DIY stereoscopy beats those MagicEye books hands down. Rather than looking at a rainbow of colors/shapes only to discern a dinosaur or beach ball, compose a 3D image of something you find interesting.
Step 1: Gather Supplies
a. light box(tent)*
b. camera (USB cable optional)
c. tripod (optional)
d. object to be photographed (CPU in this case)
e. angle tool (a.k.a. a paperclip)
f. pair of pliers
- My crude light box(tent) was made by losely following this instructable:
- I didn't spend that much time on my light box(tent) because I would be photographing a small object using a shallow depth of field.
Step 2: Prepare the Angle Tool (bend a Paper Clip)
The angle tool is very important.
Bend the paper clip to form a stand that works for your object. I wanted the CPU to be barley propped-up so the stand is rather flat.
After you have formed the stand, grab the pliers and bend a hook. The hook, in this case, wrapped around the CPU so it wouldn't fall off the stand. Had I flipped the CPU over then this probably wouldn't have been necessary - the pins would have grabbed the paper and prevented the CPU from sliding down.
Step 3: Compose the Picture
Arrange the object in the light box(tent) to your liking. This proved to be a little tricky as the paper clip would slide down the paper before I could put the CPU on it.
Step 4: Take the Pictures
To achieve the 3D effect, two pictures must be taken.
- one aligned slightly to the right
- one aligned slightly to the left
Depending on how close you are to the object, you may only need to move the camera a couple inches between shots. The farther your camera is from the object the less horizontal distance you should move the camera between shots.
When you take the pictures at different angles you capture different shadows. Later when viewing the pictures, your brain combines the shadows in both pictures and creates the 3D effect.
That being said, shadows are important. As you noticed in Step 3, one of the pictures shows the CPU standing straight-up. At the time this seemed like an ideal position; however, it didn't produce enough shadows so the object looked flat.
The light box(tent) removes shadows, so macro shooting can be difficult. But, without the light box(tent) any direct light will caused detail to be lost. You may be thinking, "Why not use indirect light?" Simple answer, it was too dark.
Experiment with different angles and depths of field. The angle I used for the final image was discovered just by playing around - rotating the CPU in my hand while looking for interesting angles. The lighting can be adjusted to achieve different results as well. If you aren't producing enough shadows then maybe you should diffuse some of the light or use less light.
Step 5: Import, Arrange & View the Pictures
1. Upload the pictures to your PC via your standard method
2. Open your favorite image editing program that has a cropping tool and the ability to combine pictures
3. Add each picture to a larger picture taking care to ensure the right aligned picture is placed on the right*
4. Save and/or Print the larger picture
To view in 3D:
1. Cross your eyes while looking at the picture
2. Focus on the image that appears in the middle
If you cannot see the image or are having trouble focusing then you may be too close or too far away from the image. While looking at the image on your monitor try being ~12" away (printed image ~18" away).
And there you have it, your own 3D image that's a bit more interesting than a MagicEye. Make sure to comment your thoughts and suggestions. This is my first instructable so hopefully it passes muster.
- If you transpose the pictures the 3D effect may still be achieved; however, it may not be as crisp and it could be more difficult to initially see the image in the middle.