Stereograms version 1.0

A Little Known Fact About This Program

Stereograms was the program used by the Dave Mathews band to create the cover of their first album, Two Things.

What are stereograms?

A stereogram is a two dimensional picture (either on your computer screen or printed on a piece of paper) that can appear three dimensional (like holograms) when viewed properly. To view a stereogram properly, each eye must focus on a different half of the stereogram, leaving the brain to fuse the two images together into one three dimensional image.

Helpful Ways to See the 3D Image:

*Make sure the stereogram is oriented parallel to your eyes. If you tilt your head sideways at all, the 3 dimensional image (stereogram) will disappear.
* Try to let the individual dots (pixels) go blurry. Pretend you are focusing on an object 6-12 inches past the stereogram (this should make the dots blurry).
* Place the stereogram in a well lit room.
* Relax your eyes and try to visually "drift" into the stereogram image.
* Place the stereogram behind a reflective surface, like a glass picture frame, and stare at your reflection. Your computer screen is such a surface. Alternatively focus on the stereogram and then at your reflection, since the 3D image lies somewhere between these two focus points.
* Try viewing the stereogram from extremely different distances (place it at your nose or across the room).
* Place the stereogram at the end of your nose, look straight ahead, and slowly move the stereogram away from you.

How does my program create stereograms?

The program needs two things from you to create a stereogram: a depth bitmap  with the numerical depths (or elevations) assigned and a background tile (which can either be a tile, or just randomly colored dots).

The depth bitmap with its numerical depths (or elevations) tells the program the depth (ie. how far off the screen or page each point should "float"). A simple depth bitmap might just be some concentric squares: Each color would then be assigned a unique elevation value (a number from 0 to 255) to represent its "elevation" (or distance that point should float above the screen). If a color is assigned the number zero, it won't "float" in front of the screen at all while a value of 20 indicates that a color should float 20 units above the screen.

The background tile picture is the picture which the program manipulates to create your final stereogram. The program scans through each pixel of the background tile picture (a row at a time) and makes copies of some of the pixels and shifts them to the right. The numerical depth value (or elevation) for the corresponding pixel in the depth bitmap determines how far to the right a pixel is shifted in the background tile. The picture that results from all the shifting of pixels is called a stereogram.

Here is an original picture that was converted into a stereogram

This is the resulting stereogram image created by the program.
Can you see the 3D skindiver and the fish?

Note: This program was originally developed by Jeff Smith and Rick Kwiatkowski.




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