When I upgraded my home theater to 3D a few months ago, I originally predicted that about 90% of my viewing would remain in traditional 2D format. The reality has turned out to be closer to 99%. Nonetheless, I’ve watched a fair amount of 3D content on Blu-ray, cable and videogames. After struggling for a while to find the best settings and calibration, I think that I’ve achieved a pretty good sense of “looking through a window” 3D depth. However, what I have rarely if ever seen are the so-called “pop-out” effects where objects are supposed to jump forward from the screen. Does anyone else have this problem?
I have two 3D displays: a JVC projector (with active shutter 3D glasses) and a Vizio LCD TV (with passive glasses). My experience in this regard has been basically the same on both screens. When I watch 3D content, the surface of the screen is like a window that everything extends backwards from. I have almost never seen 3D imagery that protrudes forward from the surface of the screen. In fact, it may well be that nothing ever has.
Now, I have seen pop-out imagery in theaters when watching 3D movies, quite often in fact. So I don’t think there’s anything wrong with my ocular perception that prevents me from seeing 3D correctly. And, as I said, the sense of depth going back from the screen looks perfectly fine. I also understand that ever since ‘Avatar’, most forms of 3D have tended to emphasize immersive depth over gimmicky pop-outs. Even so, I feel like I should see this every once in a while, at least.
Some movies, like ‘Resident Evil: Afterlife‘ and ‘Drive Angry‘, have scenes that really appear to be designed to take advantage of gimmicky “Comin’ at ya!” gags. The opening scenes of ‘Resident Evil’ feature numerous shots of bullets, ninja throwing stars and other objects flying towards the camera.
I’ve heard from some 3D viewers, including some of our own review staff, who tell me that they do see pop-out effects on their 3D displays. But even when they give me specific scenes to look for, my experience doesn’t change. Nothing ever breaks forward from the surface of the screen.
Just about the only time that I was convinced that I had finally gotten a pop-out effect was during the PS3 game ‘Super Stardust HD’ (which looks fantastic in 3D, by the way). When your character dies, your spaceship explodes in a tremendous burst that blasts toward the viewer. However, playing this game for a while and experiencing this more often, I think that my perception of the effect was colored by the startling nature of it. Watching again and scrutinizing closely, it appears that none of the ship’s debris extends beyond the screen after all.
I discussed this a while back in a thread on AVSForum, and received some interesting responses about the ways that 3D imagery is created, and how it’s determined which side of the screen plane an object will appear. When I asked whether it was possible that a viewer’s ocular physiology might affect the perception of whether objects appear in front of or behind the screen, one poster explained:
Whether things appear to pop out should be a function of one physical element only: whether the object in question is displayed within the left eye-point physically to the right of the location within the right eye-point on the screen.
If both eye-points display the object at the same physical location on-screen, the object will look like it is exactly at the distance of the screen.
If the object in the left eye-point displays physically to the left of the object within the right eye-point, then it will appear to be behind the screen.
Settings in the BD player or display device can affect the relative location on the physical screen by shifting the image: force the left eye-point to display 5 pixels further right than normal, and the right eye-point to display 5 pixels further left than normal, and things will pop out a little more – you also lose 10 pixels of data (5 pixels on each side).
There shouldn’t be any ocular physiology involved – that might affect how much the object appears in front or behind, but not whether it appears in front or behind.
Psychologically, well, that’s a whole other kettle of fish, although I don’t think it would be typical to have that affect out vs. in, but again, like physiological factors, just how much.
And in response to whether screen size affects the 3D effect (for example, the difference between 3D in cinemas vs. home), another poster wrote:
It’s kind of like the aspect ratio where a 16 x 9 screen is 16 x 9 whether it is 160 ft. wide by 90 ft tall or 160 inches wide by 90 inches tall. Parallax z-axis positioning is a relative position based on a pyramidal cone where each corner of the base of the cone is an imaginary line from that corner to the center of your head, where the apex of the cone passes through each eye lens, to be precise. Objects will always appear to be larger the closer they are, therefore an object must be quite small to be seen inside the frustum of the cone. If its size extends beyond, it will appear cut off. This is why a large image like a car cannot get too close or it will appear chopped off, while a sword or cue stick can reach out and poke you in the face.
An object will never extend outside that frustum and never pass to your side and behind you. It doesn’t matter whether you are watching a big IMAX screen or a little 24″ screen. The position is relative to the size of the screen and your distance to the screen. So, if you see an object that is located pop-out 50% between you and the screen in the theater, it will still be 50% distance on your 32″ 3D monitor at home.
Comfort zone- This will vary for different individuals, but sitting too close to fill your peripheral vision will greatly reduce the pop-out effect distance, however it will increase eye strain because your eyes will be focusing attention to greatly diverged images, relative to sitting further away where the cone of vision has a narrower angle. A 60 degree angle on the cone is about maximum for 3D stereography.
(I don’t feel comfortable publishing names here. See the original forum thread for the full conversation.)
With this information, it seems like whether objects come forward from the screen or not is a factor of how they’re photographed (or rendered in CG), not the display type or a viewer’s eyesight. So why is it that I still don’t see anything breaking forward from the surface of the screen?
This isn’t to say that I’m dissatisfied with 3D, or even that I especially want a lot of gimmicky pop-out gags. I just worry that something is wrong in my home theater that I don’t see them at all.
If you have a 3D display at home and can cite examples of where you see pop-out effects extending forward from the screen, please post them in the Comments.
I don’t use a projector, but I can definitely address the pop-out effect in active vs. passive 3D. I use a Panasonic 65″ VT30 in my primary home theater. There are certain scenes in certain films — you’ve probably been referred to most of them, and tried them youself — that display images that protrude anywhere from I would say 4 inches to about 3-4 feet out of my screen. Most of these scenes are the gimmicky ones, in which you can tell the sole purpose was to create a 3D effect where a certain image really pops out of the screen.
I also have a passive 3D LG LW5600 that is in use in a bonus room used mostly for my children. I can put in the same exact film, and watch the same exact scenes that display a lot of image pop-out on my Panasonic VT30, and I will not see much, if any pop-out at all. I’ve adjusted all of the relevant settings to the point of nuisance, in an attempt to gain that pop-out effect. I’m convinced that passive 3D just isn’t capable of producing the same pop-out effect that active 3D can. A lot of this probably has to do with the overall softness of the image from having the effective resolution cut in half. I can also see horizontal lines all through the 3D display on my passive set. This creates a lot of jaggies and horizontal lines within many of the 3D images displayed. The only thing I am happy with in regards to my passive 3D set, is the fact that I don’t have to purchase glasses, and the image is brighter. There’s not nearly as much depth as my active 3D display, and I get essentially no pop-out at all.
I don’t know if this helps you at all though, because your primary home theater display uses active technology, and you aren’t getting any pop-out effect with it at all. Have you spoken with any other projector users? Perhaps another type of projector display technology produces a more convincing pop-out effect. I know you have two different sets of glasses for your active 3D projector. Do either set of glasses give you more or less pop-out? Have you tried moving closer to your screen, and further away from your screen? I just can’t imagine active 3D not giving you any pop-out effect at all. I’m not surprised you don’t see it on your passive Vizio set, but I would think that your active JVC projector would be capable of producing it quite well.
My experience has been mostly the same. I’ve only really experienced “pop-out” a couple times (1-2 scenes in Avatar and one of the IMAX Blu-rays, but I don’t remember which off-hand).
I’ve never experienced the pop-out effect in 3D content from my cable provider.
Avatar actually doesn’t really have any pop-out effect scenes. Even in the theatre, the 3D effect of Avatar was in the incredible depth. Pop-out was never attempted or exhibited.
Are you using a passive set, or active set?
Have you tried adjusting the settings on both your 3D TV and 3D blu-ray player?
I actually get more gimmicky pop-out effect watching DirecTV 3D content than I do with most 3D films I watch.
Avatar has that scene where the main guy (I don’t remember what the heck his name was) had just woken up in alien form and was running around outside. He ran through some dirt and the camera was ground-level following behind his feet, causing the dirt to fly straight toward the camera.
Exactly! And even then, the dirt didn’t protrude out of the screen several feet like the gimmick scenes found in lesser 3D material.
Yes, the dirt momentarily breaks the barrier of the screen, but it is not achieved in the gimmicky way a lot of other films would have handled it.
Have you tried Ultimate Wave: Tahiti 3D? This title would be my go-to title for pop-out effect. There are many scenes where Kelly Slater is sitting in the water on his surfboard. The camera is placed directly in front of him so that the front of his surfboard is pointed at the camera. The image of the surfboard protrudes at least 4 feet out into my great room any time this scene is displayed. When I tried the exact same scene on my passive set, I can’t get the surfboard to come out of the screen more than a half inch, no matter how I adjust the settings.
At least in theory, the difference between active and passive 3D shouldn’t have any effect on where objects are positioned within the 3D space. Passive 3D does cut the vertical resolution, which will be less detailed and have those scan line artifacts you mention. But the 3D effect is still achieved the same way, by displaying the left and right eye imagery slightly offset from one other. A loss of resolution won’t change that.
I suspect that the differences you’ve experienced have more to do with model-to-model or unit-to-unit calibration variances in how much the display panels offset those images. Honestly, I get less 3D depth on my active shutter projector than on my passive Vizio TV.
I’ve watched Ultimate Wave Tahiti via Comcast On-Demand. The surfboards still stop at the screen. However, I can’t draw too many conclusions from that one. All of the IMAX docs available in 3D from Comcast are presented in top/bottom format, which does affect the image separation. Every IMAX piece I’ve watched on Comcast has long stretches of totally flat 2D imagery. I’m sure that the Blu-ray versions are authored better and have more consistent depth than that.
Yes, you need to watch the 3D blu-ray. It’s impossible to get pop-out effect when a 3D image is presented in top/bottom format. I’ve never seen it at all with any top/bottom format content I’ve watched. If you watch the 3D blu-ray of Tahiti 3D, and do not see the surfboard protruding out from your sceen, your projector is simply incapable of producing a pop-out effect.
By the way, I agree that passive 3D can give good depth. I never meant to suggest otherwise. It’s just not capable of producing the pop-out effect you’re discussing.
Again, “pop-out” and “pop-in” are factors of how much the left and right images are separated from one another, and have nothing to do with resolution. There’s nothing inherent to passive 3D that changes this image separation. There MAY be variances from one model or unit to another, but the concept of how the 3D is achieved is exactly the same as active 3D.
You SHOULD be able to achieve pop-out on either type of screen. The fact that I’m not getting it on either one is what I’m having trouble with.
Again, I never suggested that pop-out or depth had anything to do with resolution! I have a perfect understanding of exactly how the 3D effect is produced, and a wealth of knowledge about the technology. You asked for information about people seeing pop-out effect vs. people not seeing it. I’m telling you that I don’t get it with the passive 3D display, and I know quite a few other people who don’t either. I’m posing the question of just why that might be. What about passive 3D technology (or even 3D LCD technology), inhibits pop-out effect that plasma has no problem exhibiting. If you didn’t want to discuss certain technology acheiving pop-out effect, and other technology not doing so, you shouldn’t have submitted this post. In theory, you are correct. There’s technically nothing inherent to passive 3D that changes the image separation. And technically, the concept of how the 3D image is achieved is quite similar to active 3D. HOWEVER, you’re putting a lot of faith in theory and technicality. The fact is, active (as well as plasma) 3D is giving me a significant pop-out effect. Passive (LCD) is not. I was opening up a discussion for what differences between the two technologies might be responsible for that. Do you understand me now?
Yes, TECHNICALLY, someone SHOULD be able to establish pop-out effect on either type of system. But AGAIN, you’re not seeing it on either of your 3D systems. Does your JVC projector draw the image in a similar fashion to LCD? LCD sets are not giving people the pop-out effect like plasma sets are. If your projector draws images in a fashion similar to the way an LCD television would, perhaps this is responsible.
I’ll ask you again. Have you spoken with people that are using other types of 3D projector display technologies that might draw the image in a different way? If so, are those people experiencing the pop-out effect?
Drew, we both have the same intention here, which is to get to the bottom of this problem (if it is really a problem). I do appreciate your responses. However, I’m still having trouble wrapping my brain around why the difference between passive vs. active (or between LCD vs. plasma) would affect the pop-out effect. At least in theory, they shouldn’t have any effect on this.
I think it’s possible that your experience with an active plasma having the best pop-out may be coincidental to something else going on. Perhaps that display is simply better engineered all around? I don’t think there’s anything inherent to LCD or passive 3D technology that would reduce the amount of pop-out in a 3D image. But maybe Panasonic has stricter tolerances for image separation and alignment than LG or other manufacturers? It’s hard to say at this point until we get more data.
Yes, the quicker you, me, we, SOMEBODY gets to the bottom of this (possible/potential) problem, the better we will all feel. It drives me nuts that I’m not getting any 3D pop-out effect on my passive set, when viewing the very same scenes where I get incredible pop-out on my active set.
The only thing I can think of when it comes to why a certain technology might produce a more convincing pop-out effect than another — especially when considering plasma vs. LCD — is that plasma technology draws the image much quicker than LCD tech. I’m wondering if LCD tech gives our eyes time to catch up with both left and right images to the point that we aren’t “tricked/fooled” into seeing something come out beyond the screen and into our room.
After all, both technologies are going to display the left and right eye imagery slightly offset from one other, but plasma is going to do so much quicker. In theory, is it possible that the speed of getting the left and right images displayed, and separated from one another, could have an impact on how we process it visually. If the left and right images are not displayed and properly separated extremely quickly, is it possible, our eyes/brain could catch up with their placement and not be fooled into believing the illusion of the pop-out effect? What are your thoughts?
Compared to plasma or LCD, how fast does your JVC projector draw the image? Is it capable of doing so as quickly as plasma technology? Or would it be similar to the time that it takes LCD technology to do so? Somewhere in between? Plasma does this, on average, 1-2 million times faster than LCD. This is the only thing that makes me feel like it might be at least partially responsible for any possible difference in the pop-out effect.
I don’t know. Maybe this has absolutely nothing to do with it. I just know that both technologies should be capable of exhibiting a good pop-out effect. I would think you would get it with at least one of your displays on at least some content. The fact that you’re not seeing it at all, even on your projector, really bothers me.
I’ve also discussed 3D plasma’s offering more 3D pop-out effect than their LCD counterparts with many people. I have two 3D plasma’s (The other is a 50″ Samsung 8000 series), and they can both produce an equally impressive and convincing pop-out effect. Most of my friends, colleagues, and family that own 3D LCD sets don’t see much pop-out (even the ones that have active LCD sets). Perhaps the display technology used by your projector draws the image in a similar way to how an LCD television would do so. I wonder if this has anything to do with pop-out effect?
I have a Panasonic 50″ VT display and the most pronounced example of pop out 3D occurs about half way through the IMAX blu ray “Under the Sea”. A large grouper type fish, sticks it’s head several feet out of the front of the display.
In general it is not prevalent in the majority of the 3D viewing. I can see where in many films they are going for the pop out gag, but the image seems to prematurely dematerialize before creating the proper effect.
I personally have come to the conclusion that it has alot to do with room size and distance from screen. My living room is twelve feet wide so I am about 10 ft away. Maybe we should compare viewing distances / degree of pop out and possibly screen size to get to the bottom of this.
I don’t know if you’ve seen My Bloody Valentine yet. But I have the anaglyph version and the eye pops out of the screen in the opening scene on that one. Maybe check that movie out if its available.
The most obvious pop out effect I have seen is in Tangled during the flying lantern scene. In the middle of the song, as soon as Flynn Rider begins to sing, he releases a lantern which floats several feet out into my living room. This is the best scene that comes to mind.
I have the Sharp 17000 3D projector, on a 10 foot DIY screen (ie painted drywall). I see pop-out effects on almost all of the 3D, some of it very “poppy”. I have Under the Sea recorded off 3Net, and the fish are swimming literally inches from my face. My friends actually try waving them away, it’s so real (I love watching new people watch that). Tangled is also a stunning demo (that movie must be seen in 3D). I also have a Samsung 55″ LED 3D. I get pop put on that while looking at the same material, but nothing like the effect on the projector screen. So maybe it’s screen size. At least for me, if I want to wow people with amazing in-your-face 3D, I don’t regret getting the projector at all.
I’ve observed lots of pop out effects on my Sony XBR9 (active, LCD). I haven’t heard before that Plasma produces more pop out than LCD. One of best titles for pop out is the previously mentioned Imax Under the Sea.
Josh, having worked at Best Buy and sampled just about every technology, the viewing distance away from the screen size is a major factor. Also; the TV/projector and even most players have a depth adjustment bar buried in the settings menu. The PS3 for example asks what screen size you have so it can adjust the two layers for correct offset. Then on my Sony 780 Blu-ray player there is a depth adjustment. I can push the whole image a few steps in or out at the touch of a button. 2011 Samsung and Panasonic TV’s have a depth slider adjustment that does the same thing. I personally believe that you may experience a lack of pop out because you are sittig too close to your screen. You typically want to be sitting farther away then 2-3x the width of the screen to get a more pronounced effect. Having seen passive tech just as much as active thy both are capable of displaying the same amount of depth, but with passive you typically need to sit just a little farther away then on the active to get the same depth effect. Hope this helps!
It’s because 3d pop out is an unnatural effect. It means something is in between you and the screen, which in turn means the object moved closer than the camera’s lens, which honestly makes no sense. Pop out is a completely unnatural effect and only typically happens in gimmicky scenes. Not only that but it usually hurts to view because it forces your eyes to cross more than they’re used to, and sometimes the edge of the screen cuts off part of the image which completely ruins the effect.
It can be used as a natural effect, but it should only be for things which would otherwise naturally be closer to the camera than the object of focus. Things like snow or rain work really well for this, or any other objects that may normally be placed in the foreground and out of focus.
The fact that you’re not seeing it that often is a GOOD thing. It means the filmmakers are doing it right. It shouldn’t matter to the viewer whether the depth is pop-in or pop-out, just that it’s depth. 3D shouldn’t be used as a gimmick or effect, it should simply add another dimension to a film, just like color or surround sound did when they came out.
If you find yourself thinking “ooh that popped out” the fact is it was probably a pointless gimmick effect rather than using 3d properly. Sure it may be “cool” to see, but it’s pointless. 3D should not be used to catch the viewer’s attention, it should only be used to enhance the film like color or surround sound did. It’s just another dimension.
I actually agree with you about the gimmicky “stuff flying at you” effects. However, I think that the imposition of an artificial window barrier between you and the image can be just as unnatural. I don’t need (or want) stuff flying at me or poking me in the eye, but I do feel that depth should extend in both directions from the screen plane to be truly immersive.
OK, I too own a Panasonic 3D set and complain about this same problem. The solution to seeing that a pop out is indeed possible and can actually happen is in the movie The Final Destination 3D. While it may not be the best of films there is one scene that’ll make your jaw drop.
It’s probably around 50 minutes in. the main kid has a premonition about who dies next and in the sequence a snake slithers up a pole and right into your face.
I’ve watched this scene a few times and it looks like the dam thing is going to bite you right on the nose. There are some other good semi pop outs in the film as well but this is the one that I show everyone that comes over.
Even when I had this movie in the good ol Red/Blue lenses version this scene had a great effect but seing it clear is mind bottling.
M. Enois Duarte
I agree. It’s pretty sad when a terrible movie like TFD4 can come with such an incredible 3D presentation. The only reason to even watch the movie is for the amazing, effective use of 3D.
Frankly, the best 3D I’ve seen was when I went to see Beowulf in IMAX 3D- it had 3D which rivaled anything I’ve seen until now!
You had flaming arrows, dragon breath, beautiful graphics, and of course Angeline Jolie naked which is always a plus ;).
I enjoy good pop-out effects, and it saddens me that there isn’t more of it in new movies today…
Josh, again all your experiences have seemed to parallel mine in this subject. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed almost every 3D movie I’ve watched at home. I’m using a Mitsubishi 60″ rear projection DLP and both a PS3 and a Panasonic 210 bluray player. I’ve noticed slightly more screen extension using the stand alone player than the PS3 especially after cranking up the 3D effect. Only three instances come to mind of anything penetrating the screen. After the fall of the tree in Avatar some of the ash seemed to extend. Secondly in Yogi Bear the scene with the fireworks by the lake. A few of the sparks and fireworks seemed to extend. Lastly on the Disney 3D sampler that came with my television there was a demo scene from G-Force. Again the sparks and explosions in the scene.had some pop-out. But after reviewing this scene in particular I realized a trick may have been played. The scene is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Yet the sparks and effects extended into the black bar area above and below the image. That definitely could’ve added to my initial impressions. Please continue to write these articles. I’ve worried occasionally that my setup may be faulty. Its comforting to see I’m not alone in my conclusions. On a side note, the trailer for the latest pirates of the Caribbean had a scene that I actually flinched when I saw it in the theater. When I watched the same clip at home I was excited for that same response. When it didn’t give me that same reaction I was disappointed. Thanks Josh, and good luck.
Hey Josh. So this week I decided to watch the 3D version of Priest. One of the special features on the disc is some 3D models of vehicles and weapons from the movie. The motorcycle has a 360 degree option. When I selected that, the bike had more of this pop out effect than anything I’ve seen recently. Fortunately you don’t have to watch the movie if you don’t want to, to experience this. Give it a shot if you can. I was immediately reminded of this article when I saw it. Take care.
I think the biggest issue here is that most modern 3D movies don’t have anything that “pops out” – rather, the current climent is to create depth. I think this is why Avatar was so big – it wasn’t gimicky, it was ment to draw you in. People raved about the “window” effect. I do remember a few scenes where they were photographing through grass or something, and some of the blades appeared to come off the screen (on the sides), but this was really to help with the depth.
Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk has a scene toward the begining where a steam engine seems to protrude slightly past the edge of the screen. Its a really cool effect, but it only slightly pops out of the screen. I think the menu and some of the titles pop off the screen, but its been a while since I have seen it. I could pop it in and look.
There is also an IMAX underwater film that I have seen displayed on some passive LG screens at the store. In it, a fish seems to pop out of the screen and into the room.
Quite frankly, I am not a huge fan of the “pop out” effect. It is usually not done well. The 4D films I have seen at Disney and Sea World that have these effects seem to result in really bad ghosting. This could have something to do with the closeness to the screen. If something seems that it is supposed to extend into the audience past the point of my head, ghosting occurs. This is why the 4D shows exist – if something is being thrown at the screen, it seems to stop at the screen plain, and then the theater will actually push physical objects out at the audience to add to the depth.
i think the biggest issue is, the closer to you on the screen that an object is supposed to appear, the greater the two images have to be seperated from each other on the screen (I think this is what the poster at AVS was getting at). Like I said, this can cause huge ghosting issues, but it also creates issues with relative size (as the poster also mentioned). To get any decent sized object off the screen, the object would have to take up a majority of the screen itself (with the double image), then will appear dramatically smaller in front of the screen. The closer to you an image gets, the futher away the two images have to be on screen, so if its moving toward you, there will come a point where the image will have to start getting chopped, or the image would have to be smaller to achieve desired effect. This would also affect how much information you have in the background of the image, depending on how big you want your pop-out item to be.
I am going to feel really stupid if I just got the two (pop in versus pop out) reversed.
Anyways, so the issue here is mostly going to be what you want to present the audience with – depth of picture , or a gimick. I think the days of the gimick is mostly over.
as someone mentioned, a big part of getting good pop out is making sure that the object being popped out doesn’t have any edges that touch the edges of the tv. pretty much any time this happens, the effect doesn’t work right. the times when i’ve seen the best pop out (imax water movies) is when the object is *completely* within the borders of the tv frame. this also explains why pop out is easier to get in theaters: the chances that you are positioned so that you don’t even see the edges of the screen clearly are much higher than at home, where those chances are usually close to 0 at almost all times…
Luek David Grainger
Most display units have parallax controls on them, or some have simple 3D options, you can create a greater depth of 3D by playing around in these options which in short just adjust the left and right frame either further to the middle or further out to the edges. . Both on my PC with the Acer 3D display and on my Sony Bravia, and with some films, especially the afformentioned TANGLED lantern sequence is simply amazing having the lanterns seem as if they’re floating around you.
Positive Parallax = Pop Out
Negative Parallaz = “window” effect
Unfortunately, neither my projector nor my TV offers this feature.
What is the deal with High Speed/Ethernet HDMI Cables, such as MediaBridge produces? (video run from BD player to the TV?) Ever since I promised myself I would never again purchase equipment only to admire it sitting there in it’s shipping carton, I’ve tried to be prepared well in advance. Oh yeah, whatever happened to S-Video cables?