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4234Stereogram ideas

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  • Peter Ferber
    Oct 5, 2013
      I am not an artist by trade, but a programmer; and I have scarcely contributed to this site, but I've been an avid lurker for a long while. 
      I recently came across a book by the Magic Eye people: it's called "Beyond 3D, Improve Your Vision", Copyright 2004, By Magic Eye, Inc. and Marc Grossman.
      I mention it because I think there are some techniques employed here that do some excellent things, and provide some juicy food for thought for those of you who do stereogram art and publish stereogram books.  I carry stereogram books with me when taking public transportation, and after doing computer work all day, I feel my stereogram viewing helps keep my eyes healthy and flexible.  Some of the images in this book are designed specifically with eye health in mind, and I'm happy to share these tips and ideas with you.  And please forgive me if this sounds like an advertisement for the book: I intend it more of a platform for you to launch into new and creative territory.
      • The combined left and right page of the entire front inside cover contains an image of dolphins floating through space, surrounding the earth and other planets.  Very cool.  The combined left and right page of the entire back inside cover contains the exact same image and with the same repeating pattern, with the only difference being that the front cover requires diverging your eyes and the back cover requires converging them.  Knowing what you're going to get beforehand from the diverged view helps viewers be more versatile with diverging and converging; and the latter, I feel, helps relieve eye strain even more than the former.  If someone made a book with the same stereogram image on opposite pages, requiring the alternation of diverging and converging for each one, I would seriously buy that book, and the author lay claim to the health benefits such a book would provide.
      • The image on page 10 of this book is called "Follow the spiral", and the image is that of a perfectly circular spiral that gets farther away as it goes inward.  Having the eyes track something going in a spiral or a circle is helpful for good vision.  In fact, suffering from Dyslexia as a child, I did extensive eye training when I was in my late teens; and one of the things I did was track a small light at the end of a large round spinning billboard, painted to look like a bullseye.  Moving eyes in a circular motion helps keep their shape and promotes ease in focusing.
      • Page 11 is called "Jelly Beans", and it contains the classic floaters, something for which Magic Eye is famous.  Floaters do not have a hidden image, but the sensation of floating through a space feels what being suspended in space and is often accompanied by euphoria of an endorphin rush. 
      • Page 17 is called "Solitaire", and it has the very cool effect of showing playing cards lined up in neat rows: aces on top, kings on the bottom.  Focusing on each card from bottom to top requires diverging ones eyes in small increments; and conversely, each card going down requires slightly more convergence.  This page corresponds directly with the eye training I did all those years ago.  Looking through a viewmaster, and we looked at paired photographs that had been snapped stereographically.  Imagine a beach scene with myriad objects near and far, and significant objects are labeled 1 through 10, with 1 being the closest object to the camera, and 10 being on the horizon.  To the regimented beat of a metronome, I was instructed to focus on one number at a time; and proof of success was seeing only 1 of, and not 2 of, the desired number.  Objects that require layers of focus, and on command, helped improve the correspondance between what my brain desired and my eyes actually did.  (Dyslexics have often been considered stupid, simply because their eyes and brain do not cooperate in the job of focusing.)
      • And, speaking of the numbers 1 through 10, I have an idea for a stereogram that I've never seen done, but is based directly on my experience with viewmasters.  How difficult would it be for the numbers 1 through 10 (or even 1 through 5) to be embedded in a stereogram, and you could only see just one of these numbers at any given time?  That would be a state-of-the-art equivalent to what was done with a viewmaster thirty years ago!
      I'm not the artist here, but I can tell you that the accumulative effect of doing these exercises increased my mind's capacity to focus on the objects I desired to see; and I think my perspective of what proved to help me so much could be achieved using the state-of-the-art tools that you artists have at your disposal.  Don't get me wrong: I love the work you do now, and I've been a very happy lurker for many years.  I do think that stereograms with an eye-health angle could add to the interest level to a wider range of audiences, and I'm happy to share these ideas with you: the ones who could pull it off.
      Most sincerely,
      ~Peter Ferber
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