Will 3D film change the way we learn?

Hi all,

With the release of “Avatar” and “Alice in Wonderland”, I’m seeing a
new way to see and learn in its infancy. It’s exciting to watch
because as an artist, the areas of both these films of embellishment,
fashion and jewelry are really catching my eye. Maybe its because I’m
looking for it, but I can’t help thinking how we as metalsmiths
learn. Watching a flat 2d How To’s are helpful, but when the switch
is made and we are able to watch this in 3D, we are not just vouyers
we will become participants.

Do you think that this genre of film will change the way we learn?

Karen Christians

Hi Karen,

Honestly, I don’t know. The curmudgeon in me says no, but I can see
how you could think so. You may be right.

I think excellence in an educational presentation will always have
more to do with a clear presentation of the required info, rather
than flashy video effects for their own sake. Yeah, you can see me
file in 3D. If that helps you figure out what I’m doing, then it’s
worth it. If it just makes you want to dodge the file flying out of
your TV…not so much. I think the same rules will apply to 3D
instructional videos that apply to moves. The early 3D movies used
3D as their primary gimmick. Remember House of Wax? That was the
one with the paddleball bouncing “out” into the audience, or all the
knives flying out of the screen. Stupid little stunts that had no
worth of their own without the 3D. Visual gimmicks do not a good
movie make. Neither will they do a thing for educational vids. I
liked Avatar precisely because they largely resisted the temptation
to throw things at the audience. It was a movie that just happened to
be in 3D, rather than “A 3D MOVIE!!”.

To get back to your point, I’m not entirely sure that being able to
see instructional vids in 3D will be enough better to be worth the
extra production cost, or display hassle. I could be wrong, but I
suspect not, at least in the short to medium term.


not any time soon, still a gimmick

James Binnion

In both cases, it’s got little to do with the stereoscopic (3D)
effect and an awful lot to with the design (which most likely is
started with pen & paper).

I personally don’t like the ‘3D’ effect. It’s often distracting and
creates hyper-real effects that I don’t like.

It’s struggling with fast moving objects (strobing) and unless you
get a perfect pair of glasses, it’s never ‘quite’ right.

Ultimately, it’s a slightly new take on old technology which was
also once hailed as a revolution and then quickly dismissed as a
gimmick, although since this is bringing in a lot of extra money to
the cinemas and that the effect can now more easily be controlled
(via computers), I unfortunately suspect that it’ll stick around this
time…but personally, I would prefer to watch things in ‘2D’.

(And ironically, I work in CGI/3D).


i am quite certain that learning videos in 3D satisfy the “wow
factor” which is similar to the desire for humans and rats to eat
high fat content foods and children to desire commercialized
breakfast food cereals like trix, Capt. Crunch & Count Chocula.

I am also suspicious that on some level 3D film learning will also
retard the development of nueral pathways that support the imaginary
capabilities and object permanence in students.

Some will say bunk to this but i do know that the introduction of
calculators in math class did take the sharp edge off students

In support of my suspicion, it is difficult for those who depend on
technology in our modern day world to believe how in the past, men
went to the moon and back doing math in thier heads and on slide
rulers or that humans could have built colossal structures and
monuments perfectly alignment with celestial bodies.

Do you think that this genre of film will change the way we learn? 

Possible, but I’m doubtful. The human brain is already very good at
interpreting 2-D images as 3-D.

Al Balmer
Sun City, AZ

there are a few things that 3-d photos can do that 2-d can’t. a…
opals or mother of pearl effect are only captured with 3-d.

b… metallic sheen, like the highlight off a chrome bumper or
jewelry, the light is actually hanging out in space. you can only
see this effect in 3-d.

c… super dimensionalizing a view by increasing separation between
eyes (images) is effective (normal is 2.5 inches) where simple 2-d
overlapping planes are ambiguous. (birds eye view of chess board) or
distant- (like a vast landscape).

d… easier to judge a symmetrical convex plane from a concave one.
(but if you switch eye images, like switching eyes, and the effect
is to reverse this)

the stereopticon was a widely used teaching tool that lost
prominence with the advent of motion pictures. there are many
internet sites and stereo image associations and suppliers online.

your brain automatically does the calculations for parallax. 3-d is
easy to shoot. just shoot one image for the left eye and one for the
right~ 2.5 inches/ keep them parallel.

use a inexpensive simple clear plastic viewer to see 3-d on your
computer monitor (prismatic magnification) or get out your
grandmothers stereopticon and make some prints for it. there is lots
of ‘how to’ info available in books and online. there is even a plug
in for sketch-up to make your 2-d, 3-d~~ it works! there are lots
more cool things about shooting 3-d and 3-d video (inexpensive video
editors available for your pc)

would be great for jewelry demos!


Ultimately, it's a slightly new take on old technology which was
also once hailed as a revolution and then quickly dismissed as a
gimmick, although since this is bringing in a lot of extra money
to the cinemas and that the effect can now more easily be
controlled (via computers), I unfortunately suspect that it'll
stick around this time...but personally, I would prefer to watch
things in '2D'. 

Yes, 3D is in it’s infancy, but the question was about future of it’s
application, and I happen to be very enthusiastic about it.

I am going to speak to the issues pertaining education in
goldsmithing only, but I am sure that other disciplines have similar
problems. There have always been parts of techniques, which were kind
of left for students, to figure it out on their own, because it was
simply impossible to show, and long winded explanations did not help
much. 3D will change that.

I am working now on another DVD demonstrating technique of Coronet
Cluster. There are areas which even close up, remains unclear, but
absolutely critical to the success of a project. And when digital
zooming is used, the graininess becomes distracting. I have been
playing with various filters, but so far with limited success. 3D
will be very helpful in situations like that.

I have been reading about TV sets containing many specialized
processors, which can take regular TV signal, extrapolated 3D
and display it as 3D. It may seem like a magic, but idea
is quite simple. We derive spatial by interpreting tonal
variations and chroma levels. I suspect that 3D technology does the
same thing. There is no reason why the same idea cannot be extended
to scaling parts of the image beyond it is original resolution,
without introducing digital artifacts like flickering and graininess.

In a very near future, a picture shall be truly worth many thousand

Leonid Surpin

i see it as a gimmicky way for ‘them’ to increase prices for the
film industry. i watched avatar recently and thought the effect was
more distracting than “wow”.

i suspect most movie goers will just plunk down more money for the

i don’t see where it would be advantageous for a learning dvd
experience. maybe i’ll be in the old jewellers home when they start
that up…; ^)

As a aside, how important is stereo vision for jewelers? A lot of
people have to use other cues to guide their depth perception.

I do know at least one skilled craftswoman who has poor depth
perception, so I suspect it may not be critical. If this is the
case, then I see no real advantage to 3d instructional videos (which
isn’t to say they wouldn’t sell).


From your last post on 3D a few of my rather biased comments... 

Re: digital zooming, just don’t. If the isn’t there it
isn’t and no amount of filtering will add it.

Re: 2D to 3D processing in my experience just does not work except
for very flat stuff or when the 2D image was created specifically to
convert to 3D. A photo of aunt Martha is just not going to work. Your
brain can interpolate the 3D automatically but dumb computers can’t.

If you have found and use a good program I would greatly appreciate

Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing

For the CAD people amongst us there is now a 3D 3D (so to speak)
modelling system in existence. You need a screen with a fast, ie
100-120 refresh rate, and it is early days for it, but once the
gamers get onto it I am sure they will be cheap and plentiful!

imagine showing your customer their ring in 3D.


regards Tim Blades.

Yes true 3D would be very useful for many applications. But what is
currently in the movie houses and coming soon to TV sets is not 3D
but rather an optical trick to make you think that the image has
depth. Holographic projection would be much closer to true 3D but
even that is not really capturing the whole object in 3D, just a
portion of it. To really allow for an improvement over existing
standard video/film techniques.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts

I was privileged to see the future of 3D imagery last year when I
took a behind-the-scenes tour of the US Air Force’s Research Labs
(AFRL) at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. They demonstrated 5-6
different technologies that are the next generation 3-D video. Most
of them didn’t employ any type of goggle or glasses. All but one were
projected onto a screen, some of them 20 feet wide (and the room
wasn’t much bigger). One was projected into the center of the room.
It was a world globe and I could walk around it and view all sides
of it. It morphed and changed. I felt like I was in Star Wars. The
current limitations appear to be resolution (the globe), or a narrow
viewing area (requirement to stand within a 3-4 foot width) on the
screen with high resolution. Undoubtedly there is more going on that
wasn’t demonstrated. This technology will eventually make it to the
commercial market, but only after the military has developed the
successor generation. Do I think this will change the way we learn?
Absolutely, but not anytime soon.

For those who are interested, I was also able to put on a headset
that offered directional sound. The demonstration had people talking
as if in a crowded room and I could point to where they were
standing, probably within 10 degrees. Finally, I tried on next-gen
night goggles in a pitch-black room which gave me full vision.
Absolutely amazing.


digital zooming, just don't. If the isn't there it
isn't and no amount of filtering will add it. 

So true, there are things that can be done. If footage is overlaid
with the same footage and pixels are added to each other, now you
have more than you started with, and some needs to be
filtered. There are many modes in how pixels can be combined.

If several layers are used, by varying their transparency, a 3D
effect can be simulated. It is the same technique that used in
painting. Things that are far away are more bluish and tonal range is
small. The closer things are, tonal range is growing larger and more
chroma is present.

My point is that now, it is very time consuming. This task should be
done by computers and not by humans. I suspect that it is what 3D
technology does.

As far as software, I am using Final Cut Studio. It has a steep
learning curve, but it is a very capable software.

Leonid Surpin