Ever heard of a parallax? Maybe you have. But bear with me.
Coming from the Greek parallaxis, meaning “alteration,” the term denotes the apparent change in position of an object when viewed from differing viewpoints. You ever look at something with one eye, then close that eye and look at it with the other, and then do it back and forth in a “now you see it now you don’t” sort of way? No? Just me? Well, it’s that. Anyways…
The reason humans can see in three dimensions is because our brains produce one image from the conflicting parallaxes of our left and right eyes, and subsequently give depth to what we’re looking at. Stereographs, like this inappropriate one (at least by Wikipedia standards), produce the same effect by taking photographs of the same image from two slightly differing viewpoints, putting them side by side, and using a stereoscopic viewer to put them together (assisting the action of the brain in simulating depth).
Taken one step further, since our brains also translate parallaxes caused by “apparent” motion, rather than putting images side by side, we can create the same illusion of depth by rapidly alternating between the left and right images of a stereograph. The most appropriate method of doing so? The GIF.
Now, you all know should know about our GIF infatuation by now, so without any further ado, a few of our favorite stereoscopic GIF images:
From Ignacio Torres’ magical Stellar Series:
A few made from the stereoscopic photographs of T. Enami:
A few GIFs made with Processing! (Learn how, here):
And finally, this guy:
Fun Fact!: Many animals bob their heads before they jump, to create a motion parallax that helps them gauge depth! Now you know.
Post your favorite stereoscopic GIFs below!