News Stories

Understanding Requirements for High-Quality 3D Video: A Test in Stereo Perception

[Philip Lelyveld comment: this article contains many useful graphs]

[3D Roundaout]

Initial questions

My company’s main interests are stereo correction, stereo conversion to multiview and 2D-to-stereo 3D conversion using depth maps. From a practical perspective, the following initial questions arise when developing algorithms and software for 3D video conversion and quality improvement:

• How significant is the difference in stereo perception among different people? What does the stereo perception ‘distribution’ function look like?
• Which characteristics of a stereo image are important for subjective perceived quality?
• In which cases are stereo artefacts (due to imperfect 2D-to-3D conversion, stereo mismatch or a distorted depth or disparity map) noticeable, and when are they not so noticeable? When are perfectly-detailed depth maps important, and when are they superfluous?

A number of tests were conducted to find partial answers to these questions, and the work is still ongoing. The following issues were studied first:

• Stereo sensitivity, ability to perceive 3D.
• Subjective stereo acuteness.


On the basis of these stereo sensitivity and acuteness tests, several conclusions can be drawn and common-knowledge opinions confirmed:

• Variance in subjective stereo perception is very large. Up to 30% of test participants are barely susceptible to stereo for, apparently, various reasons – even in the case of close-to-normal 2D vision. Weak 2D vision is not the only cause of bad stereo vision, although it does have an influence. Thus, the question arises, to what extent is it conditioned by the particulars of artificial digital stereo, and to what degree is it due to the individual properties of eyes and the brain’s sensory system?

The second question relates to whether there is a strong relationship between stereo sensitivity and comfort when viewing the same stereo video. If such a relationship exists, how should 3D video be prepared for people with different stereo perception characteristics?

• Subjective stereo perception is adaptive. This conclusion does not relate only to the latency of proper eye convergence; some brain learning is involved. After training, people notice more 3D details under the same conditions. This result is related to the assertion that drastic depth changes over time should be avoided in stereo video, as they ‘defocus’ stereo vision.

• For depth map construction and stereo generation, an important conclusion is that roughness and deviations in depth that are irrelevant to the underlying 2D image are noticeable as unpleasant artefacts only in highly-detailed areas with sharp edges. So, the masking effect of rough surfaces in 2D images, when artefacts in detailed areas are often imperceptible, works in the opposite way with stereo. Likely, very irregular textures are still less revealing because the brain must match numerous random-looking features that are hard to discern.

• 2D-to-3D conversion and stereo correction artefacts in flat uniform areas are invisible to nearly all viewers; only the borders of such areas should be accurately processed.

If you have a 3D display or a pair of red/cyan glasses (red for left eye, cyan for right) you can check your stereo vision using the methods described in this article by watching the following video:  …

Read the full article here:

Applied Optics Focus Issue: Digital Holography and 3-D Imaging

[Press Release]

Research into digital holography (DH), the process of electronically recording and numerically reconstructing an optical field, has made tremendous strides in recent years. To highlight breakthroughs in this area, the editors of the Optical Society’s (OSA) journal Applied Opticshave teamed with the editors of the journal Chinese Optics Letters to publish a special Focus Issue on Digital Holography and 3-D Imaging.  …

Key Findings and Select Papers

The following papers are some of the highlights of the Applied Optics and Chinese Optics Letters Focus Issue on Digital Holography and 3-D Imaging. See Volume 50, Issue 34 for the Applied Optics papers, accessible online at The Chinese Optics Letters papers will be accessible online at

  • In this paper, the authors discuss a novel technique called digitized holography. The wave field of real objects is captured in a wide area by synthetic digital holography, which is then incorporated in virtual 3-D scenes. The end result of the reconstructed 3-D images can be digitally editable, achievable and transmittable.

    Paper: “Digitized holography: modern holography for 3D imaging of virtual and real objects,” Applied Optics, Vol. 50, Issue 34, pp. H278-H284 (2011).

  • Compressing sensing is a technique to recover a sparse signal in the most efficient possible way. The technique has been used widely in signal and image processing as well as in computational mathematics. Compressive sensing applied to the reconstruction of holograms is a recent novel trend in digital holography and is called compressive holography. This article is a tutorial for general readers to understand compressive holography.

    Paper: “Sampling and processing for compressive holography,” Applied Optics, Vol. 50, Issue 34, pp. H75-H86 (2011).

  • Platforms of tomographic imaging using digital holography typically have relatively complex optical and mechanical setups. The present authors have recently developed lens-free optical tomography based on on-axis digital holography, which has relatively simple on-chip architectures and can be particularly useful for lab-on-a-chip applications with submicron-resolution. The article reviews this recently developed technique.

    Paper: “Partially coherent lensfree tomographic microscopy,” Applied Optics, Vol. 50, Issue 34 pp. H253-H264 (2011)

  • Conventional multiplex holograms are composed of a series of long thin individual holograms, which inevitably cause the reconstructed images overlaid with a picket-fence structure. The authors discuss a disk-type multiple hologram which is free from the picket-fence effect. In addition, the disk-type multiplex hologram has the advantage of commercial mass production owing to the utilization of the well-developed CD technology.

    Paper: “Image design for normal viewing image-plane disk-type multiplex hologram,” Chinese Optics Letters, Vol. 9, Issue 12, pp. 120003 (2011).

Read the full press release here:


Data & Analytics Project

The Storytelling Cipher: Mapping Precise Story and Character Mechanics to Box Office Returns

Our Data & Analytics Project held “The Storytelling Cipher: Mapping Stories & Characters to Box Office Revenue” Tuesday, December 6, 2016 at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

This study leverages the Dramatic taxonomy of film narrative to infer which scene-level character and story attributes generate more box office returns, by genre. We are extending this study to ads and movie trailers.

The project researchers used machine learning to map 70+ story attributes for 300 films to their box office returns to extract which story mechanics or character features in film generated the most revenue. This was the first time granular story and character mechanics have been used to predict box office returns, which opens up many avenues to make more data-driven creative and development decisions throughout the industry.

What’s a good story? The question has been hanging without a scientific answer since the dawn of man. It seems that a story’s lack of clear mathematical structure and universal taxonomy would relegate such classification of stories to the qualitative – and highly subjective- empire of critics and … people.

Until now.

The event presented results from the research, discussed applications for the development and creative process, and outlined next steps.

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