I N F O . & . F A Q

General Info

The photos on this site were taken as side-by-side stereo pairs, using a hand-held 35-mm SLR camera. They have been converted to anaglyph (red-cyan) form for convenient screen viewing, even though the color suffers badly. If enough people ask, I will post stereographic pairs. (The Gold Hill Mill photos are now also posted as stereos.)

To view the photos in 3D, wear red-cyan glasses (left eye red).

All photos are by Eric Larson, except: Grandpa by Bruce Barris; Apollo 15 by NASA; Mark Twain from UC Riverside (exposure corrected); photos of Eric by Rebecca Davis.

Contents and compilation of text and images on this site Copyright 1999-2009 Eric Larson, may not be reposted, reprinted, distributed, or linked without permission, please e-mail [email protected]. Semper Ubi Sub Ubi.


Frequently Asked Question

People often write to ask me how to make anaglyphs or other 3D photos. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions.


Do I need a special camera? Do you have one?

No, and no. You can use any camera by taking two pictures from slightly different perspectives. The advantage is that you can change the separation between the two according to the distance to the subject or your taste (or lack of it) and do "trick" 3D photos. The disadvantages are that you cannot have moving objects (including clouds) in the picture, and that you must align the pictures carefully while shooting and later when mounting them. There are special two- three- and four-lens cameras available, each with it's own "look" because of the fixed focal length and separation of the lenses, and few with the image quality of a cheap SLR. I think Realist photos look hokey. You can make a 3D rig by mounting 2 identical cameras on a board or bar.


How do I take 3D pictures?

To take 3D pictures with any camera, take one exposure of anything, move a few inches to the right, and take another exposure of the same thing. It's that simple. If you've ever taken two pictures of something for any reason, it's likely you already have an "accidental" 3D.

Move just a few inches between exposures. If the nearest object is 6 feet away, move about 3.5 inches, the distance between your eyes. Move further for distant subjects (hyperstereo), less for close-ups (hypostereo). I like to give a slight exaggeration to some pictures. In general, though, it's better to move too little than too far. If you move too far between exposures, the result will look miniaturized (liliputism).

Move level between taking the two shots. If you move up and down, the resulting picture will tear your eyeballs out.

Move parallel to the front plane of your picture; do not get closer or further from the subject, or the picture will appear distorted.

Don't tilt the camera up and down. Find a foreground object (on the ground) and keep it at the very bottom of the frame.

Don't "toe in." Keep the lens perpendicular to the subject. When composing the shots, remember that some objects (especially foreground) will move out of frame to the left on the second exposure; avoid such objects.

Avoid close foreground objects in long shots. The separation needed for mid- to long shots is so great that it makes close foreground objects difficult to resolve (if they don't move out of view completely). The best subjects have multiple planes not too far apart, covering from 5 to 50 feet.

If you have a zoom lens, use a focal length around 50-55 mm. Wide-angle lenses make Liliputism.


How do I convert 3D pairs to anaglyphs?

Scan the pair of images and open the scan in Photoshop in Red-Green-Blue mode.

Move the Red channel of the left image to the right image, as follows: (1)Open the Channels palette and click on the red channel to make only it active, then click the left column of RGB to make all channels visible. (2)With the Marquee tool, select the entire left image, then shift-drag it over to the right image. Drag by shift-clicking on a foreground object on the left, then shift-drag to the same foreground object on the right. This will move the Red channel of the left image into the Red channel of the right image, leaving Blue and Green unchanged. (3)Adjust the position of the red channel image by pressing the arrow keys left and right (and up and down, if necessary) so that the foreground object is in the same place in all color channels. Put on some red-blue glasses and fine tune it in 3D.

Crop the image down to just the good part, the right half with the red from the left half. Crop out any parts that didn't overlap completely.


Can I make 3D images out of single "flat" images?

I don't know. There are computer programs that do this, but I don't know anything about them.


How come Teflon sticks to the pan?

Teflon is bonded to aluminum by an engineered nano-bacterium, Bacterium tephlans. Bacteria are bred for this purpose in underground laboratories in abandoned coal mines in the Appalachian Mountains of Tenessee. B. teflans also consumes carbon and oxygen from Teflon, and converts it to energy. This causes the pan to "wear out" in 3 to 5 years, and leaves ionized hydrogen in the bacterial coating. The bacteria become airborne during cooking, and are attracted to electrical charges in empty electrical sockets and uninsulated wiring behind light switches. Thus the bacteria enter the electrical circuitry of the house, and from there they spread throughout the global power grid. It is estimated that "electrobacteria" account for up to 20% of the earth's biomass. This would account for the disparity between previously estimated biomass and the amount predicted by models of the earth's weather, rotation, and celestial motion.