Asus VG236H 3D Vision Monitor Review

How Does 3D Work?

Asus VG236H 3D  Vision Monitor Review

How Does 3D Work?

If you're of a certain age then you probably have memories of Tomorrows World and their demonstration of what is now called Anaglyph 3D.

For those of you who are too young to remember, or had better things to do than watch Judith Hann, Anaglyph 3D is the famous red and cyan glasses that came free with your Sunday Paper/box of Rice Krispies/Beano.

Asus VG236H 3D  Vision Monitor Review

These worked by using opposing colours and a pair of glasses with a filter so that one eye saw one part of the image and the other eye saw the other section. These would then be combined in your brain to produce a single image with slight 3D properties, as below.

Asus VG236H 3D Vision Monitor Review

However there is one obvious drawback with this method. Despite looking like a fool with your multicoloured specs, the colour of the image is hugely compromised. The other aspect is that it's far more suited to having stuff pointed at you, than supplying any depth. So your brain comprehends the image itself as the back-plane, and then everything else is in front of it. This is why if you've ever seen any Anaglyph 3D programs or movies you find they are packed full of waving feather dusters, sharks jumping towards you and similar cheap tricks.

Stereoscopic 3D is the method adopted by all major movie companies now, and nVidia with their 3D Vision. This is pretty much the exact opposite of Anaglyph technology. Whereas the Anaglyph glasses can be used by anyone and the images displayed on any television or monitor, Stereoscopic technology is expensive and requires swathes of specialist technology to provide the effect. Anaglyph gives a terrible quality image with distorted colours, Stereoscopic 3D is pin sharp and gives amazing colour reproduction. The image you see is as good as the source, rather than greatly compromised.

Instead of having slightly offset images within a single image, like the cactus above, Stereoscopic 3D has two offset images side by side as in the image below. In fact if you are capable of the cross-eye method of magic eye viewing you can see the 3D yourself using the large version of this. Not that I recommend ever crossing your eyes.

Asus VG236H 3D  Vision Monitor Review

So we know what it is, how does the Stereoscopic work?

Depth perception is provided by our eyes being slightly apart and so they both see a slightly different image. By combining these our brain can quickly triangulate the distance of everything and so we have a sense of depth. Objects much nearer our eyes have images much further apart than objects far away. Cue the Father Ted "Dougal, these are very small but those are far away" speech.

You can quickly test this right now so what I'm saying is clearer. Face the centre of your room, extend your arm and raise your palm. If you close your eyes alternately you notice that your eyes see vastly different views of your hand compared to objects on the other side of room. The other way to understand it is to keep both eyes open and place your hand at the end of your nose covering one eye. You can see the screen still but have a 'ghost' image of your hand as well. So if you close your eyes alternately you see your hand or the screen.

Now hopefully you can see how amazingly powerful our brain is at combining what each of our eyes see to provide us with a single view, despite each of our eyes seeing something very different. This power is exactly what is used with Stereoscopic 3D.

The secret is the reason that the monitors are so expensive. Most monitors refresh the screen at 60hz, so they provide an image every 1/60th of a second. This is exactly why having a frame-rate higher than 60fps is vital for V-Sync, and also why any frame-rate above 60fps should be used to improve image quality because it's "lost" as the monitor can never display it.

3D capable monitors need to refresh on a 120hz cycle, so providing a new image every 1/120th of a second. The IR emitter then sends a signal to the glasses to alternate each lens between opaque and transparent so each eye still receives the requisite 60 images a second, depending upon which image for which eye is being provided by the monitor at any given time.

Because this can then be manipulated by the drivers to adjust how far apart each part of the image is, and therefore where your brain perceives it to be, not only can we have stuff popping out to us as it always has but the major thing we get is depth. So instead of having a flat image with objects appearing on top of it, we have an image that appears to stretch into infinity, and also objects in front of the monitor too.

Anyone who has been and seen a 3D movie in the cinema will understand, and hopefully those of you who haven't had the pleasure now understand a little better at how the effect is achieved.

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Most Recent Comments

21-07-2010, 12:39:56

If you get a 3D monitor like this, does everything have to be viewed in 3D all the time, or can you view games and such like a normal monitor if you want to give your eyes a rest or something?Quote

21-07-2010, 13:27:04

You just hit the button on the 3D emitter and the whole system goes back to 2D mode.Quote

21-07-2010, 16:30:51

There is an old axiom that says 'seeing is believing' in this case very true, custom pc reviewed 3D vision a few months ago and give it a absolute NO they said it give you a headache after one hour of playing and the 3D effect wears out, so for me it is a absolute NO until the technology evolves to something more mature also I read a review in bit-tech that claimed that the FPS drop dramatically when using 3D vision so another downer, last week I went to CURRY’S and a sales person showed me a 3D movie clip on a 50’’ 3D plasma, to be honest it was very impressive but after a while the 3D effect did wear out, fact is the brain can only be tricked for a short time and all the current 3D products in the market are at the first stages of the evolution of the 3D technology.Quote

21-07-2010, 17:53:12

I kind of think it's proably something you just have to adjust to. You don't seem to hear complaints about 3D films, and Custom PC did bad mouth 3D vision, but I stand firm supporting it. Of course it might be weird and your aim might be off completely to begin with, yet this makes sense as when Tom explained how 3D works.

The normal 2D image only imitates 3D through depth perception in terms of the size of object in reference to the foreground. The 3D vision is different in the like real vision one eye effectively sees slightly more of one side of an object and the other eye vice versa, your brain then combines the images to give you the overall image perceiving 3D.

This is probably why it takes some getting used to as your brain will see the 3D of your room and then a second 3D image of different depth on the monitor, hence why it might get confused and lead to some people getting headaches or sometimes just poor aim.

Like patting your head while rubbing your stomach however, the brain can be taught to distinguish between simultaneous tasks affecting the same area of the brain.

Apache pilots effectively learn to look like a Chameleon looking at different images with each eye and still maintaining an overall picture without feeling sick or losing perception of depth.

I think with a little practice it would be easy to adjust to the change in picture and you'd soon be fragging people the same as always.

Of course there's the fact you can still just watch films (if you didn't want to game with them on) providing the 3D movie experience at home.

I myself have bought a 3D vision monitor in preparation for my pc I'm still building (seems like ages, tho I did start planning it in feb lol).

We'll see how I get on eventually.Quote

21-07-2010, 19:26:00

hope you finish your pc soon like to know your honest opinion on 3D vision after having it for a few days and getting adjusted to it.Quote

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