Guez brings stereoscopic 3D to Rwanda

People are willing to part with over Rwf 4,500 just to have 2 hours of pictures popping out of a screen and making everything feel real. But how many of us know how all this is done? 
Mufuth with this 3D glasses of red and cyan. (Patrick Buchana)
Mufuth with this 3D glasses of red and cyan. (Patrick Buchana)

MENTION A movie in 3D and everyone will be in for it. 

People are willing to part with over Rwf 4,500 just to have 2 hours of pictures popping out of a screen and making everything feel real. But how many of us know how all this is done? 

Arguably, the brains behind this innovation are indeed doing a great job. What is 3D? 

This stands for Three-Dimensional. To put that into perceptive, this is an image or video that has width, height and depth (length). Our physical environment is 3D and we move around in 3D all the time.

In the movie sense, the glasses we wear enable us to see two different images simultaneously with each eye and provide a stereoscopic vision to the viewer. This is when you view depth of the image and you are tricked to have a sense of objects coming out of the screen or extended into the screen. This whole process is what is called 3D. 

Right from the 1950’s, 3D has existed and today we have some Rwandan companies also eating on this apple of the 21st Century technological advancement. 

Guez Show, a 3D animation and graphics company, was the first to bring Digital Cinema Packaging and also famously known for making the Transform Africa 2013 advert which left many people all over the world mesmerised by how much Rwanda can do. 

“Digital Cinema Packaging is putting any video in the format that is used by high-end cinema screening systems. Both flat videos and 3D have to be in this format to be viewed well,” says Mufuth Nkurunziza, the managing director of Guez Show. 

How it’s done 

Much as most of us are familiar with 3D videos, also 3D pictures do exist and can be made. 

“Basically, there’re three main viewing modes of 3D. The most common is polarizes system, which is used in cinemas, active shuttle which is used on home TVs and anaglyph 3D that is the most affordable and simple. It’s used everywhere even on printed-paper,” he explains. 

“You can create your own red/blue 3D images to print, or even keep on your computer screen using a normal digital camera or rather your phone,” Nkurunziza says. 

He goes ahead to say that with the help of some image processing software like Adobe Photoshop and many more, you can get a 3D image.

“With your phone or digital camera, you take two photos of the same object, separated by a short distance of about three inches—which is the distance between the human eyes. Then make it so your left eye only sees the left image and your right eye only sees the right,” Mufuth explains. 

To make this work, you then use red/blue 3D glasses and when viewed, the image appears in 3D.

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THIS IS HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN 3D IMAGE

Compiled by Patrick Buchana

START OUT by picking a subject. It is easier to take photos of objects or landscapes because we need to take two photos that are as identical as possible. Shots of people can work provided they stay very still and do not move in the time it takes you to snap two photos. Take your first photo, then try to slide the camera over three inches and take the same photo again. One easy trick is to take one photo looking through your left eye and the second while looking through your right. A common mistake is to take the pictures too far apart. 

Download the photos to your computer and open them up in a photo-editing software such as Adobe Photoshop. Any program will work as long as it allows for red, blue, and green color channels to be manipulated independently.

Once both pictures are open, convert them both to grayscale by clicking on IMAGE in the menu bar and selecting MODE then GRAYSCALE. [Image>Mode>Grayscale] 

Convert the right photo back to red, green, and blue (RGB) by clicking IMAGE on the menu bar and selecting MODE then RGB (the image will still appear gray). [Image>Mode>RGB] In the Channels tab (in the layers palette between the LAYERS and PATHS tabs), select the red channel by clicking on the word RED - NOT the little eye next to it (eyes indicate which channels are displayed, not selected). Only that channel should appear highlighted.

Go back to the left photo and select the entire photo [Ctrl-A] for PC or [Command-A] for MAC then copy the image [Ctrl-C] for PC or [Command-C] for MAC, and finally return to the right photo and paste the image [Ctrl-V] for PC or [Command-V] for MAC.

Now you are ready to complete the merging of the left and right images. Go back to the channels palette. Click on the little box next to RBG. An eye should appear in all four channels but still only the red channel is highlighted. You should now have a mostly black and white image with red and blue halos. 

You are nearly done. The left and right eye images need to be better aligned to remove as many of the halos as possible. This is achieved by centering the two images on the subject of your photo (typically what is in front and center - this will be the easiest part of the 3D photo for people to focus on). Select the move tool [press V] then use the arrow keys to move the red image until you see the best alignment. We are trying to remove the halos from around our subject, though objects towards the edges will still be quite haloed. 

The final step is to crop the image down to the size you want using the crop tool located in the tool bar (left hand column, third tool down). Try to remove areas of excess red or blue around the edges. Once you have selected the area of the image you want to keep hit ENTER to crop the image. Now that you are done, don’t forget to save!

 

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