2D to Stereo-3D Conversion

Wow, I just found this great article at FX Guide on the state of 2D-S3D conversions. The articles points out some interesting facts about the necessity of this process, even for movies shot in stereo because certain shots can’t be done physically. It also points out how the tech has improved and the different tools and methods.

One thing is clear, there is no magic software for converting and rotoscoping is essential.

Check it out

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3 years ago
Yeah, you definetely have to take your time when it comes to the overall quality. Great read on the site, who knows - maybe one day I might even get to use that tutorial. For now I'll keep looking for other 2d to 3d conversion methods
4 years ago
hi i am a great fan of andrew's tutorials
it would really be great if there is a tutorial for 2d to 3d conversion in detail in ae
will really apprecciate it
5 years ago
I agree with jungyan.. should be better :-)
5 years ago
Great read..thanks for the link to the article!
5 years ago
Great post - thanx man, keep us posted!
5 years ago
This always amaze me. I mean - how do these people figure this out?
5 years ago
Nice to see the community finally taking notice of this stuff. I developed much of the workflow and technique for stereo conversion in the late 1990's, in parallel with what in-three was doing. Currently writing a book on it. In an industry that is brand new ... I have been doing it for 13 years.

The biggest concern with the conversion industry is not that jobs are all over the world now, as there is enough work for everyone, but that there is an inconsistent language, and technique which provides few workers who can drop into a pipeline. This is similar to the early days of the VFX industry, except that companies are trying to patent ideas that others have already created, unlike the digital FX arena. Stifling knowledge for short term gain threatens to destroy the industry.

The other threat is that companies are underselling the price to gather a foothold in the market. Producers love nothing more than letting their vendors pay for their shows, and at the prices stated for offshore work, this can be tantamount to servitude.

This will all balance out, eventually.

For you AE lovers ... stereo conversion is totally doable in AE (it is where it started anyway). Mocha is a nice development, but any 2D or 3D tracking can give me cards on which to roto (been doing this for a long time). Maya, syntheyes, and AE are a complete production environment, so go for it!

What is needed are those who can "see" in stereo. Trained eyes that can actually see the problem, and not convince themselves they are looking at something else. Get busy in AE. Learn how to do this. Charge a real rate when you can.

Andrew, keep up the great work, and contact me offline about the Fringe matte shot. Stories to tell.

5 years ago
This is great, a new tut has come out on ae.tutsplus about this:http://ae.tutsplus.com/tutorials/workflow/convert-regular-footage-to-stereoscopic-3d/. To convert 2d to 3d using mocha. Like the person above :)
Tony V
5 years ago
Haha...I worked on Narnia's 3d conversion. I came up with the workflow to use transform data from mocha on separate body parts to make roto much easier. The ship was a S.O.B.
5 years ago
Thanks Mr. Kramer...Awesome...
Stephen Schmidt
5 years ago
Towards the bottom of this article, it mentions Digital Domain Holdings in Port Saint Lucie, Florida. I definitely work there. Lol! I am actually working in the Stereoscopic Devision which is formerly known as In-Three. We are about to be working on some really big projects, so keep a look out. Thanks for the article though!
5 years ago
I work for a conversion house that's gaining a reputation for conversion work that's indistinguishable, sometimes superior, to footage shot with a stereo camera rig. We did some of Alice and recently wrapped up the first three Shrek films. (I'm not allowed to talk about more, heh.)

It's really nice to read something NOT ignorantly bashing conversion technology! Both methods of creating the stereo effect have their ups and downs, but conversion can be BADASS. It takes a lot of skilled artists working hard and we take pride in what we do. Thanks for the informative article!
    5 years ago
    Legend 3d
5 years ago
Hi, cheers for the article.

Very telling though, that the historical timeline is full of crap films. Am I spotting a trend or am I just cynical?

5 years ago
Ummm, I just like narnia, but when Andrew Kramer and narnia get together, let's just say I can die a happy man now.
swapnil nilajkar
5 years ago
i think some times you dont require rotoscoping
5 years ago
intresting though hard,personally what i would do is take a video,duplicate it desaturate it and change level output to 200 (so its nearly white)precompose it and move all attributes call it mask.
duplicate original vid again and put a displacement on it,turn vertical off and horizontal to about 20,use the mask as diplacement
precompose that name it 3D,put original vid on top and add the 3d glasses filter choose 3D as left original as right

works well too,ive done it with some wallpapers in photoshop
5 years ago
Thanks for this! I seen this paper theatre effect in these described scenes (I noticed it in avatar, when they did the eye and when they used a matt painting in the shuttle scene). I cant see how the 3D adds any thing (yes i saw avatar in 3D at an Imax).

I am glad they still offer films in 2D, I would rather have my Parallax effect and DoF thank you very much.
5 years ago
Great article (= Thx alot.
5 years ago
Yes...that's a simple process, november last year, an engineer show it up in my college with a simple 2D camera passing by a converter (such a big DVD) and project it in a 3D TV, but it looks great but the 3D is not like i want, it goes from the screen to behind it not from the TV to your eyes like it should be!
5 years ago
Hi Matt, seems your right if you read the article.

Prime focus opens in india, 3000 students - first timers. Now they'll get about 300us a month. 12 hours of roto'ing a day.

Now 24 fps x 2hour movie = 172800 frames / 3000 = 58 frames per person. So in one month you get the movie converted.

And Prime Focus make a boatload of money, they aint going to sell at 300us per person.

As for Nolan = rip off artist. Really? Watch "Paprika" and tell me that he didn't rip it. Actually he's not that good either "Paprika" was better ... lol. Like wise Thomas Crown affair (original) + SAW = TDK. Wonder what he'll pirate next for TDR...lol
5 years ago
very nice. i'd like to try that.
5 years ago
Nothing to it! its a ridiculous industry!. All you need is a sweat shop of people body tracking actors with digital doubles and projecting back onto the geometry, same goes for the rotoscoping.
The interesting stuff is the arguments between whether conversion is better than filmed 3d. Arguably when you do it in post production you can perfect the inter ocular distances afterwards, and make sure its easier to view. However some directors don't keep this in mind when filming and you end up with a horrible eye raping blur!.
Plus, its still very difficult to match-move stereo cameras and seems to double the work load! (Film crews still dont log all the necessary information such as the cameras distances from each other in all 3 axes!).
Boring anyone?....nuf said, long live 2D all bow down to Chris Nolan!
5 years ago
Hmm iv been looking at 3d for quite a while. I started with steroscopic and now up to the modern 3d and i must say this page is intreguing. tho i must also say that im gonna wait till we have projecters *my dad made one similar to 3d imax) untill i delve further into the depths of 3d. Nice story anyway andrew.
Michel Boissonneault
5 years ago

Look at this new technology for 3D without glasses:

5 years ago
can anyone explain what exactly 2D to Stereo-3D Conversion process even means?????
    5 years ago
    The process by which the 2D film is digitally cut up into different layers of depth, so when you watch the film it will appear as though characters and scenery are actually at different distances from your perspective (we have created both what the left and right eye would see). However things have become more complex as if you did it how I said, things would look flat, like someone was holding printed images on transparent sheets at varying distances (clash of the titans looked like this). So some better films try and recreate the curved/sharp edges of characters or objects to further enhance the realism, but this takes longer and costs more too (Alive in Wonderland did this).
    Hope any of that made sense!
    5 years ago
ae safuan kaybe..
5 years ago
wahhhhhhhh... great....
5 years ago
Mr.Andrew I would like to ask a question... if you were someone ... and you saw these great products .. but you can't afford them .. And you had them free on the hacking sites ... what would you choose ?? Getting them free, or non at all ?
5 years ago
that was wandrful Thx Mr Krimer =)
5 years ago
Please make a new tutorial!
5 years ago
Thank u bro it's very useful to me thanks again
5 years ago
Well looks like I won't be making 3d movies. I hate rotoscoping, and the roto brush in ae doesn't work well for me either.
5 years ago
Keep us posted on updates!
Bradley Bell
5 years ago
Yeah nice, thanks for the update.
5 years ago
Thanks, please keep us updated dude :-)
5 years ago
hi can you make your next tutorial on how u made that kind of 3d floor exploding in the vlog show?? plz and thanks andrew
5 years ago
"One thing is clear, there is no magic software for converting and rotoscoping is essential."
At least AE CS5 makes rotoscoping a hell of a lot easier. I can't imagine doing this with the pen tool for every single frame.
5 years ago
Hi sir it's really very good, i think it will be useful
thank u Andrew.
5 years ago
Marçal Solé
5 years ago
I never understood how stereo conversion can achieve the same as native stereo 3D. No postproduction trick can exactly achieve what you get with 2 cameras with different angles, like our eyes.

Its inevitable for old films that are converted but with new films... the only rule is to shoot natively with stereo 3D.

I didn't find perfect the converted films I've seen so far. There are horrible conversions but the best one's the result was close, but it was not the same immersion I felt watching Avatar or Up, for example.
    5 years ago
    You would actually be quite surprised. The results I have seen from stereo conversion have actually "looked as good, if not better" than the footage shot in native 3D.
    Successful stereo conversion CAN achieve great, if not better results than native, if done properly.
    5 years ago
    Its hard to say which is better because both shooting in stereo and converting have their drawbacks. Some drawbacks of shooting in stereo is that you never get matching left or right eyes. You either have to shoot through a mirror rig that will mismatch the color/density of one eye as it shoots through a mirror, and the other eye is flopped. Additionally if you shoot with a mirror rigs, say, with two Reds for fast motion scenes you will get opposing rolling shutter in either eye. If you opt to shoot in stereo with side-by-side cameras you get a hyper stereo effect since the average space between peoples eyes in about 6cm if you go wider than that, then everything you look at in stereo will be exaggerated and everything will have a miniature effect. (I should note that with Nuke's Ocula you can run color disparity and it does a pretty darn good job. Though the software costs as much as a used Toyota)

    If you convert, then you need to have several armies of roto artists cranking away doing roto on all sorts of parts of people, facial features, hair. Thats an extremely laborious process! Once you have that done then there are a dozen ways you can do setup your stereo shot, but you will absolutely have matching color/density in both eyes, but it will take some time filling in the "no-zones" where you can see around the corners (Left side of objects in the left eye, Right side of objects in the right eye), and adding rounding to characters is a little tricky as well.

    There's no easy or proper way to do a conversion, and aside from my, or anyone's opinion of the solidity of the medium, I support it because its popular right now and its bringing a lot of work back to the US and lots of work for visual effects artists. Great news in the valley of this depression.
    5 years ago
    A few more things about shooting in stereo is that you also get mis-matching reflections, specular highlights, occasional focus problems, rotational/vertical disparity, and occasional sync problems camera to camera.
5 years ago
I recommend you guys who are interest get the PLE version of Nuke and learn how to use it. I have grown to love nuke but started with the PLE version and now I am considering buying it.
5 years ago
Maybe I'm just an old school curmudgeon, but I can't stand all of this 3d business, especially the conversions. To me, "3D" means I can touch it. A good movie is a good movie, not matter what format it's in. I'll just be glad when 3d becomes old enough hat that it stops becoming a draw for the audience. Either it goes away, or it becomes the norm...it's never good when a technological advance is part of the attraction...good story first, always.
    5 years ago
    Fact: James Cameron's "AVATAR" featured some stereo conversion. Could you tell the difference? Most people won't be able to. People only have that assumption because they are told it's converted. If someone were to tell you that a film was actually shot in 3D, when it was in fact converted, the likely-hood of you seeing the difference are small, unless it was a poor conversion.
    I do agree that no matter what story comes first. That should be the case regardless if it's 3D or 2D. The next big factor should be the film itself. A film like "Inception" does not need to be in 3D. I think the kid movies, such as "Toy Story" or "Shrek" really add a sense of realism to the visual of the film. I think children are far more entertained by it as well and possible are more engaged in the movie itself. I also think that movies set in a SciFi/Fantasy world play out well in 3D. I definitely disagree with some of the recent 3D choices, but I think there are others out there that truly look really good in 3D.
    5 years ago
    Its not old school to be not into to 3D. 3D has been around for decades and it comes in and out of popularity. People at the moment are just having another 3D boom because of new the new 3D technology that has been developed. Its like most things that come in and out of popularity.
5 years ago
Many people don't appreciate the art of stereo conversion. It's a very tedious, time consuming process. But, it is very intriguing to see a 2D film or image get a stereo conversion. I never appreciated it until I began working in it.
E Lancelot
5 years ago
I just got hired at Digital Domain as a Stereo Artist.

It's one of the craziest forms of visual effects I've ever been a part of!

There's no easy way out, that's for sure.

I love it though.
5 years ago
Hi Mr. Kramer I like your All Tutorials and your tutorials is my favorite Designs, give me a new tutorials, pls. Thanks From Vinica Macedonia
5 years ago
Hmmmm the 3d in Narnia was barely noticable. Good thing I haven't watched The Clash of the Titans in 3d.
5 years ago
Very Very interesting, i hope we can look forward to a few tutorials in the future??
5 years ago
There is software that tries to be magic and convert 2D to 3D on the fly and some of it is not too bad, depending on the movie. Check out the free script for Avisynth http://3dvision-blog.com/2d-to-3d-realtime-video-conversion-script-for-avisynth-v0-3/" rel="nofollow">HERE

I've also had a go with a commercial product called http://3dvision-blog.com/2d-to-3d-realtime-video-conversion-script-for-avisynth-v0-3/" rel="nofollow">3Dfierwhich is a Directshow filter and not free.

Results do vary.
5 years ago
This good job in 2D-S3D conversions. but
i think after effect do it easy tools and methods!
Andrew,please you new show?
5 years ago
Hope this stuff gets into a video tutorial!

(But something tells me I don't have to fear for the opposite... :p )
Khalil Sidiqi
5 years ago
Hi Mr. Kramer I like your All Tutorials and your tutorials is my favorite Designs But Can You Tell Me About 3D Studio Max=Reactor=Fracture. Thanks.
From Afghanistan Kabul.
5 years ago
hi my name is Farhod i'm from Tashkent,Uzbekistan thanks for this information and when you upload tutorials about this conversations?
i will what answers/new Thans very much
5 years ago
Perfect timing! I've been explaining alot lately to people just how hard stereoscopic conversion is and how they should enjoy it more.
5 years ago
"One thing is clear, there is no magic software for converting and rotoscoping is essential."

I see a new Video Copilot plug-in in the making! :P
5 years ago
this post is really great,..

is really is hard to make a 3D film perfect,..

you may just simply separate the RGB colors in a software
to generate a dimension between layers in a shot,..
but everything would go planar,..

everything will not look like what the human eyes can see,..

making a shot in stereo really is a hard work,..
5 years ago
Chaking it ;) thx for feed my brain ^^
5 years ago
wow thanks for information ;) really amazing ;)
5 years ago
wow super merci ^^
5 years ago
What do you think of 3D though Andrew?
Do you think it's a breakthrough in film, like a lot of people?
Or a pretty pointless gimmick like most of the people I know? (;
5 years ago
Thanks for the news but could you please tell me which software is used for those film?
5 years ago
True, stereo requires roto.

But stereo is altogether a different ball game.

Another interesting link more about stereo cinematography

And a person who is pretty good with sereo camera rigs:
5 years ago
Coooool, Thanks for sharing
5 years ago
wow..............mind blowing .........
Cheers AK, ages ago you made a post about moving into some Stereo 3D tutorials. Will you be following up with these anytime soon? Looking forward to them!
5 years ago
Amazing. Keep us posted on updates!
Ayb from the Philippines
5 years ago
Wow, fantastic AK!! :D
    5 years ago
    Yoh! Philippines.,
Editor 1
5 years ago
Thanks for the info. Keep up the great work.
5 years ago
magic to others is knowledge to the copilot :)
5 years ago
Wow thanks Andrew.
Thanks a lot.
5 years ago
Very useful information, Thanks again Andrew.. :)
5 years ago
This is awesome Mr. Kramer. Thanks
5 years ago
I wonder if the production studio used your Optical Flares in that Narnia scene (thumbnail) maybe thats what your trying to imply :)
aung ko ko
5 years ago
Thanks Andrew! (from Myanmar)
5 years ago
thank you for the info ^-^ ..
Michael Tan
5 years ago
Wow! Some great info in this guide, a must-read for anyone interested in cool behind-the-scenes action and tips.

Thanks for the find Andrew!
    5 years ago
    Yeah :D I'm so into VFX and cool behind the scenes footages!
    http://vimeo.com/18717430 Check it!
    5 years ago
    check out my TRON Legacy VFX and My Inception Maze Text and tell me what you think. Subscribe if you like it.
Jan Post
5 years ago
well... another time killer that i need to look into instead of learning for university :D
Michael Torda
5 years ago
Wow... it's amazing thank's for the guide...
    5 years ago
    Yeah agreed, didn't know how much work it took to do a 3D conversion.
    Haha, is that optical flares in the Narnia pic? :P
    5 years ago
    Probably not, although it would be cool if it was xD
    5 years ago
    i think it is... with particular and blur..
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