Does the 3D future start
or is it already here ?
By the time you read this article it will
have been written in the past, maybe a few days, maybe longer.
In that time more announcements will have
been made on items that existed at the time this was written, but I am as
yet unaware of any new developments yet to be announced will have been made.
Currently we are in the middle of a
recession or depression, but we constantly see new developments, some become
a commercial reality some get lost.
3D is now a reality, lets look at what is
happening now, and what we might expect to see at some time.
In the last month I have seen, and used for
the first time, two 3D televisions, both exhibited at the Ideal Home Show,
and using two different technologies, one polarising lenses, the other
One TV by LG used
polarising glasses, and will be stocked by ASK, but not yet, their website
is at www.askdirect.co.uk,
produced a good effect and was pleasant to watch, and with loads of cheap
polarising glasses it was easy to get to see and watch for some time.
The second set was produced by Sony. The Sony
Bravia KDL-HX903 3DTV and was on the Virgin Media stand, this used the
shutter glasses and as there were only two pairs there was a long queue and
you didn't get to see it for long. Even so it was tough on your eyes. The
girl on the stand said that it was supposed to run off a Playstation3 but
their playstation3 had gone wrong and they were running without it, so the
results were not as good as they could be.
Sony have a section of their website devoted to 3D.
Sony have a range of 3D TV's, announced on
February 12th 2010, ranging in price from £1400-£3500 and includes 2 pairs
of special shutter glasses, more glasses cost £100 each. These are special
and other shutter glasses will not work with these sets.
announced 3D TV's to be available soon.
Panasonic have a 3D global site,
like Sony appear to be going to use shutter glasses.
few months back that it had carried out tests using its cable network to
send 3D TV and this could be done over their existing network as soon as
demand warranted it.
The BBC has said it plans for some of the
2012 Olympics to be in 3D.
plans to start transmitting in 3D by the end of this year, but have brought
this forward and the SKY 3D channel now goes live in a few days time, on
April 3rd 2010. They have over 1000 pubs signed up to show 3D TV of football
matches in May, so you should be able to get to see this technology in
action soon. Initially Sky subscribers on at least some of their
packages don't need to pay more for the 3D channel.
They have a
special section of their website on 3D services.
In some ways 3D TV is disappointing, its
using glasses still, while 3D without glasses is now available, and it may be
worth holding back for a year for the next generation of 3D TVs that don't
require you to wear special glasses.
If we have to wear special glasses perhaps we should question why we need
the TV screen at all, with our own screens built in we could even have
people in the same place watching different channels, or at different points
in the programmes or movie. Carl Zeiss has come up with 3D glasses that are
completely self contained, so no screen is required.
See a PDF on this.
In the last month the first two 3D laptop
computers have been announced, but I haven't seen these yet. I have also
read about the development of a 3D screen that does not require glasses,
similar to the one I saw on the back of the 3D camera at the Focus-on-Imaging show,
that will be in some of the next generation of mobile phones.
We are going to need 3D screens and
software, perhaps we will soon see a new Photoshop version with full 3D
support. A new version is due very soon now.
Nintendo have announced a new version of their
handheld games consul, the 3DS which will have 3D screens which don't need
the user to wear glasses. More details available in June 2010 and models in the
shops at the end of this year or early next.
I have also held and used at the Focus show
the first 3D digital consumer camera produced by
FinePix REAL 3D W1
with its own 3D 2.8 inch
LCD display screen on the back, and to go with it a 3D screen the Finepix
REAL 3D V1 that allows images to be viewed in 3D without the need of any
glasses. This is 400 by 600 pixels and 8 inches diagonally. This screen
worked well, although had a limited viewing angle. It uses what they call
barrier technology but is similar to a Lenticular print.
They also have available a processing printer
for event photography that produced 3D prints that again do not require
glasses to use, and I saw some of the images it produced. This produces
Fujiflim have a
available covering the
REAL 3D range. If you want to
see more on the camera, a point and shot model, then see its
instruction manual available as a Pdf,
and is available from
Some time ago now I had
3D photographs produced on a camera produced in Canada, this was in effect 6
Canon cameras in a box. In the last month I have also received some 3D
photos and details of a special device from a company in Ireland. So I have
now seen 3D photographs from 3 sources that do not require glasses to view.
Also the latest cinema block busters have set
new records, and is of course in 3D, as are many others now coming out.
On a visit to The Deep, an aquarium in
Hull, I watched two 3D videos.
have for a long time been able to take 3D photos with 1 or 2 cameras, and
to produce images that can be viewed with special glasses. I could also
produce from my 3D photos the glassless 3D prints but at the moment the
cost per image is to high.
currently 3D is available in the form of movies, and starting to become more
widely available in other ways.
So do we need two lenses for 3D?
Currently 3D movies and 3D photos are taken either with a single camera that
is moved between two or more photos or two or more linked cameras. With a
point and shoot you can produce a small camera with two lenses, but if you
were to produce a DSLR with two lenses and gearing to run these together it
would be bulky and expensive. For 3D to become main stream for everyone and
especially for DSLR users, we need a yet to be announced technology,
so lets look at what this might involve.
I get sent information on software that will
convert standard 2D (flat) photos into 3D, but have yet to experiment with
any, and have seen 3D generated from depth maps, where a single camera takes
a sequence of shots at different focus settings.
So imagine now in the future that your camera
was to burp rather than click and in this burp it took a rapid sequence of
images, at slightly different focus settings and then as you upload the
image some special software used this to take the first image and add a
depth mask, generating the image in 3D. Or perhaps the processing power of
the camera can do this and store the original image in a 3D format.
Can we expect to see 3D DSLR cameras?
Camera manufacturers like others need to bring
out new models, to have reasons why you will consider your expensive camera
to be obsolete and to buy the next new one. If we all were to say, our kit
is as good as we need and we have all we need now, then their sales would
drop to next to nothing with only new entrants and a few expanding
equipment, and this would not allow them to survive. So they bring out new
models, with new facilities, improvements and the like on a regular basis.
Recently these changes have been inconsequential and many of us will have
decided that the change does not justly further investment so there must be
a major drive now, and particularly as the recession starts to ease, to
bring out an offering we cannot live without. We never get to hear in
advance of Nikon or Canon new models, so the fact that we don't know if one
is coming or when it will appear is nothing different to the norm.
I would not be surprised to see others get in
first, perhaps Sony, LG or an extended range from FujiFilm. Canon got
into digital ahead of Nikon, and it took Nikon some time to recapture the
ground they had lost, and other manufacturers may see this as a way to
leapfrog the big two.
can print in 3D can also be expected, I am expecting to see printers that
print onto sheets of special transparent 3D material, where you turn the
sheet over to see the image through the sheet instead of having images on
the top surface as we do now. This must be attractive to printer
manufacturers as they could sell the material and special inks. The only
technically challenging part of this is you need to load the material
very accurately, but a small mark on the edge that the printer could detect
and locate its printing according to this may be the solution.
For magazines the process is likely to involve
either an overlay over 3D Photos or a special rapid dry plastic
encapsulation over the print, producing the same glasses free 3D images.
So expect to see books coming out with 3D
illustrations, magazines in 3D, and more, like the move to colour from black
and white once one does it the others will want to quickly catch up.
See more on 3D in the
section on 3D.