Candy Cane Ghost for Halloween

Screenshot Finger Drawing
My 101st blog post. Yea!
Here's a screenshot from an experimental paint Android app I am writing. I paint the candy image by dragging my finger across a Samsung Galaxy S6 screen,

Autostereogram 3D Art

Recently I wrote Processing/Java code to construct and experiment with wallpaper styled autostereograms, like the above photo. These are images that appear to be normal 2D, but when you converge your eyes beyond the photo your mind will interpret the image as 3D. You can do this by starting with your eyes close to the image, with everything blurred, and then slowly back off until the pattern begins to float above the background. You can see examples of autostereograms in popular Magic Eye books that present 3D visual puzzles.

In the first photo above, I experimented with creating a wallpaper pattern that alternates left and right eye cutouts of model Mary Kate from a recent photo shoot. By combining the left and right images together in the wallpaper format I am able to see half of the pattern images as a true floating 3D image and the others as 2D pattern images floating above the background. For a good viewing experience, try to view the photo on a 15 inch diagonal screen display. Viewing on a small 6 inch smartphone display does not produce the best effect.

With the above photo you view with the wall-eyed viewing technique. There is another viewing technique named cross-eye. Here are the same cutout photos in right-left order for cross-eyed viewing. Unfortunately I have not yet trained my eyes to view this kind of 3D formatted photo.

Here is the stereo photo in left-right order, so I can see it using a stereoscope and better yet with my 3D/VR Stereo Photo Viewer Android app.

Here are some other wallpaper autostereograms I made where the images float above the background:

All of the images above were constructed from photos I shot and then edited with Lightroom and Photoshop, aligned with Stereo Photo Maker, and finally formatted with the custom Processing code I wrote.

Selecting a Camera for a 3D Twin Camera Rig

What features should you look for when selecting a camera to make a 3D twin camera rig? 

I'm asking the question so I can have a checklist for upgrading my current 3D twin camera rig, that is more than 3 1/2 years old. It uses two Olympus E-PM2 cameras. The checklist is based on my personal experiences with three home-made twin camera rigs I built and used so far.

Here are ten features I think you need in a camera:
  1. Live view 
    1. It's too cumbersome to use a viewfinder to compose your shot
    2. Capture the "moment" faster.
  2. Touch screen focus point selection (without releasing the shutter)
    1.  Offset twin cameras will not focus on the same subject in your shot
    2. Touching the screen should not release the shutter
  3. Lens not in the center of the camera
    1. This gives you the smallest interaxial separation possible for close up photography.
    2. Look for lens mount close to one side of the camera
  4. Small and lightweight camera
    1. You will carry the rig all day
    2.  Small usually provides better interaxial separation
  5. Interchangeable lenses
    1. Can use a prime lens and not worry if each camera built-in lens has the same zoom setting
    2. Change lens to suit scene and subject
    3. Wide lens provide more depth of field than telephoto lenses
  6. Remote focus and shutter trigger connection
    1. Wired
      1. Input connector must be on side opposite where two cameras are joined together
      2. Allows simple wired diode OR circuit to release shutter without any delays
    2. Or wireless bluetooth shutter/focus release, if available
  7. Flash shoe 
    1. Must be able to use off camera flash, no compromises here.
    2. Synchronize flash triggers from each camera for off camera flash
  8. One camera may have to be mounted upside down
    1.  Live view must appear upside
    2. Menu setting displays you have to make while setting the camera should not appear upside down 
  9. JPEG and Raw photo files
    1. Need Raw for post processing and syncing left and right camera file exposure and color differences
    2. Post processing produces better photos many times
  10. Camera with both manual settings and fully automatic settings
    1. Olympus iAuto feature is very helpful when shooting events with many changing brightness levels.
    2. For some scenes you don't have time to change any camera settings.
    3. Other times you want manual settings for full control, such as a studio setting.
My current 3D rig with twin Olympus E-PM2 does everything except 6.2 and 8.2

Dynamic VR vs Static Stereoscope

Your great-great-great grandparent's static image display stereoscope needs an update.

With an Android smartphone app you can view 3D photos dynamically in a Google Cardboard VR headset.

What makes a 3D photo pop in the 3D/VR app is the capability to
  • zoom in to magnify the photo
    • magnify to see detail
    • see background subject details you would otherwise miss
  • zoom out to shrink the photo
    • view the entire photo
    • zoom out to see foreground subjects comfortably, when a foreground subject is too close compared to the background
    • select a constant magnification level for you to view a sequence of photos comfortably
  • pan up/down, left/right to select window areas of interest in the photo. You can view selected areas of the photo that are out of view when you zoom in
You cannot do these things with yesterday's stereoscopes. View this web page in the app and see the photo above in 3D.

Check out the Mary Kate Fashion Photo Shoot (the stereoscope photo above) in 3D/VR with this app:

3D Fashion Shoot with Model Mary Kate

Mary Kate Fashion Shoot

You can view 3D photos I shot recently of model Mary Kate (above) with your Cardboard VR headset and phone, when you run my free Android app in Google Play Store:

Mary not only models but is also a high fashion stylist and makeup artist. I shot these fashion photos with my 3D twin camera rig at Fashmor Studio (Peter Italiano Photography) in Allentown, PA  on July 23rd. The studio strobes output is high power with short duration so I was able to capture Mary's dress twirl at 1/125, F11, ISO 200.
In the app click on screen or use a remote bluetooth controller Enter key to advance to the next photo. To see detail in the dress and look closer, press the volume up key on the phone or a bluetooth remote controller to enter Zoom mode. In Zoom mode you roll your Cardboard VR headset right to zoom in (magnify) and roll left to zoom out (shrink). Reposition to an area of interest by moving the headset up/down or left right. Press the volume up key again to save the zoom level and continue viewing photos at your preferred magnification level. Or stay in Zoom mode and advance to the next photo with the Enter key and reposition the photo as you like.
The photos are stored in the app as 4K (width x 2160h) images. With a high resolution phone like the Samsung Galaxy S6 or S7 you will be able to see dress detail up close.

3D/VR Stereo Photo Viewer App

3D/VR Stereo Photo Viewer
3D/VR Stereo Photo Viewer

It seems like it has been a long time since my last post, because I have been very busy coding, testing, and writing. Especially in the last three weeks, when I published and polished my new 3D/VR Stereo Photo Viewer app for Android Google Cardboard VR head mounted devices. I also built a supporting web site. It's a for sale app on the Google Play Store, and is an upgrade from my free app 3D Stereo Photo Viewer. You can find it at:

The web site supporting these apps is

Why buy this app when you can get the free version??

The answer is that you can use the app with Google Cardboard VR headsets. The app corrects the lens distortion that occurs with Cardboard style headsets, yet it can still be used with smart phone stereoscopes, same as the free app. In the free app the distortion of the lens in Cardboard VR may not bother you depending on the photo, but you will only see the center of the photo close up in the Cardboard HMD due to the immersive viewing effect of these headsets for VR.

With the paid app you can zoom in and out of the photo and reposition your viewing window over any area of interest in the photo. You zoom in by rolling (airplane roll) the HMD to the right (i.e. clockwise) and zoom out by rolling to the left (i.e. counter-clockwise). You reposition the viewing window by moving the headset left/right (airplane yaw) and up/down (airplane pitch). By moving your headset to zoom and reposition, the result is similar to making a temporary photo crop. This will be of interest depending on the photo subject.

The app will also automatically detect when you reposition out of the photo. Then you can click (pull lever) or enter key on a remote controller to get back to the center.

The advantages of the zoom feature are:

  1. Zoom-in  will show photo details you might otherwise miss. And you can see much more detail when photos are sized to 4K (3840x2160 pixels) for each eye, and stored as individual left and right photos. This works well even for phones that have 1920x1080 display resolution.
  2. Zoom-out allows you to see close foreground subjects with more eye comfort.
Other new features in the Cardboard VR mode use two remote bluetooth controller keys for viewing with a headset. These features replace the keys used for Camera cha-cha and Menu..
  1. When you view 3D photos from web sites, some of the images in a web page may not be 3D. A remote key (volume up) allows you to switch to 2D mode showing the same photo in each eye, do you don't have to open the HMD to change your view.
  2. Sometimes your viewing window in the headset may be far from the center. For this situation there is a remote recenter key (volume down) to reposition the viewing window to the center of the photo but keep the same zoom level.

There is also a new free app consisting of a short collection of 3D photos from a vacation trip to Barcelona, Spain, where we visited a food market "El Mercat de La Boqueria". The photos were taken with a FujiFilm W3 camera (3D), aligned with Stereo Photo Maker and color adjustments made with Lightroom. This app demonstrates how the head movement works in the paid app.

Henri Cartier-Bresson Interview in NY Times

Photographer F. James Conley wrote a blog entitled "An Interview with Cartier Bresson on the X-Pro2" His blog posting is a clever way to review a camera as if it were used by a famous photographer. It caught my attention because I'm a fan of Henri Cartier-Bresson's work. In the article there are also links to an interview with Cartier-Bresson by photographer Sheila Turner-Seed and transcribed by her daughter Rachel Seed and published in the NY Times.

I think the interview contains jewels of wisdom for photographers. But I would disagree with his assessment of color photography. The technology of digital color photography is so much better now than it was in his time. 

Here are links to the two articles with the interview transcription: