ChromaDepth 3D

Other (objects, etc.) theme

ChromaDepth is a patented 3D technique that takes advantage of the different wavelengths of the visible light spectrum.

ChromaDepth is not strictly a stereoscopic effect. It can actually be perceived with only one eye. However, there is a stereoscopic element that greatly enhances the effect. It relies on the different wave lengths of light, the blue end being longer than red. This effect is enhanced by using prisms that expand the difference between the colors. Low quality glasses are very 'bumpy' as the prism shaping is very large. But higher quality glasses can be smooth enough to be indistinguishable from glass. Glasses are not strictly required to perceive the 3D effect of still or animated images designed for ChromaDepth. However, glasses greatly enhance the effect. ChromaDepth glasses are clear colored, Rather than having shaded or colored lenses. Unique to ChromaDepth is the ability of a two-eyed viewer to increase the effect of depth perception simply by moving further away from the image.

The image's colors must be distorted for the effect so it is best used for abstract objects instead of realistic ones. Objects far away need to be colored to the low end of the spectrum. Blue>Green>Red works best on black backgrounds; Cyan>Magenta>Yellow on white. A mixed blue/black background allows for maximum use of the full spectrum Black/Blue>-Blue>Cyan>Green>Yellow>Orange>Red. An image can use all three of these together as needed, as long as overlapping the techniques is not excessive.

Using ChromaDepth coloring alone is adequate but it is best combined with other non-stereoscopic depth effects, such as overlap, focus, perspective, graininess, lighting, and parallaxing. Note the use of perspective in the image below (viewed without glasses):

Viewed without glasses, the depth of the rainbow strip is apparent. The depth of writing on the right is slightly less perceptible. The size of the letters helps but also the width of the words. Note that the relatively narrow Red kind of spoils the illusion of perspective. The depth of the writing in the upper left is even less perceptible. A 3rd row of smaller text would help the illusion. Finnaly, look at the spear. Without glasses, there is no noticeable ChromaDepth effect. There are no depth cues accept lighting on the sphere. Even with glasses, creating depth with only two colors (black and blue) is difficult. By wearing ChromaDepth glasses, the poor depth mapping of the sphere becomes even more apparent.

Many films, photographs, animations, and images manage to achieve minor ChromaDepth effects accidentally. Especially underwater images This is due to the color of air and water (practically blue). As a person looks father away, they must see through more air or more water. Thus objects appear more and more blue, the longest wavelength, the furthest distance in the ChromaDepth effect. Working from the other direction is our yellowish sun, closer to the red end of the spectrum. Very often, depending on the object's reflectivity and position of the sun, more sunlight is directly reflected from objects closer to the view than ones far away. Closer is often redder. Good artists understand this and color distant close and objects accordingly. If we didn't have blue air, art would not look as good. Martian art is unlikely to have ChromaDepth effect.

Occasionally, ChromaDepth effect finds its way into games with some intent on increasing the depth effect, even if there is no intent for the viewer to wear ChromaDepth glasses.

The first ChromaDepth 3D video game was released in 1991.

Virgin Sound and Vision and Sinister Systems published most of these games.

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Graphics techniques


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