Cheap 3D




This is a quick-and-dirty way to make a 3D image. It creates the sort of 3D image where you stare past the screen and relax your eyes until the two images merge.

- a digital camera
- a large mirror, preferably without a frame
- a decent photo editing app

Step 1: Set Up the Shot

In my case, there was only one place I could do the shot. My bathroom has a large, frameless mirror mounted on the wall. Not exactly portable.

The ideal mirror would be a front-surface mirror, preferably not bolted to a wall.

Step 2: Take the Picture

The idea here is to set up the camera beside the mirror, as close as possible to it, and shoot down its length. What you'll get is an image of the objects in front of the camera, plus their reflections in the mirror.

Try to get the edge of the mirror vertical in the shot. If you don't, you'll need to fix it in editing.

In this case, the mirror is on the right-hand side of the camera. Everything on the right side of the image is a reflection. I'm the scruffy guy standing in the doorway.

Step 3: Edit the Image

If the edge of the mirror didn't come out vertical, now's the time to fix it by rotating the image.

Flip the reflected side of the image so that you end up with a reflection of the reflection.

Crop out any extraneous bits, like the edge of the mirror.

Scale the image down so that it's about 5" wide on the screen. Something around 400 pixels is probably a good size.

That's about it. Chances are the reflected side of the image is a bit blurry and maybe a little distorted but it won't make that much difference.



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    8 Discussions


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Nice Instructable! I was about to post my 1st Instructable but thought to check “3D” photography first and saw this tread. I used a technique that requires no mirror and no post processing ( well maybe a little cropping) I have attach two pictures of Big Bird. The 2nd picture was taken after moving the camera sideways the “standard” eye to eye distance of ~ 2.25” from the the 1st camera position for the 1st picture. This has the advantage of taking the actual object images so any lack of symmetry is not an issue. To prepare people to view these things I usually tell them to focus on an object on the wall 5-6 feet away then raise both hands with both index fingers pointing toward each other touching tip to tip. The hands should be about 1.5 feet away from your face and directly in line with the object being viewed on the wall. While still focusing on the wall object you should see a “hot dog” made up of the tips of both fingers. Now practice focusing on your fingers and then closer to your face looking cross eyed. Practice getting the feel for this then do the same when looking at the two pictures until they merge and form 3 images with the center one the image of interest.

    1 reply

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Humm couldn't preview or edit my 1st comment or load a picture for my icon or the 2 pictures of big bird...sorry. Maybe a link might work?


    11 years ago on Introduction

    That's... so ingenious. As soon as I saw you were shooting alongside a mirror my brain did the geometry and saw where you were going. You could do this by holding a small ("hangbag-sized"?) mirror alongside your camera lens, couldn't you? As soon as I get home I'm trying this out- this could be an easier stereogram camera attachment than the traditional ones that use prisms or several mirrors. +

    2 replies

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    I added an image made using the mirror in the downstairs hall. It's about 18" across. Came out OK.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    After playing with it a bit, I think you could probably use a mirror that's, say 12"x12". You might be able to get away with smaller if you angle the mirror a bit. Not sure how that would affect the resulting image, though.

    Slick! Now I can make my own Viewmaster discs. (If I make a time machine, go back 30 years, and find my old Viewmaster...)