180 3D illustrations

One spin off from receiving the new VUZE XR camera has been an interest to test 3D illustrations. From an artistic point of view, the main interest was to see if it was technically possible and what if anything the results might be. In order to test the theory, we need to have something to photograph that works in 3D e.g. something that conveys the feeling of depth. I decided to do a little scene around a few mugs, some books and a builders hat.

3D sample image

The resultant 3D image when viewed in an appropriate viewing device really does give the 3D effect. The image was exported onto A3 paper and the left and right eye image separated. I then used a pencil, a blank sheet of paper and a cheap A2 LED light box to trace over the top of the image. This was repeated for both left and right hand side images and the pencil tracings then copied over in inke pen.

Once both images were complete, they were then scanned and joined in the top bottom format that works with the Kuula image hosting application. I then viewed each image (the photo and the line illustration) and yes, technically it is possible to create a 3D illustration. There are a few caveates however:

1. Tracing an image us not easy. It might have technically been easier to trace and image using a drawing application such as Serif Affinity or Adobe Illustrator.

2. Accuracy is important. In order to get the best results, the left and right eye copies need to be accurate renditions. Any misalignment will show and ensure the image has less impact.

3. Colour and or tone would be useful to give the shapes form. Whilst the outline does work, the bright white of the background and stark black of the lines make it tiresome to view for prolonged periods.

4. Line weight when used carefully can be useful to stress edges of shapes in a manner similar to technical illustrations.

5. Illustration composition can be a useful tool to exploit the 3D experience. There would appear to be a sweet zone from around 40cm to around 100cm. Within this zone, clarity of illustration is good. Less than 40cm and the subject matter can be too close making the viewer work to get the 3D effect. Beyond 100cm and detail is harder to include and the 3D effect starts to become less apparent.

Applications for illustrative 3D images could range from technical through to medial and beyond. It is certainly an effect that I think offers some great potential. Most viewers will simply see the left eye view if they cannot view as a 3D. The Kulla image hosting application allows for a number of potential interactive functions. These should however be included to the left eye (top) in order for them to show through. This would then allow the view to navigate through images as needed.

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