Mac News

Got a new 3D camera? Here’s how to view the images on your Mac or iOS device

It’s Sunday, and I’m going a bit esoteric for the weekend. A reader wrote to me and said that he had a new 3D still camera, the Fuji Real 3D W3. He has a 3D TV and can plug the camera in and see his images using the camera HDMI out, but he’d like to send his pix to people not so well equipped, and even view the images on his iPad or iPhone.
I have just the right solution, and it’s free. First, a little background. Fuji seems to be selling more 3D cameras that anyone else, and Fuji cameras save files as standard jpegs as well as in MPO format files. MPO is a Fuji only format, and it’s basically two jpegs with some metadata. Those MPO files are designed to be viewed on compatible devices like 3D TVs or some computers, and you need shutter glasses to see them. However, you can turn those MPO files into anaglyphicimages, the kind that you can view with those old red/green glasses that came with comic books in the old days.
A great Mac solution is an app called StereoSplicer. It’s still in beta, but it’s free and it works perfectly. You grab an MPO file from your camera and open it up in StereoSplicer. You can choose what format you want to save the files in. What’s relevant to this discussion is to save the image as an anaglyph. You’ll get a jpeg that’s viewable with red/green glasses, keeping the red lens to the left eye. There are lot of other fancy options, and you can even adjust the parallax of the two images if your original needs adjustment.

Gallery: Converting Fuji 3D files to anaglyph

Once you have these images in anaglyph form, it’s easy to put them on a website and anyone with a pair of the glasses can view them. They also look fine displayed on an iPad or even an iPhone. If you don’t have any of the red/green glasses Amazon has them for low prices, or you can just search the web for sources. Of course the anaglyph color is not as pure as using the high speed shutter glasses that come with 3D TV displays, but this method does the trick and lets you easily share your 3D images.
It’s nice to see some Mac software instead of being forced to use a Windows solution. By the way, if you’re a 3D fan, there are quite a few 3D apps for the iPhone that will let you take 2 images from slightly different positions and then create the anaglyph picture right on your iPhone. I’ve used 3D Camera on my iPhone 4 and it’s great for a grabbing a quick 3D image without having to buy a pricey 3D camera. It’s US$1.99, and there is a free ‘lite’ version too.
I’ve posted a couple of sample Fuji MPO files converted to 3D in the gallery. Be sure to view the images with anaglyph glasses if you want to see them in 3D.