3D movies that you see and hear about these days aren't actually a new fad; in fact, the earliest 3D movies were the horror flicks of the 1950s. Of course techniques used then to bring about the 3D movie effect back then were primitive - basically projected images had dual color layers that were superimposed and offset. The problem was the eye strain when viewing the projection through a pair of anaglyphic glasses (those red and blue glasses). Plus the quality was nothing to shout about. Thus the novelty wore off soon after and 3D movies haven't had the fanfare ever again up until Chicken Little (2005) and more accurately, Monster House (2006).
We managed to catch a tech session with Arthur Shek, Software Manager of Walt Disney Animation Studios who presented the audience with this clip on the making of the 3D version of Cloudy with a Chance of Meat Balls, an animation which is currently playing in theatres at the time of writing this article and has managed to clinch top spot at the Box Office for two weeks straight:-
3D movies are making a come back now because of a combination of digital cinemas, modern digital cinematography and that of computers playing an extremely pivotal role all through the production and post production process enabling 3D and other special effects with much better quality and ease. Chicken Little was the first ever digital 3D movie and the uptake and interest is getting better with each successive 3D movie. With about 5000 digital theaters worldwide that are ready for 3D movies, it's not surprising at all and this number will certainly explode further. Furthermore, 3D movies command a premium and the box office takings for certain titles like those shown in the slide below garnered far more revenue for the 3D screenings are proof that digital 3D movies are probably here to stay.
So far we talked about why and 3D movies are becoming more prevalent, but DIGIDIA who specializes in products and services related to broadcast and transmission of media, came down to the GPU Tech Conference to share with the audience on areas where the GPU's untapped shader processors can help to improve the viewing quality of 3D movies. It's understood that GPU clusters are employed for rendering these movies, but what we're touching upon are improving how a 3D movie is presented such as convergence accommodation, eliminating ghosting, and avoiding left-to-right image conflicts from the sides. We'll let the following slides point these out:-
And other areas in post production are incorporating automated tools for gradual depth changes through fading, and of course how not to forget about converting plain old 2D movies to look 3D which requires a lot of processing power to analyze each frame and scene (the process is also known as dimensionalization):-