How Do 3D Glasses Work?

3D glasses make the movie or television show you're watching look like a 3D scene that's happening right in front of you. With objects flying off the screen and careening in your direction, and creepy characters reaching out to grab you, wearing 3D glasses makes you feel like you're a part of the action - not just someone sitting there watching a movie. Considering they have such high entertainment value, you'll be surprised at how amazingly simple 3D glasses are. Read on to learn how 3D glasses work.
In order to see things in 3D each eye must see a slightly different picture. This is done in the real world by your eyes being spaced apart so each eye has its own slightly different view. The brain then puts the two pictures together to form one 3D image that has depth to it.
The technology behind 3D, or stereoscopic, movies is actually pretty simple. They simply recreate the way humans see normally. Since your eyes are about two inches apart, they see the same picture from slightly different angles. Your brain then correlates these two images in order to gauge distance. This is called binocular vision - ViewMasters™ and binoculars mimic this process by presenting each eye with a slightly different image.
The binocular vision system relies on the fact that our two eyes are spaced about 2 inches (5 centimeters) apart. Therefore, each eye sees the world from a slightly different perspective, and the binocular vision system in your brain uses the difference to calculate distance. Your brain has the ability to correlate the images it sees in its two eyes even though they are slightly different.
The 3D glasses you are probably most familiar with are the paper glasses with red and blue lenses or anaglyph 3D glasses. An anaglyph is a still picture in which the right component of a composite image usually red in color is superposed on the left component in a contrasting color to produce a three-dimensional effect when viewed through correspondingly colored filters in the form of spectacles.
A 3D film features the same scene projected simultaneously from two different angles in two different colors, red and cyan (or blue or green). Here's where those cool glasses come in -- the colored filters separate the two different images so each image only enters one eye. Your brain puts the two pictures back together and now you're dodging a flying meteor!
The red/green or red/blue system was used in many older 3D movies, but is now mainly used for television 3D effects. At theme parks and other 3D venues, the preferred method is now polarized 3D glasses because they allow color viewing. Two synchronized projectors project two respective views onto the screen, each with a different polarization. The glasses allow only one of the images into each eye because they contain lenses with different polarization.
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American Paper Optics, the world’s leading manufacturer and marketer of 3D glasses and other 3D products is your one stop source for anything 3D. An endless variety of frame styles, specialty optics (including Polaroid 3D glasses and ChromaDepth 3D glasses), full color printing, and intricate die-cutting capabilities make it easy for you to achieve your 3D objectives.

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