3D Vision Blog

A normal user's look into the world of 3D Stereo Technologies

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Entries Tagged as 'Other S3D Tech'

The Current Situation with 3D Vision, Something We’ve Already Seen in the Past

August 3rd, 2014 · 11 Comments · Other S3D Tech

It has been a little over 5 years since the start of this blog, even though I has been a stereoscopic 3D enthusiasts for much longer, the reason for the existence of the blog was Nvidia’s 3D Vision. I was really excited when they have announced it and when the first 3D Vision-ready monitors started appearing on the market I was eager to get one as I really did see the potential that the technology had for gaming. And back then since it was something really new and exciting I decided to share my experience, knowledge and other useful information with other users that were just starting and this is how this blog was born.

Now, five years later we are seeing a deja vu as the situation with 3D Vision is pretty much the same as with the Nvidia Stereoscopic 3D Drivers that were available before the birth of 3D Vision. Nvidia did create a market and strong demand for products at first, however they slowly start to neglect things and in a few years they kill the market. This is exactly what is happening with the 3D Vision now as Nvidia hasn’t done almost anything new in many months. The latest bigger things were the announcement of the G-Sync monitors, some with 3D Vision support, that however were greatly delayed to market. The other more recent thing is the addition of “3D Compatibility Mode”, but the more important thing – supporting and pushing game developers to integrate Stereo 3D support in games has been long gone. It is not about fixing games after they have been released, but integrating proper stereo 3D support while they are being developed.

The stereo 3D gaming community can do the fixing with the help of tools like Helixmod wrapper, however even the game modders are giving up on 3D Vision as instead of helping them Nvidia seems to be doing just the opposite. This is really discouraging and if Nvidia does plan to abandon 3D Vision like they did with their old Stereoscopic 3D Drivers, then they should at least open the project and not kill it completely. The people in different stereoscopic 3D gaming communities that are using 3D Vision have asked numerous times that Nvidia works on something or improves another thing in order for 3D Vision to become better and easier to be used, but we have not seen any results. This is really discouraging and many people have just decided that it is enough for them, some of you might of thing this for me as well due to the last few months with no updates here…

I have not given up on stereo 3D and 3D Vision, at least not yet. I was just busy with other things and have decided to get some rest from 3D, not that very much was happening with 3D Vision anyway, and the Facebook and Oculus deal was a bit of surprise and I wanted to see what will come out of it. So far it seems that things are still good and I’m about to get my hands on the pre-order of the DK2 hopefully next week, so all is not lost. However Oculus Rift is not something that can replace 3D Vision, these are two different things, and even though some of their features and functionality do overlap they are still not the same thing. VR with 3D support is an interesting new concept, but for really good results you need content developed especially for the device, meaning that you not only need a good hardware, but good software support as well. At least here Oculus is doing much, much, much better than Nvidia as Oculus Rift is their only product, unlike Nvidia that has many products and technologies and cannot focus solely on 3D Vision. So interesting times could still lay ahead of stereo 3D technology, so we’ll have to wait and see..

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What Has Happened to The 3D Smartphones and 3D Tablets

October 4th, 2013 · 10 Comments · Other S3D Tech

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The mobile devices markets are booming as more and more people are switching to smartphones and start using tablets in their everyday life, but what has happened with 3D smartphones and 3D tablets? If the mobile devices market is growing a lot constantly and quite fast why we are not also seeing new mobile devices with stereoscopic 3D capabilities. A good question indeed, it is not that some companies haven’t tried introducing 3D-capable mobile devices, it was probably a bit early for them in terms of technological capabilities, but that does not mean we should not be getting new products available as the technology advances. So why it is not happening when we are seeing announcements of newer and faster mobile processors and mobile graphics with more and more cores, higher resolution displays and better cameras all the time?

In 2011 LG introduced their first 3D-capable smartphone LG Optimus 3D P920 (also known as LG Thrill 4G in some markets) and HTC did a similar thing with their HTC EVO 3D smartphone with both devices featuring autostereoscopic 3D displays (glasses-free), dual cameras for 3D photo and video capture and 3D output over HDMI to an external 3D-capable display. LG even introduced at a bit later time a software to render normal non-stereo 3D Android-based games into stereoscopic 3D ones (apparently powered by DDD’s TriDef 3D software for mobile devices). The next year LG announced another 3D-capable smartphone called c P720 as a successor for the Optimus 3D device, though it was not that much improved over the older model and after that they stopped with 3D support. These three smartphones are pretty much the only globally available mobile devices of this type with stereoscopic 3D capabilities, though there are some other 3D-capable smartphones being released only in certain countries such as Japan, South Korea, China or India.

On the 3D tablet market there is pretty much only one name – Gadmei, a Chinese company that became very popular thanks to their affordable 3D tablet with an autostereoscopic 3D display in 2011 and 2012. Being one of the first and offering affordable device it has quickly become widespread, and now there are even a few very similar models available with 3D capabilities from Gadmei. Not to mention that the company has also made OEM versions with different brand names. The problem with these devices is that their glasses-free 3D displays are not that good offering limited number of viewing points and the resolution of the displays isn’t that high especially for 3D use. Furthermore no 3D cameras and ability to play games in stereoscopic 3D mode, so they were mostly good for previewing 3D photos or watching 3D movies. This year the NEO3D tablet became a reality after a successful crowdfunding campaign, though this is essentially rebranded Gadmei 3D tablet that comes with a few extras intended for the American market even though they ship it worldwide. And while the NEO3D tablet is more appealing for the North American customers due to the local warranty and support along with some extras such as TriDef 3D mobile application for transforming Android games in stereo 3D mode the overall 3D experience is pretty much the same. In 2011 LG also tried to go on the 3D tablet market, but with a half finished product and by half finished I mean a device that had for example a dual cameras for 3D capture, but was not equipped with an autostereoscopic 3D-capable display and instead supported anaglyph 3D mode so you had to use red-cyan 3D glasses. And the worst thing you could do with a 3D capable smartphone or tablet is to want the user to use 3D glasses in order to be able take advantage of the 3D capabilities of his device. Another interesting thing in terms of 3D support on tablets is what Nvidia did with the release of their Tegra 3 chipset – porting their 3D Vision technology to tablets powered by Tegra 3 and thus alowing some games to be rendered in stereoscopic 3D mode. The catch here was that there was no tablets with Tegra 3 released with an autostereoscopic 3D display, but you could connect the tablet to a 3D-capable 3D HDTV or a 3D monitor with HDMI 1.4 3D support and play the game on the larger display in 3D. Unfortunately not all Tagra 3 powered tablets supported that feature and other devices such the Ouya game console or the Wikipad gaming tablet (powered by Tegra 3) did not come with 3D support as well. And with the announcement of the newer Tegra 4 that mostly improves the graphical performance over the previous generation Nvidia hasn’t even talked about stereo 3D support and the first devices such as the Project SHIELD or the first Tegra 4-powered tablets are apparently not going to even support external stereo 3D output. And in the last year or so not only the stereo 3D supporting games for Android ad Tegra did not increase, but actually they have decreased to 14 from 16 according to Nvidia’s Tegra Zone website.

So what do we need to have a successful 3D-capable tablet or a smartphone? First a good autostereoscopic 3D display that will allow the user not to loose the 3D effect while moving the tablet like for example when playing a game that uses motion of the device to be controlled. Of course the glasses-free 3D display has to come with higher resolution and pixel density in order for the image in 3D to look good enough even with the reduced resolution in stereo 3D mode. Furthermore the 3D display should be useable in stereo 3D mode inn both portrait and landscape mode and not be limited to just landscape orientation because of the parallax barrier used to achieve the 3D effect. Well, you can say that we have pretty much covered all of these already which reminds me for example of MasterImage 3D’s Cell-Matrix Parallax Barrier technology that looked great when it was announced and though already quite some time has passed it still is nowhere to be found. Or at least almost nowhere to be found with just one 3D-capable smartphone using it that got released only on the market in India earlier this year – the Micromax Canvas 3D A115 smartphone with 5.0-inch display with just 480×800 resolution and that is far from great for stereoscopic 3D use if you ask me.

Looking around for new and interesting mobile devices that are supposed to be available this year on the market one device caught my attention – the Hampoo 3D tablet that is supposed to be on the market by the end of this year. Hampoo is another Chinese manufacturer that is making a 10.1-inch tablet with 1920×1200 resolution autostereoscopic 3D display and more up to date specifications compared to the hardware you can find in the Gadmei 3D tablets. Apparently the company is already shipping volume orders of their Hampoo 3D tablet, but I’m still unable to find the device anywhere available for sale to end users. In the end the things on the mobile 3D-capable devices market seem even worse that what is currently happening on the PC market in terms of solutions for stereoscopic 3D including, but not limited to gaming. And the 3D content available for mobile 3D-capable devices is even more problematic than that available for 3D-capable computers, and that is just another problem ahead of the 3D-capable smartphones and 3D tablets. Unlike with computers, where you can do with a 3D display that requires the viewer to wear glasses in order to be able to see the 3D effect, with mobile devices that is not an option so an autostereoscopic 3D display ad a good one at that is a must have feature. And while the glasses-free 3D displays need some improvement and thus the technology sill needs to catch up, we are also seeing a lot of alternatives in the form of various adapters that will turn your non-3D smartphone into a 3D-capable device. Most recent and interesting of which are the EyeFly 3D and the vrAse, both of which are looking very promising and you might want to keep an eye on and try them if able to and have a compatible device. Have in mind that vrAse is still not released and is still an ongoing project on Kickstarter even though their goal for funding has been reached already, you can still support the project and get a unit earlier.

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Will 4K Gaming Replace Stereoscopic 3D Gaming or Not

October 3rd, 2013 · 7 Comments · Other S3D Tech

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If you are already a gamer playing in stereoscopic 3D mode or are at least following what has been happening with stereo 3D you have probably noticed that lately stereo 3D gaming is being left aside and both AMD and Nvidia are focusing on 4K gaming as the next big thing in gaming. The question here is if 4K gaming will become the norm in a few years or it will have fate that stereo 3D gaming does currently have – not supported and left to the community hoping that it will keep it alive. Nvidia has done great by reviving its old stereoscopic 3D drivers and pushing both hardware manufacturers and gamers to go and try stereoscopic 3D gaming a few years ago and thus creating the big market for stereoscopic 3D gaming itself. Of course there were also other solutions already available at that time, but they did not have the needed resources and the interest in general in stereo 3D was not that strong back then. AMD on the other hand also supported kind of stereoscopic 3D, but it was “outsourced” to partners such as iZ3D and DDD, because the company never did have very strong interest in stereoscopic 3D gaming. With the boom of the interest in stereo 3D after Cameron’s movie Avatar and because Nvidia already had strong positions in the stereoscopic 3D gaming market that it has helped create, AMD had to do something more and the HD3D technology has been introduced. The problem is that AMD did not try to push game developers to support this technology (this often happens with the innovative technologies they announce) and while Nvidia has done a better job at first, lately they give the impression as they are not considering their 3D Vision technology as something they need to push anymore. So at the moment only DDD are actively developing their TriDef 3D solution and are pursuing not only stereo 3D on the PC, but also on other markets such as mobile devices and they are even offering a beta support for the Oculus Rift.

Meanwhile what happened to the market is that people yet again got interested in VR technology and gaming in VR environments mostly thanks to the Oculus Rift project and the really good feedback it got not only by consumers, but by developers as well. And just like stereoscopic 3D the Head Mounted Displays are nothing really new, they are just something that got revived yet again thanks to the recent huge boom in technology for mobile devices that allows you to pack good enough hardware in a small package and most importantly at an affordable price. The revival in the interest in VR gaming has also helped the development of various non-traditional controllers, but while the hardware is here or will soon be available the biggest issue that remains is the availability of software that will support it. With the Oculus Rift things are already moving quite well and with the introduction of the consumer version of the device in 2014 it could really be the next big thing in gaming and not 4K. Even the lower resolution development kits of the Rift have demonstrated that the resolution is not the most important thing for gaming, though it helps, it should not only be all about the resolution. The experience you are getting while gaming is way more important than to have some more pixels and that goes not only when talking about the hardware you are using, but also for the games you are going to be playing.

Let’s get back to 4K gaming and see what is happening there and why. Hardware companies already started promoting the new technology supporting 4K as 1080p or Full HD has apparently gotten old and widely adopted, so the industry needs to provide something new. Obviously increasing the resolution of a display is a good choice as you will need more powerful hardware that is capable of supporting the higher resolution, and before the technology starts to become widely adopted the prices will be high and the profit will be good. Both AMD and Nvidia will want you to buy not just one high-end video card, but two or even three in order to be able to play in 4K resolution at maximum detail levels in the latest games. And it is not only the video card, you will also need a high-end CPU, more memory, faster disk drives etc. so this will be driving the hardware market forward obviously. At the moment however not that many people are readily giving 3-4K USD for a PC and then again that much for a 4K display like the Asus PQ321QE (there are not that many options available yet) just to be able to got higher resolution.

The truth is that you can get much more realism and fun while gaming with either VR or stereo 3D and that can happen at a fraction of a cost that 4K would require at this point, so undoubtedly the question that arises here is if 4K is the next step in gaming or not? This depends a lot on how things move in the following year or two, so we need more 4K monitors becoming available and at a much lower price in order for normal consumers to start buying the hardware. For the moment 4K gaming is only for enthusiasts with deep pockets that love to brag about their PC being top of the line and it will be like that for some time. Sure it was a similar situation with stereoscopic 3D when it was reintroduced with the 3D Vision technology a few years back, it was more expensive, but not as what 4K costs at the moment. With Stereo 3D gaming it was the experience that it provided compared to playing a game on a normal 2D monitor that quickly drove people into adopting it and with 4K it is just more of the same – you get more pixels. And more pixels and higher pixel density just make the image look smoother and hard edges not so apparent even when not using AA filtering, so it does not add that much to the immersion inside the game atmosphere and making the experience more realistic like when playing a good game in stereoscopic 3D or in VR mode. So the future of 4K gaming for now is a bit cloudy and unsure and while you should not totally ignore it for the moment, you should not also jump immediately on the 4K boat either. The industry is not yet completely ready with the technology required for 4K, so it is best to wait and see what happens in 2014 before making a decision, and let us see if the sequel of the movie Avatar in 2016 will bring back the interest in stereoscopic 3D technology or maybe the wide availability of good autostereoscopic 3D solutions (glasses-free) in a few years or…

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