Stereoscopy and Anaglyph 3D

Example of 3D Anaglyph image, Earth view from space, red and cyan glasses needed

About Stereoscopic Anaglyph videos and photography and 3D glasses

The technique to make 2D images into 3D vision stems back to 1900th century. The stereoscope (first invented by Wheatstone) where a single viewer could look into a 3D world was invented 1838. The anaglyph technique where you divide one image in red and blue versions to let people view through colored lenses followed and already in 1889 could people view a motion picture (by Friese-Green) in 3D anaglyph.

The technique was fascinating then and it is still as fascinating today.

There are different kinds of 3D glasses. The "old-fashioned" Red/Cyan anaglyph type works well on TV and computer screens without any other equipment (of course the movie you're watching need to be a 3D anaglyph). Sometimes movies in this format are aired on TV (you may have watched the "Creature from the Black Lagoon" in 3D sometime). The video example here, Floating Spheres, is an anaglyphic video.

To watch in 3D is also a fun way to appreciate some of how the visual system works. Two slightly different images, one from each eye, are being sent to the back of the brain where the visual cortex are combining those signals to an understandable whole picture. This is the normal case in everyday life when using two eyes in our three dimensional world. Since the eyes are not placed at the same point in our faces, there will always be two slightly different images of objects in our surroundings. That will help the brain calculate placements of objects at different distances and build a depth perception of their form. When viewing flat images as movies and photography the depth dimension is lost. In 3D movies, one tries to mimic the stereo vision, using two cameras placed a bit apart, or as in animations, by exporting two slightly different version of the movie (different images for each frame). In the anaglyphic video, each eye see different images due to the colour filtering, and the brain is being tricked, or you could say, doing its best to interpret the images in a way that makes sense. And it's great fun!

To watch the video:

Use simple 3D anaglyph (old fashion Red/Cyan) glasses. You can make 3D glasses of this kind yourself or buy them in some toy-store. For example, Lego had these kind of glasses (following one of their sets) for viewing some 3D video on their site. The glasses are pretty easy to make so you could also make them yourself at home. What you need is one red coloured cellophane filter for the left eye and one cyan (blue/greenish) coloured cellophane filter for the right eye, then you're good to go. (There are even some sites that show how you can colour them yourself if you don't have the coloured cellophane, don't know how good that works, though.)

You can order a 3D stereo vision animation at

See the spheres floating in the room in front of your nose in true 3D Stereo Vision in video below!

In Astronaut Journey, a Kinect game from Mixxus Studio, you also have the option to play in 3D anaglyph mode. See video below.

Example of flying in 3D anaglyph mode in Kinect game Astronaut Journey. You need 3D anaglyph glasses to view the effect.

Screenshots of 3D anaglyph mode in Kinect game Astronaut Journey down below.