Chapter 12
Single-Image Stereograms

It has been known for over 20 years that single images can be constructed that allow true three-dimensional viewing. The technique of the single-image stereogram (SIS) has gained much attention in the last few years, due to the amazing success of a series of books with such images. The basic construction of stereograms is simple and can easily be programmed in Mathematica. Alternatively, graphic objects can be written out in a form suitable as input for external stereogram generators.

Section 1 gives an introduction to stereograms. In the next section we develop a program to generate random-dot stereograms in Mathematica. A discussion on the design of good stereograms follows in Section 3. Next, in Section 4, we show a technique for producing much more accurate stereograms, using some of Mathematica's root-finding capabilities. In Section 5 we develop code to convert graphics into input for an external stereogram generator, using techniques developed originally for ray tracing in Chapter 11.

A fundamental limitation of the SIS technique is the lack of surface texture. It is impossible to give the surfaces in the scene their own color or shading. Nevertheless, the ability to view true three-dimensional images without any special equipment, images that can be displayed on a computer screen and stored electronically, is interesting and could be used for teaching and the visualization of scientific data. It is more than a toy.

Color Plates
Plate 14-a
Plate 14-b
Plate 15
Resources on the Internet
'Chez Skal'
The amazing home page of the author of RaySis.
Single Image Random Dot Stereograms Page
These pages contains pictures and information on SIRDS. Two SIRDS packages also reside here.
Stereogram / SIRDS / SIS FAQ
Answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ) about SIRDS.

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Rev. 1.0, REM, © 1996 Roman E. Maeder