AnaCam

With AnaCam, you can easily generate 3D images without special equipment, just using the camera of your mobile device. This technique is called anaglyphs, and is based on taking a stereoscopic picture that is then viewed through colour filter glasses. I bought my glasses at perspektrum.de, and am quite satisfied with them (and the rather cheap price).

"Professionally", one would take stereoscopic photographs with special cameras that have two objectives and generate two pictures at the same time. This is however not necessary, and pictures with not so bad quality can also be made by simply moving the camera manually and taking two pictures shortly after each other—some care has to be taken to hit the correct viewpoint, but it works quite well after some trials. I can recommend this good overview of how to combine both pictures into an anaglyph with Gimp afterwards.

Here is where AnaCam comes in: It is an app for Google Android that helps with this, as it displays a live preview of the anaglyph so that one can try out the best position for the second shot. It also automatically generates the final anaglyph afterwards.

Here are some samples created by AnaCam in grayscale mode as red-cyan anaglyphs:

Grayscale sample. Grayscale sample. Grayscale sample.

Get It!

http://www.domob.eu/projects/anacam/anacam-1.2.apk

The project is free software and licensed under the GNU GPL v3, with the source hosted at SourceForge.net. See there if you're interested in the source. You can also find binary releases (aka .apk files) there. Or get the latest version AnaCam 1.2 (signature) directly from my website here. For this link, you can also scan the QR code to the right. And last but not least, you can also find it in the F-Droid repository.

How to Use It

It should be fairly straight-forward to use AnaCam. When you start it up, you already see a live camera preview. Tap on the screen to take a picture, then this picture will be used as first one for the anaglyph and already a live anaglyph preview displayed. Tap again to take the second picture, then AnaCam saves all three (originals plus created anaglyph) to some selected folder on your system. The original pictures are stored as they come from the camera, which means that they usually include all EXIF meta-data as an ordinary photograph would. If you are not satisfied with the first shot, a long tap will discard the first picture and immediately start the process from the beginning.

Also take a look at the preferences, there you can choose which colours should be used for your anaglyph (red-cyan is preferred, as this is the most common format, they are exactly complementary colours, and also processing is faster), which picture you want to take first (left or right) and where the files should be saved to. There is also a mode to convert all pictures to grayscale before generating the anaglyph, which possibly helps if you want to photograph objects with colours similar to the anaglyph colours.

Unfortunately, Android apps have for some weird reasons very limited memory available. On my device AnaCam works fine after some tuning, and especially since version 1.1 the memory usage should be well below the limit. However, depending on your device (in particular if the camera has high resolution) the app may still run out of memory and crash. I'm sorry if that really happens for you, but I tried already my best in reducing the memory footprint. You may also look at my blog post about AnaCam and in particular this issue. Also, take a look at the "Originals Only" preference, (see below).

In general, if you have comments, suggestions or bug reports, feel free to contact me! I'm happy to get feedback!

Saving Only Originals

Since version 1.1, AnaCam has a preference to save only the original pictures and disable generation of the final (high resolution) anaglyph. (Since version 1.2, one can also save only the anaglyph, but that is not the important point I want to make here.) The anaglyph preview is still available to aid in finding the best shot. This option improves performance greatly, and may also help if AnaCam runs out of memory for you (although I hope this no longer happens with recent versions). If you enable it, only the files like AnaCam0042_l.jpg and AnaCam0042_r.jpg are saved, but not AnaCam0042_a.jpg.

In order to generate the final anaglyph afterwards, you can use a my special script AnaCam Combiner 1.0 (signature). This uses the script-fu mechanism of Gimp to generate the anaglyphs on an ordinary (UNIX-like) computer. For more details, see the README file in this archive. Of course, you can always simply generate the anaglyphs manually if you prefer (the script does preciesly what is described in this tutorial).


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