3D is here to stay says Captain 3D! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 114 Old 01-24-2012, 02:39 PM - Thread Starter
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In response to that other thread Public Enemy No. 1 Phil Hinton, here's other Phil who is the advocate for 3D!

http://www.hometheater.com/content/p...ain-3d-mcnally

"Podcast 96: Phil "Captain 3D" McNally
By Scott Wilkinson • Posted: Jan 24, 2012

Phil "Captain 3D" McNally, stereoscopic supervisor at DreamWorks Animation, talks about why he thinks 3D is here to stay after several previous attempts to bring it to the market, why people have such strong opinions about 3D, the difference between real-life 3D and stereoscopic images, what makes a good 3D presentation, how filmmakers can support the story with 3D while avoiding eye strain and other negative side effects, active versus passive glasses, autostereoscopic displays, answers to chat-room questions, and more.

Phil "Captain 3D" McNally most recently served as Stereoscopic Supervisor on DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 2. Prior to that, he worked in the same capacity on Megamind, Shrek Forever After, How to Train Your Dragon, and DreamWorks Animation’s first stereoscopic 3D film, Monsters vs. Aliens.

Hailed as the expert on all things 3D, McNally was introduced to stereoscopic photography in 1990 while studying at the Royal College of Art in London. This hobby soon became his passion and has developed over the years through a range of creative projects, from Viewmaster promotional reels to gallery installations.

In 2001, McNally moved to California to work as an animator at Industrial Light & Magic after the success of his short animated film Pump-Action. His stereoscopic experience was rewarded when Disney tasked ILM with converting Chicken Little into a 3D release in 2005. McNally also supervised the stereoscopic work on Disney’s Meet the Robinsons and advised on The Nightmare Before Christmas conversion to 3D"

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post #2 of 114 Old 01-25-2012, 05:48 AM
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Thanks for the link, I very much enjoyed the hour spent listening. I definitely learned a few things. For anyone who wants to learn more about stereoscopic 3D from an expert, or for anyone who is still skeptical about 3D, this is great.
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post #3 of 114 Old 01-25-2012, 08:27 AM
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I'm definitely going to check this out. Dreamworks always has great 3D. Thanks for the link.
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post #4 of 114 Old 01-25-2012, 10:09 AM
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Great quote from Phil McNally:

"Directors and cinematographers are the worlds experts at 3d to 2d conversion, and that may not be the ideal starting point"
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post #5 of 114 Old 01-25-2012, 03:50 PM
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So many interesting things from this that are stuck in my mind a day later.

McNally says that they tune the brightness and color in the 3D version to compensate for the typical drop in brightness. While movies are usually (or supposed to be) projected at 16 foot lamberts, 3D films are typically only 4 fL. To make it look right when dimmer, they brighten the film image and punch up the colors. McNally makes the point that when people sometimes take off their glasses and see a bright image with vivid colors, they mistakenly think that this is what the film is supposed to look like. Instead, they're really just seeing a too bright too saturated image without the glasses.

That's smart for theaters, but I wonder how it's treated on Blu-rays. With my projector paired with a high gain screen, I get about 20 fL with the active shutter glasses on, brighter than the standard for 2D cinema even. Hopefully they leave the color on 3D Blu-rays unaltered. I'm sure plenty of other people have bright 3D displays too, and before long I'm sure they all will be.
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post #6 of 114 Old 01-30-2012, 12:34 PM
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It was a great interview. I thought he could have painted a better argument for why some people are so rabidly opposed to 3D. They're luddites jk. Sure brightness needs to improve but it's not just technological stuff at fault; Hollywood filmmakers still for the most part don't know what to do with it. When done right, even Roger Ebert will praise it. See Hugo and Cave of Forgotten Dreams.


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A movie with good 3D does not necessarily equal a good 3D movie!

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post #7 of 114 Old 01-30-2012, 01:52 PM
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I liked Captain 3D's analogy about separating 2D movies from 3D movies as completely different art mediums for telling stories. 2D movies are like paintings and 3D movies are like sculptures.

Lots of people, and critics in particular, have strong opinions against 3D but can't quite verbalize an intelligent reason for why. Often they resort to some smart alec remark to dismiss 3D as a gimmick. I think some of these people really enjoy the art of 2D movie story-telling and go into 3D movies expecting the same experience as 2D. The want a beautiful painting, but instead everything pops like a sculpture and just gives a completely different experience than the one they wanted.

The fact that there aren't as many filmmakers who are skilled at 3D story-telling as there are at 2D story-telling probably plays a role too.
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post #8 of 114 Old 01-30-2012, 08:14 PM
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Very interesting interview (too bad it ended the way it did!).

I'm more or less a 3D fan. The 3D movies I've seen have added more to the experience than they took away. I'm not going to pretend there are no issues though; I can understand the negativity completely. To play devil's advocate, here are quite a few possible obstacles with mass adoption of 3D in the theater and at home:

* The glasses of course. It can be a bigger deal for those who have to wear glasses underneath. They don't bother me, especially since I don't wear glasses, but not everyone is in that boat.

* A darker image. Even in an ideal setting, very dark scenes can be a challenge to view in 3D.

* A good chunk of the population cannot perceive a 3D effect from stereopsis alone. Some sources say that 12% of the population gets zero effect, and up to 30% only get a weak effect.

* Surcharge at the theater. Not fun.

* Higher charge for 3D Blu-ray. It's getting better, but $35+ for the 3D version isn't uncommon.

* Certain folks get eyestrain watching 3D movies.

* Memories of bad 2D-to-3D conversions.

* Memories of cheesy 3D movies from the 1950's and the 1980's.

* 3D using only stereopsis can look unnatural. I only know that term from a Wikipedia article. It means binocular disparity, or using the difference between two offset images to communicate depth information. According to this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depth_perception, depth perception is achieved using at least 15 different cues. 3D movies are only able to provide one of those. In practice in can work pretty darn well, but there are other factors, such as Captain 3D's explanation of using a camera lens without 3D in mind that can give that cutout effect.

* 3D can give objects on screen too literal a scale. A good example is in the opening scene of Transformers 3. There's a super wide shot where giant robots are walking around on a much larger space ship thing and are very small on the screen. In 2D, there's a layer of abstraction there and your brain tends to fill in the proper scale. In 3D, to me, it looked like tiny robot toys walking around. The sense of scale was too literal.

* Technical issues. A have a 3D projector that uses LCOS technology. It can't go from full bright to full dark quite fast enough for the refresh rate of 3D, so certain high contrast scenes produce a "ghosting" effect. Another issue is that the 2D-to-3D conversion on my projector is absolutely terrible. It's worse than useless for 100% of the content I've tried it on.

* Content. It's getting better, but there just aren't all that many 3D titles out there. Not everyone is into animated movies; if you don't include those, the number of titles is pretty small.

* Consumer confusion. HDMI 1.3 vs. HDMI 1.4 receivers. High speed HDMI 1.3 cables. Side-by-side. Frame sequential. Frame packed. These are terms that enthusiasts on AVS Forum are willing to go to the extra effort to educate themselves on, but the general public? Hmmm.
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post #9 of 114 Old 01-31-2012, 03:49 AM
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That sums it up really well i think. I wanted to switch to the 2D version of "Tornado Alley" while watching it in 3D. It was clearer without the glasses on during movement! There were some amazing scenes that were a blurry mess due to reduces clarity, brightness and motion resolution. What i hope they do is use multiple lenses in their cameras for filming giving set of different versions of the film, one for large theaters, one for home viewing on a smaller screen, and one for movie buffs thats sit close to their screens for more detail and field of view. Thats definitely going to happen...

That said, i will never go back to 2D gaming, ever. Its absolutely stunning.


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post #10 of 114 Old 01-31-2012, 10:35 AM
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I saw Tintin (3 times!) and the picture was sharp and vibrant and the motion was super clean. What to blame when it's dull and blurry? Sometimes it's the projector, sometimes it's the filmmaker, and sometimes like in Tornado Alley's case possibly, it's Mother Nature.


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A movie with good 3D does not necessarily equal a good 3D movie!

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post #11 of 114 Old 01-31-2012, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by BleedOrange11 View Post

I liked Captain 3D's analogy about separating 2D movies from 3D movies as completely different art mediums for telling stories. 2D movies are like paintings and 3D movies are like sculptures.

Oh come on now. I like 3D when it's done well, but this argument is really stretching things. Are color movies a different art medium than black & white movies? Are movies with surround sound a different art medium than movies in mono or stereo?

3D is just another tool at the artist's disposal. Like any other, it can be used well or it can be used badly. But this tool alone doesn't represent an entirely different artistic medium. It's less like the difference between painting and sculpture, than it's like the difference between a painter using a thin paintbrush versus a thicker one.

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post #12 of 114 Old 01-31-2012, 11:39 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post

Oh come on now. I like 3D when it's done well, but this argument is really stretching things. Are color movies a different art medium than black & white movies? Are movies with surround sound a different art medium than movies in mono or stereo?

Yes - they are. You forgot 2.40 AR movies versus 1.85 AR movies.

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3D is just another tool at the artist's disposal. Like any other, it can be used well or it can be used badly. But this tool alone doesn't represent an entirely different artistic medium. It's less like the difference between painting and sculpture, than it's like the difference between a painter using a thin paintbrush versus a thicker one.

The tool(s) change the audience's experience.

IMO, his analogy is spot on. Yours is just a self serving version to prop up your opinion which differs from those that agree with Captain 3D.
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post #13 of 114 Old 01-31-2012, 11:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post

Oh come on now. I like 3D when it's done well, but this argument is really stretching things. Are color movies a different art medium than black & white movies? Are movies with surround sound a different art medium than movies in mono or stereo?

3D is just another tool at the artist's disposal. Like any other, it can be used well or it can be used badly. But this tool alone doesn't represent an entirely different artistic medium. It's less like the difference between painting and sculpture, than it's like the difference between a painter using a thin paintbrush versus a thicker one.

I thought it was a very unique way to think of 2D compared to 3D. Obviously, it is a little exaggerated and the difference between 2D and 3D is somewhat less pronounced than the one between paintings and sculptures. 3D movies don't have as much dimension as sculptures because you can only look at the images from one angle.

However, I would argue that it is a perfectly valid analogy. Both paintings and sculptures usually have the same objective of conveying an artist's abstract representation of a person, place, thing, or idea to the viewer. And both 2D and 3D movies usually have the same objective of conveying a story. Scluptures and 3D movies have dimension and 2D movies and paintings are flat.

Whether things are a different art medium or not depends on how broad your definition of an art medium is, which is really beside the point. When things have dimension (or color for that matter), they convey things in a different manner than flat (or B&W) images, and that changes the viewer's experience. Each technique (or art medium) has specific and unique artistic properties that wholly differentiates it from the other.
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post #14 of 114 Old 01-31-2012, 03:30 PM
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It's kind of a strange concept for me that some people expect different things from stereoscopic 3D or literally perceive it differently than myself. I think native 3D looks very realistic and want filmmakers to wow me with scenes of spectacular depth and a few fun pop-outs. I don't really care if 3D affects the storyline. I want to be distracted by beautiful 3D scenery and cool effects. I want the extra feeling of immersion in movies that only 3D can provide by making me feel like I'm there in the fictional world with the characters.

How could anyone dislike something that has the ability to elevate typical movies to such an amazing experience? How could anyone dislike something that has the ability to re-ignite one's inner child and completely transport one's imagination to a different place for a couple of hours?

As to why so many people strongly dislike 3D, I'm starting to think that it mostly just fails to meet their expectations of what 3D should look like or be able to accomplish. They are mildly disappointed that it hasn't given them a good experience and can't fully grasp why the format hasn't just died already.

- Some people think 3D should make things look more realistic but find most stereoscopic 3D to look more like cardboard cutouts than real-life dimensionality. Consequently for them, 2D images look just as, if not more, realistic than current 3D.

- Some people think 3D should improve the storyline. If the 3D adds nothing to the story, it's worthless to them.

- Some people think 3D should poke them in the eye with cool stuff jumping out of the screen. If 3D stays behind the screen the whole time, it's too boring and conservative.

- Some people think 3D should be unnoticeable throughout the movie. If it comes too close to the viewer or recedes too deep into the screen, they get distracted and are upset that their attention was moved away from the storyline.
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post #15 of 114 Old 01-31-2012, 03:57 PM
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I love 3d in the home but I'm close to giving up on it at the theaters. 95% of the time, theater 3d is "meh" to me. Not to mention that two tickets costs as much as the blu-ray itself.
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post #16 of 114 Old 02-01-2012, 10:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BleedOrange11 View Post

However, I would argue that it is a perfectly valid analogy. Both paintings and sculptures usually have the same objective of conveying an artist's abstract representation of a person, place, thing, or idea to the viewer. And both 2D and 3D movies usually have the same objective of conveying a story. Scluptures and 3D movies have dimension and 2D movies and paintings are flat.

2D does not necessarily mean flat. Photographers and filmmakers have used depth in their imagery without stereoscopy. It's just a different form of depth.

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Whether things are a different art medium or not depends on how broad your definition of an art medium is, which is really beside the point. When things have dimension (or color for that matter), they convey things in a different manner than flat (or B&W) images, and that changes the viewer's experience. Each technique (or art medium) has specific and unique artistic properties that wholly differentiates it from the other.

I don't disagree on principle. However, painting with watercolors also conveys a different experience than painting with acrylics, yet both are still paintings.

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post #17 of 114 Old 02-01-2012, 10:25 AM
 
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2D does not necessarily mean flat. Photographers and filmmakers have used depth in their imagery without stereoscopy. It's just a different form of depth.

Which is nothing more than a 100% optical illusion.

Psssssst . . . . 2D = length & width . . . no depth.

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I don't disagree on principle. However, painting with watercolors also conveys a different experience than painting with acrylics, yet both are still paintings.

And depending on the artist's painting style - they can be as different as night and day.

If you expand the definitions then you will see where the painting/sculpture analogy works very well. But if you try to pidgenhole the definitions as you are doing, it won't work.
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post #18 of 114 Old 02-01-2012, 11:17 AM
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Which is nothing more than a 100% optical illusion.

Psssssst . . . . 2D = length & width . . . no depth.

I hate to break it to you, but stereoscopic 3d is an optical illusion too. Despite what you may believe, your screen is NOT actually acquiring a Z axis.

Devastating, I know.
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post #19 of 114 Old 02-01-2012, 12:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post

2D does not necessarily mean flat. Photographers and filmmakers have used depth in their imagery without stereoscopy. It's just a different form of depth.

Yes, exactly. This is the analogy. The form of depth experienced with 2D movies is the same kind of depth experienced with paintings, and the form of depth in 3D movies is more similar to the kind experienced with sculptures than 2D movies. That makes 2D imaging and stereoscopic 3D different "art mediums."

Quote:


I don't disagree on principle. However, painting with watercolors also conveys a different experience than painting with acrylics, yet both are still paintings.

Of course 2D and 3D films are both movies. Find a better phrasing than "art medium" if you want. I think it works okay, but we can change it to a different word if that would make you feel better.

Definition for art medium:
Web definitions:
In the arts, a medium (mediums, media) is a material used by an artist to create a work.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_medium

"Technique" works fine with the analogy too.
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post #20 of 114 Old 02-01-2012, 12:31 PM
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* A good chunk of the population cannot perceive a 3D effect from stereopsis alone. Some sources say that 12% of the population gets zero effect, and up to 30% only get a weak effect.

I had no idea that 30% of the population had defective vision. I feel badly for those that can't perceive the 3D effect.
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post #21 of 114 Old 02-01-2012, 01:14 PM
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A movie with good 3D does not necessarily equal a good 3D movie!

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post #22 of 114 Old 02-01-2012, 01:51 PM
 
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Originally Posted by javanpohl View Post

I hate to break it to you, but stereoscopic 3d is an optical illusion too. Despite what you may believe, your screen is NOT actually acquiring a Z axis.

Devastating, I know.

The screen does not but the images do. A stereoscopic 3D image has an X, Y and Z axis. A 2D image has no Z axis. Surprised you ignored that.

Humbling, I know.
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post #23 of 114 Old 02-01-2012, 02:20 PM
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The screen does not but the images do. A stereoscopic 3D image has an X, Y and Z axis. A 2D image has no Z axis. Surprised you ignored that.

No, they just appear to... it's still an "optical illusion"--i.e. the image is tricking your brain into seeing something that isn't actually there. In this case: depth.
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post #24 of 114 Old 02-01-2012, 03:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by javanpohl View Post

No, they just appear to... it's still an "optical illusion"--i.e. the image is tricking your brain into seeing something that isn't actually there. In this case: depth.

3D images are specifically created to "trick the brain" into seeing depth. A 2D image's "depth" is a pure optical illusion based soley on the contrast ratio of the image(s).
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post #25 of 114 Old 02-01-2012, 04:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by javanpohl View Post

No, they just appear to... it's still an "optical illusion"--i.e. the image is tricking your brain into seeing something that isn't actually there. In this case: depth.

Digital pixels displaying different colors in a grid to show an image is also an optical illusion. You're not actually watching a football game, you're watching a bunch of flat pixels change colors to trick your brain into thinking it's actually seeing a football game. But I don't think it's worth getting hung up on how displays manipulate our vision and brains. What matters is what we actually perceive, and the perception of depth with stereoscopic 3D is entirely real.
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post #26 of 114 Old 02-01-2012, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by BleedOrange11 View Post

- Some people think 3D should make things look more realistic but find most stereoscopic 3D to look more like cardboard cutouts than real-life dimensionality. Consequently for them, 2D images look just as, if not more, realistic than current 3D.

This is the one that kills it for me. Where this really seems to stand out is indoor shots. It even did in Avatar. Although Avatar was more outdoor shots than indoor, so it wasn't too bothersome. Also, I think computer generated images lend themselves better and the majority of Avatar was CG.

For indoor shots like the majority of Underworld Awakening, the people just looked overlayed on top of a background like cheap blue screen effects. I'm not sure why this stands out so badly to me, but it does.

Someone at work the other day pointed out that all of the image is in focus all the time when you are viewing stereoscopic 3D (since in reality it is a 2D image). In the real 3D world our eyes are only focused on one area at a time and objects in the foreground/background are out of focus. I wonder if this is what bothers me. The 3D movies just have that odd, for lack of a better term, sort of "uncanny valley" look to them that bugs me big time.

I do expect 3D to add realism, so when it actually reduces realism, I find it to be a loss over the same film in 2D.
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post #27 of 114 Old 02-01-2012, 07:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Stewart View Post

3D images are specifically created to "trick the brain" into seeing depth. A 2D image's "depth" is a pure optical illusion based soley on the contrast ratio of the image(s).

The only difference is that 3d is using binocular cues and 2d is using monocular cues to give us the impression of depth (our eyes use both to gauge distances in everyday life). There's no trickery about it when it comes to actual objects. However, when it comes to flat objects, both 2d and 3d, there is no actual depth there but we can perceive the illusion of depth. You see, the word "illusion" means to perceive something that isn't really there. A flat object doesn't actually have depth, but it can be made to look like it does.
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post #28 of 114 Old 02-01-2012, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Airion View Post

Digital pixels displaying different colors in a grid to show an image is also an optical illusion. You're not actually watching a football game, you're watching a bunch of flat pixels change colors to trick your brain into thinking it's actually seeing a football game. But I don't think it's worth getting hung up on how displays manipulate our vision and brains. What matters is what we actually perceive, and the perception of depth with stereoscopic 3D is entirely real.

You're comparing apples to oranges here. The pixels do actually make up the image that we're seeing. No one really thinks they're watching a football game; we're watching the images of a football game on tv.
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post #29 of 114 Old 02-01-2012, 08:21 PM
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You're comparing apples to oranges here.

I don't see how it's really any different, but regardless, you acknowledge that the perception of depth is real right? The stereo construct our brains make is real. I don't see how this "illusion" business is a fair criticism.
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post #30 of 114 Old 02-02-2012, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Airion View Post

What matters is what we actually perceive, and the perception of depth with stereoscopic 3D is entirely real.

But it's not. If you move your head to the side, you can't see around the object on the screen. Your view is limited to the information provided in the video signal, which is just two flat 2D images slightly offset from one another. It's a neat optical illusion, but your brain can tell that what you're looking at isn't real. Your perception of 3D video is very different than your perception of real life.

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