There is a growing popularity of 3D TVs, which are mostly used for watching 3D movies. Such TVs are able to reproduce volumetric photos taken as stereo. Many articles have been written about how to shoot stereo photos, but it is not said how to properly prepare the stereo photos you have taken for high-quality 3D TV reproduction.
It is necessary
- Computer running Windows XP / Vista / 7/8;
- Free StereoPhotoMaker (SPM) software available at
- Image files for stereopairs taken with any camera;
- USB flash drive or external hard drive;
- 3D TV for viewing volumetric photos.
Read the documentation for your 3D TV and look for the "screen resolution, pixels" setting, which is usually 1920x1080 (FullHD), but can be 1366x768 or 3840x2160 (UltraHD). As a result, it is desirable to get a stereo pair file with the size in pixels equal to the resolution of your 3D TV, otherwise moiré amplification may appear, which can reduce the quality of the volumetric image.
Download the SPM program from the link above. Unzip the ZIP file into a separate folder. The resulting executable file stphmkre.exe does not require installation. It will be possible to record photos for processing in the same folder.
Open the SPM program and press the [W] key to open the photo file, if it is one stereo photo, i.e. the left and right views are in the same file. With the [О] key you can open two files of separately taken stereo-photos for the left and right angles, which the program will combine into one stereo-photo, the so-called. stereo pair. If there is an open stereopair, the program menu will expand with additional commands for working with a stereopair.
After opening a stereopair, the [Alt-A] key performs automatic alignment of views, i.e. the left and right foreshortenings are transformed according to several parameters, for maximum coincidence of the contours of individual image objects. This will avoid the discomfort when viewing a volumetric image, which occurs when there is a discrepancy between the image in the left and right eyes, for example, in location, angle of rotation or image scale. The same action can be performed by the command from the program menu Adjust → Auto alignment.
Now we need to visually control the depth of the three-dimensional image. This can be done in several ways, by switching the program to the appropriate viewing method, which are found in the Stereo menu.
1) Adjustment View [F5] - adjustment of pictures. Under the stereopair there will be a picture with superimposed semi-transparent foreshortenings for evaluating alignment.
2) Interlaced [F4] - various options through line display of the picture on the screen. It is useful if a 3D monitor is connected to the computer, which supports such modes, which are named in the sub-items of the Interlaced menu.
3) Gray Anagliph - gray anaglyph, allows you to see a three-dimensional picture through anaglyph glasses, in the form of a picture in gray tones.
4) Color Anagliph - color anaglyph, the same as gray anaglyph, but with a color picture.
There are also other viewing options. Each view option and its sub-options can be enabled by the corresponding keyboard shortcut, which are indicated in the menu. Choose a convenient viewing option for yourself.
Press the [Enter] key to switch to full screen view and back.
If visual control shows that the picture looks unnatural, more distant objects seem closer than those in the foreground, then use the [X] key to swap the right / left views of the stereopair.
A three-dimensional image on a 3D TV screen will be comfortable to watch if the picture is in depth behind the plane of the screen. In front of the screen, it is comfortable to see only foreground objects that do not intersect with the left or right edge of the screen.To move foreground objects towards you or away from yourself, you must repeatedly press the [←] or [→] key. For a slow, but more precise shift of the image in depth, press the arrow keys while holding down the [Shift] key.
Sometimes the left and right angles differ markedly in color or brightness of the picture. By pressing the [Ctrl + K] key, you can automatically color-align the views. On the menu, this command is under Adjust → Auto Color Adjustment. In the submenu of this command, you can set the options which of the angles will be taken as a sample - left or right (Left Ref. Or Rigth Ref). However, if after such a procedure the result is worse, then by pressing the [Z] key or the menu command Edit → UNDO you can return to the previous state of the stereopair.
Some defects in the image of one of the foreshortenings can be removed if this defect is absent at the same point of the other foreshortening. To do this, use the clone brush. Cloning brush parameters are configured in the dialog box, which is invoked by pressing [Ctrl + N] or the menu command Edit → Clon brush setting…
Brush parameters: Shape - select the shape of the brush, Size - the size of the brush in pixels, Edge - the edge of the brush or hardness.
The clone brush does not work in all view modes. You can work with the clone brush, for example, in all types of anaglyph viewing and in the mode of showing two pictures side by side (Side-by-side, Above / Below). Then, while holding down the [Shift] key, moving the mouse cursor over one of the views, instead of the cursor, you will see the image of the brush specified in the shape and size settings, and in the same place of the other view, the same brush. By pressing the left button and moving the mouse, the pixels that fall under the brush will be copied from the left angle to the right. To change the exemplary angle, use the [X] key to swap the angles. Cloning always occurs in the plane of the screen, which means that it is necessary to precisely adjust the depth of the desired fragment of the picture in the plane of the screen before cloning using the [←], [→] keys.
Use the zooming of the picture by rotating the mouse wheel for a more detailed view of the picture. Use UNDO command if cloning fails.
After completing the elimination of all defects using the clone brush, return to the convenient stereopair viewing mode. Use the [F] key to display the entire picture within the dimensions of the screen and perform step 7.
The SPM program allows you to add design elements to the image of a stereopair, such as frames of various types, text, logo, additional images, etc. These options are located in the Edit menu, which will not be described here, but which you can use to improve the appearance of a stereo pair on your TV screen.
After finishing the processing, you need to save the result to a file. When the resolution of the original photos is higher than the resolution of your 3D TV, the picture quality can be improved if the resolution of the stereo pair in pixels is adjusted to the resolution of your 3D TV. See step 1. Press [R] to open the resize dialog. Check the Keep Aspect-ratio line to keep the aspect ratio. In the X box: write the first number of pixels of your 3D TV's resolution. This is the horizontal dimension. This will change the value in the Y field. If it does not exceed the value of the second number of pixels of the resolution of your TV, then you do not need to change it, otherwise enter your value corresponding to the number of pixels along the vertical of your TV, and leave the reduced value in the X field as it is.
Without step 12, a moiré effect may occur, which can reduce the quality of the volumetric image. To make sure of this, try to save two files of a stereopair, one with resizing, the other without conversion for stereopairs that have a picture with regular fragments, such as a sea vest, a picket fence, a striped tablecloth, and compare the quality of these fragments on the screen for one and the other stereo pair option.
There are two ways to save a stereo pair file to a USB flash drive for viewing on a 3D TV.
1) in MPO format, by pressing the [Alt + S] key or by the menu command File → Save MPO file …
2) in JPEG format, using the [S] key or the menu command File → Save Stereo Image …
It is important for the second option to set a checkmark in the Alway save SBS format field of the file save dialog box. Otherwise, the stereo pair will be recorded as it is displayed in the program window, i.e. depending on the selected view mode, such as anaglyph gray.
If your TV sees MPO files, but does not play them, then try saving the stereo pair in JPEG format, with the extension *.jpg. After saving, replace the extension with *.mpo. Then the 3D TV will recognize this file as a 3D image and display the image on the screen in 3D. But this needs to be checked experimentally for your TV model.