UbU:Easy Stand Box for Taking 3D Photos

Introduction: UbU:Easy Stand Box for Taking 3D Photos

About: Just an ordinary man, with an ordinary life.

        Hello to you all. This is my first instructable ever. I'll try to make it clear but please be gentle with me if I do any mistakes. I'm romanian and English is not my native language.
        This instructable is, as titled, for a stand for 3D photography. I'm in love with the art of photography and recently 3D photography.    Usually I use my FujiFilm FinePix Real 3D W1 camera to take my 3D photos, but as I can't experiment anything on it - it's a little expensive device (now you can find it around 250 euros), I took my simple Point and Shoot camera, another FinePix A800 to experiment with it.
        First problem that I've encountered was the stability needed to take the left and right pictures to match perfectly in all - distance (horizontal and vertical), same settings on both pictures (no blurry images caused by movement, with flash in one pic and nothing in other)... So I needed a stand that allows me less interaction with the camera.
Here's what I've made. Your situation and available materials may vary.
        PS: UbU - Ugly but Useful

Step 1: Materials and Measures

        What I need: a box with some sort of "tongue" to slide left and right on which I must mount my camera.
        So here's the list of materials - with variations to apply to your conditions:
- 1 box to use - I used a profile that I had available. You should use a wooden box or a small food container, anything that is rigid (even after you cut it through) that is - paradox here, small enough not to disturb but big enough to allow all necessary space and movement.
- something to cut this box, to make two openings (slots), one above and another one on side
- one screw - I didn't had the right one so I used an ordinary screw.  WARNING: it's highly recommanded to you the proper screw or at least a plastic screw because a metallic screw may and will ruin the original screwing hole on your camera (the hole where the camere is screwed onto the tripod).
- a small sheet of plastic glass or wood board - to make the sliding tongue and the spacer.
- any necessary tools to get the job done, this includes 3D red/cyan or whatever you have-glasses.
- the box: you need one wide enough to stand to your camera: if your camera has a width of 1 inch you must have a box of 2 inches wide. My camera has the followind dimensions: 97.5 x 61.9 x 31 mm so I needed something that is at least 97.5+ (1/2 * 97.5) by 61.9 (it doesn't change because this is the height of the camera) by 31+(1/2*31)
- the sliding tongue: it must fit in the box - enough to slide but not to "dance" inside the box - see picture. On this piece you must to also the handle to slide the tongue left or right.
- the spacer: I've done it just as wide as the camera is.
- the screw: must be long enough to pass through the sliding tongue, the lid, the spacer, 5 mm to screw into the camera plus 2 extra mm to let a little bit loose all the thing. Measure the thickness of each component in order to get the total length. My measures are: plastic tongue 3 mm, lid (my profile) 1.3 mm, plastic spacer 3 mm, plus 5 mm to screw into the camera, plus un mm of space between the plastic tongue and the lid and between lid and the spacer (you must NOT screw very tightly the components otherwise won't slide easily). So we have a total of 14.3 mm long screw. Standard 15 mm.

Step 2: Process of Making

        On the box, on the top side, you must cut in a central position a slot long about 7 cm (aprox. 3 inches) and wide just to fit in the screw. Why 7 cm? Because it's good enough to position on the left side for the first picture and on the other side for the right picture without being forced to a limited movement for both short or long distance of the subject; because the distance between the center of the eyes is about 6.5 cm; because the distance between the two lenses on FinePix Real 3D W1 is within 7 cm.
        On the side of the box you must do another slot, aligned and centered with the top slot, but just a little bit longer because when you'll go all left or right you must find yourself with the screw to the end of the upper slot - see picture.
        Finally smooth out the slots of any residual due to cutting the slots.
        Now to the sliding tongue: the width of the tongue must be of exact width as the box. The length: long enough to give a precise sliding but not to be blocked by the box's walls.
        Insert the sliding tongue in the slot on the side of the box. Take it all left or all right and make a sign with a marker on the tongue when it reached one on the slot's ends. This sign will be where the screw will get in.
        Now take the spacer and somewhere in the middle of it make a hole. This will be for the screw to pass on.
        This should complete the making of...

Step 3: Putting All Together

        With the tongue inserted in the box's side slot, pass the screw through the tongue. The screw should come out through the top slot.Over the top slot put on the spacer, screw the camera on the spacer (NOT tight because won't slide easily) and you're ready for taking pictures.

Step 4: How to Use

NOTICE: try to interact as little as possible with the camera. Touching it while you trigger the button can alter the settings, that probably won't match with the settings for the second picture, therefor you'll get yourself with a ruined picture. You might want to use a remote control if your camera has it or to use timed triggering. I set it to trigger after 2 seconds that I pushed the button.
        Now take the slider to the left. Take the first picture. Then take it to the right - the distance between these two positions depends on how far is the subject or how big (wide) is. More distant it is, more to the right you must position for second picture. When you had in in the desired position for the second shot, slightly spin the camera - ONLY THE CAMERA, a little to the left. This must be made in order to avoid ghosting the final picture and to preserve the convergence that gives the sensation of 3d depth. Now take the second shot.
        Now download the images in the computer, open up GIMP (or another photo editing software) and let's start working with the photos.

Step 5: Processing the Images

        As you probably know you can have colored 3D anaglyph pictures or BW 3D anaglyph pictures. I'll take it one of a time.
Black and white pictures.
        Open the left image (the first you took). Go to Image menu, click on Mode sub-menu and choose Grayscale. Don't close or save the picture yet.
        Open now the right image and do the same things as for the left image. Don't close or save the picture yet.
        Rest on this picture (the right one). From the same menu Image, go to Mode again and choose RGB option. The image will stay grayscaled - do not panic. On the right side of the working space you should have the Layers, Channels, Paths window - here you click on the Channelstab (should be the one with a little red/green/blue sheets icon). You will see all the 3 channels active (Red, Green, Blue). Deactivate the Green and Blue channels in order to remain active only the Red channel. WARNING: DO NOT CLICK ON THE LITTLE EYE THAT YOU SEE IN FRONT OF THE GREEN AND BLUE WORDS because won't deactive the channels but will bring in front.
        Return to the left photo, select the entire photo (the usual CTRL+A), copy it (CTRL+C) and pasted over the right picture.
        Now you should have already the red/cyan picture. Now it's time to align these two pictures. From the Tools menu, click on the Transformation Tools then choose Move (or you can press directly the M letter on your keyboard). With the help of the arrow keys on your keyboard move the photos in such manner to have minimal halos (red o cyan) and to overlap with approximation as many as possible subjects (or objects) in the photos. Remember that you pasted the left image over the right one, so you should move to the right. An advise: when you move the pictures use your red/cyan glasses in order to see instantly when you reached the desired depth of field.
        Note that you have on the left side some residual picture from the right image. We must crop the picture to the part that we are interested in. To do this go to Tools menu, choose Transform tools, and from here choose Crop (or simply press Shift+C). On the picture start cropping with your mouse from the upper left corner (near the dotted line that determines the square of the picture we've moved) to the right down corner (where the final photo, already transformed and clear, ends). Then hit Enter and you'll see that we end up with the final 3D picture.
       Save the picture with a name that you like and with the extension that you like. If you'll save it as JPEG, don't panic if the program tells you that it must first export the picture for some sort of problem of transparency: "JPEG plug-in can't handle transparency". Click Export, in next dialogue window choose quality at 100% and then click Save.
For the colored 3D pictures
         Things are easier here. Open up the left and right image. The left one remains as it is. On the right one go to the Layers, Channels, Paths window and deactivate the green and blue channels, leaving active only the red one.
         Return to the left image, select it all and copy it. Then paste it over the right one, and follow the steps for moving (aligning) the photo and for the cropping procedures. Then follow the steps to wrap it up.
       When you exit GIMP pay attention if you want to save your original photos with the modifications that you've made or leave them in their original state.
       To get better pictures you must practice and learn by the hard way.
        I put here two samples that I've made using this device. In the picture with the mouse you can see clearly an error that I've made: I didn't gave that little spin to the left, leaving the second shot parallel with the first one. But still, the 3D effect is there, with some ghost images.
        I'm sure that you'll find better solutions to my project, it's just a proof of concept and functionality. If you make it better, or have suggestions, please feel free to post it here.
        If you need some help or you have any problem with this project please feel free to contact me. I speak English, Italian, Romanian and - with some difficulties, French language also.

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    6 years ago

    Hiya - don't know if this will be of interest but I have put up a Facebook page call INSTRUCTABLES PROJECT CHAT - thought it might be really nice folks to drop in and throw ideas around, I know there are forums n things on here but I thought something like a "drop in chat" might be cool too.
    Talk projects.
    New ideas.
    Help with project issues.
    Chew the fat

    Adrian N.
    Adrian N.

    Reply 6 years ago

    Thanks! I love the idea! Will join soon. Have a nice week!


    Reply 6 years ago

    Hi - the page is no longer there but I would still enjoy hearing about your projects etc - I am on Facebook, just type Hobby builder and look for the lightbulbs


    6 years ago

    Hi, I thought so too but after the page was up for a few days and after asking a couple of folks if they might like the idea my comments button on here stopped working, rather than annoy the Instructables team the page has been removed - would still be very interested to hear about projects your working on and things that excit you at the moment.