Seeing 3-D


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Experiment Category: 


Create 3-D glasses and use them to explore color, light and optics.

What You Need: 

  • Red and blue cellophane
  • Construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Pencil
  • rlue/red 3-D media: pictures, comic books, video, etc.

To Do and Observe: 

1. Draw a frame for your 3D glasses. Make sure that there are two openings of equal size on your frames. The opening should be least the size of your eye. 

2. Cut out the frames.

3. Cut out the openings in the frames.

4. Measure and cut 1 red and 1 blue rectangle of cellophane to be the lenses. Make sure they are larger than the openings in the frames. Red will go on one side and blue on the other.

5. Tape the cellophane paper along the edges to hold it to the frames. Try not to cover any of the opening with tape.

6. Use your 3D glasses to look at the 3D pictures and comic books. What do you obsrve?

7. Look through each side of your 3D glasses individually. What are you seeing? How does it compare to looking at the 3D images through both openings?

What's Going On: 

White light is a combination of all colors – the entire spectrum of visible light. But when seen through a colored filter, white light appears to be only one color – the color of the filter. Colored filters absorb all light except the light that is the same color as the filter – that color of light it allow to pass through to your eye.

When looking at standard photographs, printed materials, or movies we see only flat, 2 dimensional images. To create a flat picture that has the illusion of a third dimension, depth, two images are overlapped one taken from a perspective slightly right of center, and the other taken from slightly left of center. Such a picture is sometimes called an anaglyph. These separate points of view mimic our eyes, which see everything in the world around us from a slightly different perspective due to the 2”-3” distance between our pupils. Our brains combine the two pictures and interpret these differences in perspective as clues to determine how far away objects are. Anaglyphs and 3D movies often use color to enable viewing the images in 3D: One of the pictures is colored blue, and another is colored red.

If you look at it with your naked eye the picture may look like a complicated jumble of lines, but when you put on a pair of 3D glasses the eye with the red lens will see only the blue picture, and the eye behind the blue lens will see only the red picture. While wearing 3D glasses, your brain receives two different images taken from slightly different points of view, at the same time, and is fooled into seeing depth in a flat picture.

Parent/Teacher Tips: 

For Younger Children
Give each student a blue and red crayon or marker. Have the children hold the crayons together and draw a picture or write their names. After they have created their drawing, have the children use their glasses to view the image. What do they observe? Their image should look 3-D like the other images that they viewed. You can have the children try to make 3-D images using other colors and observe how these other colors look through the filters.

For Older Children
Distribute blue and red toned crayons. Have the children write or draw something using one color and color over their image with the other color For example, a child might draw a red circle, then draw a blue face inside of it. Have the children observe the picture through each side of the glasses and observe what happens. Does the picture disappear? As you do this activity you can discuss topics such as the reflection and absorption of light by different colored surfaces and how we can use these properties to design clothes, homes and other products.



wanny2th's picture
 easy to prepare equipment