A is for anaglyph.

The unit starts with anaglyphic technology as our backdrop. Our goal in this unit is to: Understand the the fundamental principles and distinctions between vector and raster graphics as a basis for understanding computer graphics workflows; to develop and apply this knowledge to choose whether or not to use Adobe Illustrator or photoshop; initiate a variety of experiments with anaglyphic principles; Integrate and understand the difference between raster and vector graphics; using photoshop and illustrator together culminating in a graphic design poster project that brings these principles together in a way that makes creative of red and cyan glasses. It is all about cheesiness.

 J.R. Eyerman’s iconic photo for Time Magazine. These moviegoers are at The World Premiere of “Bwana Devil”. The “first” 3D film. The image was populaized in critical acadmeic circles on Guy deBord’s book “Society of the Spectacle”

J.R. Eyerman’s iconic photo for Time Magazine. These moviegoers are at The World Premiere of “Bwana Devil”. The “first” 3D film. The image was populaized in critical acadmeic circles on Guy deBord’s book “Society of the Spectacle”

NOW IN AMAZING 3D!
As a kid in the 80’s and 90’s I loved getting my hands on 3D glasses, decoder rings, and view masters. These cherished objects found in magazines and toy stores that made images “pop” off of the picture plane live with all of the other nostalgia and novelty. Sure, it’s a neat effect, but at the end of the day, its just that… an effect, an optical illusion. Before I backpedal myself into a corner before I even get started I want to share some of my research into how this effect came into being, the physiology behind the technology, and finally expose how the anaglyph can be made using photoshop.

History


Anaglyphic 3D has has an interesting history going back further than the 3D movies of the 1950’s. The origin story of this red and blue goes back to the red and blue magic lantern shows at the mid 19th century France. In 1858, Joseph D’Almeida reported to the l’academie des Sciences that he had achieved a dimensional effect by setting up a red and green magic lantern slideshow for an audience wearing red and green goggles. To put this into context a bit: Magic lantern shows were some of the first spectacles where projection was used. The below image is a depiction of a phantasmagoria where ghoulish figures were projected into clouds of smoke to create the sensation of an encounter with the ethereal.

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Anaglyphic imagery is a subtle shift of overlapping red and blue values in an image causing the brain to sense depth on 2 dimensional image plane. Now, I don’t want to delve into the history of either the magic lantern (fascinating) and the history of perspective as a technology (important AND fascinating), but suffice it say- both are important to be aware of when contextualizing cinematic spectacle, the physiology of vision, and developing hard skills in foundational creative practice.


How does the anaglyph function? Its a little question with a medium explanation.

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According to the source to end all sources on the subject, the National Paper Products Corporation: “A stereoscopic motion or still picture in which the right component of a composite image usually red in color is superposed on the left component in a contrasting color to produce a three-dimensional effect when viewed through correspondingly colored filters in the form of spectacles.”

Since your eyes are about two inches apart, they see the same picture from slightly different angles. Your brain then correlates these two images in order to gauge distance. This is called binocular vision – ViewMasters™ and binoculars mimic this process by presenting each eye with a slightly different image.

 The view master is a piece of technology that uses the anaglyph to achieve its dimensional effect.

The view master is a piece of technology that uses the anaglyph to achieve its dimensional effect.

“Binocular vision permits us to perceive objects as having depth or three dimensions. Each eye receives an image from a slightly different horizontal angle (normally 7 degrees from an object held at arms length.) Anaglyphic images take advantage of this discrepancy by slightly offsetting the red and blue channels in an image.”


 The glasses have two lenses, one red, one blue. The red lens filters the blue channel, the red channel filters the blue.

The glasses have two lenses, one red, one blue. The red lens filters the blue channel, the red channel filters the blue.


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Making Anaglyphs: (Basic Method)
To make an anaglyph in photoshop. Duplicate your primary layer. Label the layers left and right respectively. Right click on the left layer>blending modes> uncheck the Red channel. Right click on the right layer> blending modes> uncheck the green channel.

With the selection tool (v) selected, select the left layer and move the left arrow 10 or so clicks to left. Congrats, you’ve made a basic anaglyph. Enjoy.



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