What Are 3D Glasses and How Does Anaglyph Work?

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The History of 3D Anaglyph and Red and Blue 3D Glasses.

Why is Anaglyph 3D and why the Red and Blue (Cyan)? Who is this Ana Glyph person, anyway? To begin, anaglyph comes from two Greek words, “anagluphos”, which means “wrought in low relief” and the word “anagluphein”, which means “to carve in relief”. What’s that spell? Anaglyph is process started in 1850 by two Frenchmen, Joseph D’Almeida and Louis Du Hauron. In 1858 the two made a few coins projecting a lantern slide show where they used red and blue filters for color separation, and the audience wore red and blue glasses. The result… even then an amazing stereoscopic image never before seen and… headaches. But the public loved it and wanted more.

Anaglyph 3D continued and the thirst for watching images that were more than flat images indeed did not stop there. In fact it was Quenn Elizabeth’s fascination with the new medium that sparked interest in the general public for quite some time. Even President Eisenhower and famed architect Harold Lloyd Wright took pictures with the Stereo Realist Camera. This camera was produced in America starting in 1947 and sold over 250,000. That made it one of the most popular cameras ever made. There are still some of these cameras available in working order today on EBay. Affectionately called the “Brick” as the durability of this camera was amazing.

Cinema 3D was first brought to light in 1890 when a British film pioneer named William Frieses-Greene filed a patent for a 3D movie process. Even though the process was not practical it was nevertheless the first foray into 3D. Edwin S. Porter brought the first 3D film to the silver screen in 1910 at the Astor Theater in New York. It was done in red-green anaglyph and was three test reels. The subject matter was rural scenes, a famous actress of the time Marie Doro, John Mason acting a number of scenes from a recent non-3D movie, Oriental Dancers and footage of Niagara Falls. But again, nothing came of this process after the initial screening.

The first 3-D film shown to a paying audience was The Power of Love. It premiered at the Ambassador Hotel Theater in Los Angeles on September 27, 1922. It utilized the red green anaglyph system and was projecting using a dual-strip projection and used the infamous Red/Green glasses. While exhibitors and press in New York City raved about the film, it never showed in any other theater, dropped out of sight and was lost forever. The real golden age of anaglyph 3D began in 1952 with the release of Bwana Devil.

How does Anaglyph work?

So, how does Anaglyph work? Well, Anagylph images are created by creating two pictures (or two videos) from slightly different angles. This is done usually by putting two cameras next to each other where the lenses are about 3 inches apart. This mimics the natural space between your eyes. Next we have to trick the eyes into “seeing” depth. When we look at a 3D image our brain sees the red filtered areas of the image as “white”. While the blue areas are perceived as “black” Actual white or black areas are seen in the same way by each eye. Next your amazing CPU, called the brain, blends the images together and sees the differences as being differences in distance.

So why red and blue or cyan. Well that answer also rests with our brain. Red and Blue or Cyan cover opposite ends of the visible light spectrum. Thus the black and white apparent differences. Using other colors that are more close in color would not trick the brain into seeing those pseudo black and white areas that create the stereoscopic effect.

write by Annabella

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