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3D Retro

Extract from Photocrafty • By Sue Venables • Published by Punk Publishing


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Our eyes are about 6.35cm apart; so the left eye sees a slightly different image to that seen by the right eye. It is this difference that creates a ‘threedimensional’ effect when we look at objects in the near distance (when an object is further away, the difference between what each eye sees is not sufficiently signifi cant to create the 3D effect).

To transform boring flat images into fresh 3D shapes that appear to jump out of a photo, you’ll need to construct a stereoscope. This super-cool invention plays on the difference between what each eye sees close-up, so is able to create 3D effects on your photographs. And, once you’ve built your stereoscope, you can use it over and over again with different images from your collection.

Posted by Punk Publishing Published See Punk Publishing's 3 projects » © 2022 Sue Venables / Punk Publishing · Reproduced with permission. · Photocrafty is published by Punk Publishing, available at
  • Step 1

    Take a sheet of A4 card and fold it in half lengthways. Then fold each side back on itself, 1cm away from the central crease, so that when you open the card and place it fl at-side down, it has a pleat (or spine) of 1cm in height along its entire length.

  • Step 2

    Measure 7cm from the edge of the card and fold this section up towards the centre. Give it a good push to fold it right over.

  • Step 3

    Open the fold out again and use your scissors to snip into the pleat where it crosses the centre pleat.

  • Step 4

    Fold the card back up again to form a right angle, and fix it in place with a staple or strong glue. This end will form the viewing part of your stereoscope

  • Step 5

    Repeat this process with the other end of the card – but this time only fold 4 or 5cm over. This end will help keep your images upright.

  • Step 6

    Vandalise the reading Glasses: release the lenses from the frames.

  • How to make a photography. 3D Retro - Step 7
    Step 7

    Place the lenses on the viewing end of your stereoscope (one on either side of the crease) eye width apart, and draw around them using a pencil.

  • How to make a photography. 3D Retro - Step 8
    Step 8

    Use your scissors or a craft knife and cutting mat to cut a little rectangle inside each lens shape so that you can see through each side.

  • Step 9

    Stick two bits of clear sticky tape at the top and bottom of each lens and fasten the lenses to the inside of the card over the rectangular holes (make sure they are the right way round: so that when you turn the card upright you’re looking through the lenses as if the glasses were on your face).

  • Step 10

    Fasten a strip of card (around 5 or 6cm high) all the way along the top of the stereoscope’s spine. This will act as a separator to keep each of your eyes looking in the correct direction – with no sneaky peaks to the other side of the contraption.

  • Step 11

    To make the 3D images for your stereoscope, it’s necessary to mimic what your eyes see by taking two pictures of the same subject several centimeters apart with your camera. A good technique for achieving this difference is to stand up and take the first shot, then transfer your weight onto one leg to take the second shot. The slight shift in body weight should result in the right amount of distance between the shots taken.

  • Step 12

    Using this technique, take several sets of photographs of different 3D subjects. Get some depth to your image and have the main focal point only a couple of feet away from the camera for maximum effect.

  • Step 13

    When you’re happy with your images, upload them to your computer and print them out, then stick them onto another piece of card, side by side – leaving a space of 0.5cm between each image.

  • Step 14

    Make a small incision at the bottom of the image card, halfway between the images, so that you can place it at the back of the stereoscope and it will happily straddle the central spine. You can now adjust your images by moving them up and down the centre pleat until they are in focus when you look through the eye pieces.

  • Step 15

    Look through the eyepieces and – voilà! You might need to go a little bit cross-eyed if the 3D effect isn’t hitting you between the eyes. But don’t panic – it will. You’ve just created your very own 3D vision – what phantasmagoria!

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