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After checking out some old ViewMaster slides today, my son and I decided to shoot our own stereoscopic photos. Here’s the rig I built and a description of the process from my blog.

I build this simple rig out of chemistry lab equipment. (Yes, it’s the same bar stand and clamp set I used to build my Florence Siphon vacuum coffee brewer apparatus.) I pulled my focus and other settings, took a photo, slid it all about 2.5″ to the left and shot a second photo.

Next comes the image processing. What we need to do is paste the left eye image on top of the right one, then line the photos up so that they line up exactly at the point of zero stereo effect. I chose the button protruding from the far side of my typewriter. This is the plane on which the viewer sees the image, and there should be no difference between the left and right images.

To fool the brain we need to show only the right image to the right eye and the left to the left. There are many ways to do this. The ViewMaster displays two images through two lenses, one for each eye. The method I chose here is called an anaglyphic image. To make this I used Photoshop levels command to remove all the blue and green from the left image and all the red from the right image.

I used the screen compositing mode on the left image, and the result is an image where the common pixels are seen by both eyes, while the differences are only seen in the appropriate eye when you wear red/cyan 3D glasses.

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John Edgar Park

John Edgar Park likes to make things and tell people about it. He works in CG animation at DisneyToon Studios and writes for Make, Boing Boing, and other places online and in print. You can find him at jpixl.net and twitter @johnedgarpark — if you like that sort of thing.


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