From this... to this!

An anaglyph is an image designed to be viewed through special glasses. The technique to make these images is over a hundred years old, and has been used in everything from comic books - each stereo pair was drawn by hand - to Disney World attractions to the space program.

The anaglyphic process was patented by Arthur-Louis Ducos du Hauron in 1891 as a system for three-dimensional photography. He made little profit from the idea, although, the French government awarded him a pension and in 1912 made Hauron a chevalier of the French Legion of Honour. Interestingly, Hauron also developed the trichrome process of color photography, a system in which three separate frames - each carrying one of the three primary colors - are combined to form a single color image. This process can create color images with incredible detail because many black and white films capture finer details than their color counterparts.

The du Hauron Trichrome Process
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Red channel Green channel Blue channel Composited RGB

But because anaglyphs cannot reproduce true color when viewed through 3D glasses, modern 3D films are often designed to use polarizing surfaces (a method developed by the inventor Edwin H. Land in 1932) or electronic shutter glasses to achieve the 3D effect.

The methods used to make them can seem intimidating to novices and can be tricky to master, especially when one is presented with modern graphics programs like Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro. This tutorial is intended to help you understand how we make these images in our lab.

If you'd like to jump directly to a certain part of this procedure, here's your chance:

  1. Introduction
  2. Adjusting Levels
  3. Separating Colors
  4. Combining Frames
  5. Saving

Next: Introduction