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Project - Taking a 3D Garden Shot

The objective of this project is to gain experience in 3D photography with what is often the normal subject distance for 3D photography, with nothing too close.

In order to do this you will need:

The process is fairly simple:-

  1. Decide on the photo composition.

  2. Work out the settings as if we were taking a single photo.

  3. Work out the Stereo Base.

  4. Set the camera on manual.

  5. Take the left image.

  6. Slide the camera to the right by the Stereo Base and take the second image.

  7. Put the 3D image together in software.

Deciding on the photo composition

Ideally we don't want anything too close to the lens, so perhaps around 2 to 3 metres to the nearest items and we don't want any extremes in the background distance either. If we can we would like to use a 35-80mm lens, so that the image is similar to what we would see with our eyes.

The more we have at different distances the greater the 3D image effects will be.

Work out the settings as if we were taking a single photo

We want to determine the aperture  so we have enough depth of field   for the focal length we have chosen. 3D photos are best with everything in focus.

Having decided on the other settings make a test shot to make sure you are happy with this and then make a note of the settings.

Work out the Stereo Base

The stereo base may be able to be guessed in this situation, if you have a normal'ish length lens, then taking two photos with the lens shifted around the distance between the human eyes will work, it will also work larger than this increasing artificially the 3D effect. As we move away from the 40-60mm range the need to determine the best stereo base becomes more important. See the article 3D Photography Stereo Base  for more information plus details on where to download a free program to work it out for you.

Set the camera to Manual

Now set up the settings you noted before, use manual rather than the other setting, so the two images are taken with the same settings.

Take the left image

I always suggest people get into the habit of shooting left then right, also with panoramas shooting from left around to the right, just simplifies things, you know with a set the sequence they will always be in. If you are taking several versions of a stereo pair then its a good idea to put a marker between them, this could just be a photo of your hand or something.

Slide the camera and take the second image

Slide the camera sideways, being careful to keep it parallel and not to mess up any of the settings. The amount to move it sideways is the stereo base figure you worked out above. The second photo is taken with the same settings.

Often in practice I take the left image then take several right images increasing the distance from left to right, this means that afterwards, back at my desk, I have a choice of stereo bases to work with.

Create the 3D image with a software package

I suggest in this case that you use Anabuilder, its free and its the one I often use. You can see more about it with a link to download a version for yourself in the article on Software to Make 3D Images.   

To start with make the images go back beyond the screen or page, this is achieved by sliding the two images so the front items lines up. Once you have mastered this you can play with items that stick out of the screen, but this tends to be more difficult to get right. Try also sliding one layer on another while you view it with 3D glasses and you will see the effects you can get.

What have we achieved

I would hope that you have a 3D image that you can see with the glasses on screen, can print out and using the glasses allow others to see. You will also have gained an insight into 3D, its not as difficult as many imagine, and maybe it will encourage you to experiment with it more. You can also take 3D scenic photos far simpler hand held, and once you have gained the basics you can go on to more. Remember that every photo is also potentially a free standing photo as well as a part of a 3D set, so when out sometimes you can take photos that may or may not be used as a 3D  image, deciding afterwards.

If you want you can expand this project to take further shots either outside or inside, such as the ones below.

See Also our 3D Section for more articles and projects on this topic.


By: Keith Park   Section: 3D Section Key:
Page Ref: 3D_Project_garden Topic: 3D  Last Updated: 01/2010

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