1. Where does the word anaglyph come from?
The word anaglyph is derived from two Greek words, ‘ana’ (up) and ‘glyphien’ (to carve). Which translates to - ‘carve up’. A further derivative of ‘glyphien’ is ‘glif’, which is defined as a grove or channel, any incised or raised figure. Today, an anaglyph is defined as a picture, still or motion, of contrasting colors (usually red and green, or red and cyan) that appears to be three dimensional when the images have been superimposed as the viewer wears contrasting goggles - the iconic 3D glasses we all know and love.
2. Who invented the 3D anaglyph?
The oldest known anaglyph was created in 1853 by W. Rollmann. His "Farbenstereoscope" (color stereoscope) was an illustrated line drawing made from red and blue lines.
In 1891 Louis Ducos du Hauron produced the first printed anaglyphs. Although others had earlier applied the same principle to drawings or used it to project images onto a screen, he was the first to reproduce stereoscopic photographs in the convenient form of anaglyph prints on paper.
In 1889 William Freise-Green created the first three dimensional anaglyphic motion picture, which was shown to the public in 1893.
3. How do 3D anaglyphs (and stereoscopy) work?
Stereoscopy (also called stereoscopics, or stereo imaging) is a technique for creating or enhancing the illusion of depth in an image. Most stereoscopic methods present two offset images separately to the left and right eye of the viewer. These two-dimensional images are then combined in the brain to give the perception of 3D depth. A viewing device, typically goggles of some sort, are used to help aid this process.
The 3D anaglyphs we’re more familiar with today function differently because they offset an image using two colours - typically red and cyan. To view the image, and experience a 3D effect, 3D glasses must be worn. These glasses encode each eye with a colour (left eye, red lens - Right eye, cyan lens). Which, when fused together by our brain, tricks us into seeing a three-dimensional composition.
4. Early anaglyphic commercial success - Film
3D films enjoyed something of a boom in the 1920s but the term "3D" wasn’t coined until the 1950s. In 1954 The Creature from the Black Lagoon was a very successful 3D movie. It was an American black-and-white ‘monster’ flick about a scientific expedition searching for fossils along the Amazon River. The explorers discover a prehistoric Gill-Man in the legendary ‘Black Lagoon’. They capture the mysterious creature but it breaks free. The Gill-Man returns to kidnap Kay, a fiancée of one the crew in the expedition, who it has fallen in love with.
5. Early anaglyphic commercial success - Print
The first 3-D comic book was published in 1953 by Three Dimension Comics starring Mighty Mouse. It sold over two million copies. At the time, anaglyphed comics were far more difficult to produce than normal comics, requiring each panel to be drawn multiple times on layers of acetate. Although this technique isn't really used any more, 3D comics have continued to be released irregularly up until the present day and cover a wide variety of genres, including war, horror, crime, and superhero.
If you didn't know - We designed a deck of 3D playing cards called Triple Vision. They come with a FREE pair of 3D glasses. They're also featured in these anaglypic photographs. You can check them out in our online store here.