Click on the photo to enlarge. Stare wide eyed at the center from a distance of about 3 feet and the two images blend together into a single 3D image.


The above is an example of a 3D Steregram found on this site taken with the Fujifilm W3 3D camera, which captures two pictures simultaneously.

Are you considering  a custom, creative 3D stereogram for advertising or promotion purposes? What many graphics vendors would like you to consider is the possibility that a Stereogram works a lot harder for your business or service than most images because it interacts with your reader and holds your viewer’s attention longer than a conventional photo or illustration. They are engaging and fun.

However, there are various types of stereograms, and in my humble opinion, some will be better received than others. The danger is that some will just dizzy  and annoy your reader. And if the hidden image or effect is less than engaging in itself, they will even provoke disappointment, which is definitely not the type of reaction you want your brand to provoke.

How It Works

To understand how stereograms work, this site by artist Gary Priester explains the basics. Gary explains  What Works and What Does Not Work in a Stereogram:

One frequently asked question is can you put a photograph or a likeness of a person in the hidden 3D image. The short answer is no. Simple images work best. More complex images are more difficult to see. This is a good opportunity, however, for using both a hidden 3D image along with floating objects. While creating a 3D portrait is very difficult, not impossible but difficult, a floating image can be almost anything you want it to be. Another frequent request is to hide some text message in the image. A few words are possible but more than a few words becomes extremely difficult, if not impossible to see. The best rule of thumb is simple works best.

To view, use a wide eyed less focused perspective. If you have difficulty viewing a stereogram, try pulling back from the screen a bit.

Types and Promotional Uses of Stereograms

Hidden Image Stereograms are virtually impossible to see as 2D, with objects being magically exposed in 3D only when viewed correctly. This is the type image most commonly associated with stereograms. It is difficult to show anything with fine detail or long words, so it is necessary to keep objects simple and text short. Some examples are shown here. A possible promotional use for Hidden Image Stereograms would be to embed a hidden message for use in a random drawing.

Object Array Stereograms: With OAS, the images can be seen both in 2 D, but, with wide-eyed viewing become 3D. The surprise comes with discovering hidden layers, vast depths, and object interplay. Where hidden-image stereograms lack definition and detail, Object Array Stereograms can be elaborately and clearly detailed and can show deeper levels of depth. Examples are shown here. These are good eye catchers that also invite the viewer to dwell longer on the image, enhancing impact.

Mapped Textured Stereograms often are a blend of Hidden-Image and Object-Array stereograms. The 3D objects may or may not be hidden, and are formed by using the object’s texture rather than just an arbitrary pattern. As in Object Array Stereograms, the impact is immediate and this is enhanced by an added extra element. Some examples are here.

Stereo Photography differs from usual stereography in that two elements or double panels that make up a stereo-pair are combined with non-photographic elements. Examples are shown here.

Anaglyphs are the most popular and well known form of 3D images, made popular by movies, magazines, comics, novelties, art, and the Internet. However, they require complementary colored lenses for each eye.

3D Glasses

 3D glasses

Anglyph Advertising

Marketers have experimented with creating glasses-required 3D ads in print magazines to good effect — for example, an October 2011 campaign for Honda in Maxim Magazine, designed by ad company 3DX reported by Tech News World.  According to 3DX founder Ziggy Kormandel:

“We used our patented Phantaglyph technology, and while people were flipping though the 3D pictures, suddenly a car appeared to be sitting right on top of the magazine. The response to the ad was incredible, and since 3DX is the only company that can create illusions like that, it told us that we really had a hit on our hands. We’re focusing on extending the 3D experience to channels like mobile marketing, listening to what the people really want, and acting on those wishes.”

He acknowledges that the challenges include the issue of getting the glasses into the hands of the consumer. This requires creative thinking by the brands and a willingness on their part to listen to companies like 3DX which, depending on the campaign,  may recommend distributing them through a 12-pack of soda, a full-page magazine ad, a cereal box, or to be handed out at a live event.”

 Creating an Interactive Customer Experience: 3D Smartphone Ads

While not using stereograms, mobile marketers are using the power of 3D interactivity of other types to capture audiences, build brands, and sell products. Some mobile technologies can create a sense of 3D with images that seem to pop off the screen, while smartphone touch technologies that let you move an object around on a screen, making objects appear and feel three-dimensional.

AdJitsu, for instance, created a mobile marketing campaign in the UK earlier this year for the Samsung Galaxy, with 3D ads that were viewable on any iOS device, such as iPhones and iPads. The ads let consumers touch and turn a 3D image of the Galaxy this way and that to explore its  features.  This allows you to interact instantaneously with the product.

AdJitsu’s head of business development and marketing, Leslie Langan, believees that 3D technology is especially promising in the marketing of luxury goods and 3D movies

“We’re extremely excited about the possibilities,” Langan enthused. “It’s so exciting to create an environment where the consumer can have a truly interactive experience…You have to make the front door as appealing as possible. One of our key principles is that the consumer’s time is precious, and any ad must be as valuable as the content surrounding it.”

The Samsung project took the form of both a banner ad and an extendable one, meaning that from the first glimpse of the ad, a consumer could see it was something special. It’s important to take advantage of 3D tech even in banner ads, according to Langan.

Harry Dewhirst, VP of advertising at Amobee says:

“Our immersive 3D ads create a fully interactive environment for the viewer through instantaneous banner expansions and fluid touch interactions. The qualities of 3D advertising give the advertisement an editorial feel with rich, dynamic content so the user can browse like they would a catalogue. As smartphones and mobile devices become more powerful, 3D mobile advertising will become pervasive. 3D will be much more appealing than a static banner ad, and I think we will begin to see some amazing advertising.”

The future of 3D mobile ads looks particularly good as mobile devices develop more sophisticated capabilities in 3D rendering. Kormande puts it this way:

 “These devices hardly ever leave people’s sides, so they’re incredible devices for delivering content. As the next round of technologies come into play – tablets with bundled 3D content like games, videos and apps; better glasses-free 3D; 3D television with enough content to make sense — I believe that good will always trump new.  People are smart,and something being flashy isn’t enough. Starting now and for the foreseeable future, the 3D marketers who rise to the top will be the ones who produce the highest-quality content.”

Snap! principle of the future of Interactive Marketing:

Mobile marketers are working on creating interactive experiences that make us feel like we’re really there.