Sunday, January 29, 2012


And what the hell is a "stereogranimator?"

It's a stereoptican photograph ("stereograph") transferred to the internet. Like for instance the one below.

GIF made with the NYPL Labs Stereogranimator - view more at
GIF made with the NYPL Labs Stereogranimator

The 3-D photo above is Louisa May Alcott's dear old mum, at home in Concord, Mass. ...

As TPM reports:

A library may not be the first place you would associate with digital innovation, but some interesting things are happening at the New York Public LIbrary.

This week, NYPL Labs launched Stereogranimator, a project that draws on the library’s massive archive of stereographs, a classic 19th century form where two nearly identical images are viewed side-by-side through a stereoscope to create the illusion of depth.

The Labs project uses the very old form and allows users to turn images into animated GIFs, a classic internet form. The rapid animation creates that same illusion of depth. The Labs unit itself is also a sort of collision between classic library archives and digital tools.

“We think this is a really fun and unique opportunity to play with the conventions of what was 3D then and what is 3D now,” NYPL Labs Product Manager David Riordan told TPM. ...

The New York Public Library has several truckloads of these photographs, and they offer a sampling here, for your perusal and amusement.

GIF made with the NYPL Labs Stereogranimator - view more at
GIF made with the NYPL Labs Stereogranimator

This shot is of the daredevil wire walker Dixon, crossing Niagra below the Great Cantilver Bridge, at the turn of the 19th-20th centuries.

Good thing we have Retinal After-images. Otherwise, no stereo vision on the intertubes.


Anonymous said...

!!!!! EARTHQUAKE !!!!

Anonymous said...

Cool! Wish the gif flickered about 8 times faster. The stereo effect might be more impressive.

Quite a few early silent films were shot with 2 cameras side by side, creating real stereo. They shot films with 2 cameras to have insurance against the possibility of the Edison Trust sending mercenaries to destroy camera negatives. The film makers would hide the other negative for protection. Thankfully, some of both prints have survived.

I've seen a couple of film talks where they've recreated the "accidental" stereo, and it's pretty neat.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant! This is just a start but the possibilities are mind-boggling. Simply amazing that someone found a way to see these old 3-D images without having to view them through those old stereo viewers! Just great!

Steve Hulett said...

I posted about this -- in part -- because of the name.

Anonymous said...

Everybody Wang Chung tonight!

Christopher M. Sobieniak said...

I'd rather use a regular viewer to watch these on. Got one of those in the house!

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