Living In 3D: Everything You Need To Know About 3D Technology

3D Technology

Avatar became the most successful movie of all time, boosted healthily by its 3D screenings. Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland had record-breaking first weekend numbers for a 3D movie.  With all that has happened in the world of 3D, it’s hard to keep track of what it means for the consumer at home. Should you watch the latest blockbuster on a 3D screen? Have you had enough of 2D games? Are you ready to watch TV at home while wearing a set of funky glasses or a VR headset? Here’s a breakdown of what 3D things are out there, 3D in the past, and upcoming developments and events to look out for!

“3D is clearly on its way to the mass market,”Howard Stringer, CEO Sony

3D Printing

This technology creates three-dimensional physical objects by layering materials based on a digital model. It has applications in manufacturing, prototyping, healthcare, architecture, and more.

3D Scanning

This technology captures the shape, texture, and appearance of real-world objects or environments to create 3D digital models. It is used in fields like reverse engineering, virtual reality, archaeology, and animation.

3D Modeling

This involves creating virtual representations of objects or environments in three dimensions. It is used in various industries, including video games, films, architecture, product design, and engineering.

3D Visualization

This technology allows the viewing and manipulation of 3D objects or environments on a two-dimensional screen. It is used in fields such as computer-aided design (CAD), data analysis, medical imaging, and virtual reality.

3D Animation

This technique involves creating moving images or visual effects with the illusion of three-dimensional objects or environments. It is widely used in the entertainment industry for movies, TV shows, video games, and advertising.

3D Projection Mapping

This technology projects and maps imagery onto physical objects or structures, creating the illusion of transforming and animating them in a three-dimensional space. It is often used in art installations, advertising campaigns, and live events.

Remembering the Early Era of 3D Technologies

The evolution of 3D technologies has brought significant changes over the years, transforming the landscape since its early inception. Let’s take a nostalgic journey back in time and explore some of the pioneering technologies that laid the foundation for what we have today.

3D Glasses

3D Glasses are still around but aren’t as popular as they used to be. If you didn’t want to miss out on the current generation of 3D at the time, you’d require 3D glasses. Sure they were funny looking and you didn’t want to wear them but once you went through the 3D experience, you wouldn’t have any problems with them!

3D Glasses at the Movie
There were also some high-tech 3D glasses available. They were mainly of two types:

  •  Circular polarized glasses
  • Active LCD shutter glasses

The circular polarized glasses looked like cheap sunglasses and you might have used them if you’ve seen a 3D Pixar movie or been at Disney World. With these glasses, the frames (right and left) alternated with each other at around 144 times per second so that each of your eyes was presented 3 times with every one of a movie’s 24 frames per second. Because circular polarized glasses required a special silver screen and affected color accuracy negatively or required extremely expensive TV sets, home use of these glasses was limited even though they were widely used in 3D cinemas.


Everyone is familiar with stereo sound thanks to the rapid effective development on the audio front but the average person isn’t really familiar with the current 3D technology for visuals.

To give us a stereoscopic vision, 3D tech has to capture data using two cameras and then present a calculatedly different visual to each of our eyes. Essentially we’re seeing a slightly different version of the same image through each eye as we do naturally. To present these altered versions to us, the current technology requires us to use- you got it- those glasses!

The Active LCD shutter glasses rapidly became the cutting edge in 3D glasses even though the core technology was pretty old. In the newer versions, each lens blacked out speedily to keep up with the frame shown on an HDTV. Consequently, each eye saw a different frame of the same resolution. Because of the increasingly improving technology, these glasses seemed to be the future for 3D tech. However, their high price was a con as were reported issues of flickering and dimming, and the requirement for an emitter to be added to a TV set.

3D Movies

The most optimistic sign in regards to mainstream acceptance of the developments in 3D technology came in the form of the success of 3D movies. However, the movies had limited 3D play largely because theater owners had to shell out over $100,000 per screen for the conversion which enabled them to play 3D movies.  Nonetheless, while only 2500 screens out of the 38,800 in the US were capable of projecting in 3D by mid-2009, estimates predicted the number of 3D screens by the end of that year at over 7000. This was due to the success of titles like Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Monsters VS Aliens, and the aforementioned Avatar and Alice in Wonderland. On the DVDs side, Blu-Ray specifications for 3D were officially announced just before Avatar’s release back in winter 2009.

While substantial criticism over the movie-watching experience did exist, the overall consumer reception was overwhelmingly positive.

3D TVs

When Panasonic, in collaboration with Best Buy, launched its first 3D HDTV sets, they came complete with a 5o-inch plasma 3D HDTV, a Blu-Ray player, and a pair of active shutter glasses- the price tag for it all? It was a hefty $2,899.

Samsung had a slightly different deal: a 46-inch set, a Blu-Ray player, and two pairs of glasses for about $3,000. You also got a 3D copy of Monsters VS Aliens thanks to Samsung’s collaboration with DreamWorks studio.

While TVs with 3D capability were produced by Mitsubishi for quite a while before the announcements by these TV giants, it was some time before a whole set of 3D-enabled home entertainment technology and content came full circle. While it was predicted that the technology would take a few years to become truly mainstream (if ever), TV manufacturers were positive that the era of home 3D experience had started.

The demand for 3D TVs gradually declined, leading to a halt in their production by major television manufacturers. Vizio discontinued its production in 2014, setting a trend followed by other industry players. In January 2017, Sony and LG, the last remaining major manufacturers actively supporting 3D televisions, decided to cease all 3D support.

Here’s something to know about the glasses that accompanied these TV sets: Lights and PC screens seemed to flicker when wearing them and you might not have been able to carry out the household activities you were accustomed to performing while watching TV. The glasses also required charging and for a person who wasn’t wearing them while the TV was in 3D mode, images on the screen could seem blurry. Also, you needed to learn a little about HDMI 1.4 3D cables which were the latest standard for 3D data transmission.

Another issue was extremely limited 3D programming and broadcasting. However, the future promised a lot of stuff in this area: ESPN had said it would launch a 3D channel that would kick start with the Fifa World Cup soccer.

3D Games

While the popularity of 3D gaming has evolved over time, many game developers and studios continue to create games that utilize 3D graphics and immersive gameplay experiences. These games often leverage advanced rendering techniques, realistic physics simulations, and sophisticated virtual environments to enhance the visual and interactive elements.

From large-scale AAA titles to indie games, the gaming industry continues to explore the potential of 3D technology in pushing the boundaries of gaming experiences.

3D Video Games

Gaming has always held a lot of potential for 3D. In the past, most critics of 3D movies and programming had positive things to say about the surreal nature of the 3D gaming experience. At that time, Sony had plans to introduce two updates for its immensely popular PlayStation 3, enabling 3D gaming and movie playback. Additionally, Microsoft showcased its collection of 3D games for the Windows Phone 7, their then-new mobile client. From 3D releases on handheld devices to PCs and gaming consoles, 3D gaming was experiencing a surge in popularity. Sony and other companies had hinted at their intentions to release 3D versions of existing titles and develop new games specifically designed for the 3D platform.

In the past, games like Avatar: The Game, Super Stardust HD, and MotorStorm Pacific Rift gained significant publicity in showcases. However, similar to other 3D products, there was limited content available at the time, with only a few experimental titles and the growing popularity of 3D game decks. Nonetheless, due to the relative ease of creating 3D gaming experiences, development was progressing rapidly.

Gaming had also been one of the oldest forms of media to incorporate elements of 3D, making it poised to benefit from the ongoing 3D revolution of that time.

Final Words

In summary, the realm of 3D technology for entertainment continues to expand, with both older and newer technologies making significant contributions. Older technologies, such as 3D movies and gaming, have allowed us to experience a taste of the immersive 3D world. However, the evolution of technology has brought forth newer advancements like 3D printing, 3D scanning, 3D modeling, 3D visualization, 3D animation, and 3D projection mapping.

These newer technologies offer exciting possibilities for enhancing visual experiences and pushing the boundaries of creativity. With 3D printing, objects can be brought to life with stunning precision, while 3D scanning enables the creation of accurate digital replicas of real-world objects. 3D modeling and visualization aid in creating virtual representations of environments and objects, while 3D animation breathes life into virtual characters and worlds. Additionally, 3D projection mapping allows for the creation of immersive and dynamic visual experiences on physical structures.

As these newer technologies continue to advance, they showcase the potential for even more immersive and interactive entertainment experiences. Meanwhile, we should appreciate the contributions of the older technologies that have paved the way for the 3D revolution. Together, these advancements shape a captivating future where virtual and real worlds seamlessly coexist.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Previous Post
Mitsubishi WD-65C9
3D TVs

Mitsubishi WD-65C9 65″ DLP