The Stereo Window

Do you have trouble understanding that pesky stereo window?  Many stereoscopy enthusiasts, whether neophytes or highly experienced, struggle with the concept of the stereo window.  These struggles are often related to difficulty in seeing the z-axis location of the stereo window.

Placing a "window screen" at the z-axis position of the stereo window may make it possible for you to easily and clearly perceive the z-axis locations of elements in the scene relative to the stereo window.  Try it for yourself by viewing the images below in 3D! (PokeScope or a hand-held lorgnette viewer is recommended, as these parallel pairs are somewhat large for freeviewing.  You can also print this page and view the images with a Holmes-style stereoscope.  A larger cross-eyed pair will be available at a later date.)

In the first image, both red balls are behind the stereo window.  The pattern of the "window screen"can clearly be seen to be in front of the subject.

In the second image, the larger red ball is behind the stereo window, and the smaller red ball is in front of the stereo window.  The pattern of the "window screen" can clearly be seen to be in front of the larger ball.  You should also observe that the smaller red ball now appears to be transparent, with the pattern of the "window screen" behind it.  (Hint:  If your brain refuses to interpret the smaller red ball as being transparent, then it will have difficulty interpreting the stereoscopic depth cues!  Try looking at the center of the picture, and merely being aware of the location of the red balls and the "stereo window screen," without looking directly at the smaller ball.)
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