# How can this notebook's 3D polarizer glasses filter 2D images to 3D?

This Acer notebook has the ability to filter 2D images to 3D.

Is this some bullshit or is there any scientific background? How can you make 3D from a photo?

Something stinks here. I understand that games can run in 3D, this is just some more calculations, but 2Dto3D filtering must be different.

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## migrated from serverfault.comDec 16 '09 at 1:25

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.

It's misleading advertising, it says 2D images but it's really referring to the 2D image of the screen itself, ie. whatever is on it... and it fails to mention only images designed for it will be 2D>3D.

Such is marketing though.

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Yes - the images will have to be "treated" to basically create two images as viewed from slightly different locations. Each one will be passed through the polarising filter each eye only gets one image - to reproduce the 3D effect. – ChrisF Dec 15 '09 at 12:43
Although I think - as I'm a pessimistic guy - your answer "wins" in this question, I want to belive in Alex' answer. – Vili Dec 15 '09 at 14:28
D'oh! Don't be too disappointed though - some of the new cameras take photos in 3D, such as the new Fujifilm one, by using two lenses. I'm almost certain you won't be able to build a height map from hue and brightness, just close one eye and try to judge distance - if your brain can't do it, it's highly unlikely a computer can. – Simon Dec 15 '09 at 16:05

It is possible to add a third dimension to a 2D image, although it probably won't have the desired effect. You start by calculating a height map based on the brightness or hue of the 2D image. The height map will add the third dimension, where e.g. the bright areas are higher than the dark areas. In general, most images will have a bright object in the foreground and a darker background so the result will still look very good, although it could also give some weird effects to other images.

Of course, there is another alternative to store 3D images in a @D image format, but this requires the use of something similar to the Alpha channel. Normally, alpha channels are used for transparency, but a similar channel could be used as height map, indicating which parts of the image should be lifted and how much the lift should be. Normal applications would still recognize them as 2D images but specialized software will be able to use this height map, thus adding depth to every pixel.

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This technology is nothing new. SGI have been doing it for years.
Basically the screen has polarized elements, and the refresh rate is fast enough for the left-hand-polarized elements to show data for the left eye, and the right-hand-polarised elements to show right-eye data.

When you wear the glasses, only the left or right eye sees the data designed for it, which is in subtly different locations, your brain then combines the data producing a 3D image.

You see this technology in 3D cinemas too, it's better than the old red-green method because it doesn't meddle with the colours.

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I know how polarized 3D things and anaglyphs work. My question is about turning 2D images to 3D. Yes, these pictures are 2D in reality, but you can't enjoy them until you use glasses. – Vili Dec 15 '09 at 9:00