Formatting the Digital Stereo Pair
(revised: 9/06/05, last worked on: January 9th, 2018, upfonted and poked at: 3/13/2019)
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fastfind>>> folder format> composing pairs, the basic image, film scanning, mounting jig, working with MPOs,
MPOs to viewcard prints: step by step,
(Some of this will seem repetitive, since I've combined earlier pages.)

3/13/2019: My vaunted copy of PPub-3.1 is now 27 years old --! Surely, almost any general purpose graphics program, commercial or freeware, can do the masking and moving described below. Avoid anything that uses "layers" --unless it's very stable or you can turn that feature off --since it might make you combine layers after every move --in order to lock in object positions.

* PPub-3.1 might not run under operating systems later than XP-3, so go for a graphics program that's current for your computer.

3/4/2011: There's a new, free, general purpose graphics program: "Paint.net", which you can download for free at:

http://www.getpaint.net/

www.pokescope.com is interesting software that's dedicated to editing digital stereo pairs. I purchased a copy, it works fine, it's reasonably priced, but (of course) I'm use to doing it the old fashioned general graphics way --to which I've returned. Newbies, however, might want to patronize and support this company and its worthy ventures.

* Another option is "Stereo Photo Maker", which is a free download, works well, can use Fuji MPO format directly (unlike Pokescope), and is a bit more complex. It easily converts stereo pairs from MPO to side-by-side pairs or anaglyphs and re-saves to your choice of TIF, PNG, GIF, and JPS or JPG with your choice of compression. You can print your pairs to arch-top stereo card format directly, adding a left-right legend beneath them. SPM appears to be the answer to the virgin's prayer --and capable of becoming the core of a serious stereographic enterprise.

http://stereo.jpn.org/stphmkr/

Fuji's W1 & W3 Cameras --and digital age cameras in general

In the Jan-Feb issue of Stereo World (Vol 35, #4), Bob Pfeiff, a seasoned stereographer, wrote a long and thorough review based on his experience with the Fuji W1 --for those of you who are subscribing members of the NSA. (Sorry: Stereo World isn't on-line, but see the above PC Magazine review link as well --even though it isn't as well informed as Pfeiff's.) Except for its redesigned case/grip, bigger, brighter hi-rez display, and the ability to record 3D video in high definition (720p x 24 fps), the innards and menus of Fuji's new W3 stereo camera are said to be the same, so much of Pfeiff's review applies.

I'm better at supplementing reviews than doing the whole job on my own :-) so here are some comments --hopefully with enough extracted/implied thoughts from Bob Pfeiff's review as to be stand-alone-able. Please understand that I own neither the W1 nor the W3, but I do have a copy of the manuals for both to reference. They're downloadable from the Fuji web site, per:

www.fujifilm.com/support/3d/manuals/.../finepix_real3dw1_manual_01.pdf

http://us.fujifilm.com/support/ServiceSupportProductContent.do?dbid=880144&prodcat=878955&sscucatid=664271

Working with the MPO format:  * I'm not sure what Bob Pfeiffer is in reference to in his review, but from other sources I'm given to understand that the left and right images are separable as JPEGs via either the software which comes with the the camera, or software which comes with the (spendy) "V1" viewer.  Fortunately, there's a freeware (ie: no cost or obligations) program named "Stereophoto Maker" which speaks "MPO" and allows you to work with its containerized JPEG pair --thanks to the hard work and generosity of Masuji Suto San, translation by David Sykes, and tutorials by David Starkman.

Thanks, good people. Download it at: http://stereo.jpn.org/eng/stphmkr/

Bob Pfeiffer experienced slow processing with Stereophoto Maker, but he was using a damnable (IMO) Vista operated computer. Our "Are You Sure?" Vista operated laptop is a lead sled clunker. (It helps to put in more RAM, externally or internally, but file transfers can still be agonizingly slow. We much prefer our up-to-date XP3 PC boxes.)

* So far I've used SPM to pull up a pair from our twinned digital cameras, plus I've opened sample MPOs from:

http://www.cmsoft.com.br/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=131&Itemid=189.

If the directions for working with separate left-right images aren't working for you, start with "File/Open" and choose "Open Left/Right Images". Be sure not to maximize the window that SPM is running in, since you have to grab a corner and resize it (along with the displayed pair) in order to fuse the view you're working with (by freeviewing or wearing prism power stereo glasses).

Previously, there were no graphics programs that I could suggest to people getting into working with digital pairs. Aside from Picture Window Pro (which is mostly for running my film scanner), the programs I use are 10 to 18 years old (Micrografx Picture Publisher versions 3.1, 6 and 8; Mgfx Designer 4.1 and 6; Paint Shop Pro-7). I've tried other brands and newer programs, but they didn't measure up --especially to my 18 year old PPub anchor program.

For more about currently available graphics programs, see page "Trim-01".

Returning to PokeScope:

I found it to be quite intuitive. It runs well under my XP-3 Windows operating system and earlier systems. It's available from Berezin --at: http://www.berezin.com.
 

More programs for dealing with MPOs and stereo in general (some for Mac computers) are at:

http://www.stereoscopy.com/downloads/  (Thanks, program authors --and Alexander Klein!)

* I barely know what I'm talking about with respect to computer operating systems and especially "Windows 7", but I gather that there have been 64 bit versions available for some time now. For those of us who have old programs that we love and rely upon, I've been told to opt for the 32 bit version. See:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Windows

* Micrografx created Picture Publisher-3.1 back in 1992/93. Originally it sold for $500(!) and until PokeScope, nothing since has come close to its intuitive convenience for doing basic digital stereo-graphics scut work. Try and find a copy --which often shipped as a freebie with old scanners like the Mustek brand. Although it works fairly well in a Pentium/W-98 or XP2 environment, some of it's best features (like for creating anaglyphs ["algebraic pasting"]) are lamed, so you need a recent graphics program as well (PPub or Paint Shop Pro, though PokeScope will at least do anaglyphy for you, and Stereo Photo Maker does it all).

* I've looked at Microsoft's (comes with your operating system) "Paint", and it won't display large images (beyond screen-size in pixel count) to a reduced scale.

* I looked at the 48 bit Picture Window Pro-3.5. It's excellent plus affordable --plus it doesn't annoy you with endless generations of "layers" (you get an annoying series of edit versions instead), but: it still doesn't let you round up and do controlled moves of pixel groups like PPub-3.1 does. I tried the always-available shareware version #3 of Paint Shop Pro (a nice 2 MB download from sites like:

http://aliens.humlak.cz/aliens/Aliens_papirove_modely/papercraft/archive/paintshop3.12.exe

--but decided that its tools are too primitive --even for laying down a side-by-side pair (as you see having been done at the start of my digital steps below). However: PSP-3 still makes a good general purpose graphics program for sizing, histograming, and printing out pairs for manual trimming.

* I've also looked at Jasc's Paint Shop Pro versions #7, 8 and 9 (went to 48 bits in version #10). This is a wonderful, complex graphics application which, when mastered, should do anything you want --except move pixel groups like PPub-3.1 does. It use to be very affordable (about $40 with rebates from Amazon.com and well under $100 elsewhere) --until Corel got ahold of it and milked it (to death).

I started making a tutorial with version #7, but by the time I got an approach to working with just one "Layer" (PPub-3.1 used elegant masking control in advance of layers), Jasc was shipping version #8 --which was such a departure from the appearance of version #7 that my efforts were for naught.

** So either move to PokeScope, Stereo Photo Maker, or just use any program/s which will allow you to print out 300 DPI color prints to a specified size, then go to:

t-plate-steps.htm

--and learn how to trim them out --the old fashioned way with a razor knife.

* General note: Don't try to open or create JPEGs (or other compressions) with Picture Publisher 3.1 or other older graphics programs. You need something up to date.
 
 


 

The following steps are based on the use of Micrografx's Picture Publisher version 3.1
There is no substitute. Corel has the brand now and won't sell this old version.
Find a copy if you possibly can. It runs well enough under Windows-98 and XP/2 or XP/3 when you take its option to emulate XP/2 --just for PPub-3.1 (It's a right click on the start icon or the EXE itself to access that feature).

You can, of course, make other modern graphics programs (like Photo Shop Pro) do this work, but you have to fight modern-times "bells and whistles" to get through these simple tasks. (The software future belongs to publishers who will provide a "console switch" --to emulate earlier versions of their applications.)
 

Here are two common problems we deal with when composing a view based on a "weight shift" pair. (See Glossary for any unfamiliar terms.)

(Later installments will address problems with differential rotation and image scale problems, so for now: keep your camera level, leave your lenses at full wide or full zoom, and lock the focus if it's jittering.)

Here's what I did to fix this Beach Driftwood pair (stereographed by Peggy Daniels).
 
 


This pair is a nice view but it presents a little extra work for our eyes to do  :-)




The first problem is obvious --by drawing a mask to check and see if details are level (ie: in vertical registration). If not, you can move the mask with your up-down arrow keys (with Micrografx Picture Publisher version 3.1*) at 100% size or 200% size to find out how many pixels one of the frames has to be moved. In this case, the right frame should be dropped 3 pixels.
 
 


After making that determination, put a mask just inside the image area of the right frame (so you don't get any "card" color) --
 


--select it, and choose "cut out image" (PPub-3.1 vernacular) or "move image" and then drop the image down exactly 3 pixels (3 pokes at the down arrow --using PPub-3.1). In PPub-3.1 you then double click outside the image area to settle the moved area. (In other programs you next have to mess around with combining this moved image from being a "floating object".) That leaves a 3p high white space above the frame/image.
 
 


Now reselect "Mask Only" and drag the left edge out across the left frame (and settle the mask).
 
 


I'm using 2x ("200%") magnification here to move the bottom edge of the mask up just into the left frame image area. (Be careful to move the bottom mask edge --not the whole mask.)
 
 


Having used that medicine dropper "color picker" to place the "card" color into the active painting frame (bottom left most area of this image), I next set the mask select to "outside" (using PPub-3.1) and began painting over those frame/image areas that are outside of the mask.
 
 


And here I've just about finished up with this step.
 
 


But there's another problem --which should be apparent to an experienced stereographer's eyes --simply by trying to view this stereo pair. Even without viewing them --as is plain from the last detail we examined and the one circled here, there's more near image area at the left edge of the left frame --than at the left edge of the right frame. Also: there's more near image area at the right edge of the right frame than at the right edge of the left frame.

What that means is that the frame lines --which define how far away the "stereo window" appears, need to be adjusted. (see "A Stereo Glossary" for this term and anything else which is unfamiliar at: Glossary ). The "window" in this view is further away than and "cuts into" the nearer image details.
 
 


An easy way to fix this problem is to place a mask over the pair --such that it cuts off the outside edges equally --and just as much as you need in order to "nick" into nearby image details --more of which can be seen in the other frame.

Then you use the color picker to make the active color patch (lower left of this image in the program PPub-3.1) the color of your "card" --and paint out the image areas which are outside of the mask (as we did before).

Here's the result:



Outputting your view as a traditional ("Holmes/Bates") stereograph

Well --duh: just print it, right?

Most standard stereoscopes (including the "CedarEdge") have "base-out" prismatic lenses with optical centers separated by about 3-1/2 inches (89mm --and the antique ones had to be built that way). With a view card placed on the stage at full focal length, that much distance between similar details (left to right frames) on a card are fusible, since your 2-1/2 inch (64mm) eyes can look at it with no more than parallel vision.

(The technical term for similar details is: "homologous points".)

HOWEVER: folks like to "crowd in" on a good view (to get closer and "see more") --thus defeating the prism power of a stereoscope. Good practice is to "trim and mount" (virtually on a computer graphics program) such that the furthest image detail spans (those items furthest from the camera) are no more than about 3-1/4 inches apart (83mm) --and many members of the Stereoscopic Society of America mount even closer together. Almost no one notices if the maximum card spans are on the order of 3 inches (say), but many people object if you go over 3-3/8 inches. (Some plastic lorgnettes, like the AO and the "RCI", can span up to 4 inches to accommodate "super views".)

Now factor in a bit of "gap" (technical term: "septum") between the image pair --which is an excellent idea (to prevent "retinal edge rivalry") --say: 1/8 inch.

* In a "normal" view (4 feet to infinity, taken with a Realist or similar stereo camera), the range of depth within the view (technical term: "deviation") runs from the span between the window's edges (which are also the print pair frame edges) to a tad more separation between similar points at infinity: about 1/4 inch --if most of the 5 perforation frames are enlarged about 3.5x for the print pair.

** So: if we make our print pair 2-7/8 inch wide (each frame --any height), if we allow for up to 1/4 inch more for the deviation content, if we allow for a 1/8 inch gap --our stereograph is full-up.

Even though we might not be using anything remotely like a Realist stereo camera, even if you're making appropriately spaced hypers and hypostereo pairs --if you make your print pair with 2-7/8 inch wide frames AND trim/window properly (per the directions on these web pages), you'll be turning out "standard 'scope OK" views nearly all of the time.
 
 

* Your mounting cards, of course, should be 7 inches wide and normally about 3-1/2 inches high --but up to 4 inches high works well too and fits most Society traveling folio boxes. Sometimes circuit members make extra tall views and hinge them at the septum --to fit into a folio box or maybe to carry them around in a shirt pocket.

* For actually and accurately placing a ready to stick down (glue or carpet tape on their backs) --trimmed print pair onto a 3.5 x 7 inch card, you might want to make a mounting jig --like this one.


Mounting jig
(That ruler isn't a part of it, and sorry for the uneven lighting.)

* The OTHER format is "American 6x13" --which mounts up (typically) on 5" wide cards (just heavy photo paper is often rigid enough) and is over-all about a 71% reduction of a standard stereograph (or: "viewcard").

You can easily turn out both formats on the same "view" (taking that to mean the entire card or folder artifact) by simply reducing a copy of the Holmes-Bates original and placing it on the 3rd panel of a "folder" (see below) as a viewing option.
 

Here's how to do it almost totally with your computer:

What you're looking at is a sheet of 24 pound wt. standard ink jet stationery (Hammermill 97% reflectance), now trimmed off to a 7 inch width and a length suitable for placing the tri-folded panels into a standard stereoscope --as if it was a Holmes-Bates (Society standard) card-mounted stereo view.

To get images placed just where you want them on the page, you need a "designer" type program --like Micrografx's "Designer" (and I still use their 16 bit version 4.1 here).  The images are worked in a graphics program (like Micrografx's "Picture Publisher" or "Paint Shop Pro", then imported, placed, and (if need be) sized.  Text is typed in with the designer program and the whole is saved as a designer file for future use (and maybe as a template for your next view project).

The main view image is sized to 3-1/2" of height, but the middle panel is as much as 1/8" shorter --such that the gray ground "bleeds" a bit into the adjacent panels.  That saves you the stress of getting both image edges and fold lines exactly the same.

The sheet can be used as is by folding the panels as needed.  Alternately, the top panel can be folded back and permanently bonded to the view panel (using indoor non-reinforced plastic carpet tape) --such that it becomes much more rigid.

Obviously, the panels are "corner rounded" (see glossary) when folded together.  They match along their edges almost perfectly, since they were also trimmed to size when folded together.

Note that the 71% "freeview/6x13" version allowed for placing a small map image alongside --which also includes an arrow designating the scene's location --along with its latitude and longitude (thanks to DeLorme's "Topo USA" program and resource disks).
 

'Bye for now,

Craig  :-)
 

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Here are the steps for getting print pairs out of your new Fuji-W3 stereo camera

Considerations:  A year ago I was able to take a Stereo Photo Maker (SPM) generated batch of side-by-side JPEGs to a local over-the-counter processing service and fit the pairs inside the 6 inch width of a standard 4x6 print (which left some blank space above and below the pair to trim away) --but no more. The counter-top processor interface insists on filling out the 4 inch height. Consequently, you'll have to use SPM (as intended) to output a complete, high resolution view, which is imaged within the space of a 4x6 inch "card"/print (ie: a "monolithic view"). For you old-timers, the result is a Grand Photo style "ready to view" pair.

* Don't worry: it's easy. If you want, you can still trim out the pair, adjust the window, and mount to a traditional mat board card.

* Another option is to simply run the SPM generated pair to your desktop printer. SPM shows the pair's placement on a standard 8.5 x 11 inch sheet, should that be your medium/format of choice, or if you're making a "folder" type view (like those used in the SSA's "Letterbox" circuit). The steps here are the same for folders. Just fold the paper, instead of trimming out your printed view. (You might want to print some extended legend text on the page before folding.)

1) Download and install "Stereo Photo Maker" from: http://stereo.jpn.org/stphmkr/

2) Make sure that you've read the Fuji manual's "Camera Q&A" plus pages 1 through 4. Set the camera's date and time, learn how to prolong the camera's display time (page #), do an initial run-through of what the icons mean (book mark that page), and make sure you've read the section on batteries, so that you start fully charged (page #15) --especially before you do your setups or format a memory card.

3) A charger came with your camera. Make sure it's not been tossed out with the packaging. Use it now.

4) Read Page #9-10 and install a memory card of the recommended type and quality. (You'll need a good one --an SDHC, if you decide to shoot video later on.)

5) Read page #11 and carefully format the card before you use it.

* Format it again after you've stuck it into an SDHC capable card reader/adapter --which USB connects to your computer. That's the cleanest/bestest way to erase the card and start fresh (after you've archived your shots).

* Note that your camera's default settings number each new photo to sequentially ("continuously") higher number, independently of changing out or reformatting memory cards. Don't change that setting.

6) The camera default settings work great for general shooting, but you'll want to change a three of them (now).

* On page #64 are shown your photo size and format options. The one you want is "L4:3". Go to page #60 and learn how to change to that size from the "L16:9" default.

* On page #65 are shown the "Image Quality" options. The one you want is "Fine". Go to page #60 again, see how to navigate to that camera setting, and change it from the default "Normal".

* One of the Menu setup options is titled: "MPO 3DREC". Change the default "MPO+JPEG" to just "MPO".

Read page #15 ("Taking 3D Pictures in Auto Mode").

7) Read page #17 on holding the camera --learning how to hold it steady while keeping your fingers and the strap out of the field of view.

8) Read page #19, so you know what the colored lights and messages mean.

** Skip any "advanced" information or settings for now. Master the details and features of "Auto Mode" first. Run through several "rolls" of digital "film", until the camera's functions and handling become second nature.

9) Take a bunch of stereo photos.

10) Read page #12 and #20 --so you know how to review your shots --and delete the ones you don't want.

11) Skip installing the Fuji comes-with software onto your computer.

12) Turn on your computer. Let it boot up and finish doing all its frigging updating and such --which might take 10 minutes, so get a cup of coffee. (It can be extremely confusing to learn a new program when your computer's operational capacities are being pre-empted by such nuisance "house keeping" operations. The computer's user-owner is given lowest priority.

13) Create or find a suitable folder (or "directory") on your computer's "Desktop" display --for receiving your camera's "MPO" files. Make another directory for your finished, ready-to-print, ready-to-view stereographs.

14) When you're done shooting, reviewing and deleting, turn the camera off and remove the memory card. Place it into your card reader (which might just be a little "thumb" adapter) --that connects to your computer via USB.

* The first time you plug a camera memory card into your computer, your computer should say/state something like: "I found some new hardware" --and you just keep sitting there -keeping your hand off the mouse and the keyboard (no *clicking* ! ).

Time passes.

Your computer might then say something like "I'm working on it".

Finally, your computer (perhaps ever-so-briefly) states that your "new hardware" (meaning the camera memory card) "is ready" --but you just keep serenely sitting there --smooth of brow.

* Your security system might ask if it should first scan the memory card. Either a "Yes" or a "no" is fine--

--and you keep on just sitting there.

* Your computer will probably next display a menu of options about what you want to do next --and you then choose to display the contents of your camera's memory card. (*click* or *click*click*? Microsoft can't seem to make up its mind about how to launch a command. I always try a single click first.)

* Inside will be a "DCIM" folder --which you'll *click*click* on to open it.

* Inside that will be another folder labeled: "101 Fuji" (or some such). Go *click*click* on it.

* Now a damnable thing about Microsoft computers is that they often ship with the file tags (types) display turned off, so you might not see a bunch of image files with number names like: "000-0134.mpo". Instead you'll see just the "000-0134" first part of the names.

* The potential problem is: if you've taken any videos, they're identified with a different tag: "000-0135.avi". (Hopefully, the AVIs will be in a separate "MOV" folder, or some such.) (Again: I don't own a Fuji W3, just a camera manual, so I might be remiss in a detail or two here.)

* If the tags (file types) don't show, and if that's a problem, have someone who knows computers change the "Windows Explorer" settings to display them.

15) So okay: there, probably on your "desk top" screen display of the memory card's folder, are all your image files --and there also is your intended MPO receiving folder --both being displayed on your monitor. You know how to round up and "Copy" (NOT "Move") the image files from the one to the other --right? Then do so.

* Do not reformat the memory card just yet. The images recorded on it are your insurance, should there be some misfortune when dealing with the copies you've placed on your computer's hard drive.

16) Next: open the program: Stereo Photo Maker. You're going to use it for just a few steps.

17) Click on File/Open Stereo Image, then navigate within SPM to your MPO folder in the usual way.

18) Select "Side-by-Side" for the format, check "Show Preview", highlight your first MPO selection, and "Open".

19) Now you're looking at the stereo pair in a program window which can be sized, such that the left-right pair can be made to agree with whatever glasses or free-vision you're using to (optionally) fuse it. Most likely, the fused view looks good enough --just the way it comes up. If not, feel free to play with the adjustment options (learn by doing).

20) Now select File/Print Stereo Card, Then "Holmes Card (6x4 In)" at the default 600 DPI --which will produce dandy results when you either print out the view to gloss paper on your desktop printer --or go the over-the-counter photo processing route at a department store.

21) You want to either personalize or delete the legending content.

22) Next: decide whether to print it here and now (simply doing so in the normal way, hopefully onto some quality paper and with an appropriate printer setting) --or: Select "Save as" --then select a 90 percent quality JPEG format and navigate to that folder you created for ready-to-print image files.

23) Now transfer a copy of the folder with the created JPGs to an empty flash memory --or better still: a CD or DVD --along with the original, virgin MPO camera image files --and their folder.

* This is insurance: an approach to both backup and organization.

* Your computer at least has a CD drive that can also record --right? Open up the program which does that and save the two batches of files to a blank CD-r or (better) a DVD-r disk. (The program you need may have come with your computer --and might be named "Nero" or "Roxio". It's intuitively easy to use. Just wait for it to catch up with your requests.)

* Once you've got a CD or DVD of your original and processed image files (in separate folders), label it with dates, places, names, etc --using a "Sharpie CD/DVD Marker" (only: no paper labels or other types of markers). Put the disk into a special disk album or file it in a protective sleeve --no finger prints.

24) Should you decide to trim out and mount the image pair onto a traditional 3.5 x 7 inch mat board card, then the next steps are *here*.