Viewing large scale stereoscopic images
March 2, 2009 2:13 PM   Subscribe

I need help finding the correct glasses/lenses (if they exist) to allow one to view a much-larger-than-usual stereoscopic image.

For extra cash, I paint murals on the side (of buildings), and a client has asked that I paint a large-scale reproduction of a simple stereoscope card. I'll be using a projector to enlarge the image, so the registration should be pretty tight to the original card.

All stereoscope cards I've encountered are small (less than 8" left to right), and I assume that stereoscopic viewers are calibrated or focused to handle images of that size or focal length.

Are there lens sets, scopes or glasses that would allow a viewer to step back (inches or feet) from my finished mural (finished size of 8' x 4' for the sake of argument) and see the finished image in (roughly) 3-D?

I'd love to be able to give the client a set or two of these glasses as a thank you/surprise for the commission.
posted by VuMastr to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
hmm... I don't think that a stereoscope viewer is really going to help you.

The lenses in the viewer don't really do too much mojo. They make the image bigger, and reduce eyestrain by effectively making your eyes think that the pictures are far away. Your mural solves both of these problems by design.

Since the mural is big enough to fill your field of vision, all you have to really do is stand right in the middle, and make sure that each eye can only see the correct image. You could test this with two paper towel rolls taped together. You may want to come up with a fancier version to present to your patron.

It might be really cool to build a permanent viewing box outside that is set up at exactly the right spot. Then anyone could enjoy the mural.

I'm really interested in this. Please follow up when you've finished. I'm intrigued.
posted by mattybonez at 2:37 PM on March 2, 2009

Of course, this is all guesswork and conjecture. I could be really, really wrong, but I've been playing with 3-d photography lately...

Good luck!
posted by mattybonez at 2:39 PM on March 2, 2009

Response by poster: Matty, I think I see your point (with my limited 3-D experience). I'll try printing out a few over-sized versions on poster paper and give your thoughts a run. If anyone has other suggestions, I'm wide open to any ideas.
posted by VuMastr at 4:25 PM on March 2, 2009

You can view stereograms without a viewer. Some call it "free viewing." There are two ways to do it: parallel (looking past the image), and cross-eyed (focusing in front of the image). Parallel works best with images that are small and close. For pairs that are far away or occupy a large part of one's field of vision, cross-eyed is the only way. Here's some more information.

Unfortunately, you can only view a given pair one way; to view it the other way, you have to swap the right and left images. Most stereoscope cards are likely oriented for parallel viewing, which is going to make free-viewing a mural hard. (If you view the wrong way, you still get 3D but near things are far and far things are near.)

I guess one could "convert" to cross-eyed by standing behind a two-sided mirror perpendicular to the mirror, but hopefully someone can hook you up with some kind of viewer that won't require the viewer to learn a skill as free-viewing does.
posted by musicinmybrain at 5:18 PM on March 2, 2009

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