If you’ve seen The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl, Coraline, Avatar, or been to an IMAX 3D theater, then you saw anaglyph images. And, you had to wear some type of 3D glasses to view these images too. Have you ever wondered how and who made those 3D images possible? If so, then keep reading because, in this article, we’ll explore the history of anaglyph 3D.
An anaglyph is a type of stereoscopic image. This means that the image appears to be three-dimensional when viewing it, but the image is really two-dimensional. Wilhelm Rollmann is credited as the first person to illustrate an anaglyph, and he published his invention in 1853. He illustrated this by using red and blue glasses to view yellow and blue images. However, Rollmann’s technique only worked on line drawings.
In 1891, Louis Ducos du Hauron created the first printed anaglyph. Hauron’s process involved printing two negatives (which formed a stereoscopic photo) onto the same sheet of paper. One of the negatives was printed in blue or green while the other negative was printed in red. Then, the viewer puts on a pair of colored glasses to view the printed image. The red color was used for the left eye and blue (or green) was used for the right eye.
William Friese-Green is another person who contributed to the history of anaglyph 3D. In 1889, he created the first 3D anaglyph in motion pictures. And, in the 1890s, he filed a patent for this technology. Green’s process helped in giving us the type of anaglyphs we are used to seeing in movies today. The process involved placing two screens side by side, and the viewer used a stereoscope (which connected the images together) to view it.
In the 1920s, anaglyph 3D reached popularity. The silent movie The Power of Love was the first 3D film that premiered in 1922 at the Ambassador Hotel Theater in Los Angeles. To view the movie, the audience used anaglyph glasses, and one projector was used to display the movie. Aside from movies, anaglyphs also appeared in magazines, newspapers, and comics. In 1953, St. John Publishing Company published the first 3D comic which featured Mighty Mouse.
Today, we still see the history of anaglyph 3D taking shape in the form of video games, cinema, Blu-ray Discs, and even print.
Check out this article on how to create an anaglyph 3d effect in Affinity Photo to learn how to create your own anaglyph effect.