CES 2012 Technology

ThreeD for DDDummies

[Editor’s note: contact the 3D version of Peter, email him at [email protected]]

For some years 3D TV content providers have been seeking overnight success. Heavily researched, beautifully made (mostly cartoon /animated) cinema productions have indeed captivated audiences, and stirred significant investment aimed at bringing the 3D viewing experience into the living room.  January’s CES showed how far we’ve come.

This technology review ain’t about that aspect of 3D.

There are many  instances of breakthrough high-end technology flowing through too much more mundane uses – remember CMX video editing systems (if you are old like me), character generators, computer graphics systems, and desktop publishing. How can the common man/company/school start to use 3D to improve its ability to communicate, inspire and impress?

As an example: consider a startup company wanting to explain its product and its financial opportunities to a number of crucial analysts – how to stand out from the rest?

Interestingly, at CES there were a number of attention-grabbing software and hardware concepts that indeed start one thinking about the worth of 3D beyond the high-end entertainment stratum. After all, 3D enhances the visual medium, and (done right) should augment the impact and value of everything from classroom-taught subjects, to corporate communications, to a broad range of packaging, R&D and medical development, and many more.

So this forward-looking team decides that 3D will add a new dimension to its impact on such a jaded group of  analysts, and appoints a ‘3D-izer’ to get familiar with the ‘state of the art’ in 3D, and become an early adopter. Here’s a couple of things the 3D-izer found.

RCA showed a software /hardware package that allowed the viewer – using a basically standard hand-held remote – to modify the look of a 3D video by changing the perceived depth of the 3D field. So the impact of the ‘3Dness’ could be set from ‘flat as a pancake’ to ‘in your face’.  Not fully baked yet but reveals how malleable the 3D experience may become – making an important figure ‘jump out ‘ of a graph (done subtly) should generate attention!

Why look at a picture when you can print a 3D object. Priced around $1,299 and with cartridges around $3 to $4, 3D printing looks like it will move from the machine shop to the backyard workshop.

A Hungarian company with the somewhat tortuous name Leonar3Do International Inc. (  ) brought their latest version of a 3D visualizer –my term for a tool that allows one to build a 3D construct in a work-space that artists,  teams and students can share interactively. A hard model to visualize but this YouTube video shows the concept well –if a 2D picture is worth a thousand words, a 3D picture must be worth at least the cube of the square root of a thousand. {See:}. Leonar3Do offers (among other products) a training package to get the 3Dizer up to speed on generating 3D ‘stuff’ efficiently

The 3D-izer adds all this innovative capability to some new entries into adjacent spaces, such as affordable 3D printers and ‘no-glasses 3D screens’. 3D Systems Corporation specializes in such 3D printers from home version for $1,300 to a production version for over $250k. A small wristwatch size object would cost about $3-5 per copy. The 3D-izer returns to his team and interactively builds a spectacular 3D presentation, and 3D prints an early version of their ‘Widget2.0’ product. The analysts are hugely impressed……….

This scenario is clearly ‘out there’ – however the opportunities for industry changing products, marketing creativity, and interactive invention bring a whole new dimension to the future of 3D.

Author Peter Lowten

| Website

2 replies on “ThreeD for DDDummies”

I struggle with getting excited about watching 3D but I get excited about producing it, so maybe this pancake to in your face thing is for me. I’d probably watch the pancake since my astigmatisms cause conflict with non-real 3D, but I am excited about the idea of producing full depth adjust-ability (flat 2D to round 3D if I interpret correctly).

Funny thing is I’ve had 3D editing capability for at least 2 years, but only used it for a demo in a presentation once. But I am excited about depth thing. I read recently that a still camera is coming out that will allow users to adjust what’s in focus. Fun stuff.

Gotta see you in 3D one of these days Peter. Maybe I’ll have 2 GoPro’s in waterproof case soon and could shoot you underwater in 3D. Take care. 🙂

Correct – the RCA technology allowed interaction to set (basically in real time) the 3D depth (Z axis) to zero – as you note ‘2D’ – all the way up to way past a ‘natural depth’ – ’round 3D’. As you clearly evince, the excitement is in what a user will find to do with the capability. This is just one of the tools that will be rolled out as 3D broadens its user base.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.