3D may be overplayed, but way before Hollywood thought it was cool, stereograms allowed us to see 3D without glasses...or sometimes, with really epic glasses. So this week's Shooting Challenge is IN 3D!

Stereograms were popularized in the 20th century by groups like the Keystone View Company and inventions like the View-Master. And now, a handful of dual-lensed cameras on the market make capturing stereograms easy. But really, you don't need any special hardware to acquire or enjoy the photos.

The Challenge

Create a stereogram—two images that sit side by side that, when one unfocuses their eyes properly, appear to make one 3D image. Be sure to read our requests on formatting below!


The Method

The basic trick is to find a level surface—either a table or flat ground for your tripod—and take two photos of a scene, moving the camera about 3-4 inches laterally between shots (assuming your subject is fairly close). In editing, place the left image on the left of a page and the right image on the right of the page. Screw with your eyes' focus and the world is in 3D again.

So how can you ensure success?


About suggests that you always photograph the left side of the image, then the right (for your own sanity). And keep in mind that moving objects probably won't work.

Weatherscapes warns that if too much of an image is at infinity (appears without depth as sheer background) it can make viewing the 3D image very difficult.

I'd like to state the obvious and recommend everyone lock down exposure/color settings so that the shots can match. Also, as wide angle lenses accentuate depth, for super 3D, go wide.

Formatting Requests

See that lead shot by NASA? It's of Lake Palanskoye in northern Kamchatka. We're going to copy its formatting, because it'll make enjoying these images easier on all of us. Feel free to shoot landscape or portrait photos, but:
1. Use a black background with a sliver of space between the images
2. Center white dots above each image for lining up the 3D effect
3. Note that we're accepting submissions that are 1000 pixels wide for this week, rather than 800, but keep files under 200KB if possible.

The Rules - READ THESE

1. Submissions need to be your own.
2. Photos must be taken since this contest was announced.
3. Explain, briefly, the equipment, settings, technique and story behind shot.
4. Email submissions to contests@gizmodo.com, not me.
5. Include 1000px wide image (200KB or less) AND a 2560x1600 sized in email. I know that your photo may not fall into those exact high rez dimensions, so whatever native resolution you're using is fine.
6. One submission per person.
7. Use the proper SUBJECT line in your email (more info on that below)

Send your best photo by Monday, December 20th at 8AM Eastern to contests@gizmodo.com with "Stereogram" in the subject line. Save your files as JPGs, and use a FirstnameLastnameStereogram.jpg (1000px wide) and FirstnameLastnameStereogramWallpaper.jpg (2560px wide) naming conventions. Include your shooting summary (camera, lens, ISO, etc) in the body of the email along with a story of the shot in a few sentences. And don't skip this story part because it's often the most enjoyable part for us all beyond the shot itself!

Today, my site Life, Panoramic is featuring photos of San Juan.

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