3D Vision Blog

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

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Review of the 3Dfier Viewer Stereo 3D Accessory For iPhone 4(S)

December 14th, 2011 · 4 Comments · Other S3D Tech

Some time ago I’ve written about the 3Dfier Viewer, an interesting and affordable accessory turning iPhone 4 and 4S as well as iPod touch 4th gen into stereoscopic 3D capable devices. Meanwhile I have had the chance to get one of the first units of the product and do some testing, so it is time to share my thoughts on the product. The suggested retail price of the product should be under $10 USD, so it will be a very affordable solution allowing you to watch stereoscopic 3D videos in Side by Side format on your iDevice. And for such a low price the product turns out to be a quite nice and handy thing to have if you have an compatible Apple device and are a stereoscopic 3D enthusiast and you should not be overly critical about it. I have used the opportunity to also compare the experience you get with the 3Dfier viewer when watching stereoscopic 3D content on the iPhone with a dedicated autostereoscopic 3D smartphone – the LG Optimus 3D (also know as LG Thrill 4G).

The 3Dfier Viewer is essentially a cardboard box with three fresnel lenses mounted on it – two smaller ones at the front and one larger one at the rear. A very simple, but at the same time quite effective and functional design that gives you a 2 in 1 product – if you use the side with the two lenses you can watch Side by Side 3D videos in stereo 3D and if you use the side with the one larger lens you can get the feeling of watching 2D videos on bigger screen then the one of your iPhone/iPod device. The 3Dfier Viewer is designed especially to be used together with iPhone 4/4S and iPod touch 4th generation in order to give you the best experience, although you may also be able to use it successfully with other smartphones and mobile devices. The size of the device is optimized for the size of the iPhone 4, so it will fit in perfectly and offer the best comfort on one hand and on the other the Retina display of the device has very high pixel density (326 ppi), so it looks really great even when you zoom it in a bit. And the fresnel lenses that are being used do zoom the image about 3 times on both sides, so essentially you get the feeling of watching either stereo 3D or normal 2D video on a bigger screen, about three times bigger than the actual size of the iPhone’s display in 2D mode or three times the half of the display in 3D.

To make the 3Dfier Viewer work you need to to place the iPhone inside the cardboard, next to the inside wall of the other side that you will not be using. So if you want to watch Side by Side 3D videos you need to put the back of the phone on the inner wall with the single large fresnel lens. Then you need to hold the whole box about 18-20 centimeters away from your eyes in order to see the stereoscopic 3D effect – single image with the feeling of depth. You need to focus your eyes not on the front of the 3Dfier Viewer, but inside it where the display of the iPhone is supposed to be, this way you should be easily able to get the feeling fo depth in the image. Of course the screen of the iDevice needs to be displaying a YouTube 3D video for example in Side by side format for that to work and you can also watch 3D photos in Side by Side format or stream 3D video content (again in Side by Side format) from your computer with the help of a software such as Air Video. You can watch either half horizontal width or full width Side by Side videos with the 3Dfier Viewer, but most of the content available on YouTube in 3D format is with half horizontal resolution. Unfortunately watching squashed Side by Side 3D videos with the 3Dfier Viewer you will have to deal up with the wrong aspect ratio that actually is not that bothersome, and if you watch full resolution Side by Side clips you will just have more black border on the top and bottom.

If you have used any other stereo 3D solution for a bit you should not have trouble quickly getting used to work with the 3Dfier Viewer to watch stereoscopic 3D content on compatible devices. The experience you get is actually very good with bright image, good resolution and a lot of detail, not to mention that the screen you see seems quite big and natural with minor distortions. The only thing you need to get used to is to steadily hold the device with the iPhone inside and not to move much while watching stereo 3D content with it in order to achieve the best results. If you are a novice to stereo 3D you may need some time in adjusting to the 3D effect, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t get the best experience at first, do try again in a while and try to find what works best for you. Now, aside from the fact that there is no easy way to correct the display aspect ratio of the half horizontal width Side by Side 3D images and the fact that you will have to deal up with it (not that bothersome after a bit of use) there are a few other things that you should be aware of when using the 3Dfier Viewer. It is possible to notice some slight chromatic aberrations in the form of color fringes around some highly contrasting objects (white letters on a black background for example), this is to be expected as a side effect from the plastic fresnel lenses, but their performance is generally quite good. Here I’m going to remind you that the price of the product does not allow the use of too high quality lenses, and the level of chromatic aberrations you may notice is actually more than acceptable. Another thing worth mentioning is a side effect from the zooming of the image that the fresnel lenses produce, as a result some of the top and bottom of the image you perceive can be hidden away by the frame of the device, again not that much of an issue, but you should be aware of that.

Now, how does the experience of using the 3Dfier Viewer for watching stereoscopic 3D content compare to the use of LG Optimus 3D (LG Thrill 4G) smartphone for watching the same 3D content? Well, the results are quite interesting, because the resolution of the image and the feeling of depth seems nicer with the 3Dfier Viewer, and also the size of the 3D seems bigger. The reason for that is the difference in resolution of the screen of the two devices, the iPhone 4 uses a 2D display with 640×960 pixels (640×480 in 3D with higher ppi) where the LG uses 480×800 pixels display (480×400 in 3D mode). Furthermore you need to hold the LG at a distance of about 40 centimeters or twice that of the 3Dfier Viewer and you get no screen magnification, and due to the stretching of the 3D image on the LG to fix the aspect ratio the distance between the pixels is higher and you get the feeling of even lower resolution. On the LG smartphone when you activate the 3D mode you also get less brightness for the image seen by each eye, resulting in the image seeming darker than what you use the device in 2D mode, while using the 3Dfier Viewer you get no loss of brightness. On the other hand the LG 3D phone offers more compact size and ease of use, more stereo 3D-related features and functionality, the ability to display the correct aspect ratio of 3D images.

Moving to the other function of the 3Dfier Viewer – the use of the single large fresnel lens for getting a magnified size of the display showing 2D image. Using the magnification functionality of the device you can hold it closer to your face and eyes and thus get the feeling of watching even bigger display than triple the size of the original iPhone 4 display. Unfortunately the bigger fresnel lens is performing a bit worse than the smaller ones used for the stereo 3D functionality of the device. Here you get more chromatic abberations and the side effect that may come from them can produce false feeling of depth in normal 2D images (that depends a lot on the content being displayed), furthermore there is some slight pincushion distortion noticeable (the image on the sides gets stretched a bit more than at the center of the lens). Still the zoom functionality remains quite useable, although trying to control the iPhone touching the touchscreen through the lens can be a bit of a challenge due to the zoomed image.

So what is my consusion? The 3Dfier Viewer is a surprisingly good product that you should soon be able to pick up for about $5 USD, it is not perfect, it has some issues and drawbacks, but for that price it is really good. It is small and compact, you can easily fold it up and carry it in your backpack or bag and take it out if you need to do a quick preview of some 3D content for example and you are not willing to trade your iPhone for a 3D capable smartphone with an autostereoscopic 3D display. I personally will probably not be using it for watching full length 3D movies on an iPhone, not that you can’t do that as well (especially paired with the veyr nice Air Video app), but will instead carry one just in case I need a quick and easy access for previewing stereo 3D content… the same way that I always carry with me a paper pair of anaglyph 3D glasses. You never know when you may need one or it may come in handy.

For more information about the 3Dfier Viewer accessory visit the official website…

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3Dfier Viewer Will Offer an Affordable Way to Watch 3D on iPhone

November 26th, 2011 · 4 Comments · General 3D News

Radiant Star, the company that made the 3Dfier 2D to 3D converting DirectShow filter, is now preparing a new interesting product called 3Dfier Viewer. It is a simple and affordable accessory that should allow you to watch stereoscopic 3D photos and videos in 3D on your Apple iPhone 4/4S or iPod Touch 4th generation (although it might work well with other mobile devices as well). The 3Dfier Viewer is essentially a cardboard box with two sets of different lenses and open sides, foldable and lightweight for easy transportation, so what you do is essentially put the device inside and watch the screen through the lenses holding the 3Dfier Viewer close to your eyes. It has two functions to allow you to watch stereoscopic 3D content displayed in Side by Side format on the display of your Apple mobile device (the dual lens side) or to magnify the image displayed on the screen of the mobile device (apparently also separating colors in different planes creating somewhat of depth feeling). The device sounds quite promising, especially considering the fact that the suggested retail price of the 3Dfier Viewer should be less than $10, and of course I’ll be trying these adapters as I just got some for testing, so expect some feedback very soon.

For more information about the 3Dfier Viewer from the company Radiant Star…

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3DTV Desktop Tool for Use With a 3D HDTV in Side by Side 3D Mode

August 25th, 2011 · 1 Comment · Other S3D Tech

3DTV Desktop is a new tool developed by the Taiwanese company Radiant Star, the one that made the 3Dfier 2D-to-3D DirectShow filter that I’ve already written about here in the blog. Their new tool has nothing to do with autoconversion to 3D however, instead it is targeted to help 3D HDTV users that manually switch to Side by Side 3D mode in order to watch some 3D content from their PC that does not support automatic activation of the 3D mode on the TV set. For example if you open a Side by Side 3D video using a normal video player and want to be able to watch it in 3D on the 3D HDTV that is connected to your computer you need to manually activate the Side by Side 3D mode on the TV, but after the video finishes and you are back on your desktop you will again have to switch to normal mode and then again the next time you wan to watch another 3D video or a 3D photo, or even a game that supports Side by Side output. In order to save you from the need of that constant switching of the TV from the remote control the 3DTV Desktop tool can instead reconfigure your desktop and 2D work environment in a way that it won’t be unusable when you have the TV set in Side by Side mode and it does not display such content. To do that when activated the tool will turn your normal work window into a Side by Side one (squashed) where the actual desktop will be shown in the left side and the right side of the display will be all in white color. This way you will be actually sending Side by Side content to the TV, so your desktop (although it will be shown in 2D) will be visible through the 3D glasses (this will not work well on autostereoscopic 3D displays) and thus saving you from constant switching of the display mode of the 3D HDTV.

Now this may sound as really useful tool for some people and it actually can help quite a lot, but there is some more work needed to be done on it in order to have it even better and more functional, especially considering the fact that it is a commercial product and not a free one. There are also some important requirements that you have to meet in order to have the 3DTV Desktop tool working properly on your computer and doing exactly what it was meant to. There is already an evaluation version available that you can download and test on your computer, it is time limited to 10 minutes of use and to remove the time limit you will have to spend $25 USD for a license, a bit high if you ask me $10 USD for it (the $25 USD price was set there initially by mistake). Be sure that you have the Windows 7 with the Aero interface active as it is required for 3DTV Desktop to work properly, not sure if it will work with Aero on Vista, but it may as well. Another important thing that you should be well aware of is that when at 3DTV Display tool is active there would be 2 cursors on the screen. The thinner one is the one you should look at, and as this is the limitation of the product there are no plans for fixing it. A good thing is that the 3DTV Desktop tool does not need installation, you can just run the executable and it will appear in your system tray, from there you can enable and disable it and you can switch to the Side by Side output “CTRL + 3” and hitting “CTRL + 2” will bring you back in normal output of the display, so there is no need to actually stop the program. When active the 3DTV Desktop tool will monitor the top Window in focus and when it becomes in fullscreen it will automatically switch to normal mode so that you can watch the full screen video in 3D automatically. This is especially useful when you play Side by Side 3D videos from a video player or from a website such as YouTube for example.


I did play a bit with the tool and have to mention a few things that I’ve noticed that you should know about. First of all having the right part of the picture sent to the 3D HDTV all in white will make the image from the left part of the Side by Side output seem brighter, but it may also make what is displayed there look distorted. A better solution for that would be to just have the left and right parts (frames) of the Side by Side output show exactly the same image, so you will still see a slightly darker 2D version of your desktop for example. That however can be done at the cost of some extra performance loss, but some things better be done with some performance loss and retaining the best possible quality than not. And talking about quality another thing comes to mind, the halving of the actual resolution of the display and then stretching it again when displayed on the 3D HDTV means some loss in image quality and detail due to the use of image resizing (Side by Side squashed image). And here apparently not very high quality resize algorithm is being used, again probably due to concerns of requiring more resources, however here it is totally justified to sacrifice some performance for better quality. The resize algorithm being used does produce bad quality and loss of more detail in my opinion and after replicating the effect using Bicubic resizing produces better results and retains higher image quality. The algorithm currently being used for resizing currently leads to loss of detail, so that some text with small font size can easily become unreadable while it may still remain readable with Bicubic resize. The two photos above show the original output of the 3DTV Dekstop tool in Side by Side format as well as a simulation of how it will look on a 3D HDTV by resizing the already squashed left frame to full resolution.


The two photos above show a simulation of the same thing that the 3DTV Desktop tool does but using Bicubic resize method. On the left you see the Side by Side squashed output, retaining higher quality than what the tool’s resize method does as well as the simulation of how it will look like on a 3D HDTV after being stretched again to full screen. There is huge difference in the readability and usability of text with small font size such as the browser’s menu, the URLs of websites, even the names under the icons of programs on the Desktop for example. The authors of the tool recommend to just scale the font size, a solution that may help, but can also be not so comfortable to the way you are used to working on your computer. So using a better resize algorithm and producing better quality is a must here in order not to hurt the usability for the sake of not sacrificing some performance. And finally the dual cursors, that can be quite annoying, but it seems that the issue cannot be avoided according to the authors of the software. But if you happen to know a way how to do it, then you might as well give them a tip to fix it. Still you are welcome to try the 3DTV Desktop tool, you might find it useful in your way of using your computer with a 3D HDTV as a display instead of a 3D monitor.

For more information and to download and try the 3DTV Desktop tool…

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