Some things cannot be photographed even with a stereo camera. These are the worlds within the artist's mind.
This gallery shows my computer generated stereo images. In a few cases, actual "real" photography has been integrated into the scenes using scans. In the case of the Pixie, STEREO photography has been spatially integrated into the computer generated scene.
The three dimensional scenes were created using model building and raytracing software called Bryce. This software has been available on the Macintosh for about four years, and is now available to users of Windows 95 and others. Use of the software involves building a model of the scene using geometric primitives such as spheres, cubes, cylinders, cones, etc. These forms can be stretched and rotated into any position, thus allowing the construction of complex forms. As a model is built, surface colors and textures are specified for each object - including reflectivity, transparency, indices of refraction...
Final image composition is done in a manner very similar to photography. The software gives the user control over the position, intensity, and color of a number of lights. Sometimes panels or flags are used to control reflections. A virtual camera can be moved and pointed in any desired direction. An effective focal length is selected to set the field of view. Finally a stereo pair of images is generated by rendering the scene from two separate camera locations.
For those unfamiliar with raytracing software: each rendering is the sum of billions of operations, as the computer calculates the brightness and color of each of millions of pixels in any given image. The time needed to complete a rendering is a function of the final size of the image, model complexity, texture complexity within the model, number of light sources, and other variables. Most of my images are 2400 by 1800 pixels and take from five to twenty hours to render on a Powermac 8500/120 (and that's just for one image of two per stereo pair. For those unfamiliar with Macs, the 8500, though four years old now, is still faster than most Pentium PCs running this software). After the image is rendered, the file is taken to a service bureau, which makes a slide using a film recorder.
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