2D Images which have a 3D-Look

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jsch:
Hi,

I've read a lot about 2D images which have a 3D-look in this forum. I would like to put in, what I learned from a very skilled (old school) photographer years ago (I hope he was right, but you can test that yourself):

An image look 3D, if you look at the image under the same angle you saw the scene in real life. If you move back from the image, the angle becomes smaller and the image appears flatter. If you move closer to the image the 3D look becomes more pronounced.

To test this you need a image - not too small - with a content that looks familiar to you, best shot with 80 mm on MF or 50 mm on 35mm. Then hang it on the wall and approach it. If you are far away the image will look flat. At some point it starts to look 3D, if you come to close it has a very pronounced 3D-look.

The reason lies in human perception and the way your brain thinks how things should be. A lot of 3D perception has to do with that. For example: In real live you have 3D vision by triangulation (two eyes and the point you are looking at) in a range up to 10 meters. Every 3D impression further away comes from experience, objects where you know their sizes. And your perception can be easily fooled. Stage designers do this a lot. See the movie "Play Time" by Jacques Tati, there is a whole city built this way.

Hope that is true and you can verify this with the little experiment I described above.

Best,
Johannes

P.S.: That also describes why telephoto images look flat and wide angles look very 3D under usual circumstances - they narrow or widen the angle. But, you can make a large print and choose the right distance and even tele shots look 3D or wide angle shots look flat.

EricWHiss:
Thanks for posting this....all makes sense to me but I would not have thought about it in this way.

uaiomex:
Theory:
I've noticed that when looking through binoculars that have front elements more spread apart than human eyes, everything looks hyper 3D.

I have this theory that bigger formats have more 3D than smaller formats because they have the size that approaches or meets the distance between human eyes.

Just another crazy theory of me.

Regards
Eduardo

Ray:
Quote

The reason lies in human perception and the way your brain thinks how things should be. A lot of 3D perception has to do with that. For example: In real live you have 3D vision by triangulation (two eyes and the point you are looking at) in a range up to 10 meters. Every 3D impression further away comes from experience, objects where you know their sizes. And your perception can be easily fooled. Stage designers do this a lot. See the movie "Play Time" by Jacques Tati, there is a whole city built this way.
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I'm convinced that shallow DoF also plays a significant role in enhancing the 3-D effect, but (perhaps?) not so shallow that one cannot easily recognise the subjects that are OoF.

If you are trying to fool the eye, as in the movie set, by placing different sized objects in the same plane, such as a small model of a skyscraper next to a large model of a skyscraper, it might help to make one of them slightly out of focus. By doing so, any hint that the two buildings are really in the same plane and that the eye is perhaps being fooled, is dispelled because the brain knows you can't have in the same 2-dimensional plane two objects, one of which is out of focus.

It would be interesting to experiment with various effects. For example, a portrait taken with a long telephoto lens against a backdrop of mountain scenery. The mountain is going to look very close because it's been magnified by the lens. In fact it can appear to be just a few metres behind the subject when in fact it's several kilometres away.

Supposing we take one shot at f40 so the background mountain is as sharp (or as unsharp, depending on sensor size I suppose) as the subject and another shot at f11 which puts the mountain noticeably OoF and at the same time increases the sharpness of the subject.

Which shot will have the greater appearance of 3-dimensionality?

jsch:
Quote

I'm convinced that shallow DoF also plays a significant role in enhancing the 3-D effect, but (perhaps?) not so shallow that one cannot easily recognise the subjects that are OoF.

...
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In real world 3D this is the same: Just hold something at arms length and focus your eye to it. The background becomes blurry. If you focus (your eye) on the background the object in your hand becomes blurry.

In my understanding the 3D effect is most realistic, if the image represents that what you would see in real world, like looking through an empty frame.

With your eye you see two 2D images and your brain transforms this into 3D information. Just close one eye in an unknown space. But you can learn, someone who has only one can learn to deal with that. So things are a bit more complicated because perception is a very individual thing.

Best,
Johannes

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