3D Photography Made Easy

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Table of Contents

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What Readers Say

To Begin

Some Things You Will Need

Taking Your First 3D

Processing the 3D Image

Viewing Stereograms

Setting the Stereo Window

How to Use the Glossary

About the Author

Get Your Free Book

Available in Print

Connect With Me

3D Photography Glossary


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3D Photography Made Easy

Michael Beech

Copyright 2015 Michael Beech

Rev. 9/1/2015

Published by Michael Beech at Smashwords

This ebook may be copied, distributed, reposted, reprinted and shared, provided it appears in its entirety without alteration, and the reader is not charged to access it. The images and text remain the copyrighted property of the author and may not be reproduced or distributed in any manner outside of this document in its entirety.

Get a FREE ebook

The second book in this series is yours Free at my website


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To Begin

3D Photography Made Easy


Michael Beech

Do you want to make 3D still photographs using your phone, tablet, digital, or film camera?

Do you want to learn, right now, how to make stunning 3D pictures quickly and effortlessly? If so, 3D Photography Made Easy was written with you in mind.

Maybe you have done some 3D photography, but have questions. Then you need to read this.

Are you having trouble making your 3D’s exciting and easy to view? Solving that problem is the entire purpose of this book.

Whether you are just beginning, or you know a bit about 3D and just need help, the answers you are seeking will be found here (no droids, though). Additional aid will be found in the incredible 3D Photography Glossary at the end.

3D images can be exciting and interesting to make and view. But there are pitfalls. As you may have experienced, poorly made 3Ds can be very uncomfortable—even unpleasant—to view. If you wish to make 3D images that are exciting and pleasant to view, there are certain simple, time tested tricks you can quickly learn to vastly improve your images. If you want to make 3D’s that will make your friends say, “Wow!” and “How did you do that?” you will find the answers here.

As in any discipline, it is important to develop good 3D habits and avoid bad ones. I’ll get you started fast, but I don’t skip steps. So, we’ll start together at the very beginning and proceed to the end, covering every step, including the why’s as well as the how’s. This ensures that you will have a sound foundation upon which to build your skills. Once you learn the basics, I will show you how you can find information to quickly refine your technique and make 3D stereo images of the highest quality.

If you already have 3D experience, I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the wealth of tips, new techniques and creative ideas that you will find here to carry you to new heights of productivity and quality.

So, Grasshopper, come with me to first learn the essentials that every 3D photographer should know for a solid start in creating good 3D images. Then, in no time at all, you’ll be making magnificent, high quality stereos.

A bit about me; I have an extensive background in photography and 16 years in 3D photography. During that time I have written dozens of manuals, including 5 books on how to make outstanding, contest winning 3D images. Hundreds of photographers have studied my methods. I have coached hundreds more in online forums. I  truly believe you will be thrilled with what you learn from my books. Teaching photography, particularly 3D photography, is a passion for me and I have devoted countless hours to working with those who wish to learn the subject.

Because of this, I know the exact steps required to get you up to speed fast. The information here is presented in a cut-to-the-chase, no bull, right-to-the-point manner . . . described clearly, concisely and without any formulas or obscure diagrams. Techno-speak is not spoken here.


Just to be clear, you will be using a computer to “convert” the pictures you take into 3D images that you and your friends can enjoy. The software is free and simple to operate, but it is a necessary part of the process. If that is something you just can’t abide, then thank you for reading this far. But if you’ll trust me, read on and I think you will see that it ain’t that bad.


I have no connection with or any interest in the software I recommend, either personal or financial. They are simply tools that I use and trust.

This tutorial is designed to establish sound stereography skills without wandering off into the details and complexity of advanced stereography. Later, if you want to do more complex 3D’s, such as video movies, the same techniques you learn here will apply. The aim, first, is to give you sound principles upon which you can rely with absolute confidence as you build your skills.

Don’t be misled by the title of this book. Yes, the explanations are designed to help the novice get a good, fast start but, once you absorb and utilize the concepts, you will have progressed well toward becoming an advanced stereographer.

While reading, if you stumble over an unfamiliar 3D term, please refer to the appended 3D Photography Glossary (or do an in-book search of the glossary). Then, after you read this book, be sure to continue on to read the entire glossary. It is virtually an instruction manual for stereo photography all by itself. But, please wait to read it until after you have read this manual.

Plus, I have another book, more advanced, that I think is so important for you to read, I intend to give it to you for free. As a bonus, you will have access to many tips, secrets, and more on my website.

Here’s to you spotting, photographing, and assembling some great stereos.

Best wishes for your success,

Mike Beech

What Readers Say

“Thank you very much for this tutorial. While I “knew” some of it, your procedure makes thing[s] a whole lot clearer, ordered, and will probably end up making my alignments a lot better and “pain” free.”

Chuck Isdale

“Dear Mike,

You are offering new stereographers a wonderful helping hand. I have just read your first chapter and it is a clear explanation.”

Peter Blyth


I recently joined the group, but I have been dabbling in 3D photography for some time now as I have the time. I want to thank you for your excellent tutorials on alignment using SPM . . . Your tutorial makes it possible to harness the wonderful tools it provides . . . I am anxious to learn more and you are an excellent teacher. I feel now that I can make my images do exactly what I want. Thanks again for this excellent tutorial.”

Dale Smith

“Hi Mike,

I’m back. I found your Digital 3D Stereo Guide so well written and so informative I had to come back for more.”

Best regards,


Some Things You Will Need

In order to make 3D photographs and prepare them for viewing, you need very little beyond a simple camera (or a tablet or phone with a built-in camera). You will need some computer software (the one you should use is free) to align your stereo photos digitally. There are two types of such software:

—Dedicated 3D alignment computer software (Free)

—General purpose photo editing software (some are Free)

Dedicated 3D Software

Dedicated software is specifically made and used to turn your photos into 3D’s. You load your photos into it and follow some fairly simple steps (yeah, I know, when did that ever happen? But, it does pretty well.) and great looking 3D’s are the product. From the following programs, choose the one that suits you and download it onto your computer.

For the PC: The most popular of these, StereoPhoto Maker, is the software that will be used for all the examples and explanations here. It is a free-ware that is only made to run on the PC, Windows platform. It will (may) work on Macs with a Windows emulator. StereoPhoto Maker (SPM) is widely and easily available, free on the internet and simple to use. This legendary, powerful and easy to use software is used throughout the stereo (3D) community. If you are a PC, you should download it now. It comes with a user manual:


For the Mac: An equally popular and capable program is AnaBuilder, also free, complete with user instructions:


For the Mac: Anaglyph Maker, is also free and can be found here, manual included:


Any one of those free programs are all the software you will need.

Please Note

This is not an instruction manual for the operation of any digital device or computer software mentioned here. They are too diverse to even consider providing device-specific instructions here.

General purpose image editing software

For future reference (we won’t be discussing them here), any reasonably full featured photo editing software, such as Adobe Photoshop Elements, any of the pro versions (Adobe Photoshop 6, 7, 8, CS, CS2 through CS6, and currently CC), Corel Paint Shop Pro, Gimp (a freeware), and others can be used to accomplish the steps described here. I personally like and use Adobe Photoshop CS3 version to do most of my 3D editing and strongly recommend it, particularly for Mac users. The monthly fee version, CC, with cloud access, is an inexpensive way to start using Photoshop.

But, for now, please just use one of the recommended, free, dedicated 3D programs, since the procedures to create 3D’s in Photoshop or similar photo editing software are not explained here . . . being way beyond the scope of this tutorial. How to use the Photoshop photo editing software to make 3D’s is covered in detail in my Digital 3D Stereo Guide, available in print or PDF format online. Once you have mastered the basics presented here, then you might consider using a general purpose image editor. However, once you give them a try, I think you will be surprised by the awesome capabilities of the recommended free-ware programs.

3D Viewing Glasses

You will need red/cyan glasses to view Anaglyph images. You should get some, regardless of your preferred viewing method. Oddly, the inexpensive paper frame, red/cyan glasses are great—maybe the best—for viewing 3D anaglyphs on a computer monitor. Just make sure the second color is cyan and not blue or green.

Places that you can find glasses and other products are:

— http://www.3dstereo.com

— http://www.Berezin.com

— http://www.enfopress.com

You should buy 2 or 3 pairs for you and your friends (a dollar or so each). Heck, go ahead and buy half-a-dozen, since you are paying shipping anyway. That way you can give them away to friends, as I do.

Consider getting 1 or 2 pairs of glasses to view “parallel” images. These will help you view images of the type you have seen where 2 images are printed side-by-side on old 3D cards (such pairs are used in this book). These plastic glasses are called “lorgnettes” and only cost several dollars each.

That’s all you need and you should be ready to rumble. Let’s hit it.

Taking Your First 3D

To Begin

The first step, photography, controls the success of the finished stereo (3D) pair or image. There are a number of factors to consider when making stereo pairs. All of these factors are covered in depth in later chapters. But let’s cut to the chase and make a 3D photo right now!

Any Camera or Phone/Tablet Camera

You can use any camera. If you have an old film camera, the latest digicam or a camera phone, it makes no difference; you can still make great 3D photos.

In a Nutshell

You must take two photographs.

Find a well lighted subject, preferably outdoors. Stand about 6 to 9 feet (2 to 3 meters) from the subject. A vase of flowers on a porch table would work well for your first 3D.

Do not choose for your subject something that might move (such as a dog). If the subject moves between the time you take the first photo and when you take the second, the 3D will be spoiled. Special 3D cameras exist that take both photos at once, avoiding that problem.

For various reasons, it will be best for your first few photos to be taller than they are wide. That is called the portrait format. You get that when the camera is turned vertically instead of held in the normal horizontal position. So, let’s take your first few photos with the camera (or phone) turned in the portrait position to make photos that are taller than they are wide. Do NOT use flash. If you need more light, work by a window or outside.

Compose and make the first photograph. Then move the camera slightly to the right—about 3 to 6 inches (7 to 14cm)—and take the second photograph. For distant subjects, you might actually step to the side a foot or two. Don’t rotate the camera, just “slide” it to the right as if it were on invisible rails.


Make sure you aim the camera at exactly the same place. You want the two images to look as much alike as possible, just viewed from slightly different points. Don’t tip it up or down any differently than the first shot. Up or down is OK, just don’t change from what you did for the first shot.

That’s it. That’s all it takes. You have taken what is called a 3D (stereo) photo pair. Shortly we’ll take a look at the result and later you will learn techniques that will improve your results.

So, What Happened?

Well, it’s quite simple, actually. You have two eyes, so you had to make two photos . . . one for each eye. That will duplicate what each eye saw. That is why you moved the camera slightly to the right for the second photo. You were trying to make the distance you moved sideways between the two photos similar to, or greater than the distance between your two eyes.

Take Some More Stereos

While you are at it, go ahead and shoot up the rest of that film roll or put some more pictures on your digital flash card. The next step takes a bit of time, so you might as well have several stereos or 3D pairs to play with.

Right View/Left View

Regardless of the order in which the two photos were originally taken or are later arranged and viewed, the one taken at the left is called the left view, image, or chip, and the one taken farther to the right is called the right view, image, or chip.

Obviously, you can take them in either order. After you take the first photo you can move either left or right to take the second. Just keep track of which one is which.


I have a rule to always move the camera to the right for the second photo. That way there is never any doubt as to which photo is the left one (left view) and which photo is the right hand one (right view) in my computer files. They look a lot alike in tiny thumbnails but, by sticking with my rule, I always know that the higher numbered one is the right-hand view.

How Far to Move Sideways

In most cases you should move sideways in proportion to the distance the camera is from the nearest object in the picture. The sideways movement—called the stereo base— should be roughly 1/20 of that near object distance. If your subject is 20 feet (6 meters) away, then move sideways about 1/20 of that, or 1 foot (30 cm).

The distance can vary considerable under certain circumstances. You may prefer 3D’s that are not quite so strong (hyper) and want them to seem “flatter.” Or, you may want them to look deeper (more hyper). Lots of things affect your choice of stereo base. In fact, it is the subject of a whole other book, 3D Photography Stereo Base Made Easy. No, I’m not going to try and sell you the book. Actually, I’m going to give it to you FREE as part of a trick to get you to visit my fascinating website at EnfoPress, where you will find lots of free stuff to help improve your 3D photography. Details later.

Processing the 3D Image

Film Cameras

If you are using a film camera, you need to send the film out for development. I recommend that you ask them to return a CD or a digital file, if available, to you instead of printing the images. Then, you can follow along with us just as if you took the pictures with a digital camera. But, if you decide to get prints, when the film returns do not get the photos out of order. Go through the prints and label them “Left” and “Right” on the back to match the order or camera position in which they were taken. The prints can be made in either 3”x5” or 4”x6” size for easy stereo viewing.

Digital Cameras

You should transfer the images from your digital camera or flash card into a dedicated folder in your computer. This folder might be named something like “1203_3D_Pairs.” The 1203 would stand for the year and month (year first to keep the folders sorted in chronological order).

My preference is to remove the flash card from the camera and put it into a card reader in a USB port or directly into a card slot built into the computer. Some cameras can use a wireless transfer, some can use a cable. Use whatever method is easy for you. I’m a PC, so I use Windows Explorer to copy the images from the card (in the card slot) into the computer. Mac users would use their file manager, likewise. Your editing software will also have a file transfer or import feature that would work. You can use that or any other transfer routine with which you are comfortable.

If you are using your phone to take the pictures, transfer them from your phone to your computer. Generally this can be done by emailing them. There are a lot of different methods of doing this and you need to discover the correct method for your particular phone.

Once the photos are in the computer, you need to open your editing program and load one of the left/right pairs of images. For this tutorial, general steps are shown that you would take using StereoPhoto Maker (SPM) in the PC.

Images are Tilted

When you took the pictures with your camera, no matter how careful you were, you cannot avoid having the camera aimed slightly different; either up or down or tilted to one side. These are called rotation errors or disparity. To make 3D photos easily viewable, these differences have to be fixed. Fortunately for us, there are free computer programs that make this very easy to do. Earlier I suggested one that would work for PC’s and 2 that would work for Mac’s. I use a PC, so I will describe the steps using StereoPhoto Maker in a PC. The procedure is the same, though the precise steps would vary for Anabuilder in the Mac.

Correcting Rotation with SPM

Start your SPM (StereoPhoto Maker) program and perform the following actions using an image pair that you know has alignment and rotation errors. You should have 2 separate JPEG image files; a left chip and a right chip.

In the upper left corner of the SPM screen, select File > Open Left/Right Images. Browse and click first on the left image and then Ctrl-click (Cmd-click for Mac) on the right image. When they load, they will appear on the screen as a side-by-side parallel pair.

Now select Adjust > Easy Adjustment. The anaglyphic alignment screen will appear. Your 2 image files will appear as a Red/Blue (R/C) anaglyph. It looks like garbage, right? Not to worry . . . we want it to look that way. It looks like garbage because both image are on the screen, stacked on top of each other. Think of them as being in semitransparent layers, like sheets of glass. We can slide one of the layers around until it lines up with the other. Let’s do that.

The first thing you should do is expand the SPM window to full screen mode (Maximize button in the upper right) so you can see the most detail.


Do NOT wear anaglyphic (red/cyan) glasses while you work the SPM Easy Adjustment screen at this time. The glasses are not needed for the first steps of the alignment process. They will hide what you need to see and should not be used until the stereo is nearly done!

The Need For Color In the Examples

Alignment of 3D images with SPM is done in anaglyph format which requires red and cyan colors to work. Because of that, the figures in this tutorial are in red/cyan anaglyph presentation. That is just the way it is. I regret that the gray-scale e-readers will not allow some of you to see the 3D effects until you can open this book in your computers. But I have carefully structured the explanations such that you can still visualize what is happening. At any rate, maybe the red will look dark and the cyan will look pale gray so you can see what I am talking about.

Again, the R/C anaglyphs will look awful on black and white e-readers and cannot be viewed in 3D with anaglyph glasses, but will look great on the color ones. Where the colors overlap, they should look black.

You did order several pairs of red/cyan anaglyph glasses, right? You will need them now.

I created a simplified image (next page) to illustrate the following steps. My example is intentionally misaligned to imitate what might be produced by the camera, so it looks extra bad at the moment.

Figure 1—The image as it would appear on the SPM Easy Adjust screen

Step 1: Set the Vertical Position

Once your images are loaded into SPM, find a small, distinct object near the center. This object will be used to align the 2 images. So, as close a possible to the center of one image, look for a small object which is clearly visible in both the red and cyan images. Conveniently, in this first figure, that would be the dot, which I cleverly placed near the center. Yes, it looks like 2 dots, actually—one red and one cyan—because the images aren’t lined up, yet. We are going to use the slide bars at the top edge and at the left edge of the SPM image panel to move the chosen object in red (the red dot in this image) exactly on top of the same object in cyan (or vice versa). The reason you should do this with an object very near to the center of the images is because SPM will later correct any rotation error by turning one layer or the other around the exact center of the image. Use the slide bars, or tap on the arrows at the ends for fine control, and get the dots to align so you can only see one dot.

In this step, if you are having trouble seeing if the two objects you have selected are perfectly superimposed, look in the upper left corner for the box labeled “Indication.” If you click the “Left(Red)” tab, only the Red image will display. Hold a plastic pointer (which won’t scratch your monitor screen) against the monitor beneath your small object. Then click the “Right(blue)” tab. Any vertical offset will be obvious when the image "jumps" and you will be able to use the slide bars to move the images into perfect register. You can also click on the “100% SIZE” tab to enlarge the image. It may not all fit on the screen but you can drag the image into any position with your pointing device. On the next page is a screen shot of the part of the SPM Control Panel you will be using.

Figure 2—The SPM Easy Adjust Controls

Figure 3—The Dots are Aligned

Step 2: Correct the Rotation

After you have the central object in register, look at the far right or far left for some clear, bright, sharp pointed or clean edged object. We just happen to have a couple; a triangle at the left and a square at the right. If there is a rotational error, the object in red will be upper or lower to the object in cyan. Pay no attention to the fact that one might be left or right of the other . . . that is not important and doesn’t hamper what you are doing.

In the functions panel at the left is a box labeled “Link both rotations together.” Make sure that box is NOT check-marked. You want to rotate only one image—it doesn’t matter which one. If you feel one is in better compositional rotation (more level), then rotate the other.

The red (darker on gray-scale screens) image in this example is not as level as the cyan image, so I’ll rotate that one.

There are two slide bars in the Rotation option panel. Grab the one labeled “L” (that is for the “Left” image which is the red one) and slide it back and forth. One image, hopefully the red image, will rotate around its center. For fine tuning, use the buttons with left and right arrows on them. You want the object in red that you have spotted at the left side to be exactly on the same imaginary horizontal line as its cyan counterpart. When that is done, look at the far right of the image and look for upper/lower misalignment. If there is still misalignment, use the VERTICAL SLIDE BAR or arrows to move one color image up or down to remove HALF of the error and then use the ROTATION function again to remove the other half of the error.

Now, back to the left side and check if the object on that side is in up/down alignment. Continue until the object at the left is in perfect up/down alignment and so is the object at the right. With practice and care you can accomplish this alignment process in one try.


By using the up/down arrows and counting clicks, you can remove exactly half the error before you re-rotate, leading to a perfect result every time. To do this, count the clicks needed to remove all the vertical error, back up half as many clicks, and then re-rotate.

After completing this procedure there should no longer be any Vertical Offset or Rotation Error. You can now continue on to learn about correct window placement and how to avoid window violations.

Figure 4—Rotation Error has been Corrected

The rotation error has been corrected, but it still looks strange. But, if those of you with a color screen put on your red/cyan anaglyph glasses, you can view it in 3D.

But wait! I hear a howl of dismay from the gray-scale folks. We want to see, too. No, I[_ _]didn’t forget you, but you’ll have to see it in parallel or cross-view format (or open this book in your computer). That brings us to the next chapter where you’ll learn how to view the parallel (P) and cross-view (X) formats. You can see this image again there in those formats.

Viewing Stereograms

Images can be mounted or displayed for viewing in a number of arrangements. The three arrangements covered here can all be either printed or displayed on computer monitors (or TV’s) and phones for viewing. Those formats are:




StereoPhoto Maker (SPM) can be used to view most data types and display numerous formats and, if the chips are loaded as separate left and right chips, it will allow you to switch back and forth from one format to another. Before we explore the common arrangements and how to view them, let me reassure you that one of the methods will work for you. If you can’t get the parallel or the cross-view to work, then the anaglyph may become your favorite. Here we go.

Parallel & How to View

Parallel is the original and most favored presentation arrangement, but most people can only view these stereographs through a viewer with prisms that help them diverge the lines of sight. These viewers are the antique style viewers, often called Holmes viewers, that hold the 2 images mounted side-by-side on cardboard. Parallel mounted chips should be roughly 2.5 inches (63.3mm) wide each, or smaller, with a gap or septum of approximately 3/32nd inch (2mm) between the images. The entire card is about 7 inches (17cm) wide.

Next, let’s look at our example image presented in parallel 3D format.

Figure 5—Parallel View

Some people can learn to hold their eye’s lines-of-sight parallel and view the two images simultaneously and fuse them into a stereo image. This is called “parallel free-viewing.” One way to learn parallel free-viewing is to hold a stereogram (or your e-reader) at arm length while looking over it at some point near infinity. Then slide the stereogram up into the lines-of-sight. If you can keep the eye’s lines-of-sight parallel while changing your focus to the cards, then parallel stereo viewing will occur.

Another method of parallel free-viewing is to lay the stereogram (or your e-reader) on a table and place a vertical divider, such as a 10 or 12 inch (24 to 30cm) piece of cardboard vertically between the two images. Lean forward and place one eye on each side of the divider. If you can just relax your eyes (pretend you are dead . . . or just dead tired), they will automatically seek to align the images.

For either method it is best to start with small images. If each chip is only about an inch (2.5cm) or so wide, and nearly touching each other, the eyes do not have to work so hard to diverge.

An amazing number of devices are available to aid in the viewing of parallel images. The antique Holmes stereoviewers—like grandmother had—are familiar to everyone. Today devices such as the Pokescope and Screenscope allow you to view larger images, as might be seen on a computer monitor or as large prints, thereby providing vastly increased clarity and detail. For those who can, or were successful learning to view parallel 3D’s, on the next page is the cover image in parallel:

Figure 6—3D Cover image in parallel format. Mission Concepcion, San Antonio, Texas

Cross-View and How to View

Cross-eyed free-viewing or cross-viewing is easier to accomplish for most people than is parallel free-viewing. In this presentation the right chip is placed to the left and the left chip is placed on the right, again with a small gap between. The eyes are then crossed to view the correct chip for each eye. Don’t try to walk or drive while doing this, however. The chips for this presentation can be virtually any size but, practically, should be limited to about 4” by 5” (10cm x 12cm) when learning and maybe twice that size once you get the hang of it.

The next page has our example presented as a cross-view 3D image.

Figure 7—Cross-View

To learn this method, sit at a comfortable distance from the image pair and at a distance where it is fully in focus (wearing your corrective lenses, if necessary). Hold up a pointer, such as a finger or a pencil, between you and the images, but closer to you. Look at the dividing line or gap between the images, not at the pointer. There will seem to be two ghost images of the pointer. Move the pointer either toward or away from you until the two pointer images appear to be centered in the two stereo images, one in each one . . . this is the point where the lines of sight must cross. Now, without moving the pointer, cross the eyes to look at the pointer. Behind the pointer you will see the two images begin to merge or overlap to make a central or third image. If one image seems to be slightly higher than the other, tilt your head the tiniest amount left or right to correct the vertical offset.

The following method is another way to learn to view 3D’s in cross-view.

With an X-stereo pair on your computer screen, sit directly in front of the monitor. Place your index finger right at the junction (septum) of the two pix. Gaze at the tip of your index finger and slowly bring it forward toward a point directly between your eyes. Keep your eyes converged (looking) at your fingertip, but also be aware of and pay attention to the photos in the background. You will see, as your finger moves toward you, each of the photos in the background will split in two (seeming to be four pictures altogether). As you continue slowly moving your finger toward your eyes, the inner two pix will move toward each other, then merge. At that point, don’t uncross your eyes but try to focus your eyes on the merged stereo photo and quickly drop your finger out of the picture. Voila! 3-D . . . the easy way!

While cross-eyed viewers exist, they are expensive and not very effective, having lots of chromatic aberration. If you just can’t free-view the X images, then stick with parallel with a viewer or use anaglyph with the glasses.

To learn more about how to free-view (view 3D’s without glasses) parallel or cross-view, you can visit the Learning Center at my website where I have posted some great exercises you can use:


Of course, if you can free-view, in either parallel or cross-view, you won’t need any visual aids (glasses). Otherwise, spend 5 or 10 bucks and order some now so you can get right on along learning 3D photography. Most of the people who enjoy 3D cannot free-view and they still get a great deal of enjoyment out of making 3d’s and then viewing them with their 3D glasses and viewers. On the next page is the 3D from the cover of this book, converted to cross-view.

Figure 8—3D Cover image in cross-view format. Mission Concepcion, San Antonio, Texas

Anaglyphs and How to View

A third format, called anaglyph, can be printed out or shown on color monitors and phones; but not black and white screens, such as those found in most ebook readers.

Anaglyphs are familiar to most of us from the red and blue 3D comics that we looked at as children using the red/blue or red/green paper glasses. Today, that format has found a new home on the computer monitor. Hugely popular, anaglyphs are showing up everywhere. The glasses used today no longer red/blue or red/green, but are red/cyan; cyan being a color halfway between blue and green.

The red/cyan (R/C) glasses are a perfect match for the native colors of the computer monitor. Even color photo 3D’s can be displayed with good success. For ease of viewing, this method is right up there with all the others. One advantage of anaglyphs is that very large images can be viewed with ease.

All you need to view them are the red/cyan glasses that I suggested you ordered earlier.

Now, let’s get back to how to align 3D images. That’s right, we’re not done and there are some neat tricks you need to know.

Figure 9—3D Cover image in anaglyph format. Mission Concepcion, San Antonio, Texas

Setting the Stereo Window

The concepts discussed in this chapter will always apply regardless of the software you are using, even though the specifics are provided for SPM.

In the chapter on processing, we eliminated Vertical Offset and Rotation error from the stereo pair. To begin the next step, the images should be still onscreen in SPM (StereoPhoto Maker) in the Easy Adjust screen.

Ha! Caught you peeking. I know you cheated and looked at your image through your anaglyphic glasses and found a stereo image of some kind, but it’s not completely aligned yet. So, put away the glasses, and . . .

Do NOT work the SPM Easy Adjustment screen yet while wearing anaglyphic glasses. They are not needed and should not be used at this time!

Knowing the principles required to place every part of the image entirely behind the plane of the window gives you the basis for setting all other types of stereo windows. Once the techniques to do this are understood, then you can progress to wilder arrangements with confidence.

Near Point Object

So, to put the entire image behind the plane of the window, you must first identify the “Near Point” object. Understanding the concept of the Near Point object and being able to find it in a scene (even before the photos are taken) are concepts central to creating excellent stereograms.

The Near Point object is simply the one single object, in either image or both images, which was closest to the viewpoint (camera) when the image was created.

The Near Point object was mentioned earlier regarding how to determine the correct stereo base for your stereo. This is the same object. But don’t make the mistake of thinking it is the same as the subject of your 3D . . . in fact, it rarely is.

While the subject might be a dog or a child, the Near Point object is most likely the ground or something lying on the ground at the very bottom edge of the picture. But it could be a bush off to one side, the branch of a tree at the top of the frame, or even a bird or ball in the air. Once this object is identified, it can then be made to appear to be beyond the plane of the window and all the rest of the image will follow along.

For an object to appear to be behind the plane of the window, the object must be farther to the right in the right eye chip than it is in the left eye chip.

That is all there is to it. Think of this as the “3 R’s rule:”

—Move the RIGHT image RIGHTWARD in the window to make the image RECEDE.

The converse, left chip farther left, is equivalent, but that is harder to remember because that would be a 2 L’s and an R rule. The way to move the right image to the right is to simply trim or cut off the Right hand side of the Right image until the near point object is closer to the Right edge of that chip than it is in the other chip. Trimming the edge off of one image does, however, leave a new problem . . . a chip size mismatch, but we’ll correct that later. Here is how to do the move using SPM.

Putting the Image Behind the Window Plane

To put the Near Point object EXACTLY at the window plane, the red and the cyan Near Point object images have to be in perfect register, one on top of the other.

Did you get that? Here it is phrased another way; Objects which are exactly the same distance from the right edge in both chips will appear to be exactly at the plane of the stereo window.

To do that in SPM, use the Horizontal Position slide-bar—the one along the top of the SPM image viewing panel—or click on its right or left arrows for fine adjustment, and move either color image until the Near Point object is lined up in both images, one on top of the other.

I’m guessing that you already suspect that the Near Point object in our example is the words “NEAR POINT.” For the next example, I have adjusted them until the red and cyan images are exactly in register.

Figure 10—Anaglyph View, Near Point Set at the Window

Now you can look with the glasses. You can whip out your anaglyphic glasses, view the image stereographically, and confirm that the words “NEAR POINT” appear to be at the plane of the stereo window. Consequently every other part of the image will seem to lie beyond the window plane.


The RED lens goes over your LEFT eye. (Sailors, to help them remember, have a saying that goes, “A port wine is red, port and left both have the same number of letters, so port is to the left . . . and red.” Whatever.)


The aligned anaglyph may still be less than perfect because it hasn’t been cropped yet.

From this point, any additional clicks in the same direction will move the Near Point Object (and the entire image) farther and farther behind the plane of the window. So, give it a few extra clicks just to be safe. You can watch this while wearing the red/cyan glasses as you work.

On the next page are the P and X versions for the black and white e-readers.

Figure 11—Parallel View, Near Point Set at the Window

Figure 12—Cross-View, Near Point Set at the Window

Setback Aesthetics

Most stereographers get a lot of fun out of causing images to be in-your-face or to project through the window the way the words “NEAR POINT” did in our example before we moved them back. That’s fine, it is great fun and most people love it. I love it, too, when it is done right, and I discuss the subject in depth in other manuals. But consider this—most normal images just naturally need room to breathe . . . and the person viewing needs room to breathe. This breathing room is called “Setback.” More often than not it is better to keep pushing the image deeper and deeper behind the window until you recapture the essence of what it was that drew you to photograph the scene in the first place. That is how you give the image the same feel you had from where you took the picture. In fact, that is the only way that most stereograms become truly easy to view. Use subtlety, not an axe between the eyes, to get your point across. However, pushing the image back behind the window plane beyond a certain point, makes the image harder to fuse. It can also cause something called ghosting, but that is a story for another time.

In SPM’s Easy Adjust function, you can put your glasses on and watch as you push the image deeper behind the window (by clicking on the Horizontal Slide Bar arrow). At some point, when you achieve just the right amount of setback you will say, “Voila! That’s how it felt when I took the picture.”

Or, if you just want to have fun, click the other way and make the Near Point pop way out in front of the monitor screen.

Window Violations

Pushing the image back behind the window helps to avoid another glaring, eye and mind warping condition called a “window violation” (WV). This happens if some object appears to be closer than the window frame, but is cut by the frame. Then the mind has to deal with a paradox. How, for example, can half of a head be on this side of the window? If the head of someone appears to be sliced in twain by the razor edge of the window frame, it is not a good thing. In regular photos, we don’t care. But, in a 3D, we can clearly see that the person is closer than the window frame and suddenly there is extreme anxiety, confusion, and your eyes roll around in your head seeking relief. If you have one of these in a 3D pair, just push the image back until the butchered object is on the other side of the window frame.

Identical Image Dimensions

Your stereo is now in alignment (but still not finished). Click on the OK button in the lower left corner of the screen. This returns you to the main screen where you can see your parallel stereogram. But it may not yet be correctly cropped. The edges might be at odd angles and the bottom of one image might be much higher than the other. SPM does do some cropping, but it is best to do your own. Anyway, there may be some things around the edges you don’t want in the final 3D.This brings us to the next rule.

Identical Widths

—Both images (chips) should be of IDENTICAL widths and heights.

Simple, but not obvious. If you were actually trimming a paper photograph, setting the stereo window by trimming the right edge of the right chip would leave you with images mismatched in width. I hope it is obvious that you cannot trim off the right side of the other image to restore your two images to equal width. You already trimmed the right side of one image to place your near point behind the plane of the window—to trim the right side of the other image would negate your effort. So, you must trim the LEFT side of the other image to make the two images exactly the same width. In fact, you will probably have to crop all around to fix the tilted borders that remained after you rotated one image to cure the rotation error. SPM will take care of all that, automatically.

SPM does not actually trim the edges as you work, but rather leaves the images overhanging along the edges. SPM may try to help you by trimming off parts of these overhanging areas for you, but don’t trust it to do the trimming exactly as you want it to be in the final stereogram. Here is your chance to salvage at least some of your composition.

Cropping the Image in SPM

SPM has a wonderful cropping tool to help you crop both images at the same time and to identical sizes. Don’t omit this step, even though the images might look identical in size.

Click the crop button or select the Edit > Free Cropping function. Place the starting crosshairs in any corner of either chip—another crosshair will appear in the other chip. Drag to the opposite corner while looking at all edges of both chips to make ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that the crop lines are inside ALL the edges of BOTH images. Once you have the crop lines just like you want, double click to commit the crop.

Now you can view your most excellently aligned stereogram in parallel or convert it to any other format. Please save your work.

Saving Your Image File

Click on File and then choose Save Stereo Image.

Congratulations. You have just accomplished what most stereographers never do . . . you have created a well aligned stereogram with proper setback—and now you can do it every time without fail.

How to Use The Glossary

“3D stereo speak” can seem a whole new language and it is . . . it’s a technical language used to describe the strange world of artificial 3D. That’s right, artificial 3D. Unless you have vision problems you see the real world in real 3D. On the other hand, the 3D you see on movie screens, 3D TVs, 3D monitors and printed surfaces is artificial 3D. Over time you will come to recognize the many ways that they differ. For example, an artificial 3D image often requires you to look at something seemingly quite close, while focusing your eyes far away, or vice-versa. As you can imagine, that is difficult and can be a strain, inducing headaches and even nausea. Some people can’t do it at all, making 3D not their cup of tea.

In 3D parlance, “3D” and “Stereo” mean the same. I often use them together, redundantly and intentionally, just for those who are only familiar with the word “stereo” used in an audio reference. Properly, they should each stand alone, as in, “That is a stereo picture.” or, “that is a 3D picture.”

The glossary definitions are carefully phrased in easily understood lay language and analogies have been given wherever it seemed appropriate. However, as you read through this glossary for the first time, you may encounter ideas, terms or words that seem strange or mysterious. When you do, please be patient and not freak out. This glossary is intended to be just a reference, not a tutorial. So, look through it once, try to absorb what you can and just keep it handy until needed. Then, when you encounter a word or concept in some other context, you can say, “Oh yeah, I think that word was in that glossary thing.”

About links

There are no internal links in this document (except for the Table of Contents). Rather than disrupt flow by the inclusion of a multitude of links that, if accidentally touched, might suddenly fling you off to another place in the book, I have left it up to you to simply search for a term (search within the book mode) if you feel the compulsion. That worked much better in testing.

This glossary is constantly evolving. If you find anything that should be corrected or clarified, or you have some definitions you think should be added, please advise the author by visiting the contact feature at:



Please don’t suggest any words or definitions that might appear only in something like a technical article on stereo optics, because this glossary is intended to be as non-technical as possible for us plain folks. So, techno-speak (mostly) won’t be included among the terms and definitions.

Before You Go to the 3D Photography Glossary

Before you dive into the last chapter, which contains the priceless 3D Photography Glossary, please indulge me a moment while I cover some important information and give you some free stuff. First, I know you are just dying to know more about me. Ok, fine, but I’m gonna tell you anyway in my unabashed, self-authored bio. Plus, there are a few links to some really good free stuff. Most importantly, there’s a picture of my dog.

About the Author

Michael Beech has been helping the 3D community since 2002 by writing and publishing educational manuals. A leader in developing and promoting innovations in digital 3D special effects, he has shared his findings and knowledge about such topics as:

— Simplified stereo base calculation

— Virtual (floating) windows

— Forward windows

— Frameless windows

— Out-of-frame effects

— Techniques to cure window violations

— Legal” and “soft” window violations

— Fatal mistakes when photographing 3D

— Ways to fix errors made when photographing 3D

— 2D to 3D conversion

— Slide-bar designs

— Photoshop stereo alignment techniques

His books have provided “how-to” information that could not, and cannot be found elsewhere. Over the past 12 years, thousands of students of 3D have been helped by his tireless advice in multiple 3D stereo forums online. He has been published in Stereo World (NSA) magazine and Stereoscopy (ISU) magazine and won a first place award in an international 3D photography contest.

Thank you for looking at my 3D Photography Made Easy book. This book could have easily been 10 times as long, but I kept firmly to the intent of giving you the essentials in a concise format. Now that you have good basic knowledge, and if your interest has been piqued, perhaps you will take a step or two more with me.

First, please take advantage of the FREE book offer below. It’s a PDF format ebook, so most of you will have to load it into your computer before transferring it to your ebook reader.

Along the way, I invite you to tour my website and glimpse some of the many wonders of stereo (3D) photography. At least stop there and browse the image galleries . . . I think you will find some rewarding images there that will surprise and inspire you.

Even though you may have received this book discounted or for free, I know that your time is valuable, so I hope you received good value for the time you invested. If you enjoyed this book and found it useful, won’t you please take a moment to leave me a review at your favorite retailer?


Mike Beech


Get Your FREE Copy of:

] [Stereo Base Made Easy_]

(You should use your computer to download this PDF ebook)

The ebook, 3D Photography Stereo Base Made Easy, is the most important next step in learning to make outstanding 3D images. You will quickly learn to recognize situations that can lead to big problems and make your 3D’s hard to view. Then several rules-of-thumb will be provided that will allow you to make instant adjustments that will make your 3D’s fabulous, regardless of the situation. Read all about this fabulous tutorial when you visit my website. Never again be in doubt about the correct stereo base to use in any situation.

Use your computer to visit this link and get your FREE copy. While this PDF ebook will work just fine in your ebook reader (Kindle, NOOK, etc), your ebook reader may not allow you to download a PDF file. In that case, you will have to download it to your computer first and then transfer it to your e-reader. Easy, step-by-step instructions on how to do that are provided when you access your free book at:


~ ~ o ~ ~

Available in Print

by Michael Beech

Find these print books at my website, enfopress.com —

— Digital 3D Stereo Guide

— Mastering 2D to 3D Conversion

— 3D Stereo Magic

— Super Stereo 3D

~ ~ o ~ ~

Available as PDF eBooks

by Michael Beech

Find these ebooks in PDF format at my website, enfopress.com —

— Digital 3D Stereo Guide

— Mastering 2D to 3D Conversion

— 3D Stereo Magic

— Super Stereo 3D

— Beginner’s Guide to 3D Photography

— 3D Photography with Photoshop

— 3D Photograph Assembly with Photoshop Actions

— Mastering the 3D ChaCha

— 3D Photography Stereo Base Made Easy

— 2D to 3D Conversion with SPM

— 3D Photograph Assembly with SPM

— 3D Photography Camera SlideBars

— 3D Photography Made Easy

~ ~ o ~ ~

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3D Photography Glossary

2D to 3D Conversion —

A process where a 3D image is created by modifying a 2D image to create a second view as it would appear from a horizontally offset position. The second view is then paired with the original to create the stereo pair. Some automated processes can create crude 3D pairs, but human intervention—in sometimes considerable amounts—is required to create the best results.

3D (Stereo) —

If you don’t know this one, you shouldn’t be here. Occurring in 3 dimensions. Images, which viewed with binocular vision (in stereopsis) appear to have depth in addition to the height and width present in 2D images. The original term for 3D was stereo. See Stereo.

Accommodation —

The process whereby the eye focuses on an object at a particular distance. Most people just call it focusing.

Amblyopia —

A very common eye problem where the image from one eye is ignored by the brain. Amblyopia is very common in cases of strabismus where the brain learns to ignore the image seen by one eye in order to cope with the double vision. Binocular or stereo vision is lost. See Strabismus and Hypertropia. Persons with amblyopia can view polarized and shutter glass 3D movies (through the regular viewing glasses or devices), but they generally will not perceive the 3D effect because they will only be able to see one of the two images. They should not attempt to view anaglyph movies.

Anachrome —

A custom type of viewing glasses for the red/cyan type of anaglyph stereo. The red lens has a small diopter correction to improve the focus for the red color. While the red image is thus rendered much sharper, the filters may not cancel colors as well as the paper red/cyan glasses, resulting in more noticeable ghosting.

Anaglyph —

A stereoscopic display where both the left and right images are printed or projected on top of each other using complementary colors – usually red and cyan (a blue-green color) – to separate and select the left and right eye images. Typically, a red filter prevents the left eye from seeing the right eye image (rendered in red) and a blue-green (cyan) filter prevents the right eye from seeing the left image which is rendered in blue-green (cyan). Comic books were often printed in red/blue and red/green colored anaglyph, Other color combinations can be used. A red object in the subject will cause a rivalry problem because objects which match in color one of the lenses will disappear in one view. See Polychrome anaglyph and colorCode-3D.

Artifacts —

An artificial discrepancy. If a digital stereo image is overly compressed (reduced in size) during preparation, that can cause artifacts. If some things, such as leaves in the breeze, move between the taking of the two stereo images, that would cause artifacts. In stereo pairs this shows up as a “glittery” aspect or appearance. See Compression artifacts.

Auto cha-cha —

A stereo from two sequential photos, taken from a moving platform—such as a car, plane or boat—with the camera lens held perpendicular to the direction of motion. The stereo base is determined by the speed of the platform and the timing between the exposures. It is also, humorously, called a “drive-by-shooting.”

Autostereo —

Stereo images that can be viewed without the aid of devices. Typically these are TV or monitor screens with built in or applied gratings that block the sightlines of the eyes such that alternating columns of pixels are visible to opposite eyes, much the way a lenticular stereo card works. As a result, each eye can only see the pixels that construct the appropriate image for that eye. Positioning in front of the screen is critical, both for distance and the central acceptance angle. See Lenticular view.

Base —

See Stereo base and Separation.

Beamsplitter —

True beamsplitters make use of a 50% first surface mirror angled at 45 degrees. What is often called a beamsplitter for 3D photography is device which, by use of internal optics and mirrors, captures two slightly separated views of a subject and focuses them as two views, side-by-side, on the film plane of a camera. The resulting stereo base is quite narrow. Some devices, which use 4 front surface mirrors and 2 lenses, such as the LIAC ©, while called such, are not true beamsplitters. These are sometimes referred to as beam spreaders. See Beam spreader and LIAC ©.

Beam spreader —

A device that attaches to the front of a camera to capture 2 separate views of the subject separated by a small distance or stereo base. For an SLR, this device replaces the lens. The LIAC, or Lens-in-a-cap ©, is one example. These two separate views are then focused through two small lenses onto the imager plane of the SLR, side by side. The usefulness of this device is severely limited by its overly long (effective) focal length, its narrow stereo base, and its narrow resultant frame. See LIAC © and Beamsplitter.

Binocular —

Seeing with two eyes

Binocular free-vision —

See Free-viewing

Cha-cha —

Stereo pairs created with a single camera and no slide bar. Separate images are taken by simply moving the camera to one side after the first shot. Wider stereo bases are achieved by stepping sideways. Try to avoid stepping into holes or treading on small children or snakes when doing so.

Chip —

A term that originally referred to the physical film segment in a positive film color slide. Now it is used to refer to one-half of any stereo pair

ColorCode-3D© —

A type of anaglyph using a yellow/blue or amber/blue color combination. Red color in the subject is not a problem as it is in red/cyan anaglyphs. See Anaglyph.

Compression artifacts —

When a large stereo image is over compressed into a lossy format, such as JPEG, certain areas of the images (those with fine detail) tend to lose detail unequally. As a result the left image does not exactly match the right and an annoying “glitter’ results. This can happen in grass or among tree leaves, for example. Where this occurs, a retinal rivalry occurs that seems to “sparkle.”

Convergence —

The closing together of two lines. See Divergence. The eyes converge (narrow) from parallel sight lines to point at things closer than infinity. See Divergence (the opposite).

Conversion, 2D to 3D —

See 2D to 3D Conversion.

Cross-view —

A stereogram presentation that has the right eye image on the left side and the left eye image on the right side. Prism viewers are available that help you cross the lines of sight to make viewing easier. Prism viewers are not chromatically corrected, so the view is significantly softened. It is preferable to free view the cross-view pairs. See Cross-eyed free-viewing.

Cross-eyed free-viewing —

Viewing, without stereo-optical aid, a stereogram that has the right eye image on the left side and the left eye image on the right side. The eyes are crossed so that the right eye sees the image on the left of the pair and the left eye is directed at the one on the right. The sight lines of the eyes are crossed. For many people this is the easiest free viewing method. Oddly, during cross-viewing, the images seem smaller than actual size. See Lilliputism and Hypestereo for explanation.

Delta —

Delta is the difference between the far point separation and the near point separation. If the delta, in proportion to the width of a chip is too large, the stereo image will be difficult or impossible for most people to fuse (merge) into stereo. As the percent delta (delta divided by the width of one image of the stereo pair) approaches 20% the image becomes very difficult to fuse. 5% is considered more nearly optimum.

Delta is not precisely the same as parallax, deviation, or divergence, which are measured in degrees. In contrast, delta is measured as a lateral distance. For our purposes it is easier to consider delta, as we can measure it in a stereogram with a ruler. Parallax then is the angular divergence, but delta is the horizontal linear measurement of parallax or divergence, perpendicular to the sight line. You can say that the parallax/divergence/deviation of an image is too great, but it is quantified as a measurement better referred to as delta and then a proportion called percent delta. See Percent delta. (I never said it wouldn’t get a little technical.)

Depth —

The degree to which a stereo image possesses a stereo effect. In a stereogram with good depth, the viewer can easily tell which objects are at various distances. An image without good depth is said to be flat. Increased stereo base results in increased “depth” in the stereogram.

Depth Map —

See Displacement Map.

Deviation —

See Parallax, Divergence, and Delta.

Displacement Map —

Used in the conversion of 2D images to 3D. The displacement map (sometimes called a depth map) is a gray scale image constructed such that each shade of gray represents how relatively far the covered area is from the camera. The person constructing the depth map with a computer program “paints” the entire image with shades of gray. A dark gray part of the image might be quite close to the camera and a light gray image quite far back. This gray scale image, or map, is then applied to the original photo via computer software to make a relative “displacement” of the corresponding areas. The dark gray areas would be shifted more than the light gray areas. The result is a second image, with its view point shifted, thus creating the second view for a stereo pair.

Divergence —

Lines becoming farther apart. See Parallax, Deviation, Convergence, and Delta.

Doll house effect —

See Hyperstereo.

Far point object or distance —

This is the single point visible in the image that was farthest from the film plane when the photo was taken; the distance from the camera to that object. See Near point object.

Front surface mirror —

See First surface mirror.

First surface mirror —

A mirror which has the reflective material on the side toward the viewer. This eliminates the conflict caused by the secondary reflection from the front surface of the glass as occurs in ordinary mirrors (back surface mirrors). These are also called Front surface mirrors.

Flap Frame

A term sometimes used to describe frame manipulations where parts of the stereo image appear to be folded forward when viewed in stereo. Used to cure WV’s, typically at the bottom of the image.

Flat stereo

Lacking or devoid of stereo effect or depth. See Depth.

Floating frame or window

A TTW effect where the virtual window appears to be forward of, or recessed behind the stereo window and the display surface.

Free-viewing (binocular free-vision)

To view parallel or cross-eyed stereo views without stereo-optical aids. See Parallel free-viewing and Cross-eyed free-viewing.

Frame Manipulation

The techniques of warping, folding, or angling a virtual frame within the stereo window to give it depth. This is often used to cure difficult WVs or simply to enhance the image presentation.


The act of diverging/converging the sightlines of the eyes at a point other than the surface of the medium bearing the image while still maintaining focus (accommodation) at the display surface. This allows the viewer to merge, or “fuse,” two images into one as a 3D perception. The greater the delta in the stereogram, the harder this is to do. The difficulty of maintaining focus can be reduced significantly by placing about 1/3 of the delta (negative) ahead of the window plane and 2/3 behind, but this may cause unacceptable window violations unless floating or virtual windows are used to contain the image. See also Floating window or frame, Frame manipulation, and Virtual window.

Ghost edges or area

The left edge of the right image and the right edge of the left image where the image is monocular; i.e., having no corresponding information in the opposite chip. If bright or eye-catching objects are in this area, confusion can result. This area in an anaglyph can appear to have a red tint.

Ghosting, anaglyphic

This occurs when the anaglyph viewing filters do not cause the same color image to completely vanish. This can be caused by many things including the nature of the substrate, monitor adjustment, monitor/printer mismatch, ambient light color, incompatible ink color, dyes used in the glasses, contrast of the image, etc.

Ghosting, window

This occurs when one image is not of the same dimensions as the other. This manifests as a pale area of image outside the main image.

Ghosting, artifacts

Objects which moved between exposures in single camera stereograms (cha-cha’s). Wind often causes this. See Retinal rivalry and Artifacts.


See Hypostereo and Hyperstereo.

Helicon Focus ©

See Layer stacking

High Dynamic Range (HDR)

A photography/processing technique unique to digital photography. Multiple photographs (generally 3 to 5) are exposed with varying exposure settings. The camera should be set to RAW mode. The result is that a broad dynamic range is captured. These differently exposed images are then combined using special computer software to capture detail in both deep shadow areas as well as in highlights, all in one image. Photomatix Pro © is one software that does this.

Holmes card

See Stereo card.

Holmes Viewer

A type of stereoscope invented by Oliver Wendell Holmes and used for viewing parallel stereographs, also called Stereo cards or Holmes cards.

Homologous points

The same point on the same object in each image. For example, the left eye of a person in one image corresponding to the same eye of the same person in the other image would be homologous points.


Stereo images that are made using an interaxial distance greater than the 2.5 inches (63.5mm) average interpupillary distance in humans. That distance is considered a stereography standard. Often a psychological effect occurs with the use of hyperstereo where the stereoscopic image appears to be miniaturized. This miniaturization is sometimes referred to as Lilliputism, doll house, or puppet theater effect. The cause of the effect is really quite simple. When we look at a far object, such as a house, our eyes cannot create a perspective view of it, due to the narrow separation. But when we look at a near object, such as a model of a house, we can construct a perspective view of it. Our mind is used to this phenomenon. So, when we see a perspective view of a normally far away object (one normally without any perceived perspective), our mind is forced to assume that it is tiny and near. Actually, any variation from an orthoscopic view results in either Lilliputism or giantism (easier to say than Brobdingnagianism) to some degree. For opposite, see Hypostereo.


A form of strabismus where one eye points at a spot higher than the other, causing double vision and greatly diminished binocular or stereo vision. See also Strabismus and Amblyopia. Persons with this problem cannot view 3D movies unless they have eye correction or cover one eye (losing 3D perception), and then they should only view polarized and shutter glass movies. Even with eye correction they may suffer distress, due to the disassociated image plane and focus distance.


Stereo images that are made using an interaxial distance less than the 2.5 inches (63.5mm) which is the average interpupillary distance in humans. That distance, 2.5 inches (63,5mm), is considered a stereography standard. Often a psychological effect occurs with the use of hypostereo where the stereoscopic image appears to be giant-sized, an effect called giantism The cause of this effect—reduced perspective—is the opposite of that which causes hyperstereo or Lilliputism.

Interocular or interpupillary distance

The center to center distance between a person’s pupils. Normally about 2.5inches (63,5mm), this is considered a stereography standard.

Interaxial distance

The distance between two eyes or two lenses aimed at an image.

Keystone distortion

This is a disparity between the chips in a stereo pair where the content of any edge of one chip is dimensionally different from the other. This can be caused by the tilt of the camera (up or down) being improper for one of the image exposures. Proper camera alignment is more critical for wide angle lenses than for long lenses due to the extreme rectilinear compensation along the edges of the frame in wide angle lenses. Images taken with lenses wider than 35mm (35mm equivalent cameras) usually require software capable of automatically correcting the aberrations.

LANC Shepherd system ©

An electronic controller to help synchronize exposures between pairs of certain Sony digital still cameras. It can also synchronize pairs of certain Sony or Canon video cameras. It performs primarily by monitoring the drift between the refresh rates.

Lens in a Cap (LIAC) ©

A brand of mirror lens that replaces the lens on an SLR camera. This device delivers both images of a stereo pair to the film or imager simultaneously allowing stereography of non-static scenes. This device has serious limitations.

Layer Stacking —

A digital photography processing technique where multiple photographs, focused at varying depths in a scene, are combined with special computer software to yield a photograph with greatly extended depth of field. Helicon Focus © is a software that will perform this function.

Lenticular view

This type of stereo view is typified by the striated plastic appearance, much like a Fresnel lens. The grooves in the plastic are designed to allow each eye to only see the portion of the image appropriate for that eye. The stereo pairs are printed with very narrow vertical image slices from each interlaced in precise registration beneath the plastic lens or grid. See Autostereo.


See Lens-in-a-Cap © and Beam spreader


See Hyperstereo. For opposite, see Hypostereo.

Magnification Disparity

Where one image of a stereo pair is dimensionally larger (horizontally, vertically or both) than the other image. This could be due to zooming between exposures or mismatched lenses in twin-cams. This can easily be repaired with software. However, if one photo is taken from a position closer to the subject, this error cannot be repaired.

Mirror viewing

A type of viewing where one chip of a stereo pair is printed mirror image (flipped horizontally). A first surface mirror is then placed on edge along the septum of the stereogram. The septum is usually quite wide. The person viewing then places their nose along or near the edge of the mirror. They look at the left image (assuming the mirror surface is on the right), but the mirror allows the right eye to look at the right image. In more sophisticated setups the images are angled slightly to reduce distortion. Images viewed this way can be quite spectacular due to the large sizes possible . . . A foot or more wide for each chip. See First surface mirror.

Mirror viewer (4-mirror)

A stereo viewer used to view large parallel images—10 inches (25cm) wide or larger—up to several feet wide with some models. Designed similar to a range finder, it has 4 mirrors arranged to widen the viewing base. The ScreenScope © is the one with which I am familiar.

Monocular —

Seeing with one eye.

Monocular object —

A sometimes visually disturbing situation where an object is visible in only one chip of a stereo pair. It usually appears near the left edge of the right chip or the right edges of the left chip. It’s a natural phenomenon that you can also witness looking thru a real window and closing one eye at a time. It also occurs anywhere in the image when an object is masked (partially or completely) by a nearer object. This can also be caused by an object moving out of or into an image between image captures. Where did that blasted dog come from, anyway?

Near point object or distance —

The object in the photo which was the single closest object to the film plane at the time the photo was made; the distance to that object. See Far point object.

Negative parallax or offset —

That part of the stereoscopic image that falls in front of the plane of the stereo window is said to have negative parallax. See Positive parallax and Offset.

Non-horizontal parallax —

See Vertical parallax.

Offset —

The relative difference in position of an object between the two views is the “offset.” If the object is farther right in the right view, it then is said to have “positive offset” and will appear to be behind the plane of the window. Conversely, if an object is farther left in the right view than it is in the left view, then the object has “negative offset” and will appear, in stereopsis, to reside forward of the plane of the stereo window. See Positive offset and Negative offset. See also Delta.


Out-of-bounds. See Out-of-frame effect.


See Out-of-frame effect.

Orthoscopic or ortho-stereoscopical viewing —

Viewing stereograms with a viewer (method) which has the same focal length as the lens which was used to capture the images. This is a largely unobtainable condition due primarily to variances in the eye separation distances (interpupillary distance) of humans.

Out-of-frame effect (OOF or OOB) —

Many through-the-window effects involve image manipulation of a virtual window frame with a digital editor. When part of the image crosses the edges of the virtual window frame, this is called an out-of-frame effect or, by some, an out-of-bounds (OOB) effect.

Over/Under view —

This is a type of stereo pair where the left view is displayed above the right view (or vice-versa). Special viewing prisms are required to view these stereo pairs. The virtue is that wider images can be viewed easily. The downside is the presence of any chromatic aberrations from the viewing prisms.

Parallax (divergence, deviation) —

The difference in direction of an object viewed from two different points. The angular difference between these two points of view is measurable as a parallax value. See Delta.

Parallel stereogram —

A stereogram in which the right eye view is on the right side and the left eye view is on the left side. These can be viewed either with a special viewer containing prism lenses that diverge the sight lines (stereo viewer or Holmes viewer) or they can be free-viewed by persons who can force their eyes to diverge to near parallel sight lines, hence the name, parallel views. See Parallel free-viewing.

Parallel free-viewing —

Viewing, without stereo-optical aids, a stereogram that has the right eye image on the right side and the left eye image on the left side. The sight lines of the eyes, instead of converging at the display surface, converge at a distant point, making them somewhat parallel. At the same time the focusing point of the eyes must be maintained at the surface of the medium. The ability to accomplish this feat varies from person to person. Some persons can actually cause their sight lines to diverge. See Divergence and Convergence.

Passive 3D monitor —

These 3D monitors or TV’s can be watched without the use of special glasses. They work by placing a vertical grating in front of the screen. The left and right images are projected on the monitor screen in alternating rows that match the grating. Each eye is only able to see the appropriate image through the grating. A downside for this method is the “sweet spot”, or good viewing area, for the viewers is much narrower than for regular TV’s.

Percent Delta —

The proportion of total offset in an image compared to the width of 1 chip (1 view). To calculate, measure the width of 1 chip (view). Measure the difference in offset of the far object—easy in an anaglyph, a bit harder in a pair (because you have to measure from an edge in each chip and take the difference). Then measure the difference in offset of the nearest object. Keep in mind that if the near object is ahead of the stereo plane it is in negative offset, so it would be a negative number. The total offset is the far offset minus the near offset.

Example: The chip width is 125mm. The far points are offset 10mm and the near points offset -3mm (negative 3 meads ahead of the window). The total offset would be 13mm;

10mm - (-3mm) = 10mm + 3mm = 13mm. The %Delta is simply the total offset (13mm) divided by the width of 1 chip; 13mm / 125mm = 10.4%.

Some people can tolerate more % delta than others, but 3% to 5% seems to be comfortable for most. A hyper image—one taken with a wide stereo base—can still be easy to view if it has a small %delta. For that reason it can be confusing to say an image is too "hyper" if you really mean it is hard to fuse (due to excessive %delta). See also Delta for more explanation.

Phantogram —

A “pop-up” anaglyph. The photos are made by aiming the camera down at a 45 degree angle at the subject. Computer software is used to distort the image wider at the top and them cropping back to rectangular. The printed image is then placed on a horizontal surface and viewed at a 45 degree angle. When viewed, the surface on which the subject was resting appears to be at the displaying surface – at the stereo window. The result is that the subject appears to be standing on the table in startling reality. For proper viewing the image should be printed at near life-size. These can also be constructed as cross-view pairs.

Polarized view —

Stereo pairs which are projected on top of each other onto specially designed screens. The pairs are projected through oppositely polarized filters. The image is then viewed through glasses with oppositely polarized lenses. The glasses pass only the image appropriate for each eye. Originally the polarization method was linear, but the RealD system and glasses used in movie theaters today uses circular polarization.

Polychrome anaglyph (color anaglyph) —

Older style anaglyphs appeared to be black and white when viewed. Today, polychrome anaglyphs can be made that appear to be in full color. Some colors should not be allowed in the original photos. Colors that match the viewing filter colors, such as red or cyan, will cause unacceptable color rivalries in the finished anaglyph. See Retinal rivalry.

Pop-out —

A term sometimes applied to through-the-window (TTW) stereo effects.

Pop-up anaglyph —

See Phantogram. This term is also sometimes (wrongly) used to describe through-the-window (TTW) effects.

Positive parallax or offset —

That part of the stereoscopic image that falls behind the plane of the stereo window is said to have positive parallax or positive offset. See Negative parallax and Offset.

Pseudostereo —

Viewing a stereoscopic image in reverse where the left eye sees the right eye image and the right eye sees the left eye image. Such an image reverses positive and negative parallax. Some objects then seem to be seen from their insides. This happens when you view a parallel stereo in cross-view or vice versa.

Puppet theater effect —

See Hyperstereo.

RealD 3D© Cinema —

Movies which are projected with the left and right images overlaid as in regular polarized projection, but using circular polarization. This allows viewing in full color when viewed through special circular polarized glasses which allow each eye to see only the image appropriate for that eye. If one eye is closed, then a clear 2D image can be seen. See Polarized viewing.

Retinal rivalry —

Retinal rivalry occurs in stereoscopic images when one eye sees something which the other eye sees differently or not at all. These can be tonal or color shifts as well as real objects. It also occurs in anaglyphs where an object in the scene matches in color one of the viewing lens colors. This is an all inclusive term for the many ways the left image can differ from the right. See Optical confusion, Monocular object, Compression artifacts and Window violations.

Separation —

See Stereo base. Can also be use to describe the center to center distance between the two images of a stereo pair.

Septum —

In a stereo pair, the line where the left and right chips touch or the gap which separates them. A divider. A septum in a contrasting color several millimeters wide, about 2% to 4% of total pair width, works well.

SBS (Side-by-Side)

SBS is a shorthand term for stereo presentations where the images are shown side-by-side, such as in parallel, cross-view or mirror images.


See StereoData Maker ©.

Shutter Glasses —

This type of stereo viewing device works by shutting off the vision alternately to each eye. Simultaneously the image is alternated on the screen. The shutter in the glasses and the image on the screen are synchronized so that the image for the right eye is projected at the same instant the shutter “opens” for the right eye and conversely.

Slide-bar —

A device, usually tripod mounted, which holds a single camera steady while allowing it to be slide sideways a precise distance to take the second photo of a 3D pair. The axis of the taking lens is thereby held parallel for both photos.

Split Frame —

Any stereo photography method that captures both images of a stereo pair simultaneously on a single film frame, usually by using either a special lens or lens adapter.


See StereoPhoto Maker ©

Stereo —

A sound recording with 2 channels. Oops, no, that’s for those other guys with wires in their ears. Go back to 3D for the correct definition.

Stereo base —

The distance, at the imager plane, between the axis of the lens accepting the left image and the axis of the lens accepting the right image when the photos were made. In single camera shots it would be the distance the camera is shifted sideways. The proper stereo base for any situation can be calculated. The factors included in the formula are; the distance to the near point, the distance to the far point, the focal length of the lens, the film size, the viewing format, and the focal length of the viewing device. However, there are rules-of-thumb which suffice quite well for stereo photography in all but extreme cases. The most well-known rule is that the stereo base should be 1/30 of the distance to the near point. Anything within 1/20 to 1/60 is usually considered adequate but varies to accommodate the factors mentioned above.

Stereopsis —

Seeing the stereoscopic image. Derived from the Greek – literally “solid seeing.”

Stereoscope —

An optical device for viewing stereo cards. The most well know example is the Holmes viewer. See Holmes viewer.

Setback —

The distance that the near point in a stereo image appears to be placed behind the plane of the window. Images which are set back usually appear more normal. Extreme setback does, however, increase fusing/focusing difficulty for some persons.

StereoData Maker ©, (SDM) —

A method and the necessary software to temporarily and reversibly modify the factory programming of Canon point-and-shoot cameras to enable a pair of them to take pictures in nearly perfect synchronization. This is the most popular way to synchronize twinned digital stereo cameras.

StereoPhoto Maker ©, (SPM) —

This is a popular software dedicated to the construction and manipulation of stereo pairs and anaglyphs.

Stereogram, stereograph —

A stereoscopic (3D) image created by any means, whether through photography, by drawing, or by using a computer. Typically, a stereogram or stereograph will have two images of the same subject as seen from two slightly separated view points . . . one for each eye.

Stereo card —

A common term for a printed stereograph or stereogram. Typically about 7 inches wide and 4-1/2 inches high, they are made to be viewed in a Holmes type stereoscope. Also called a Holmes card.

Stereo window (true) —

A single term used for three distinct things; 1) The point where the glass might be in a real window – properly the “plane of the window.” In a printed stereogram this would be the surface of the paper. 2) The outline of the area where the two images are superimposed. This would be analogous to a “window frame.” 3) The overall view and how well it seems to be a real window. See Virtual window and Floating window.

Stereo window (plane) —

The part of the image with zero offset is the part that appears to lie in the plane of the stereo window. Objects and parts of objects which have positive delta appear to be to the rear of this plane are said to be “behind the window.” Objects and parts of objects which have negative delta will appear to be projecting toward the viewer from the plane of the window. Objects with zero delta (zero offset) will appear to lie at the window plane and at the surface of the display medium. See Delta, Positive parallax and Negative parallax.

Stereo window (frame) —

Refers to the edges of the stereoscopic image which act as a visual window.

Strabismus —

A neurological or mechanical eye defect that causes the eyes to fail to converge or align on the same spot. This reduces or prevents binocular or stereo vision. It can be intermittent. See Amblyopia and Hypertropia.

Through-the-window effect (TTW) —

This refers to those window penetrations that are free of window violation defects. These are NOT window violations. Phantograms are a sub-set of through-the-window effects. See Window violation and Phantogram.

Toe-in / toe-out —

Converging or diverging the lens centerlines of the cameras during stereo photography is generally not desirable due to the distortions introduced. However, a slight toe-in, zeroed at the far point in the image is acceptable or even preferred.


See Through-the-window effect.

Twin-cam —

A pair of cameras either fastened together or mounted separately which can be simultaneously tripped to photograph moving objects in stereo. It is very difficult to synchronize digital cameras so special devices are available to help with this synchronization, but only for a very limited number of cameras. See StereoData Maker© and LANC Sheperd©.

Vergence —

Deviation of two lines from parallel in the same plane. See Divergence and Convergence.

Vertical parallax —

An error introduced when the second photo of a stereo pair is taken from a point higher or lower than the first. Also called a “tilted shift line,” this causes a distortion that cannot be corrected while keeping the subject level.

Viewer, Parallel —

There are many viewers available to help view parallel stereo pairs, from the old Holmes Stereoscopes used by our great-grandparents, to modern mirror viewers or even electronic devices for use with interlaced images on computer monitors.

Virtual window —

An artificial window can be created that appears in stereo to be forward of, at, or behind the displaying medium’s surface. The same stereo rules apply to this virtual window as apply to the true stereo window, particularly those for the prevention of WVs.

Visual confusion —

Caused by any object, color, artifact, etc., seen by one eye and seen differently or not at all by the other eye. See Retinal rivalry, Ghosting, and Monocular objects.

Window —

See Stereo window and Virtual window.

Window penetration —

This describes a stereo wherein part of the image appears to come through the stereo window and reside closer than or forward of the stereo window. There are two types of window penetration: 1) window violations (WV’s) and 2) through-the-window effects (TTW’s). See Window violation and Through-the-window effect.

Window violation (WV) —

When the eyes perceive an object as being in front of the window, but the frame or edge of the window intersects and occludes part of it, a visual paradox is generated, which is rejected by the mind as irreconcilable. The definitive test for the presence of a window violation is; if the point on the object that intersects the window edge in the right chip is farther right than the same point on the object in the left chip, there is a window violation. This does not apply if the whole object is visible in both chips. Then the object simply appears to be projecting through the window plane and is called a “through-the-window effect” (TTW). TTWs are perfectly acceptable. See Through-the-window effect and Virtual window.

WV (Window Violation) —

See Window violation.

Zero offset point —

The depth point in a stereogram where the distance from the left or right edge of the window to homologous points is the same in both chips. Zero offset points are, by definition, perceived by the viewer as lying at the true stereo window plane and at the surface of the display medium. See Virtual window.

~ ~ o ~ ~

Thank you for looking at my book. If you enjoyed it or found it useful, won’t you please take a moment to leave me a review at your favorite retailer?


Mike Beech

~ ~ o ~ ~


— All photos and images copyright 2015 Michael Beech

— Cover designed and copyright 2015 Michael Beech

LIAC and Lens-in-a-Cap are trademarks of Loreo Asia Ltd.

— Photomatix Pro is a trademark of HDRsoft Ltd

— Helicon Focus is a trademark of Helicon Soft Ltd.

— Lanc Shepherd is a trademark of Rob Crockett

— StereoPhoto Maker, Freeware, copyright Masuji Suto

— StereoData Maker, Freeware, copyright Masuji Suto

— ColorCode 3D, copyright ColorCode 3D ApS

— RealD 3D, trademark of RealD Inc.


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3D Photography Made Easy

Do you want to make 3D photos using your phone, tablet or camera? Do you want to learn, right now, how to make stunning 3D pictures quickly and effortlessly? If so, 3D Photography Made Easy was written with you in mind. Do you want to make your 3D’s more exciting and easier to view? Maybe you have done some 3D photography, but have questions. Whether you are just beginning, or you know about 3D and just need help, the answers you are here and in the incredible 3D Photography Glossary included for free. There are certain simple tricks you can quickly learn to vastly improve your images. You will quickly learn how to make 3D’s that will make your friends say, “Wow!” and “How did you do that?” I'll get you started fast, but I don’t skip steps. So, we’ll start together at the very beginning and proceed to the end, covering every step. I never just tell you what to do, I always tell you why. If you already have 3D experience, I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the wealth of tips, new techniques and creative ideas that you will find here to carry you to new heights of productivity and quality. So, Grasshopper, come with me to first learn the essentials that every 3D photographer should know for a solid start in creating good 3D images. Then, in no time at all, you’ll be making magnificent, high quality stereos. Table of Contents: To Begin Some Things You Will Need Taking Your First 3D Processing the 3D Image Viewing Stereograms Setting the Stereo Window How to Use the Glossary Get Your Free Book 3D Photography Glossary A bit about me; I have an extensive background in photography and 16 years in 3D photography. During that time I have written dozens of manuals, including 5 books on how to make outstanding, contest winning 3D images. I truly believe you will be thrilled with what you learn from my books. Teaching photography, particularly 3D photography, is a passion for me and I have devoted countless hours to working with those who wish to learn the subject. What others say: “Thank you very much for this tutorial. While I “knew” some of it, your procedure makes thing[s] a whole lot clearer, ordered, and will probably end up making my alignments a lot better and “pain” free.” Chuck Isdale You are offering new stereographers a wonderful helping hand. I have just read your first chapter and it is a clear explanation.” Peter Blyth I want to thank you for your excellent tutorials on alignment using SPM . . . Your tutorial makes it possible to harness the wonderful tools it provides . . . I am anxious to learn more and you are an excellent teacher. I feel now that I can make my images do exactly what I want. Thanks again for this excellent tutorial.” Dale Smith I'm back. I found your Digital 3D Stereo Guide so well written and so informative I had to come back for more.” Best regards, Barry ~~+~~ You will learn the exact steps required to get you up to speed fast. The information here is presented in a cut-to-the-chase, no bull, right-to-the-point manner. I describe things clearly, concisely and without any formulas or obscure diagrams. Techno-speak is not spoken here. Just to be clear, you will be using a computer to "convert" the pictures you take into 3D images that you and your friends can enjoy. The software you need is free and simple to operate, but it is a necessary part of the process. If you'll trust me, read on and I think you will see that it’s pretty easy. Plus, I have another book, more advanced, that I think is so important for you to read, I intend to give it to you for free. As another bonus, you will have access to many tips, secrets, and more on my website. Let’s go make some amazing3D’s! Mike Beech

  • ISBN: 9781311616395
  • Author: Michael Beech
  • Published: 2015-09-22 03:35:14
  • Words: 15115
3D Photography Made Easy 3D Photography Made Easy