the Library of Congress’s site led me to the Robert N. Dennis Collection, now housed at the New York Public Library. The stereographic images in the University of South Carolina’s online collection are from this collection. Dennis was not a photographer, but a collector, and he amassed a huge collection of these image cards. Many of these depict life in small-town America, but the collection itself spans the US and includes some European shots. Dennis donated these to the library in two batches, first in the 1930’s and later in the 1950’s. The collection consists of about 72,000 stereograph cards, of which a little over 12,000 have since been digitized and placed online.

The online Dennis Collection can be browsed by state, so I was curious to see what was available for South Carolina in addition to those I had already seen. I was surprised to see that there were several images of Greenville, including one for Reedy Falls and one of the old Furman campus and Belltower.

Reedy FallsFurman Continue reading “Stereograph Collections”

Fun with Anaglyphs – Part 4

anaglyph still life

In the previous parts of this series I looked at ways of creating anaglyphs with Photoshop, both from old stereoscopic images and from a set of two images shot with a hand held camera. But what if you’ve already got a photograph and want to “fake” a 3D image? Well, I think I’ve worked out a method of doing that, too.

So far I haven’t found any tutorials online for creating fake anaglyphs in Photoshop. I did find Jim Long, who has done an excellent job of converting 2D images into 3D cyan-red anaglyphs. Jim as quite the gallery not just photographs, but also of classical art rendered both as stereoscopic images and as anaglyphs. Here’s his version of Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa:

I don’t know what process Jim is using, but he manages to maintain color on the images very well. He also has a link to a supplier of 3D glasses with one of the most extensive inventories I’ve seen. Continue reading “Fun with Anaglyphs – Part 4”

Fun with Anaglyphs – Part 1

Civil War. First Black Regiment, South Carolina 1st, Massachusetts 54th.  "Glory Regiment"

This week I was looking for some resources on the South Carolina Digital Library ( when I saw that they have a new collection online. The collection is from the USC library, and is a collection of stereoscopic images of South Carolina.

The images were taken with a twin lens stereographic camera during and just after the Civil War. Most of these are of the Charleston area, and many show the devastation of the war, with ruined buildings seeming to be a favorite topic.

These images were meant to be viewed with a stereograph viewer, similar to the one seen below:


The image card would be placed in the holder, and the off-set images merged into a 3D view in the viewer. When I was growing up we had one of these antiques and a collection of cards, and I loved looking through them. Continue reading “Fun with Anaglyphs – Part 1”