Illusion of Depth and Space (15/22) - Colour 3D Anaglyph of 3D Anaglyph (Red and "Green") Stereoscopic Glasses

Modelled using Maxon's Cinema 4D CGI package.


Colour 3D Anaglyph of a pair of 3D Anaglyph (Red and "Green") Stereoscopic Glasses


To view this image in 3D you should use a pair of anaglyph 3D glasses. These have a red filter over the left eye, and cyan (greeny blue coloured) filter over the right eye. Viewing the image through these type of glasses in a smaller size may enhance the 3D illusion.


Some anaglyph glasses have "weaker" cyan filters that also allow some red light through. This is intended to enhance the colour vision experience. This is at the expense of poorer separation between the left and right eye views. For this reason, the contrast of the image has been reduced (with no pure blacks) to minimise ghosting. All 3D illusions depend to some extent on the human's brain playing along, however.


WARNING! Be aware that looking at 3D anaglyph glasses in 3D using 3D anaglyph glasses may cause a rupture in time and space.


A very much better full colour 3D system - RealD - is developing in cinema. Circularly polarized filters in glasses is used to separate the left and right eye views (using clockwise and anti-clockwise polarization), even if you tilt your head. A special screen preserves reflected polarization. The screen is also brighter / more reflective, which helps because at least half the light is removed by efficient polarizing filters. A very quickly alternating circularly polarizing liquid crystal shutter is placed over - and synchronised with - the cinema digital video projector - making the experience ficker free. A key mover is Lenny (Leonard) Lipton who has had a lifelong passion for 3D. He also, coincidentally, co-wrote the lyrics to the enduring hit Puff the Magic Dragon, originally performed by Peter, Paul and Mary back in 1963.


Some nice 3D galleries of both anaglyphs and SIRDS can be found


Part of a set of photos exploring illusions of depth and space.

  • m anima 5y

    Awesome photo! I just wanted to let you know that I used your photo in a post about 3D on

  • Dan Mountford 5y

    hi. very cool.
    how do you seperate the filter in c4d?
    thank you. :)
  • Dominic Alves 5y

    You should research all the alternative methods, but this is the method I used to create the final file. (It is likely that many current versions of 3D modelling packages will have 3D stereographic rendering features "built in".)

    ● I created two scene cameras in Cinema 4D (looking in the same direction) and separated them sideways by the equivalent of about 6cm - the distance between an observer's eyes - using a scale in proportion to the size of the model being observed. (Both cameras can then be made a child of a single Null Object, to preserve the separation between the two cameras. If subsequent changes need to be made to the placement of the camera pair, the Null Object should be moved and rotated.)

    ● Each camera was then angled inwards a little, their viewpoint crossing at the centre of the model. (This is called "toe in" - some people dispute the need for this. I have assumed that my flickr 3D anaglyphs images will normally be viewed small, on a computer screen, a short distance from the viewer, and so have estimated the points of view of each eye accordingly.)

    The point at which the two camera central "lines of sight" cross is on a plane with the screen. Objects further away appear "behind" the surface of the screen; objects nearer to the camera than the crossing point appear "in front of" the screen.

    ● A full colour render was done separately for both the "left eye" camera and also the "right eye" camera.

    ● The two images were then layered in Photoshop.

    The most common colour separated anaglyph 3D glasses use filters allowing red light into the left eye, and mostly cyan (blue and green) light into the right eye (but see note at the foot of this comment for other colour options)*. Accordingly:

    ● For the "left eye" view, remove the blue and green colour in Photoshop by setting the respective channels to 0% in ▶ ImageAdjustmentsChannel Mixer. (For output channel Green, set the Green Source Channel to 0%; for output channel Blue, set the Blue Source Channel to 0%.) The resulting image should look "black and red".

    ● For the "right eye" view, remove the red colour in Photoshop by setting the red channel to 0% in ▶ ImageAdjustmentsChannel Mixer. (For output channel Red, set the Red Source Channel to 0%.) The resulting image should look "black, green, cyan and blue".

    ● Change the top layer blending mode in the Layers palette from Normal to Lighten.

    ● Flatten the image. (▶ LayerFlatten Image.)

    Hope this helps.

    Note that different people will have different measurements for the distances between their eyes (Pupillary Distance /PD), it is not possible to know how far they will be from the screen, or how big the screen will be, and the focus of attention of different people will differ for the same scene, so stereographic 3D is problematical. Film Directors / Camera men and women / Cinematographers have always had to decide on the focus of each scene. If you get bored while watching a railway dining car scene in a film, you can - for example - try to look out of the train's dining car window. Unlike in real life - the view will probably be out of focus, over exposed, the wrong white balance and indistinct through motion blur. 3D film makers often additionally have to make fine adjustments to the "left eye" and "right eye" camera angles on a scene by scene basis - or physically rearrange the depth layout/composition of the set, so that - for example - a nearby wine glass on the table - does not appear (for the "average" viewer, at least) too close to their nose.

    *Any complementary colour pair (provided you can find the coloured filters to match) can be used for the filtering purpose of separating left and right eye views. Sometimes people even try to patent one colour pair, and so other pairs arise, to avoid / reduce potential licensing fees. This is why the last Channel 4 "3D season" used Sainsbury's distributed / supported Blue and Amber / Yellow glasses, instead of the more common Red and Cyan glasses. In Photoshop, to convert an anaglyph image between different "colour pair" formats, just use: ▶ ImageAdjustmentsHue/Saturation and use the Hue: slider.
  • Dan Mountford 5y

    woah yes thank you!!!
    they do have plugins but they arent what I want.
    Ive tried this method and its works great. thanks a lot!
  • lacanvas 5y

    Hello! Great job! We are also using your image for an article about 3D.

    Keep up the great work :-)
    LA Canvas Magazine
  • Alan Kotok 4y

    Thanks for the Creative Commons license on this terrific photo. We used the image on the Science Business blog; see
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Taken on March 21, 2009
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