Glasses-Free 3D for Pre-vis, VFX, and On-Set Monitoring

As display providers work through the possibilities of showing 3D content on small screens, French technology provider Alioscopy is trying to distinguish itself in the media-and-entertainment market by offering tools and services to help content creators create material to be shown on the company’s autostereoscopic (meaning no glasses required) screens.
Unique technology, which Alioscopy is hoping to license to interested parties, is behind the company’s 3D solution. The Alioscopy display (named for developer Pierre Alio) uses eight interleaved images, or camera “views,” to create the 3D effect. To display all eight views on a 1080p device, the company employs a special interleaving routine that assigns a different camera view to each of three subpixels of an RGB pixel, displaying the eight cameras in sequence all the way across a single horizontal line on the LCD screen. On the next horizontal line down, the views are shifted by a single camera. (The first line would begin with camera 1 in the first red subpixel, the second line would begin with camera 8 in the same position, the third line with camera 7, and so on.)

This results in a configuration where each camera view runs down the screen diagonally, instead of vertically, and the lenticular lens that’s affixed to each Alioscopy display is built to match that unusual diagonal layout. It may be difficult to visualize, but the point is to retain some horizontal resolution – which would normally be reduced to one-eighth of the total 1920 pixels available – by settling for reduced resolution on the vertical axis. (The screen must be an LCD screen because the system requires a horizontal subpixel layout.)

Among the applications Alioscopy sees for its technology are 3D previsualization, VFX production, and even on-set monitoring for 3D productions. Alioscopy provides scripts for standard 3D animation packages such as 3ds max, Maya, and Autodesk XSI that create a total of eight virtual cameras and render all of the views, as well as a real-time shader that works with interactive software solutions. The company is also working on tools to interface with standard compositing software. The goal is to promote a glasses-free 3D post environment for working on stereo content ranging from videogames and feature films to interactive digital signage applications.

3D videogames – casual games for digital signage, for example – can also be created using Alioscopy technology. According to Pia Maffei, Alioscopy director of operations, the system works with the Ignition game engine from Applied Ideas as well as the OGRE 3D rendering engine.

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