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3D with ColorCode

ColorCode is a promoted system that is a version of an Anagraph. It uses blue and amber filters, and glasses. Amber on the left eye and blue on the right. The company that promotes it has a number of patents.

Although the Anagraph process itself has been in the public domain for over 150 years there are a few other patents, claiming specific adaptations of it.

If you want to read the technical explanation within their US patent 6687003 it is available at www.freepatentsonline.com/6687003.html. Its a fairly long document but as I understand it, what this says is that in addition to selecting two colours they are suggesting a special process involving channel separation and replacement used in combination with a multistage process colour correction process.

Normal Anagraph red/cyan on the left and Colorcode glasses on the right

The claimed advantages are better colours, and the images, when viewed within 3D glasses, in many cases are not greatly different. In their own online gallery there are some images that work very well,  some perhaps I would have left out, and when you look at the images without the glasses most are not greatly different to normal pictures, in a small number the separated shadows in another colour was very noticeable.

Given that the software to create this has to be bought, that the glasses are not so widely available and not a  wide variety available, you may wonder why I would give this system specific attention of the many available. The claim that interested me was that images could be printed and viewed as normal pictures or with the glasses in 3D. This opens up many possibilities and I felt justified in doing some in-depth experimentation to see what I could achieve.

I found I could download a trial version of their software and I had a pair of cardboard glasses that were  suitable, as this was the system that Channel 4 used in its recent 3D week, where it transmitted a range of programmes including several films in 3D. The glasses were given away in Sainsbury's stores. The company also offers a set of very expensive plastic/acrylic glasses (prices below), but no clip on glasses for wearers of glasses/spectacles. I found on eBay a far cheaper set of plastic glasses and some clip on glasses from China, that appear compatible, so ordered some of these. The company's view is that these break their patent, and were not happy to hear they were available, saying they would stop their production, however I think this is unlikely, as the patent is to a process and the glasses are just glasses with coloured filters. The company said the plastic glasses they produce fit over spectacles so they do not need to produce a clip on version. They also referred me to a collection of PDF files I could download. They were unable to suggest any distributor who would lend me a copy of the expensive plastic glasses to review.

Within one of the PDF's it makes the point that they feel its best to view using a colour calibrated screen, projector or TV. Anyone very involved in photography will have colour calibrated their screen and possibly a projector, but its unlikely they will have colour calibrated their TV. Ask a thousand people in the street how to colour calibrate their TV's, and if you got two that knew, that would be two more than I would expect. They also recommend viewing with specific lighting at 6500k, this is direct midday sun, white LED's or possibly some halogen lamps. This is not very practical for home use, where you are not about to relight your home just to see a few 3D photos. I have indoor daylight, daylight bulbs at 5500k on my photographic cool-lites, and a variety of normal room lights, including some halogen spots, and that's what I am testing the system under.

So what are the costs

Colorcode 3D editor costs US$102.99 or 69 Euro's.

Pro Glasses (plastic or acrylic) cost US$67.16 or 45 Euros each.

I think there is VAT and delivery on top of the Colourcode prices, except software downloaded.

Cheaper independently supplied glasses from China, via eBay cost me:-

  • 2 pairs of plastic glasses for  9.99

  • 1 pair of clip on glasses costs 4.50

  • both post free, but by slow post from China that took several weeks to arrive

If you want to check out the Colourcode system, see a gallery of some of their 3D images and find out prices of their software etc then take a look at www.colorcode3d.com

The Colourcode 3D Store is at www.colorcode3d.dk.

They also have a 3D slide bar available at US$208.96 or 140 Euro's. This is a slide bar to allow you to move a single camera a maximum of 120mm to get the images for the 3D effect.

All the prices quoted here for both UK and European are excluding VAT and delivery costs which may be added at point of purchase.

A UK supplier of some 3D viewing systems is Imago 3D and their website is www.imago3d.co.uk/homeFrame.htm

My test

I am in the process of carrying out a test of this system using the Demo (free) version of their software. The purpose of my test is not just to see what I could possibly achieve under controlled conditions here, but to see how the images that I can create can be viewed by others under a multitude of conditions. If I were to put images on a website, I could not specify that all screens had to be calibrated, and if I put 3D photos and a set of glasses in a food book, people must be able to use it in their own homes, so it has to work under many types of lighting. So this is not an academic test, but a practical test looking at what can be achieved and how practical it is to deploy in everyday situations. Once I have completed the test I will write up the results and include it in a later edition of our newsletter, you will also be able to access it through our 3D Section.

For now if you want to see more images produced by this method then Colorcode have a photostream of images available on Flickr, take this link to take a look www.flickr.com/photos/colorcode3d/

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


By: Keith Park   Section: 3D Section Key:
Page Ref: colorcode Topic: 3D  Last Updated: 02/2010

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