3D-Technology and Animation

3D-Technology and Animation

3D Technology refers the technologies that provide real life three-dimensional visual appearance that is displayed in films, television, 3D gaming etc. 3D provides the perception of depth apart from the length and height due to which the user feels involved with the visuals.

Difference between 3D and 2D

  • Dimensions are the properties of space. 2D refers to two dimensional shapes which have only length and height as its dimensions. These lie on the flat surface and are also called plane shapes having areas but no volume. The 2 dimensional figures are plotted on two axes viz. x-axis and y-axis.
  • 3D refers to three dimensional shapes having length, height, and depth as its dimensions. Apart from the area, 3-dimensional figures also have volume. These are plotted on three axes viz. x-axis, y-axis, and z-axis.
  • In the regular movies viewed on televisions or movie theatres, it appears as if the entire action is happening up on the big screen. In 3D movies, one can feel the objects such as cars moving towards us and the real action happening around us.

Discovery of 3D Technology

  • Human beings visualize the world in three dimensions because the two eyes of a person focus on any object with different angles which creates two different images. In the brain, these two images are fused into one which enables us to understand the depth of vision. This process is known as stereopsis.
  • In 1838, Charles Wheatstone discovered that the mechanism which allows humans to perceive depth is the distance separating the retinas of human eyes.
  • He described stereopsis as the process by which human beings perceive the 3 dimensions from two similar and overlaid images. He developed the ‘Stereoscope’ and claimed that two different images are projected on the retina of the eye for viewing a single object in three dimensions.
  • The 3D technology has evolved a long way since the development of stereoscope which was used for viewing static images and pictures. Now 3D movies, video games, and television shows have come into existence.

Types of 3D Technology

There are various types of 3D technology used today, however, they do the same thing, the 3D movies and 3D glasses work together and send each of the human eyes different viewpoints of the same image. The human brain combines these two images into one for providing three dimensional visuals. For viewing 3D effect, each eye should see only image or video that is intended for it.

The different technologies used for providing three dimensional viewing experiences are:

Polarized 3D:

  • It uses polarized 3D glasses having special lenses for filtering the intended frame to the correct eye by using the differences in light polarization. A compatible 3D display or projector is needed for polarizing the light differently for each eye.
  • The polarized 3D glasses provide a very good 3D effect and are cheaper and more comfortable than the active 3D glasses. However, polarized 3D glasses require a special silver screen with a projector which increases its cost and slightly decreases the 3D effect in comparison to the active systems.
  • There are two types of polarization viz. linear polarization and circular polarization. The circular polarization allows the viewers to tilt their head more without losing the 3D effect. These are the most commonly used 3D glasses in cinemas today.


  • These are the simplest glasses used for viewing 3D effect. Usually, two different coloured lenses viz. red and cyan, or red and green, or red and blue etc., are used as colour combinations in these glasses.
  • The coloured lenses filter each frame of light to its designated eye as per the differences in colour in the 3D Film.
  • These glasses are low in price and there is no requirement for a special display such as the silver screen for watching anaglyph 3D.
  • However, anaglyph 3D glasses have the disadvantage of low quality 3D experience which they offer.


  • These are the upgrade of the anaglyph 3D glasses and hence are known as “Super-Anaglyph” glasses. For each eye, the image is encoded with a slight difference in red, green and blue colours.
  • The differences in the colours are hardly noticeable by the brain but are easily filtered out by these lenses, and each slightly different image is perceived by the intended eye.
  • The 3D experience of these glasses is much better than the anaglyph glasses.

Active shutter 3D

  • The lens of these glasses have a transparent liquid crystal which has the property of turning dark when the voltage is applied that blocks one of the eyes sight at a time.
  • The glasses receive instructions from the emitter to turn dark at the right time such that the unblocked eye receives a slightly different image. When the left eye turns dark, the right eye is able to view the image intended for it and vice versa.
  • The infrared emitter, radio frequency or a DLP-link is used for communication with these glasses.
  • The 3D effect produced by these glasses is very good however they have the disadvantage of being expensive. Also, these glasses have the issue of flickering which sometimes causes mild dizziness.

Applications of 3D Technology


  • Movies and animation: The 3D movies and animation are among the major uses of 3D Technology. Modern animations by cartoons use 3D technologies for developing 3D entertainment. Some movies use a mix of real filming and animation software to make 3D films.
  • 3D games: computer graphics in 3D games use 3D models for three dimensional depiction of any dimensional object. Gamers use a variety of devices such as 3D glasses etc.,  for playing 3D games. Both online and offline 3D games using sophisticated technology have become popular in the present era.
  • 3D modeling and product design: 3D modeling uses the computer software for creating virtual 3D models of any object. Product designers use 3D modeling for virtually creating anything on the computer by using software like CAD, Adobe Photoshop etc. 3D graphic images and models are made using the software packages which makes it cheaper to perform different tests on that product model. For designing any new product several designers can be working on the same product to send it to the market.
  • Inspection and quality control applications: 3D scanning and 3D visuals can be used for inspecting and analysing any product after its manufacture. 3D scanning and inspection analysis can be used for reducing faults in the design and for improving its quality .
  • 3D printing: it refers to a manufacturing process which builds layers for creating a 3D solid object from a digital model created by using a Computer aided design (CAD) software. 3D printers start printing layers at the bottom of the product design and gradually build successive layers of material to get the finished product. Different materials such as liquid polymer, gel, and resin etc., are used for building layers.
  • Virtual reality: virtual reality uses a 3D input/output device which allows the user to interact with the physical space surrounding him. For example, Google Glass, Microsoft's HoloLens, and Oculus etc., are the devices which allow the user to enjoy virtual reality experience.


3D Animation

Animation: Animation refers to a process in which images are manipulated to appear as moving pictures. It involves simulation of motion as a result of displaying still images one after another at the rate of about 24 images per second. Traditional animation used images and pictures drawn and painted by hand on transparent celluloid sheets which were photographs and displayed to appear as moving images.

Computer animation are very detailed 2D animation or 3D animation made by using computer generated imagery. Modern computer animation are usually based on 3D computer graphics and 3D models.

  • 3D animation is a process of generating 3D moving objects in a digital environment which is carried out through 3D animation softwares. 3D models or objects are manipulated by using 3D software creating a sequence of pictures which gives the illusion of movement or animation.
  • 3D sequence procedure has been categorised into three sections viz. 3D modelling, layout and animation and rendering. 3D modelling involves generation of 3D objects within a certain scene. The next section of layout and animation involves the process of positioning and animating the objects within any scene. The rendering process gives the output of completed computer graphics.
  • There are various versions of 3D animation softwares available in the market which include professional high end softwares and the affordable low end versions.

Difference between 3D animation and 2D animation

  • The first major difference between 3D and 2D animation is the appearance of depth or three dimensional features in 3D animation.
  • In 2D animation, all the actions happen in x-axis and y-axis, where is 3D animation add extra dimension viz. z-axis.
  • 2D animation is flat in appearance whereas 3D models created by computer graphics can be viewed from a number of angles.
  • The time required for creating 3D animation is more because it involves detailed procedures with characters having long life spans. Comparatively, 2D animation can be created quickly for specific videos.

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