3D / Stereoscopic Website Design

2 minute read

With the recent explosion of 3D films at the box office including the massively successful Avatar it’s predicated that twice as many films this year (2010) will be made in this way. That means that this year alone 20 movies will be available in the 3D format.

This article isn’t about how stereoscopy works there are plenty of resources on the web for that but more about how this technology may change the way we design for the web.

On the opening day of the Consumer Electronics Show, CES, in Las Vegas all of the big names unveiled 3D TV’s. It is rumoured that around 3.4m 3D TV sets will be sold in the US this year alone. This coupled with Sony’s 3D Blu-ray and a number of major TV channels and broadcasters looking to offer 3D content, I’m sure 3D will be taken seriously (unlike the past attempts).

BSkyB will be launching a service later on this year and ESPN and the Discovery Channel are already poised to launching there offering.

So, how does all this affect the web?  Well, players like NVIDIA have already tried to bring 3D to the gaming industry with little success. But this has just made adoption a whole lot quicker due to some monitors being 3D ready.

Today we have Adobe Flash, PaperVision3D, Microsoft Silverlight, Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) and combined with a few other technologies gives us a 2D vision of 3D. Imagine these technologies along with the adoption of HTML 5 and the Canvas element and not forgetting WebGL providing the stereoscopic 3D we see in the cinemas.

Certain monitors also have adopted a technology that allows the 3D effect without the us of polarised glasses. This is called Autostereoscopic displays.

I think its only a matter of time we see frameworks and code libraries that makes building these sites possible for the masses.

Speaking at Microsoft’s Advance 08 event last year, James Cameron said,

“… I like to tug on the hem of Microsoft and remind them that they need to be thinking about some future version of Windows that ships fully stereo-enabled that goes in concert with these devices, and that they should be talking to their various partner, and so on, technology partners, about this, and I think it’s going to happen.”

Further Reading