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Trouble seeing red/green 3-d images while wearing glasses
November 11, 2011 9:09 AM   Subscribe

Does anyone else have trouble watching 3-d films?

I am myopic and I wear thick glasses. Recently, I tried to watch a 3-d film at a friend's house using red-green glasses, only to find the experience very stressful.

I have watched polarised 3-d in a theatre and enjoyed it - the effect looked real and didn't stress my eyes. But watching this film with the red-green glasses was very straining on my eyes, and I often found the images very difficult to see - not at all blurry (as they would be without my glasses), but jerky and poorly connnected, and often just going flat and red or flat and green. I have also had problems watching one of the new 3-d televisions, where I just saw two images instead of a three-dimensional one.

Is this just me? Is it my glasses? I have also never been able to see the picture in a Magic Eye when wearing glasses, though I have seen them easily when wearing contacts.
posted by jb to Grab Bag (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
My understanding is that people with astigmatism tend to have more difficulty with the red-green 3d effect, especially if one eye is a lot more dominant than the other.

That said, I'm color blind and astigmatic. The red-green 3d effect has never worked well for me and tends to give me a headache. I handle the newer RealD technology that uses circular polarized lenses a bit better.

I believe the way the glasses are polarized (they use circular polarization rather than linear, which produces a stereoscopic effect in the lens itself) helps counter both the dominant eye and astigmatism problems, because if you look out of a single lens on the polarized glasses, you still perceive the three-dimensional effect.
posted by zarq at 9:21 AM on November 11, 2011


I find all forms of 3D in films gimmicky and annoying. It may work less well for me because I have some damage to my right occipital lobe which makes my visual processing on the left a bit funny, but, mostly, I just don't get the need for it. It's a solution looking for a problem that isn't there.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:27 AM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


One of the problems with 3D is that the focus point is actually all on the plane of the screen, while your eyes have to position themselves as if the item you're looking at is at a different distance. I don't know if that's going to make red-green 3D more difficult than polarized 3D, but it's known to "tire the eyes" (or the brain or whatever).
posted by anadem at 9:44 AM on November 11, 2011


I'm myopic and have astigmatism, but had no problem with IMAX 3D "Puss 'N Boots" the other night. Kitties!

The IMAX countdown before the movie nearly killed me, though... I felt like I physically couldn't look away. Unlike Alex in "A Clockwork Orange," though, I was able to close my eyes.

I have a feeling there's more to 3D viewing side-effects than the presence of vision problems, although as suggested above, the RealD glasses/technology seem to be easier on some astigmatic viewers than the red-green. Haven't tried the red-green at all.
posted by Currer Belfry at 9:45 AM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I, too, have found color-based 3-D glasses underwhelming. (Well, I should say, even more underwhelming than other methods). The thing that bothers me the most, though, is the focus point issue that anadem mentioned.

I believe the way the glasses are polarized (they use circular polarization rather than linear, which produces a stereoscopic effect in the lens itself) helps counter both the dominant eye and astigmatism problems, because if you look out of a single lens on the polarized glasses, you still perceive the three-dimensional effect.

Sorry, zarq. Not to pick on you, but that's not exactly correct. The circularly-polarized lenses fundamentally do the same thing as the linearly-polarized lenses: they present a different image to each eye. If you looked at the screen through two left lenses of RealD glasses, you'd see the 2-D image designed to be presented to the left eye. The main advantage of the circularly-polarized lenses is that if you tilt your head, the effect still works (unless you tilt your head dramatically), unlike for linearly-polarized lenses.
posted by stufflebean at 10:10 AM on November 11, 2011


Additionally, with color 3-d glasses; especially in a home consumer setting, if the display's color is "off", the glasses might not be isolating the frames as well as they should. Heck, the glasses could be slightly incorrectly tinted.

If the movie is a reencoded copy from the net, color quality may be further off. It might even be modified to appear 3d from a 2d source, which would explain how some scenes might be 100% flat.

One easy way to check while watching is to close one eye; if you can see any ghosting of the image, something is off, either with the display or the encoding. With any of the glasses-based 3d technology, one should be able to close either eye, and see a perfect (although possibly tinted) 2d image.
posted by nobeagle at 10:22 AM on November 11, 2011


For me the problem is wearing glasses, then putting the 3D glasses over them. Can you go back to contacts at all?
posted by Anima Mundi at 10:35 AM on November 11, 2011


I too find 3D movies uncomfortable, and have a great deal of difficulty with "Magic Eye" stereograms. In particular, with Megic Eye, I find it difficult to cross my eyes to the extent required and still keep the page in focus. This strongly supports the idea of the "convergence/focus" issue, alluded to above by anadem: when you look at a 3D movie, you're getting two contradictory set of depth cues. The angle between your eyes has to converge on the 3D image's apparent distance, but at the same time your eyes' lenses have to focus on the actual distance to the screen. Apparently some people have no problem with this, but for some of us, our eyes just sort of automatically focus on the convergence distance, and making them not do this requires constant effort.
posted by baf at 10:42 AM on November 11, 2011


Hell, my wife has trouble with 2D movies if the camera moves too much. Migraine-level headaches.

She's tried Dramamine with some improvement.
posted by trinity8-director at 11:09 AM on November 11, 2011


Well, I get migraines and avoid 3D films because it seems to trigger a headache for me.
posted by Eicats at 11:32 AM on November 11, 2011


stufflebean: "The circularly-polarized lenses fundamentally do the same thing as the linearly-polarized lenses: they present a different image to each eye. If you looked at the screen through two left lenses of RealD glasses, you'd see the 2-D image designed to be presented to the left eye. The main advantage of the circularly-polarized lenses is that if you tilt your head, the effect still works (unless you tilt your head dramatically), unlike for linearly-polarized lenses."

Interesting! Thanks for clarifying. I learned something. :)
posted by zarq at 11:38 AM on November 11, 2011


Eicats, there's always Hank Green's 2D-glasses, if you're seeing a 3D movie with other people.
posted by revikim at 12:03 PM on November 11, 2011


I saw a business interview with the head of a cinema chain. He said that a number of patrons cannot see 3D, period. Quite a number have vision problems. Some theaters (not his) have seats that are badly positioned. The usual advise is to try to sit in the center for the best experience.
Furthermore, he implied that some film projects have not done a good enough job with the production of the 3D effect, which also causes trouble.
You are not alone.
posted by PickeringPete at 1:27 PM on November 11, 2011


I hate, Hate, HATE 3D. It gives me an awful headache plus a general seasick sort of feeling. As genjiandproust says, it's gimmicky and annoying, and all too often it seems like the focus is on the 3D-ness ('look at the neat GCI things WE can do!') at the expense of the storyline ('throw some more action sceens in there --- who cares if it doesn't make any sense? It's 3D!').
posted by easily confused at 2:23 PM on November 11, 2011


Yes, I am one of the 15% for whom 3D doesn't work, or doesn't work very well.

And don't get me started on those stupid Magic Eye pictures -- I don't care what you say, there's nothing there!

posted by Rash at 2:52 PM on November 11, 2011


thank you for your answers. I think it may have been the focus spot issue, though I also ended up pushing up my glasses too far to keep the little cardboard red-green
glasses on, and that may have also been part of the problem.

I have not minded theatre-based 3-d with the polarized lenses; in fact, I quite liked it when I saw an novelty 3d movie at the CN Tower (silly surfing documentary, pretty water amazingly hanging in the air right in front). So I think I might try theatre-based 3d again.

The movie in question was Coraline; we watched it again tonight in 2d and I saw all the wonderful animation I missed the first time. It's really a very well made film.
posted by jb at 8:04 PM on November 11, 2011


Very few movies were ever shown in anaglyphic red/blue 3D. Even back in the 50's almost all the 3D movies were viewed using glasses with polarizing filters, just like today.

Don't blame yourself, blame your friend for making you watch utter crap.
posted by hamsterdam at 8:11 PM on November 11, 2011


Another one here, I don't see the 3d even with the new type of theater glasses. I like the "competing depth information" theory.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:29 PM on November 11, 2011


I am lucky - not color blind and perfect vision. And I get
Screaming headaches from 3d.
posted by fatmouse at 3:44 AM on November 12, 2011


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