FVEA 442/642 | Explorations in Stereoscopic Imaging: from Wheatstone to VR / 2020

“Stereopsis is more like a feeling than a perception” -Josh Greer

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Unless they are in purely anaglyph format the stereoscopic still image pairs embedded on this page are formatted for cross-eye free-viewing.  The movie images are in parallel side-by-side and can be viewed on a 3D capable HDTV or other 3D viewer (except for the YouTube videos which while encoded to play as side-by-side are forced to red/cyan anaglyph by the YouTube HTML-5 player)

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Evolving Class Schedule for 2020:
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  • September 14
    Week 1
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    Personal introductions via initial Zoom meeting. Discuss and demonstrate concepts of depth perception via both binocular and motion parallax depth cues  Comments on the primary differences experienced with fixed POV stereoscopic displays versus the interactive parallax provided via the variable POV of head tracked HMD’s etc.   An overview of the various techniques that we will use to view and produce 3D imagery in this online version of the course. Confirm student physical mail addresses in order to send out Anaglyph, Chromadepth, and Pulfrich Effect glasses.  A look at the course website from previous years as an example of what topics students might request we pursue this year in light of the physical limitations of an online version of the course.
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    A lesson on the free-viewing of stereoscopic pairs via the cross-eye free viewing technique demonstrated by vocaloid characters Hatsune Miku (with Red rather than Cyan hair in an oblique reference to anaglyph 3D), and Kagamine Rin, in a very kawaii instructional video by Terry Hor.  We will view a video of the amazing glasses free viewing technique from the creative people at the Brazilian studio Jonathan Post. This will be followed by a conversation on a range of approaches to glasses free 3D including those posted on the course page on Autostereoscopic Imaging.
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    If we can distribute stereoscopes to class members this early in the course then it may be possible to remotely view stereoscopic versions of Part I, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 of Brian May’s brief History of 3D, .  If not we will view this essential video later in the term.
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  • September 21
    Week 2
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    A presentation on Ken Jacobs’ development of “the propeller” which he based upon his friend Alfons Schilling‘s rotating shutter device. The rotating shutter does not simply alternate two projected images, but provides for a moment of black between the images which causes the images to be processed differently in the visual cortex than directly alternating them would. I  fabricated a similar propeller out of Gator Board for Joshua Solondz to use for a double 16mm projection piece that he performed in the 2014 course exhibition, ZONE.
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    Well before I learned of Ken Jacobs work with rotating shutter wheels I was familiar with their use in the psychedelic light show work of the late sixties for film projectors, slide projectors, and overhead projectors. In my work with the historic multi-media lightshow ensemble, Single Wing Turquoise Bird,  we made extensive use of shutter wheels.  I recall an extraordinarily mesmerizing experience  that occured while projecting shutter wheel flickered and overlaid B&W images from multiple projectors at a Pinnacle concert by  The Velvet Underground. Their set concluded with a performance of Sister Ray which wrapped up with a hypnotic droning wall of sound perfectly matched by our intensely flickering imagery. When the band suddenly ceased playing upon a single loud tom-tom drum hit by Moe Tucker, there was dead silence.  Fully entranced, the lightshow members continued projecting for a few moments before going black, then after a few more moments of silence the audience snapped out of their trance and erupted with loud applause. Unforgettable!  In 1969 the SWTB was invited to participate in a series of performances and installations during a group show in Brookside Park, South Pasadena.  I suggested that instead of attempting a  typical multi-projector image performance in the ambient light of the park that we make use of single projector flicker to create a variant of Brion Gysin’s famous Dreamachine.  Spectators looked into the flashing cone of projected light with closed eyes as they would with a Dreamachine. As the speed of the spinning shutter was gradually varied in the range of around 8 to 15 cycles per second, people experienced bright, complex patterns of shifting color. I recall the smiles of people bathed in the flickering light of the cone while others (not yet smiling) were crowding in on the edges of the cone hoping to get their turn in the light.
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    View Ken Jacobs’ videos, Capitalism: Slavery, and Capitalism: Child Labor which extend the basis of his live Nervous System Performances.   Discuss the method that Jacob’s employs to direct the viewer’s gaze upon particular aspects and individuals in the scenes by slowly shifting the horizontal positioning of the images so that homologous points in the left and right images align at a zero parallax point –thus minimizing alternating image induced wiggle motion at those points.  For these digital videos he is utilising a method that is related to the techniques we will use later in a hands on workshop employing the online Stereogranimator program from the NYPL.  View filmmaker and poet Jack Smith tumbling down the sidewalk in an excerpt from one of Ken Jacobs‘ original Nervous System film-performances: Two Wrenching Departures,
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    Jacobs has expanded upon the digital image processing technique used in the Capitalism pieces to perfect the application of the underlying phenomenon he has termed Eternalisms.  You can learn more about the basics of  process and its more complex variations in his comprehensive Patent document. We will view his video, Rubble, which demonstrates some of the refinements being developed with the Eternalism process.
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    In 2018, Los Angeles Filmforum, Acropolis Cinema, REDCAT, LACMA, and 3-D SPACE presented some of the work of Ken and Flo Jacobs in conjunction with LACMA’s exhibition 3D: Double Vision.  Members of the 2018 course were able to attend some of those shows, including the live Nervous Magic Lantern performance at the REDCAT, however we are not that fortunate this year.
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    As mentioned earlier we will able to work with a process that is somewhat related to Ken Jacob’s work early flicker work.  We will have a remote class demonstration and hands on workshop utilizing the NYPL hosted stereopticon card collection and their online Stereogranimator program. This interactive viewing program provides a direct means for comprehending the way that the alignment and horizontal shifting of congruent points in a stereoscopic image pair determines the zero parallax plane (as experienced through the wobbling alteration of left and right viewpoints known as wiggle stereoscopy).
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    Please use the following links to Masuji Suto’s smartphone apps for either Android or iOS mobile device apps, 3DSteroid, and i3DSteroid, and download the appropriate app to your personal device in preparation for next week’s class meeting when we will experiment with the “cha-cha” technique for shooting and editing 3D photos.

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  • September 28
    Week 3
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    We will take up where we left off last week and jump into shooting cha-cha process images using Masuji Suto’s smartphone apps for Android and iOS mobile device apps, 3DSteroid, and i3DSteroid. We will explore the various viewing and image saving options with those apps, Students will shoot cha-cha shot stereo pairs and learn to adjust various parameters and view the results in various display formats.
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    We will move on to an exploration of the Pulfrich Effect (first described and demonstrated by stereographic researcher Carl Pulfrich in 1922) and its relation to the cha-cha and wiggle method of stereogram creation.  The stereoscopic illusion of the Pulfrich effect is created by placing a neutral density filter over one eye to dim the image in the visual system while the other eye remains unfiltered.  The dimmed image reaches the visual cortex later the the undimmed image. When viewing a scene with horizontal motion the mind interprets the temporal offset as a spatial offset resulting in a stereoscopic fusion of left and right eye images.View Todd E. Gaul’s classic video, Demonstration of the Pulfrich Effect: NC State Fair.  View other work utilizing the Pulfrich Effect, including Jim Ellis’s Touch Designer video Scroggins Beach, and my first CG animation film,  1921>1989 , which was intended to use left and right image stereoscopic frames, however only the left eye render exists due to the corruption of a data tape that made it impossible to render the right eye. Since the left eye virtual camera was aimed  toward the center of the scene and animated on a circular path around the animating objects, viewing the film through Pulfrich Effect glasses results in a stereoscopic experience –with a few peculiar anomalies caused by individual object motion working against the constant horizontal drift.
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    Elements in Santiago Caicedo’s film Moving Still  (Moving Still cross-eyewere shot from a moving train in order to exploit stereoscopic motion parallax to create a hybrid live action and stereoscopic CG animation film.  The extraction of stereoscopic pairs from that lateral motion of the train is conceptually  related to both the cha-cha method of shooting 3D images and the Pulfrich Effect.  Caicedo recorded an urban scene outside the window of a moving train with a camera perpendicular to the lateral motion of the train. He then extracted sequential frames from the video leveraging the horizontal offset to create left and right stereoscopic pairs similar to the still photography cha-cha technique.  A diagrammatic breakdown of his process is available in French (auto-translatable into rough English via Google translate) on his 2008 website.  Please note that in his diagrams C.G. refers to Caméra Gauche (left camera) and C.D. refers to Caméra Droite (right camera).  Norman McLaren also used a technique based on a variant of Pulfrich’s discovery wherein he used a one frame temporal offset of filmed Lissajou patterns rotating on an oscilloscope to construct the left and right frames in his optically printed 1951 stereoscopic film  Around is Around.
    .Working in the F105 CG Lab ca.1989 with a Wavefront Preview Cross-Eye Wireframe of 1921>1989
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  • October 5
    Week 4.
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    An introduction to  3D Drawing and Painting via the course page on the topic, opening with a look at a copy of Jim Long’s  2D to 3D conversion of Rene Magritte’s 1966 version of his seminal 1929 painting, The Treachery of Images. While Jim Long utilizes the ‘select and shift’ method which allows for a precision as fine as single horizontal pixel shifts in sliced regions of the image, conversions are often done via a grayscale image used as a horizontal displacement depth map.  Freehand drawing and painting in stereoscopic 3D is difficult, but it can be done —and in fact for many years it was the only approach possible. The very first stereoscopic drawings were created and exhibited in 1838 by Charles Wheatstone in order to demonstrate the binocular basis of  depth perception.  We jumped around on the site page spending some time learning about the stereoscopic drawing work of Norman McLarenand the exploitation of binocular rivalry by artists such as Alan Ammann, Josh Shaffner, and Salvador Dalí. The use of depth maps to convert 2D images to 3D will be explored through lecture and a viewing of portions of several video demos.  An account of how the difficulties encountered in hand drawing stereoscopic pairs with a pencil, straight edge, and protractor lead to a search for a mechanical drafting solution to allow an assisted form of freehand drawing where both drawings could be made with a single stroke.  We  will view J.T Rule’s 1939 patent for  an Apparatus for Producing Stereographic Drawings, then have a look at the pantograph arm approach described in R. L. Gregory’s seminal 1970 book on visual perception, The Intelligent Eye. and the work of Vladimir Tamari , a Palestinian artist, inventor, type designer, and physicist who is the inventor of several generations of the 3DD stereoscopic drawing instruments.  A discussion of the  SANDDE real-time digital stereoscopic hand drawing and painting system developed by IMAX founder Roman Kroiter will be followed by a viewing of a 2014 preview trailer of an early version of Drew Skillman and Patrick Hackett’s stereoscopic VR drawing application Tilt Brush.  A video exploring Glen Keane’s use of Tilt Brush on an early prototype of the HTC Vive to create Step into the Page for the 2015 edition of the Future of Storytelling conference will then lead into discussing the Google acquisition the Skillman&Hackett company and hiring Drew and Patrick to work with a team of engineers at Google to further develop Tilt Brush.
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    sleepingWoman_14_cropped

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  • October 12
    Week 5
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    INDIGENOUS PEOPLES DAY
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  • October 19
    Week 6
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    Visiting artist Eric Kurland will join us via anaglyph 3D Zoom to present his work and discuss many of the options that students have available to work in 3D.  Eric is the Founder and Executive Director of 3-D Space: The Center for Stereoscopic Photography, Art, Cinema, and Education, the Director of the LA 3-D Movie Festival, and past President of the LA 3-D Club (2010 to 2015). In addition to his service to the 3D community, Eric has worked for a range of commercial clients including, Film Roman Animation, Nintendo Of America, National Geographic, and NASA/JPL.Eric was lead stereographer for the animated short film Maggie Simpson in The Longest Daycare, and worked on the Google Spotlight Stories’ VR production, The Simpsons: Planet of the Couches, He also served as the 3D Director for the band OK Go’s music videos, White Knuckles, and All is Not Lost.  He has long been a proponent of low budget Do-It-Yourself (DIY) approaches to 3D production and exhibited at the Bay Area Maker Faire Maker Faire every year from 2011 to 2019. For the OK Go videos Eric used two hacked Canon PowerShot TX-1 cameras, with a control switch built into an Altoids tin.
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  • October 26
    Week 7
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    We will have a lecture and demonstration on the nature of chromostereoscopy and the development of the Chromadepth process.  A look at Luca Cioci’s class project, Chromadepth Loop,  exhibited in LOCI: THE  2015 Explorations in Stereoscopic Imagery Course Exhibition. An introduction to two video interviews with artist, actor, and writer, Leigh McCloskey provides some insights into his expanded chromostereoscopic painting, The Hieroglyph of the Human Soul.  In previous years courses the viewing of  a vintage 30 second Crayola 3D Sidewalk Chalk commercial spot, Welcome to My World was followed by a visit to the G-Lab Courtyard (officially the Mark Taper courtyard) to experiment with drawing on the pavement with pieces from a Crayola 3D Sidewalk Chalk kit while wearing Chromadepth 3D glasses.  Since we are doing the class online this year we will instead consider examples of chromosterescopic media and consider what methods might be interesting  to explore while working from home.
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    A 360º spherical projection of the 2016 class after our experimental Chromadepth drawing session

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  • November 2
    Week 8
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    We will take at look at a range approaches used in the creation of autostereoscopic imagery.

    Since the invention of the stereoscope people have desired to create binocular imagery that did not involve the encumbrance of placing ones face into a viewing device or the wearing of special glasses. Many solutions have been put forward, but to this date none have provided an illusion of depth as convincing as that of natural binocular vision. The quest for comfortable unencumbered 3D continues to drive innovation, however the following technique does not appear to actually meet either criteria –and is a
    great spoof of the notion that 3D glasses are a seriously restrictive encumbrance.

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  • November 9
    Week 9

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    Work on and discuss individual projects.

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  • November 16
    Week 10
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    Continue working on and discussing individual projects.
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  • November 23
    Week 11
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    Continue working on and discussing individual projects.
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  • November 30
    Week 12
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    Continue working on and discussing individual projects
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  • December 7
    Week 13
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    Continue working on and discussing individual projects.
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  • December 14
    Week 14
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    Semester wrap up discussion.