Picture 1:
Using off-the-shelf software, this is a 2D to 3D conversion from one of the scenes of the AVATAR trailer. Note the roundness and depth of the male doctor’s body.
These pictures need to be seen on a screen at least 2 meters wide to get a true sense of the depth. As depth budget has been adjusted for such a screen size. You need a pair of red-cyan Anaglyph glasses to view.

There are some “tricks” that can be used when doing 2D to 3D conversions.

Read the rest in the Book, “THINK in 3D” via Amazon: Paperback & e-book (also on iPad via free kindle app)

  • Andy

    Very interesting article and your pictures looking great in 3D. Also the colors are very good, so I have no strange feeling when I looking on your pictures.

    Please, can you tell me which software you have used?

  • clydeD

    Thanks Andy.
    I guess what you mean by colors are good, is that there is no “retinal rivalry”. For an overview on how to create good anaglyphs read this post that was done earlier: http://realvision.ae/blog/2009/09/red-cyan-colo


  • Andy

    Thanks for your post.
    I am going to read the article you have linked to.



  • tareqhadrab

    in fact iam asking what is the main software that do the 2d 3d animaiton of avatar

  • clydeD

    There was NO 2d to 3D conversion in the final Avatar movie. This example above only was to demonstrate some of the techniques used in converting movies from 2D to 3D. Avatar was made completely with 3D in mind from the start.

    Meanwhile if you would like to know:
    A) what software to use to make 3D movies from the start, well most 3d rendering software like Maya etc will let you render left and right eye images from a scene

    B) To make 3D movies with a video camera, you need two cameras.

    C) To convert 2D to 3D, (older movies originally made in 2D) there is no one single software that does this (and if companies claim that there is or that they have hardware etc to do automatic conversions, as of today they are all full of problems and not true 3D)

    Meanwhile there are several methods and techniques to convert 2d to 3d, some of which are described above. They almost always need a lot of animators, and rotoscopy to do that. Read this document for more:

    Hope this helps.

  • steve

    What software are you using that includes a “depth from stereo” algorithm

  • nick4815162342

    Great article!
    Could you tell me which program you used? Like, the program which is shown in the pictures?

  • clydeD

    Sure Nick.
    It's the excellent and free stereo video maker (and stereo photo maker) http://stereo.jpn.org/eng/index.html

    If you want additional tweaking e.g to correct vertical disparity, rotoscope elements like the Chopper ect (which is in pseudo stereo above), Abobe after effects is the way to go.

    Then finally when we can afford it – The Foundry's Nuke!

    all the best!

  • nick4815162342

    Thanks a lot!

    I've been working with After Effects to convert 2D videos to 3D. I've been practicing with the Avatar trailer.

    Unfortunately, I don't have the luxery of filming with 2 (equally good) cameras, so I'm considering filming everything with green screen. And than using that footage to create multiple layers, to create depth and a clear difference between foreground and background.

    I've bought a lot of 3D movies (Coraline, The Final Destination, Shrek 3D, My Bloody Valentines Day and so on), to see what works out and what doesn't. And after that, trying to figure out HOW they did it. We're first going to finish the script (It's gonna be a fake-trailer with a maximum of 2 minutes). After that, we'll create a digital storyboard (in 3D, using multiple layers). After that, we're planning to film it using Lego. To practice how to film this and trying to figure out how to work with the camera during complicated shots. After that, we're planning on filming a trial version. And after that: The real deal.

    But honestly, I'm kind of a rooky to all this jargon. I don't know what vertical disparity or rotoscope elements are. Could you explain what they are?

    Could you help me out if I have any questions concerning how to make this film? I could keep you posted with the progress. It would be great if you could help us out.

    Greetings, Nick.

    PS: To give you an impression of what we do, here's a trailer of another project we're working on: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEmk8avqTag

    And here's another short film we made, which did well among multiple competitions: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sC0vPFKdW6E

  • clydeD

    very good films above. You certainly have a good future in the medium. I'm not sure that I can answer many questions that you may have, but will try whenever time permits.

    Regarding your upcoming movie in 3D, I would really recommend you borrow and shoot in 3D from the onset. Conversions are not something I favor over true stereoscopic capture. (unless of course for older movies where there is no option).

    what you propose to do via green screening will lead to “cardboard cutout” like feel and is also not worth the hassle as opposed to shooting with a 3D rig.

    Here's some considerations… It's better to actually shoot with a prosumer 3D rig (probably made of sony cameras as they have LANC control) and a lanc controller for sync – http://www.digi-dat.de , than to go through the tedious process of lighting for green keying etc. Also stereoscopic 3D will not be as forgiving as 2d when it comes to blending the layers etc. – It will be a lot of work., and still result in card-boardy 3D.

    For your previz with lego, you can use something such as the Minoru 3D webcam, or even two logitechs and sofware such as the free
    Stereo video player http://stereo.jpn.org/eng/stvply/index.html.

    You can try asking Frame Forge for academic price on their excellent Previz software for planning a stereo 3D movie:


    they are worth their weight in gold. All the lingo is in there.

    Wish you the best on your project!

    clyde -at- realvision -dot- ae

  • Steve

    These shots are the BEST 2D to 3D video conversion I've seen using off the shelf software! Absolutely amazing! Any chance for a tutorial? I have a basic understanding of After Effects and have done some 2D to 3D using roto and displacement maps. However, I'd like to understand more about your technique. The top picture (feet coming off screen) and the crosseyed picture look PERFECT- like true 3D. I would be willing to pay $$$ for a tutorial for JUST those 2 shots. Please e-mail me. Thanks!

  • clydeD

    Just got your comment as I was online. The answer is already explained above in the article. It's one of the easiest methods to use. Based on Pulfrich or “time multiplexing”.

    Just look for any video with a horizontal pan of either the camera or the subject. Then extract one frame.. forward a bit and extract another.
    this is time multiplex stereo and based on the principles of Carl Pulfrich http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulfrich_effect

    Note: It cannot be used if there is any vertical movement of the subjects or if the camera bobbed up-down. This will cause temporal.
    errors in the stereo.

    The next trick is to combine this with things like depth from stereo algorithms etc. ie. extract at least one stereo pair of images from some motion scene, then use software that creates a depth map.

    Another thing can be to use software such as Mokey or Mocha etc… to assist in rotoscopy or blob tracking and image segmentation.

    All the best!

  • Steve

    Thanks for the quick response! So, all 3 shots had horizontal motion? Sorry I misunderstood. It's hard to judge this by the static shots :)
    The shots look truly amazing and I appreciate your time in answering my questions. Thanks so much!

  • Tyler

    After Reading this article I’m very interested in trying this out for myself.
    What video programs can play the newly created 3D Video if I were to send my creation to someone to try out?
    Is there such a program for Mac OS X?


  • Tyler

    After Reading this article I'm very interested in trying this out for myself.
    What video programs can play the newly created 3D Video if I were to send my creation to someone to try out?
    Is there such a program for Mac OS X?