Made-up pseudomedical terminology? Check.
Won't-somebody-please-think-of-the-children plea? Check.
Confident claims of what's likely to happen, right alongside complaints that no one has done any research? Check.
(I originally had a paragraph here about how he links to the Wikipedia article on depth perception and says: here are all the distance cues your brain uses; 3-d movies only provide one of them; oh noes, your brain will get all confused -- whereas in fact almost all the distance cues listed there are available in 3-d movies, and indeed almost all of them are available in plain ol' 2-d movies. But someone else already did that in more detail, so I shan't bother.)
Incidentally, I see that Mark Pesce's own Wikipedia page describes him inter alia as a "hack and shameless self-promoter". I'm about to delete that since it's obviously unencyclopedic and non-NPOV, but this article sure makes it look like it might be true.
The data that put a bullet into Segas plans came from a study they commissioned to be done by SRI. Very few ever got to see those results since I don't believe Sega ever released them. But some of us got to be privy to the findings.
In brief there was a small percentage of folks who retained depth perception issues for periods of time ranging from 15 minutes to a couple of hours. SRI determined that a small percentage of that group could suffer permanent loss of depth percentage. The potential liability issues were staggering and the plan to put headmounts on the worlds game playing kids was killed - kaput!.
This seems believable, and SRI is a reputable company.
It happens to anything new going mainstream really: predictions of doom.
The article doesn't talk at all about evidence of this - the closest it gets is to the lack of evidence that it is "safe".
Gosh - I can imagine this guy at the invention of the printing press: "people who read these words, and imagine fantasical worlds in their mind, will not be able to get up and walk as their mind adapts to the lack of physical stimulus while reading and imagining)."
So obviously, caution should be thrown to the wind because anyone that speaks negatively of something that is 'going mainstream' doesn't know what they are talking about! If something is 'going mainstream' by virtue of the fact that it is 'going mainstream' it will always and in every case be perfectly safe!
I mean space travel is 'going mainstream' (at least 'space tourism' among the ridiculously rich), so there are no issues whatsoever with it. It is 100% safe, right?
Toyota brake systems are 'mainstream'... oh, nevermind.
Please don't use 'mainstream' as some sort of proof that something is safe or that a critic is wrong by virtue of the fact that the technology is 'mainstream' (or soon to be).
> The article doesn't talk at all about evidence of this - the closest it gets is to the lack of evidence that it is "safe".
In any case, the real issue with 3d for me is the eye strain - won't that be more of a hazard then temporary depth perception? (I have no evidence, just a headache).
>So obviously, caution should be thrown to the wind because ..
Obviously? how did I imply that?
My point was that it would be nice to have more solid evidence in articles to avoid people turning into quivering messes at the potential danger of every technology. Or course we should have caution.
I am a bit sensitive about this general issue (nothing to do with 3d) as there have been quite a few deaths in my area in the last year due to people's fears of radiation from mobile phone towers (which are in fact no where near their house, but that is another issue).
interestingly, the Amish attitude to technology is to initially reject until they see that is both safe (physically) and enhances their values (pretty much the opposite to everyone else). I find that interesting, but I can't find the link to the article that talked about that.
> I am a bit sensitive about this general issue (nothing to do with 3d) as there have been quite a few deaths in my area in the last year due to people's fears of radiation from mobile phone towers (which are in fact no where near their house, but that is another issue).
I'm not advocating that kind of crazy. I'm just saying that it would be entirely irresponsible for companies to push this technology without any sort of testing. In general, I would be mostly concerned with children. I don't want to bring out the 'think of the children' argument here, but children have developing brains, and if this could adversely affect their brain development there should be a bold warning label at the very least. (Or such broadcasts should just be 'few and far between' -- i.e. only some 3D movies on TV or a 3D channel or ability to switch between 3D version and 2D version -- so as not to force children/parents into the 'consume potentially harmful content or consume no content at all' decision)
On the flip-side of your argument, I think that entirely too many companies rush products to market before bothering to ponder any sort of implications (though this is mostly just a problem with food/medical products, but things like infant-/baby-oriented products have this issue too).
I don't want my TV 3d ! At most, maybe some movies, some games, and maybe sport (if I watched it). Certainly not for kids - kids have no need for that.
Surely it won't be 3d all the time though? And I still would like to see a quality study on the effect of 3d on depth perception - my intuition is that it is probably identical with a normal (long) movie going experience (we all feel a bit disoriented after being immersed in "another world" for a while).
Certainly on the food/medical side - that is where the issue lies mostly, and I think that is where the energy should be better spent.
Perhaps this is the reason why.
Pesce is not making things up; he's got real experience with a real system that didn't come to market, and the same effects have been covered in other news outlets:
"The Problem With 3-D: It hurts your eyes. Always has, always will."
Although I'm sure it will be nice for some people, I'm personally hoping that this doesn't catch on. It's pretty annoying to pay extra and have to wear special glasses (on top of my real glasses) when I'm physically incapable of benefiting from them.
I've never been excited about 3D movies or games because they simply do not work for me, which was always a source of disappointment when I was a kid.
Personally I really can't see it catching on... Who wants to have to wear special glasses while sitting in their house watching TV?
The Wikipedia entry on depth perception (an excellent read) lists ten different cues that your brain uses to figure out exactly how far away something is. Parallax is just one of them. Since the various movie and television display technologies only offer parallax-based depth cues, your brain basically has to ignore several other cues while you're immersed in the world of Avatar. This is why the 3D of films doesn't feel quite right.
I agree that 3D films often feel a bit weird, but I'm not 100% sold on his idea of why this should be. The Wikipedia article names many visual cues that are present in 3D movies as well (e.g. relative size, perspective, texture & lighting etc.). It seems conceivable that your brain is "tricked" and has to adapt to the new situation, I just don't know if his reasoning is valid.
So are there more things going on here? It seems unlikely to me that the focus of the eye lens is having a big impact.
Not on the list (I think) but what about head movement of the viewer? If I move my head slightly to one side the picture stays the same while I expect to look behind an object.
I have yet to experience any sort of 3D entertainment that isn't (at least initially) disorienting. The need to wear glasses constantly ruins the experience. But even beyond that, the unnatural way the camera "forces" you to focus on things in the foreground also feels wrong to me and breaks the illusion. If the main character is front and center, but I want to stare at the wall right behind him, it shouldn't be blurry. But it often is blurry because of the camera's depth of field. You sort of feel like an unseen hand is forcing you to look at certain things and not others.
To your main point: The 3D still didn't feel completely natural. I did not feel like the camera was forcing me to focus on anything in particular, but I did feel like the whole thing was slightly blurry. Maybe it was my position in the theater (off to the right side of a huge Imax screen, rather than dead center), but it detracted from the experience because I wanted to appreciate the details and they were often fuzzy due to imperfect alignment of the images.
It's a huge comment, so here's the relevant bit:
"What Cameron has been doing with Avatar is to shoot in deep focus (no using the aperture and focus controls to blur out the background, a favorite technique for isolating the subject from the environment) but instead create depth by altering the angle between the two lenses dynamically, creating the illusion of a large space in which attention to depth is focused stereoscopically. Until now most 3d projects have kept the stereoscopic distance fixed, which yields the feeling of watching the story take place on a stage in front of one and occasionally having one of the props or actors protrude outwards toward the audience. By varying the angle between the lenses in the same fashion as our eyes, Cameron presents a far more immersive way of experiencing the third dimension."
Your eyes are only 0.1m apart so anything more than 3-4m away isn't really in 3d anyway. Everything in the distance is handled by your knowledge of it's relative size and position - which works just as well on a 2d screen anyway.
Try it, cover one eye and look at the scene, you will see a difference on your desk, but no difference for the scene outside your window.
That's why most 3d movies have lots of things flying at you and other gimmicks - it's because otherwise there wouldn't be much 3d-ness
I would argue though that just because you don't see in 3D at a long distance, doesn't mean that the little area at 3-4m away isn't important for traditional movies. Most personal interaction is at that distance. In fact, a lot of the dialog scenes in movies are shot as though you're standing right there looking the actors in the face. I think good 3D in that range is also what pulls you into the scene and really makes you feel like you are there. There were a couple of scenes in Avatar where this was really well done, most notably when they were in the thick of the jungle and insects were buzzing around your head. That little detail really made me feel like I was standing there.
I.e., why does your brain turn off processing for the differing images to each eye cue but not for the parralax cue, etc?
But your second paragraph show's me this is all based on confusion. The parallax cue and processing different images for each eye are the same thing, not 2 different things as you're implying. And that's the one of the cues that's NOT turned off.
I'm not defending what the author is saying. I just feel you should read the article again, because your statements don't seem to address anything said in the article.
We are used to 2D: if you look around with one eye, or at very long distances: the moon, the sun and the stars are in 2D.
And we're used to 2D in drawings, paintings and photographs.
3D tries to trick you into seeing 3D by showing a different picture for each eye, but the illusion is far from perfect: according to this article we receive clues that point in different directions. And that, it claims, isn't healthy in the long run.
another limitation: the surrounding light of your living room doesn't influence the screen.
This would be the only current limitations, right?
Those devices could change that:
"Towards Passive 6D Reflectance Field Displays"
While each scene was pre-rendered (it was pre-recorded live action), the effect was impressive, especially considering this was probably about 15 years ago.
edit: Here it is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_Traveler_(video_game)
(Perhaps you can find more answers in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_Generated_Holography and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holography for the basics.)
Or it might just be malleable to figure the whole thing out after a little while and make it a non-issue.
As for me, I have very poor depth perception anyway thanks to having lousy vision in one eye, but the effect in the movies works quite well for me. Perhaps (diabolical laugh) the score will finally be evened up!