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The History of 3D

The History of 3D

The box-office success of stereoscopic 3D blockbusters such as James Cameron’s Avatar and Disney’s Up showed cinema audiences everywhere just how impressive the latest 3D technology is, and also proved that the public was keen to see more 3D action. Following the success of these films came the advent of 3D televisions, which allow viewers to experience the power of 3D from the comfort of their own living rooms.

The technology certainly shows no signs of slowing down, with the most recent buzz being around 3D gaming. However, while it’s impossible to argue that the technology hasn’t improved in leaps and bounds over the past few years, it would be false to say that stereoscopic 3D is a new concept.

Stereoscopic 3D images have been in existence since the 19th century. Using a pair of 2-dimensional images shot from slightly different perspectives, a 3D illusion could be created by enhancing depth perception in the brain either using a binocular-like viewing device or lenticular paper..



The next big advancement in 3D technology came with the invention of “3D glasses” which, when put on, could create the illusion of a 3-dimensional image. Of course, the glasses only worked when looking at “anaglyphic” images; however, the technology was impressive enough that it led to the development of the first 3D films.

While they were popular at the time (particularly so in the 1950s), the technology behind 3D films in those days was very basic, and many who viewed them complained of sore heads and nausea, leading to a decrease in the popularity of the format.

However, the success of IMAX technology from the late 1990s onwards re-ignited the public’s love affair with the format, leading to “Digital 3D” and the recent spate of cinematic blockbusters.

The launch of 3D TVs has followed, with dedicated 3D channels now allowing viewers to make use of the technology from the comfort of their own home. Whilst the technology is still at an early stage, the number of channels becoming available for viewing on 3D TV is ever increasing

And with the advent of 3D televisions, comes the rise of 3D gaming. Sony’s PlayStation 3 supports 3D gaming and games like Super Stardust HD, PAIN and WipEout are all currently playable in PlayStation 3D. Similarly, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 has plans to support 3D gaming and Nintendo have unveiled the 3DS, the world’s first handheld 3D gaming system that even works without special glasses.

However, like 3D films, 3D gaming isn’t an entirely new idea either. The technique had been tried in the past, with systems like Nintendo’s Virtual Boy creating a 3-dimensional world for gamers as far back as 1995. However, the technology failed to catch on in the manner it was hoped it would, and the product was discontinued less than a year after its release.

The technology behind recent systems is much better however, and it would be acceptable to assume that 3D gaming, just like 3D television and movies, is now very much here to stay.

Janine Barclay writes for a digital marketing agency. This article has been commissioned by a client of said agency. This article is not designed to promote, but should be considered professional content.

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