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3D GIFs Created with a Simple Visual Effect (mymodernmet.com)
546 points by bpierre on Feb 16, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 105 comments

This was submitted last week, but didn't get many upvotes, so I'm glad to see this submission taking off today:


The following was a really interesting discussion, that I'd love to hear more opinions on:


pedalpete 8 days ago | link

This is really interesting. I wonder if the lines have to be so solid, or if a similar effect could be accomplished without breaking the image so much.

Would a bunch of almost imperceptible lines work? What about a smallish change in colour saturation or similar? reply

gojomo 8 days ago | link

I was wondering the same thing. Might a finer mesh/grid work? Or bars with some dimensional shading themselves? Or slight transparency?

Could the bars/layer even be animated, along some consistent plane, so that there's no static background part of the scene that's always obscured. (That might allow even thicker bars, if that's otherwise helpful for the plane-of-reference establishing effect, but which aren't as distracting, since the mind's persistence will 'see around' them.)

Combining these, maybe there could be more than one synthetic depth plane active at once, distinguished by color, translucence, or direction-of-motion? There'd be some perceptual dimming with all that layered-in non-native 'depth chrome', a little like looking through lenses or filters... but hey, other stereo 3D tech has similar tradeoffs.

Kinda reminds of that other visual effect, where they add circles to a photo and give the illusion of the people in the picture being naked. Won't post the link here cause NSFW, but I can imagine it being a related effect: adding visual markers to change perception.

In case anyone has trouble searching for this, the term you're looking for is 'bubbling'. Parent poster has already warned you that this could presumably be considered NSFW somewhere (apparently)

TIL There is a subreddit for this. http://www.reddit.com/r/bubbling.

A predict a live Bubbling app coming to Google Glass in 2016.

"Just imagine they are in their underwear" will get a whole new meaning.

Well, that's a pretty weird subreddit. Lots of people on there trying to get their "friends" bubbled, probably without most of these "friends" being any the wiser...

There are a lot of pretty weird subreddits when you get right down to it.

Yeah, I guess so. This one verges on dangerous, though.

I've seen worse.

I mean, really, if you want to find weird stuff, and this is pushing your boundaries, don't look too hard.

Heh, yeah I know what you mean - I'm not offended by the weirdness per se, I'm just concerned about the privacy aspect of it.

I'm more surprised these days when there isn't a subreddit for something...

That would be rule #35 in action.

Obligatory reference: https://xkcd.com/305/

ITYM Rule 34.

The last panel is Rule #35

Actually I found out one. There is no Hale Berry subreddit. And even after I made a TIL post nobody cared :)


Maybe if you spelled her name correctly?

:) Screw me

reddit won't load for me now, but it's where it began in /r/pics I believe, I remember the guy who mentioned it he's a Mormon and would do this to Sears catalogue models, it was his only source of porn.

Yeah, I'd consider it Not-Safe-For-Work (nudity). Since you've been warned thrice here is a link: http://i.imgur.com/OeSyGw5.jpg


you cheeky bastard

The interesting effect of bubbling is not so much that people appear naked, but that the original picture, containing clothed people (typically bikinis), appear naked.

I've read this sentence 5 times and still have no idea what your argument is.

There are lots of pictures of naked people online. Millions probably. A visual effect that makes it look like someone is naked isn't that impressive, because there are naked people all over the place. The nudity aspect isn't the most precise description of what makes the bubbles effect interesting, it is the undressing aspect that makes it a interesting psychological/visual effect.

hence the word 'illusion'?

After the bubbling, the people aren't any "more naked" than before. Their clothes are no longer visible, sure, but the people aren't any more exposed.

not sure if serious....

I don't get it. Of course he's serious.

I am genuinely baffled by the people who think bubbled pictures are more NSFW than their unbubbled originals.

because if you are at 'work' or such environment that warrants the NSFW (Not Safe For Work) tag distinction and you click on a bubbled picture, it would give the illusion of viewing softcore pornography rather than, say, a typical bikini picture from a social networking site (which would arguably not be okay to view at work to being with).

Your mind fills in the gaps. What makes a picture NSFW is what it makes people think, not so much what it actually is.

reading this made me blow mountain dew through my nose into my ramen

Why did you do that?

The meaning of this statement is that bubbling is basically covering up more of the body then the bikini. So, technically a bikini reveals more than a bubbled bikini.

One particularly interesting thing about the origin of this effect is that it spawned from the file size limit on .gif files on tumblr. If users wanted to exceed the balance of gif length, frame rate, and detail that they wanted, they would upload multiple sections of the same scene side by side. Tumblr's formatting would then add in the white bars automatically. This presumably gave the inspiration to use this for a 3-D effect.

Uhh... But in the scenario that two gifs are side by side, how would the part that goes above the white bar appear, if the white bar is not part of any image?

SpeakMouthWords was describing the origin of the white bars shown here (i.e. originally separating gifs).

These style gifs came later (i.e. gifs with 3d effect from the addition of the bars), integrating the white bars that had come to be expected from Tumblr posts.

Do note that the effect is much stronger (at least for me) if the moving object goes outside of the perceived image bounding box - the http://bit.ly/1bUkBJQ example in the original article.

Drawing outside the panel is a standard method in comics when you want to add extra impact or a 3d effect to a panel.

For example: http://siguealconejoblanco.es/comics/wp-content/uploads/2013...

Showing the same gifs without those white solid lines for comparison would have been better. Anyways cool stuff :).

yeah this is something I want to see. i would think that the blur that goes on on the background part of the images plays some part in the 3D effect.

would like to see how it plays out without the white lines.

I just tried the blur effect, but it is too much manual work. I spent 20 minutes, and finished a very small part of the gif. I just deleted it. It wasn't getting the 3D feel I wanted. I think having solid bright color instead of a blur, gives it more impact in the outcome.

I think these appeared on Tumblr a year or so ago. Found a nice looking tutorial for making them here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmAWiVxOyto


Other idea, but gives similar 3d effects

i think that using stereoscopic video footage run frame by frame back and forth from one lens to the other would be an interesting experiment

also using 60 fps footage to do it so that it was essentially watching to 30 fps pieces at once

NSFW, upper right.

It's sunday

For some of us it's Monday

I forgot that no one works on a Sunday

And that links expire before the end of the day.

To answer other commenter's questions about the color, my perception is that it has to be the same color as the page background. This gives the illusion that the image is behind a 'window' in the page that is covered by the bars. Then when something moves from 'behind' the bars to 'in front' of them it gives the illusion of depth.

For me the success of the effect was determined by how smoothly the object went in front of the lines.

The black and white image of the puppy didn't work for me at all because you could see the "pop" as it suddenly went in front.

Ice-Age and the Avengers clip seemed to stand out much more for me because it was smoother (To my eyes at least).

well that effect is cognitively bookmarked for the next hackathon. Presumably it will work in games if used sparingly.

This would be pretty easy to do in games since you have all the z-buffer info already. I'm thinking of a HUD that has multiple horizontal "monitors" that show you the action. Then when things get close, they pop out of the monitors for the 3D effect. That would be awesome!

Why specifically GIFs? It's a generic animation technique, works with any video format.

As was pointed out many times, if you have control over your site, don't use GIFs for video and animation. Use proper video formats (WebM and etc.). It will only save space and loading time and improve quality.

Basically: GIFs autoplay on people's Tumblr dashboards, proper video formats don't, and that's pretty much all people are trying to achieve in the first place.

If we just had some sort of file-extension/media-type (.webg, maybe?) that signalled to a browser "I'm a video container, but treat me like a gif, by defaulting to autoplaying, looping, and muting me", we'd replace gifs instantly.

I don't think the current popularity of GIF compared to HTML5 <video> is really because of autoplay (since <video> can do that too, and loop too).

The big advantage of GIF is that it works in an <img> tag just like any other image, so you don't need a website to explicitly support it.

Another advantage, I think, is that GIFs are guaranteed not to play sound, which is great when browsing say imgur.com or pr0gramm.com at work (edit: of well, I had missed the "muting me" part of your comment, so let's just say that we agree that it's an important component).

Video can be muted with the tag itself. The only advantage of GIF is like you said - you can use it in any place where images are supported (forums and etc.) and video is not. On the sites where you have control over the tags GIFs are counterproductive. For example they are way bigger for the same length of video.

From a user point of view, you can be sure that a site with pictures, including GIFs, won't play sound, that's what I meant.

On the other hand, users don't have to know whether the HTML they are served have <video>s or <img>s, so this could all be done behind the scenes, I guess.

Yeah, and very much so in email. <video> gets stripped in most web email clients. However, you can embed gifs and they work great. I made a fun service: flukyGifs - gifs that change every time you visit it (based on keywords). Add a fun one to your email signature, and there's something to look forward to every time someone opens your email! Here's a link http://flukygif.herokuapp.com

Video doesn't autoplay on iOS devices, while GIFs will playback for a few iterations automatically, last I checked.

Video tag autoplays on any site where you have control over HTML. For example on Blogger. Can't say anything about Tumblr - never used it.

You don't need any special containers. Just use video tag properly, it covers all that functionality since the beginning:


Something like <video src="..." loop="true" autoplay="true" muted="true".../>

Muting can also be simply achieved by making audio empty in the video if you need to.

Yes, that's why I mentioned Tumblr in particular. Tumblr is an example of a website where people write HTML, yet don't control the HTML that displays to others.

On sites where you control the HTML, like Wordpress, you can do whatever you like. Use <video> tags if you know them. Likewise, on sites where you don't write HTML (e.g. Facebook, as another poster mentioned), <video> tags are fine--because people don't have to know about them, so it's all just handled in the background when you drop a video on the page.

But there are these in-between web services where HTML is used, usually as one method of several, to get rich text from people, and then presented in an aggregate view (think of any traditional threaded forum.)

Because people can do some pretty nasty things when you inject their HTML directly into your pages, you have to filter that HTML to remove bad behavior. And usually <video> is one of the first to go--not because it's particularly bad (though getting people to autoload huge videos can be used as a DDoS attack in some instances) but because these filters are usually whitelist-based, and haven't been updated since <video> became a thing.

Also, video tags only play in full-screen on iPhones, which is pretty unacceptable for the type of use people have in blogs.

Gif is also a non-lossy format (albeit with a limited palette). Pretty much all video codecs are lossy. What will really replace GIF is animated PNG.

This is irrelevant. You don't want a lossless format for web video - the size is too excessive.

You want a video format for web video. You want a lossless format for web animation, which is what GIFs should be used for in the first place, not for lossily converted videos.

It'd also have to be compatible with all browsers (including primitive versions of IE) to cover the other reason people use gifs.

Primitive versions of IEs can be ignored. Worrying about support for old IE is counterproductive.

Please, tell that to some of my clients.

IE costs extra, IE < 8.0 or whatever doubly so ;)

Whose employees probably shouldn't be visiting Tumblr in work browsers, and work time, anyway.

Facebook does this for videos uploaded to its services (Facebook, Instagram) and shared on feeds. It works quite well there.

I only noticed this yesterday. They even mute the sound by default so it's not really intrusive. Hopefully people move away from gifs soon, even if it means autoplay videos everywhere.

I think one of the reasons is that iOS devices and some android ones don’t support autoplay (presumably to prevent battery drain). iPhones with iOS 7 will play videos only in full screen, hiding the rest of the website.

There are services which convert gifs to videos to use the much more efficient encoding: http://gfycat.com/about. So we’ve come full circle once again.

I'd seen this a few times in recent weeks and wasn't overly impressed, but yeah, sure, whatever. Clicked to open the link in a new tab, continued to other tasks for a while. It took me some time before I navigated back to it.

I flinched when I did as Capt. America's shield came flying toward me.

Maybe there is something to this after all.

I think this would work without the bars, by just having the object pop out from the boundary box.

Unfortunately, I don't perceive the effect (I'm assuming there's supposed to be an optical illusion of 3D). The animations all look flat to me.

Yeah; I experience a sense of perspective, but not a sense of depth.

It would be interesting if this effect was combined with the wiggle 3d effect.

I wonder how prominent the bars have to be for this effect to still work. Can they be translucent or a color other than white?

lets see- i wonder if you could take a 3d scan of a scene (still or moving) and then superimpose a 3d lattice of white lines or something, and automatically generate the correct occlusion? that would make this effect very precise. that might be kind of cool. sort of like projecting a 2d lattice on a golf green to read the break

They look particularly good expanded out to fill the page:



Off topic: Captain America's throwing form is atrocious. See this for good form: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0dXR6EiReY

is it okay to not be impressed with this 'effect'?

It's HN, so the OP could have cured AIDS while being the first on Mars and it would be fine to not be impressed.

Edit - ah perfect, see here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7249107

Thanks for asking first, we'll get back to you.

Why wouldn't it be?

In my opinion it's very clever and interesting, but it's not particularly nice. It's very obvious in it's cleverness.

what a useless statement.

Does anyone have the originals to compare?

its really an awesome gif collection. You may also like: http://www.thephotomag.com/2012/12/collection-of-30-still-ph...

These are called cinemagraphs, and here's a bunch of them for you: http://www.reddit.com/r/cinemagraphs



This affect does not work on me, and, yes, I have two working eyes and neither is "lazy".

Well, because this effect does not use stereopsis, it actually works better for people who don't rely on it. So if you want to make it stronger, close one eye.

Yeah, I am not seeing this effect at all. Perhaps relevant: one of my eyes has poor eyesight, but 3d movies still work for me without wearing corrective lenses...

I suspect this only "works" if you really want it to.

These worked pretty "effortlessly" on me.

Try to close that eye.

Nothing. They just look like regular images.

Works great for me, and I have amblyopia.

Didn't work on me.

I didn't understand what the "visual effect" is supposed to be until I read the description.

I still see animated 2D GIFs with bars over them (=no real difference if the bars were removed).

The bars aren't over them; at some point they appear to be below some parts, which is what gives the 3D effect.

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