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Old 08-28-2011, 09:51 PM   #1
RandomRob
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Thumbs down The problem with 3D is Me

As my good friend Andy likes to point out, 'Avatar' was a successful 3D venue because it made the most of it's art, it used 3D effects in ways that made sense, and didn't poke you in the eye with imaginary spears every few minutes. For all it's inane white boy saves the smurf/indians bombast, it was done carefully, and cleverly.

3D works in film because it does not RELY on 3D to do anything other than enhance what's already there, and film, by it's nature has slow sections and closeups and myriad other imaging techniques that don't require 3D effects at all. This is handy for your eye because it means your eye can relax a bit between eye popping setpieces. Too much 3D makes the eye irritable.

Famed sound editor Walter Murch pointed out that 3Ds inherent failing is that it requires the eye to focus & re-focus on points that exist at IMAGINARY distances from the viewer. So while the eye and brain have already calculated the actual distance to the movie screen, the 3D effect 'fools' the eye momentarily, and in that moment there is a sense of displacement, which the eye and brain fight to correct, to recalibrate their focus to the screen...

Videogames, while aspiring to be filmlike, still exist as single viewpoint affairs. When you play Ridge Racer 3D or Pilotwings Resort on a Nintendo 3DS, you don't get a break from the 3D, and that's a big problem.

Or, I'm the problem.

I can't keep my head still when I play a racing or flying game. I like to move my head, and I think this is a reflexive bit of primitive hunting/sighting behavior that's hardwired into me, because I can't stop doing it. So here's me playing Ridge Racer 3D, and I'm cornering very nicely and I go into a big powerslide and I move my head a few degrees which causes the 3D effect to collapse into a double image, then I have to move my head back into proper alignment while I oversteer, and now Im gritting my teeth and my eyes are watering and Im not having a good time. Same thing with Pilotwings Resort... frustrating.

Now, I had no problem with Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars, which I found a very enjoyable turn-based squad shooter. But here's the difference: in GR:SW, the 3D (like in film) is a minor enhancement of the visuals. But in an action game where you have to judge simulated distance and speed with some degree of accuracy, it seems to me 3D works against the brain. We've been judging flat perspective from watching TV and film our whole lives, we're comfortable with it. 3D graphics force us out of that comfort zone and into a situation where we have to trust distance being presented in a way that our eye inherently distrusts.

At least, mine do. But I can't believe I'm alone in feeling this way. And I don't see a way around it, short of creating actual holograms, that aren't fooling our eyes with perspective tricks or color shifts.
So, no, I'm not happy with 3D, or the 3DS, or Nintendo, right now.

I think I've been Virtual Boy'd again.
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