Friday, March 12, 2010

AVATAR - How 3D MOVIEs Works...

Binocular Vision

Photo courtesy Dan Metz
View-Master viewer
Most human beings come equipped with two eyes and an absolutely amazing binocular vision system. For objects up to about 20 feet (6 to 7 meters) away, the binocular vision system lets us easily tell with good accuracy how far away an object is. For example, if there are multiple objects in our field of view, we can automatically tell which ones are farther and which are nearer, and how far away they are. If you look at the world with one eye closed, you can still perceive distance, but your accuracy decreases and you have to rely on visual cues, which is slower.
To see how much of a difference the binocular vision system makes, have a friend throw you a ball and try to catch it while keeping one eye closed. Also try it in a fairly dark room or at night, where the difference is even more noticeable. It is much harder to catch a ball with only one eye open than with two eyes open. If you want to try a quick test of your binocular vision, visit this Web site.
The binocular vision system relies on the fact that our two eyes are spaced about 2 inches (5 centimeters) apart. Therefore, each eye sees the world from a slightly different perspective, and the binocular vision system in your brain uses the difference to calculate distance. Your brain has the ability to correlate the images it sees in its two eyes even though they are slightly different.
If you've ever used a View-Master or a stereoscopic viewer, you have seen your binocular vision system in action. In a View-Master, each eye is presented with an image. Two cameras photograph the same image from slightly different positions to create these images. Your eyes can correlate these images automatically because each eye sees only one of the images.

Photo courtesy Dan Metz
When you use a View-Master viewer, it's easy to see how your binocular vision system works.
3-D Viewing
In a movie theater, the reason why you wear 3-D glasses is to feed different images into your eyes just like a View-Master does. The screen actually displays two images, and the glasses cause one of the images to enter one eye and the other to enter the other eye. There are two common systems for doing this:

Red/Green or Red/Blue
Although the red/green or red/blue system is now mainly used for television 3-D effects, and was used in many older 3-D movies. In this system, two images are displayed on the screen, one in red and the other in blue (or green). The filters on the glasses allow only one image to enter each eye, and your brain does the rest. You cannot really have a color movie when you are using color to provide the separation, so the image quality is not nearly as good as with the polarized system.

The red and blue lenses filter the two projected images allowing only one image to enter each eye.
At Disney World, Universal Studios and other 3-D venues, the preferred method uses polarized lenses because they allow color viewing. Two synchronized projectors project two respective views onto the screen, each with a different polarization. The glasses allow only one of the images into each eye because they contain lenses with different polarization.

The polarized glasses allow only one of the images into each eye because each lens has a different polarization.
There are some more complicated systems as well, but because they are expensive they are not as widely used. For example, in one system, a TV screen displays the two images alternating one right after the other. Special LCD glasses block the view of one eye and then the other in rapid succession. This system allows color viewing on a normal TV, but requires you to buy special equipment.

3-D glasses with red/blue lenses