Phantograms use perspectival anamorphosis to produce an image that is distorted in a particular way so as to appear, to a viewer at a particular vantage point, three dimensional, standing above or recessed into a flat surface. The illusion of depth and perspective is heightened by stereoscopy techniques; a combination of two images, most typically but not necessarily an anaglyph (color filtered stereo image). With common (red-cyan) 3D glasses, the viewer's vision is segregated so that each eye sees a different image.

Polarized 3D Glasses

Polarized 3D glasses create the illusion of three-dimensional images by restricting the light that reaches each eye (linearly and circularly polarization). To present a stereoscopic motion picture, two images are projected superimposed onto the same screen through orthogonal polarizing filters. The viewer wears low-cost eyeglasses which also contain a pair of orthogonal polarizing filters. As each filter only passes light which is similarly polarized and blocks the orthogonally polarized light, each eye only sees one of the images, and the effect is achieved.


Astronomer Carl Pulfrich, the namesake for the optical illusion created by 3D Pulfrich glasses featuring a dark lens and a clear lens, was blind in one eye and never got to see the effect named after him. However, the German optical scholar knew the illusion would exist under the right circumstances. The basis for the 3D Pulfrich glasses viewing technique is that images seen through the clear lens reaches the brain slightly faster than images seen through the dark lens. With properly sequenced movement recorded on film or video, objects moving across the horizontal field of vision create the illusion of 3D. Traditional dark and clear Pulfrich works with television broadcasts and video presentations.

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