September 2009

Last week a reader dropped me an email asking how I create “wiggle 3D” animations from my lenticular camera photos. He’d recently bought a Nishika N8000 package complete with flash, case and Vincent Price video and was eager to try his hand at it. Here, then, for all you Nishika users out there, is my workflow.

Step One: Create Individual Frames

The Nishika N8000 produces four frames simultaneously, each one slightly different from the others due to how its four lenses are angled. I usually get my scans back from the developer like this:

After post-processing (which I won’t go into), select and copy each of the four frames and save them as separate images. Just save them as jpg as these will be for Web use. Organize them into proper folders so you don’t clutter up your directories.

Step Two: Stack Frames

From the FILE menu, select SCRIPTS, then LOAD FILES INTO STACK. This opens your four frames as layers in a single image file. Make sure not to select “Attempt to Automatically Align Source Images.” We’ll be doing that manually in the next step.

Step Three: Align Images

Once the image opens, make sure your stacked layers are in the proper order. Select an anchor point from which to align each layer. I usually choose the subject’s eye or face. Play with the Opacity of each layer to make sure your alignment is correct.

Step Four: Crop Your Image

During the alignment process, you will invariably create gaps at the edges of your image. Make sure to crop your image accordingly.

Step Five: Animate Your Layers

Once your layers are aligned, open up the animation panel from your WINDOW menu. Click on the small pull down menu on the upper right of the animation panel and select “Make Frames from Layers.” This will create a four-frame animation 1-2-3-4. For smoother looping, copy frames 2 and 3 and paste into your timeline in this order: 1-2-3-4-3-2.

Step Six: Save for Web

From the FILE menu, select “Save for Web & Devices,” which allows you to save your image as an animated GIF. You may adjust the size and quality of your image before saving if you wish.

Here’s the finished product.

Rally in 3D @ Nishika N8000

Aquino Funeral Cortege Stereo Pair

I promised some of my readers that I’d post a 3D shot of the Aquino funeral cortege minus the epilepsy-inducing animation. So, I’ve prepared two versions of my favorite shot. The first (above this paragraph) is a stereo pair, which you can view using the cross-eyed technique or, if you print it out, with a stereo pair viewer. The second is a red-cyan anaglyph which you can view in 3D if you wear them funky 3D glasses.

Aquino Funeral Cortege Anaglyph

I actually prefer these two methods of rendering 2D photos into 3D over my sleight-of-eye animated shots. Using the proper gear or technique, your brain actually sees the image in stereo, just like you’d see in real life (if you have the use of both your eyes, that is).