DDD has just released an update to their TriDef 3D software after a bit more than 3 months with no updates. The other AMD HD3D partner – iZ3D, should’ve also had a new beta available (“before the end of March”), however there is still nothing new and they haven’t released updates for more than 5 months already, but hopefully they will soon have something new too. Getting back to the new TriDef 3D software version 4.5, it apparently now supports over 460 games (430 DDD game profiles and 30+ user submitted profiles) or about 40 new profiles since the previous version 4.4. Among the new game profiles added are Dragon Age II, Men of War Assault Squad, Bulletstorm, Assasin’s Creed Brotherhood, Lineage 2, Need for Speed Hot Pursuit, Tron Evolution, and apparently a lot of Chinese and Korean MMO games. There are also several game profile improvements relating to auto-focus, Virtual3D, scan rules, icons, performance and crashes. (for games such as Metro 2033, Starcraft II, Prince of Persia the Forgotten sands, Aion etc…). DDD is promising significantly improved cursor and window handling on some systems and games as well as improved the user friendliness of several error messages. There is also a hot-key added to Toggle Virtual 3D On/Off – Alt+Shift+V. This all goes for the TriDef 3D Ignition and apparently there is nothing new fixed or improved in the TriDef 3D Media Player.
March 31st, 2011 · 1 Comment · General 3D News
March 14th, 2011 · 18 Comments · Other S3D Tech
During the weekend I was extensively testing the 3D capabilities of the new Sony VAIO F Series 3D laptop and while I’m almost ready with the review, here is something interesting that I wanted to share with you. As you should know the first 3D laptop coming from Sony is based on Nvidia’s 3D Vision technology, but unlike all other similar solutions that are already available on the market from other companies, Sony is using their own shutter glasses instead of Nvidia’s. This of course means better 3D experience and brighter image and I could tell that even before starting with the tests, however I’ve decided to try to compare both the Nvidia 3D Vision and Sony’s shutter glasses on this laptop. Luckily I was easily able to do that, because by plugging an external 3D Vision IR emitter in the laptop it started working with both the Sony and Nvidia 3D glasses simultaneously (the built-in infrared emitter is only for Sony’s glasses). Furthermore I’ve also added the universal MonsterVision Max 3D glasses that are compatible with Sony’s shutter glasses and thus with this laptop, because Sony is using exactly the same great shutter glasses for the VAIO F Series laptops as it is offering with the Bravia 3D HDTVs. But how well do all these shutter glasses perform with the 3D laptop, let us see now…
On the image above you can see the results with the different shutter glasses using my black/white extreme test 3D photos that demonstrate how good (or bad) is a certain display handling with the crosstalk/ghosting in near worst case scenario. All of the glasses perform great, showing results that are much better than these I’m used to seeing from 3D laptop panels and even with 3D LCD monitors… the results are actually closer to how a 3D HDTV performs in terms of crosstalk/ghosting. But this is not just coming from the glasses, the 3D LCD panel used by Sony in this laptop is apparently a top-end solution that performs like a 3D HDTV and not like the cheaper solutions we’ve already seen. I can tell you that with the Sony panel there are no more issues like top/bottom ghosting and almost no color ghosting caused by the use of an Overdrive function. That kind of really surprised me and even kind of make me wish that Sony did not stop making LCD monitors, because if they released the same panel in a 23/24″ or even 27″ size in a desktop 3D monitor it would’ve simply been the best 3D monitor for PC available.
On the image above you can see that looking through the glasses the white test is perfect while on the black there is a bit of image leaking from the data in the other eye, but it is very little like on most 3D HDTVs… and most certainly much better than all 3D LCD monitors and 3D laptops I’ve tested so far. However there is a bit of difference when using the three different types of glasses that I’ve tested with, so I’ll go with some numbers to give you a better idea on what is the difference. I’ve used a Lux meter to measure how much light gets blocked by the different shutter glasses as this is pretty much the only difference that the different glasses have.
21.3 Lux with no shutter glasses
8.9 Lux with Sony’s glasses
8.6 Lux with MonsterVision Max 3D
4.6 Lux with Nvidia’s 3D Vision glasses
The difference between the Sony and Monster shutter glasses is hardly noticeable with a “naked eye”, however you can still notice that the 3D Vision glasses offer darker 3D image as compared to the other two solutions even without having to measure it. One interesting thing regarding the use of the 3D Vision shutter glasses is that you need to wear them upside down in order to have the proper left/right order, because if you wear them normally you will see the frames for the left and right eye in reversed order and that creates an uncomfortable feeling. But you’d probably not want to use 3D Vision shutter glasses with this laptop anyway, the MonsterVision Max 3D universal glasses on the other hand are a good alternative and Xpand’s X103 universal solution might also work nicely with this Sony 3D laptop, although I haven’t tried them, so I can’t confirm it for sure.
The actual reason why the 3D Vision glasses look darker and need to be worn upside down is that they were not designed to be used with this Sony laptop, after all Sony is supplying it with a pair of their own glasses for a reason. The 3D shutter glasses and screens each have a polarized filter on and they are always aligned toghether to achieve maximum brightness. Nvidia’s shutter glasses are darker because the their polarization is oriented at 45 degrees to match the TN 3D LCD displays used in PC. However with the Sony display it is oriented at 0 degrees and this mismatch in orientation could explain the factor of about two loss in light according to Nvidia.
And since tomorrow I’ll be returning the Sony VAIO F Series 3D laptop now is your chance to ask your questions and if you want something tested out, although I think that I’ve be covering most of the things related to the stereo 3D performance in the upcoming review of the laptop…
December 29th, 2010 · 8 Comments · Other S3D Tech
You are new to stereo 3D and you wonder where to start from? There is the very cheap and widely available (meaning easy to get) anaglyph red-cyan glasses that can be used with pretty much everything – printed on paper images, normal displays of all sizes, traditional projectors etc. On the other hand there are other solutions like autostereoscopic displays that do not require glasses, and solutions using passive polarized glasses or active shutter glasses, but all these are expensive and have some specific requirements and may not work well with each other if you try to combine things that are not originally intended to be used together. So what should you start with and what should you expect from each of these? I’ll try to give some ideas and of course my personal point of view on these, so that if you are new to stereo 3D you will be able to get some ideas. And the reason for that is that I get a lot of questions on topics like that…
Anaglyph Red-Cyan Glasses
The anaglyph output with red-cyan being the most common and widely used, but also available with other color filters is usually the starter solution for people that want to test the 3D effect for free. Yes, I do really mean for free as all you need is a pair of Red-Cyan anaglyph glasses and you will be ready to try it out on your computer and the chances that you have these glasses already are quite high. These come bundled with some products, magazines, newspapers, even some video cards etc., but even if you don’t have them already, you can get a pair of paper anaglyph glasses very cheap from eBay or any other online store around you that sells some sort of 3D-related products. The good thing here is that you can use a normal 60Hz display for showing anaglyph content in 3D, as this method relies on overlaying the 3D information – two different colored layers over each other and the color filters of the glasses you are wearing separate them to create the illusion of depth. The side effect of having color filters on your glasses is that you loose some of the color information from the original image, also it is more tiring for the eyes and not suitable for longer usage.
On the question if I’d recommend to try first in 3D anaglyph and then going to something that requires a significant amount of money to buy I’d say yes, do try it first in anaglyph as you can do it for free or pretty much free. However you should be prepared to not expect to be overwhelmed by the result you get from anaglyph and you should be aware of the fact that there are numerous other solutions that will produce much better results and will offer you better experience. So do not judge for stereo 3D in overall if you get a bit disappointed from anaglyph when you try it, just know that “the real thing” is much better. And even though I use polarized and shutter-based 3D solutions much more, there are times when I get back to using anaglyph as it is simple, easy and most of all very convenient for some tasks like when aligning the left and right view from a 3D video you’ve captured. As for software, you can go for 3D Vision and the free 3D Vision Discover mode or iZ3D and their free anaglyph mode as well to try games in stereo 3D mode. Just remember, if somebody asks you to buy hardware for anaglyph 3D, then say no, it is good only if it is free or you just payed a very small sum for the glasses, there is no point in purchasing hardware or software just to watch stereo 3D content in anaglyph mode!
Passive Polarized Solutions
These were more popular up to a few years ago and mostly among professional users that needed stereo 3D in their line of work. With passive polarized monitors you usually have a special filter applied on the monitor that can polarize differently the even and odd lines of the screen so when wearing a special pair of glasses with two differently polarized filters for the left and right eye you will see two different images that will be fused into a 3D one. The obvious drawback here is that you get just half the horizontal resolution per eye, because you use a single display/panel. And the obvious plus is the fact that the passive polarized glasses do come quite cheap for a pair and you can easily have more users able to see the 3D effect on a single displays without a lot of additional cost. Some of the other possible issues concerning the monitors include lower viewing angles, some crosstalk still present, etc. When talking about projectors and passive polarized glasses, the solution here usually relies on dual projectors with different polarization, so unlike with monitors you get the full resolution, but these solutions are more expensive, because you also need to get a special type of reflective silver-screen in order to keep the light polarization. But here there are also multiple technologies, especially when talking about usage in 3D cinemas both for the type of polarization of the glasses as well as the projector(s)/screen(s) combination, so I’ll not go too much into details about these.
Solutions with Active Shutter Glasses
These were quite popular in the era of CRT displays, but lately they are seeing their rebirth as a preffered solution with the appearance of LCD/Plasma screens that offer the high refresh rates that are required by the technology. Here you have the screen showing a fast sequence of images, both for the left and the right eye and the glasses that you are wearing actively switch between the left and right eye showing only the frame that is intended for each of them. However the prices of displays that can use a higher refresh rates are higher than the price of a similar size for a normal monitor and even a single pair of glasses is quite expensive, especially compared to the passive polarized ones, as here you have some electronics and not just a few “pieces of plastic”. With the shutter glasses you get the full resolution of the display in stereo 3D mode, however there is still some crosstalk/ghosting. And then again purchasing more than a single pair of shutter glasses can prove to be quite expensive, but still this combination is considered as the best solution for the moment.
Autostereoscopic 3D Displays
Now, there is a lot of talk going on about this type of solutions that do not require the user to wear glasses in order to be able to see the 3D image. It certainly sounds nice and more convenient than having to wear some sort of glasses like with the other solutions, however don’t think we are ready for going to autostereoscopic 3D displays for now. This technology is still quite new and not developed well enough to satisfy general demand and requirements, including in therms of price. The autostereoscopic displays have a number of issues that need to be corrected, before they can become the mainstream technogoly for 3D and that will probably require at least 5 more years. I’m talking about the limited number of viewing positions they offer (the place where you have to be to be able to see the depth of the image being displayed), the lower resolution (this is associated with the number of views you get) and most of all the price has to become much more affordable than it is at the moment. Sure, there are number of small portable multimedia devices that do have an autostereoscopic 3D display and they are not much more expensive than the rest of the non-3D supporting equivalents. However these displays are with a small size, small resolution, usually a single viewing position and due to their quite small size they do not come that expensive. But for a multiuser solution in the form of a big 3D HDTV the price even with what the current technology offers will be at least a few times more expensive than a good 3D-capable LCD or Plasma HDTV with shutter glasses. So there is some more time for that technology to catch up and if you want to experience stereo 3D now, then you should not be waiting for the time of autostereoscopic 3D solutions to come. You’ll quickly get used to wearing the glasses and stop considering that as an inconvenience.