Understanding 3D Technology: An Introductory Guide

Part 1. Overview of 3D

Simply speaking, 3D stands for 3 Dimensions or 3 Dimensional and refers to something with width, height, and depth.
• It is a complex mix of color, textures, virtual lighting and perspective to make the images appear three-dimensional.
• It is generally applied when something that is traditionally flat (two dimensional) such as a picture has depth added.
• It is a widely adopted entertainment technology used in 3D television, 3D movies or 3D images to distinguish them from their traditional flat version.

Part 2. How 3D Works

Both 3D TVs and 3D movies screens are flat, so how do they create a 3D image? In order to understanding the basic 3D technology techniques, it is important to first understand how the human sight works. Human beings have two eyes which are about 3 inches apart from each other. This distance between the two eyes produce two slightly different images which are transmitted to the brain. The brain will then make a space in where distance and depth can be perceived.

This is exactly how 3D technology works in order to produce this same kind of space in your brain. It tricks your brain into seeing depth that is not there by separating the images. By providing a different image to each eye it created the illusion of 3D. And the human being should then be wearing a set of 3D glasses that will help in dissecting this image and transmit it into the correct eye.

Part 3. Most Common 3D Movies/TV Formats Explained

1. Anaglyphs 3D

Anaglyphs was one of the first historical methods used for 3D stereoscopic visualization. It is still popular – because it is easy to make an anaglyph visualization setup. From the special equipment you need only red/blue or red/green glasses. The left eye usually uses red glass. There could be different colors of the right glass – cyan, blue or green.

The visualized scene is mixed from left and right images, each displayed in different color. The color glasses take care about image separation. The main trade of this technology is complete loss of color information. Each eye sees completely different color interpretation of the scene. The brain can reconstruct the color information from such data.

With just a pair of archetypical 3D glasses, you can watch the Anaglyph 3D videos on common TV, computer monitors and even the common portable devices.

Sample anaglyph image:

Anaglyphs 3D

2. Split Screen 3D

Split screen 3D includes Side-by-Side 3D and Top-and-Bottom 3D.

2.1 Side-by-Side 3D

SBS 3D, short for Side-by-Side 3D, has been a widely used 3D format besides frame-sequential 3D when airing 3D contents over cable onto 3D TV. In Side-by-Side 3D, a full 1080p or 720p frame is intended for both eyes at the same time with two halves on the left and right, and the entire frame for the left eye and right eye respectively scaled down horizontally to fit the left-half and right-half of the frame.

• Side-by-Side (Half-width): The left and right views of a 3D video are sun-sampled at half resolution. The Display will stretch each side to full width and display them sequentially.

• Side-by-Side (Full): The horizontal left and right material are shown at full resolution and stored side by side with doubled frame rates, better quality but bigger file.

Let‘s take a 720p (resolution of 1280*720) source video as an example.

 Side by Side (Half-width)Side by Side (Full)
Resolution of the left eye frame640*7201280*720
Resolution of the right eye frame640*7201280*720
Resolution of the entire frame1280*7202560*720

Sample image of SBS 3D:

Sample image of SBS 3D

2.2 Top-and-Bottom 3D

Top-and-Bottom 3D can be largely understood the same as SBS 3D, except that the entire frame for each eye is respectively scaled down in a vertical way to fit the top-half and bottom-half of the frame. The top-half frame is for the left eye while the bottom-half frame is for the right eye.

• Top-and-Bottom (Half-Height): Keep the resolution of the sources video.

• Top-and-Bottom (Full): Double the vertical resolution of the original video.

If you want to play a Side-by-Side 3D or Top-and-Bottom video, you need to get a 3D PC/ 3D TV and the assorted 3D glasses. And the visual effect of SBS 3D and Top-and-Bottom 3D videos is much better than that of Anaglyph 3D video.

Sample image of Top-and-Bottom 3D:

Sample image of Top-and-Bottom 3D

Part 4. How to Convert 2D Video to 3

VideoSolo Video Converter Ultimate is a 2D to 3D converter which can convert 2D video sources to 3D MKV, MP4, MOV, WMV, AVI, etc. with three types of 3D effects: Side-by-Side 3D, Anaglyph 3D and Top-Bottom 3D. After the 2D to 3D conversion, you can play your converted 3D videos on 3D TV, 3D video player or other 3D devices smoothly.

Convert 2D Video to 3D