Seeing 3D Stereo Images Without a Viewer

(The Stare-eo Technique)

Here you may learn one or more methods to help you see the popular MagicEye® type 3D Stereo images as well as traditional Stereo Realist or ViewMaster style double-photograph 3D images without the aid of a viewer. Try the following practice techniques!

Yea! 3D
Click to view double size.
Yea! Original
This is the original image.

Magic Eye Images (above)

For the Magic Eye kind of computer generated image found in many newspapers, hold the page close enough to your nose that it feels uncomfortable - like you are about to cross your eyes. If your eyes relax 'a notch', the apparently random pattern in a Stare-eo that you were trying to look at will skip a beat and overlap. It helps to use the top edge of the pattern where the pattern will likely have stronger repetitions to notice the first overlap. If you can keep your eyes locked at this one-overlap position, an image will start to appear in relief in the space below the overlap. The image at above-left has "focus dots" to facilitate this technique.

Preying Mantis

Ring Girls

Auto Damage

Photographic Stereo Images (above)

You may find it easier to work with photos like the ones above first. Don't try to look right at the photo first - mastering this technique involves separating two eye muscle groups that normally work together. The sample images available here and on the Toughman page are small and easy to overlap. When the two images overlap and appear as three, the center one will be in stereo 3-D!

For the larger photographic stereo images, you may be able to fool one eye into looking at each image (Yes, to see 3D your left eye looks at the left picture and the right eye looks at the right! Your brain puts them together, and they appear as if you could touch the subject!) by putting something thin and flat between your eyes leading to the photo as in the image [NOT YET] shown here. Simply line the card up between the pair of images, relax your eyes, and let the images come together.

The general feeling when viewing 3D these ways is one of staring into space, as while daydreaming, yet seeing something close up. YOU MUST RELAX to get it to work. If you try, it will be that much harder. Here are some other ways to get the effect.

Wallpaper and Tiled Patterns (check our other web pages!)

Start with any object with a repeating pattern. It will be helpful to start with graph paper or something that has a fairly tight pattern. If the pattern doesn't repeat as often as 75mm (3 inches) or so, you probably won't be able to see it at all. Ceiling tiles in class can be particularly amusing; if the pattern is far away, the ANGLE of your eyes is more true than the 75mm rule of thumb.

If you "stare through" any repeating pattern such as appears in some tile or wallpaper, you should start to 'see double.' In this case, this is good. Don't try this while driving, by the way. When the pattern overlaps, you'll get a peculiar sensation of the pattern being deeper than the flat surface.

Chain Link or Chickenwire Fence

Another place to try relaxing your eyes to make it easier to see 3D is at the park. Any place that has chain-link fence or chicken wire fence to look through can give you the same effect. When you look at something a certain distance away through the patterned fence, the wires will overlap, and in this case a 3D object will feel strangely 'deeper.'

Try these out, and for goodness sake, don't give up. Remember, don't try so hard. Your eyes need to relax, not strain, to do this.

Original art and photos on this page copyright © 1993, 1997, 1998, 1999 Mark S. Moos, All Rights Reserved

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Copyright © 2000, 2001 Mark S. Moos Last Update 040218