Farty's Fortunes

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Stereogram #1


Do you remember when Magic Eye pictures were all the rage? There might be an image of apparently random dots or perhaps repeating wallpaper, but if you could get your eyes to point beyond the image while focusing on the printed page, all sorts of bizarre 3D images might suddenly appear? Or perhaps you would just get a headache. Me too.

But sometimes it would work, especially if I didn't have to squint too much. And I quickly discovered that you didn't have to obscure the original image (in fact, some stereographs date back more than a century). Take two pictures from slightly different vantage points, then print them side by side. With a special viewer, the pictures could be superimposed in three dimensions. Or you could just squint.

Since digital photography was still ridiculously expensive in its infancy, I used my state-of-the-art computer (an Amiga 500 running Sculpt-Animate 4D) to generate a brilliantly imaginative animation of the space station Deep Space Nine rotating in space. In 3D. Just before the Star Trek people released a holographic keyring of the same thing, grrr!

Sadly, all my work was lost when I ditched the Amiga and bought this PC, and anyway the formats were incompatible, sigh. But now that everyone has a digital camera, it's dead easy to do. You only need two images, taken from a few centimetres to a few feet apart, depending on the distance. I've done three above, because that works too.

Put them in a paint program, crop them, line them up and Robert is your mother's brother.

Now I just need to find a decent subject.


Memarie Lane said...

Wow, I can totally see the Eiffel Tower!

I used to be able to see those things instantaneously, I just can't do it anymore. I always wondered how they worked though.

Laurie said...

Robert is my cousin, actually. And I had a gerbil named Robert once. Oh, wait....I get it....

I like the 3-D candles. It works really well when they are small, but I couldn't get my eyes unfocused enough when I enlarged the picture.

Where can I get one of those keyrings? I had a drink at Quarks bar, and bought a couple of tribbles (not usually such a good idea) at the Star Trek Experience in Las Vegas, but I didn't see the keyring.

Jacki said...

Ah yes, those stereograms! I also remember when floating candles were all the rage. Are those Mrs. Farty's?

Mr Farty said...

Marie - Near enough. It's all done with smoke and mirrors, of course.

Laurie - It depends on how much you enlarge them, and how close you are to your screen. In this case, smaller is better.
I haven't seen one of those keyrings since a Star Trek exhibition in Embra about ten years ago. And I've lost mine, sob!

Jacki - Right first time. And of course every time we move the table, slosh!

Diesel said...

I suck at this.

Mr Farty said...

Diesel - Something I can do better than my bloggy hero? Yay me!