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Pic3D Lenticular Lens for Making 2D Displays Stereo 3D Capable

February 10th, 2012 · 5 Comments · Other S3D Tech

Pic3D is another product in the form of a thin plastic sheet that you can attach to a 2D display to make it able to display stereoscopic 3D content without any hardware modification or additional hardware (no 3D glasses are required), you will of course need a special software player to be able to play the content in 3D. Pic3D has been developed by a Japanese company called Global Wave and although it has been announced a while ago, it is still only available on the Japanese market only. Pic3D comes in the form of lenticular sheets for different devices and screen sizes that when applied turns ordinary 2D displays into autostereoscopic 3D ones. Currently the Pic3D supports only for playback of 3D movies, and although the software players accept Side by Side input, the output of the device is neither row or column interleaved, but the lines are actually kind of angled in order not to have that much noticeable loss of resolution and detail in 3D mode, but more about that in a bit…

Pic3D is available for all more recent Apple mobile devices such as the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S (available for 2100 Yen or about $27 USD), iPod touch4G (available for 2100 Yen or about $27 USD) and the iPad 2 (available for 4725 Yen or about $61 USD). There is a free player application available for these devices on the AppStore, actually there are two – Pic3D and Pic3D II (pictured above) with the second one probably being with more intuitive and easier for use interface if you are not Japanese. The player application supports playback of Side by Side 3D videos only either available locally or from YouTube 3D video library, unfortunately there is no support for 3D photo playback and currently you will not be able to use the Pic3D with any game for the iOS.

The Pic3D is also available for some laptops as well as for desktop monitors. The mobile computer versions are designed for laptops with a screen size of 12.1-inches and resolution of 1280×800 pixels (available for 4725 Yen or about $61 USD) as well as for 15.6-inch laptops with a resolution of 1366×768 pixels (available for 6300 Yen or about $81 USD). The models for desktop monitors are intended for 21.5-inch Full HD displays and for 23-inch Full HD displays with a prices of 14700 Yen and 15750 Yen respectively or about $190 USD and $203 USD which is already quite a bit expensive. There are actually 3D monitors that you can buy for that much, although not autostereoscopic 3D ones, but still 3D-capable using passive 3D glasses. On the image above you can see a sample output from a Side by Side 3D video being played with the PC version of the video player that you need to use with the Pic3D attached to your screen. The video player for Windows can also benefit from some improvements in the interface and getting video controls while playing back the content, I’ve also noticed that it does consume quite a lot of system memory when playing back 3D videos.

Pic3D’s approach is a bit different as compared to some of the other similar products, although their product is in the form of a thin plastic foil, it does not completely stick to the display of the device, so you can easily remove and reattach it when you want to. The company also claims that through their filter the 2D image displayed on the screen will be left unaffected, so even with the filter applied the display should be quite useable when playing back normal 2D content. Pic3D also promises higher brightness, so after being applied it should reduce the maximum level of brightness of the device by just about 10% and is supposed to provide wide viewing angles of up to 120 degrees, so it does sound really promising. There are however some limitations that you should also be well aware of…

You should know that on mobile devices such as the iPhone or iPad, where you can easily rotate the screen you will not be able to use the 3D mode in all orientations, it will be available only in the landscape mode (the player locks it in when started). The same also applies for the versions of the product for laptops and desktop monitors, but there you are not very likely to rotate the monitor anyway, so it isn’t that much of a limitation for them as for the mobile devices. Furthermore there is no support for playing back of 3D photos using the Pic3D for the moment and you are also not able to play games in stereo 3D mode. Due to the non standard image input for 3D that the Pic3D screen filter uses you are not able to feed it with such output from an application such as iZ3D or DDD TriDef 3D in order to play your favorite games in stereo 3D mode for example. Maybe the developers of the product will do something about the current limitation of only being able to play Side by Side 3D videos using their product, but for now this is not making their product way too attractive for anything other than maybe Apple’s mobile devices. Still and interesting product to watch, especially if/when it also becomes available outside of Japan as well…

For more information about the Pic3D 2D to 3D lenticular sheets for various devices…

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5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Iris // Feb 11, 2012 at 00:42

    I am afraid to say that the Pic-3D sheet for my 12.1″ notebook affects 2D text and makes Windows unusable in 2D. The very buggy software causes severe ghosting and the 3-D effects are very shallow and only perceivable when you look from the sides (at an angle); if you sit just in front of the screen, there won’t be any 3-D depth. There are no calibration options, so finding that sweet spot comes by trial and error and the 3-D as I said is very shallow (no real depth) and spoiled by the severe ghosting on almost every clip I tried.
    Expensive and I wouldn’t recommend!
    Spare yourself time and money and try a better option such as iZ3D with yellow/blue anaglyph (gives proper depth and reasonable colour) or if you are a fan of autostereoscopy, go for SeeFront 3D sheet http://www.seefront.com/ with webcam tracking, which is the technology adopted by Sony:
    Don’t accept those expensive “imitations” such as Pic3D!
    I really regret my purchase and the worst thing is that the company does NOT accept any returns or refunds, and they seem not to have any plans to release a better player for Windows PCs; not even an English manual. Their English site is a joke: http://pic-3d.jp/ (The English Manual link doesn’t yet work!)
    If you contact them they will tell you: “we are sorry you are not satisfied. we will learn from your comments” Don’t think about the money you’ve paid or expect any ‘fitness for purpose’ or legal consumer rights!

  • 2 Max // Feb 11, 2012 at 10:27

    “2D text and makes Windows unusable in 2D. ”

    Yes, would be very good any easy attachable and removalble sheet for my 8.9″ screen also. (acer netbook)
    Just for verify the stereo effect with my dual cam rig but wihout glasses. Any chances?

  • 3 Bloody // Feb 11, 2012 at 13:41

    No, the Pic3D sheets are with a predefined size and optimized for specific resolutions, trying to adapt them to other sizes will most likely not give good results.

  • 4 Crowdy Man // Mar 6, 2012 at 07:54

    Pic3D version II for iPhone 4/4S will come out this April with English manuals in US. I was told that this version would be better.
    I want to try when it lands here.

  • 5 Crowdy MAN // Apr 21, 2012 at 19:26

    PIC3D is now available at http://WWW.PIC3DUS.COM

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