The development of direct-write digital holography* – Part 2

Following just a few simple rules anyone can shoot a parallax sequence on film or video that can be directly converted into a hologram image. The first consideration is that the motion must be going in the correct direction in order to yield positive stereoscopic parallax in the hologram. The reason for this is very simple: one’s left eye must be presented with the left image and the right eye must see an image in the sequence that is to the right of the first image.

Direction of stereoscopic parallax in a hologram

Direction of stereoscopic parallax in a hologram

This is true throughout the parallax sequence, thus if image #12 is seen by the left eye then the right eye must be observing an image that is to the right, such as image #20. If the order is reversed, then the left eye will be seeing a frame that should be seen by the right eye (and vice versa) and the three-dimensional image will be pseudoscopic, i.e. spatially inside-out, with the background seeming to be in front of the foreground subject.

The camera motion must be in the correct direction to make a positive stereoscopic parallax

The camera motion must be in the correct direction to make a positive stereoscopic parallax

Luckily with the aid of a computer and video-editing and image manipulation software is it possible to re-arrange the order of the sequence, in the event that the parallax is going in the “wrong” direction, but it is a lot easier to film it correctly in the first place, so that the hologram image is orthoscopic.

This is achieved by having anti-clockwise camera motion when orbiting the scene, or left-to-right camera motion when making a lateral pass by the subject. Alternatively, orthoscopic parallax is produced by having the subject move right-to-left or rotate clock-wise on a turntable in front of a fixed camera [33]. Footage that dates back to a previous century can now be digitally manipulated to extract the temporal parallax information that it contains and to translate it to stereoscopic parallax to produce a three-dimensional image.

Where as the subject moves laterally past the camera or rotates the footage will have some parallax that can often used to create a three dimensional image. To create a three-dimensional portrait just a few frames of temporal parallax are required. Where elements in the scene do not move, such as the background, they can be digitally removed and a new background with parallax inserted.

Once a sequence of images from movie film or video has been digitized it can be manipulated in several ways: to eliminate parts of the image, add new elements, modify size or shape discrepancies, create new intermediate frames between key frames, or even create synthetic 3D from 2D images.

As well as live-action films, temporal parallax is now common in animated feature films like “Toy Story”, “Shrek”, “Monsters Inc”, “Final Fantasy” and others where the animation is made using computer generated models rather than flat artwork.

It is possible to have absolute control over the camera angles within the virtual environment, so adding temporal parallax to increase the realism is now commonplace. Likewise, in computer games temporal parallax has been found to increase the realism of games like “Tomb Raider”. Any animated character that exists as a computer models can be quickly and simply down-loaded to make a three-dimensional hologram image.

The rules governing the use of computer models are the same as for deriving parallax from video or film, in that the model must be correctly moved with respect to the virtual camera.

Computer-generated models are now part of the manufacturing process of a wide variety of commercial products, as well as architectural, aeronautical, pharmaceutical and medical imaging.

From scanning electron micrographs of tiny particles of matter to the NASA images of alien worlds brought to us from outer space, parallax is everywhere and this revolution in digital imaging now permits the data to flow directly from the client’s computer to be be digitally written into a full-colour three-dimensional hologram.


My sincere thanks to all the holographers working on dot-matrix and direct-write 3D imaging systems who helped me to compile the final sections of this paper by sending text, images and sample holograms. Your assistance was very much appreciated.


[1] Umberto  Eco 1987 Travels in Hyper-reality Picador

[2] Umberto  Eco Ibid

[3] R. V. Pole Jan 1968 3-D Imagery and Holograms of Objects Illuminated in White Light Applied Physics Letters 12 (1) 10–12

[4] Bruce  Lane Stereoscopic displays SPIE 367 20–32

[5] G.  Lippmann March 1908 Comptes Rendus 146 446–451

[6] J. T. McCrickerd and Nicholas George 1968 Scaling and Resolution of Scenic Stereograms SPIE 15, Holography 161–165

[7] D. J. De Bitetto March 1968 Bandwidth Reduction of Hologram Transmission Systems by  Elimination of Vertical Parallax Applied Physics Letters 12 (5) 176–178

[8] D. J. De Bitetto 15 May 1968 Transmission Bandwidth Reduction of Holographic  Stereograms Recorded in White Light Applied Physics Letters 12 (10) 343–344

[9] D. J. De Bitetto August 1969 Holographic Panoramic Stereograms Synthesized from White  Light Recordings Applied Optics 8 (8) 1740–1741

[10] Stephen  Benton October 1969 Hologram Reconstructions with Extended Incoherent Sources Journal of the Optical Society of America 59 1545–1546

[11] S. P. McGrew Diffractive Color and Texture Effects for the Graphic  Arts, Patent WO 82/01595

[12] S.  Smith and T. H. Jueong Method and Apparatus for Producing Full Color  Stereographic Holograms, US Patent No. 5,022,727

[13] June 1994 Munday markets DI-HO System Holography News 8 (5) 1&7

[14] E.  van Nuland and W. Spierings 1993 Development of an Office Holoprinter III SPIE 1914 9–24

[15] Fujio and Kazuhiko Ohuma  Iwata October 12–14, 1988 Grating Images Optical Security Systems Proceedings

[16] S.  Takahashi Method for producing a display with a diffraction grating pattern and a display produced by the method, US Patent No. 5,058,992 (Oct 1991)

[17] S.  Takahashi, T. Toda and F. Iwata Method of manufacturing display having diffraction  grating patterns, US Patent No. 5132,812 (21 July 1992)

[18] Frank  Davis Holographic image conversion method for making a  controlled holographic grating, US Patent No. 5,822,092 (filed  16 May 1988, granted 13 Oct 1998)

[19] Craig  Newswanger Holographic diffraction grating patterns and method for  creating the same, US Patent No. 5,291,317 (filed 12 July 1990,  granted 1 Mar 1994)

[20] Frank  Davis System for making a hologram of an image by manipulating object beam characteristics to reflect image data, US Patent No. 5,822,092 (filed 16 May 1988, granted 13 Oct 1998)

[21] Toppan Bulletin No. 28, pages 5 & 6, May 1994, & Fujio  Iwata, private communication, Toppan Printing Co, Ltd  Technical Research Institute, Tsukuba Research Laboratory, 4-2-3  Takanodai-minami, Sugito-machi, Kitakatsushika-gun Saitama  345-8508, Japan

[22] T.  Hamano and H. Yoshikawa 1998 Image-type CGH by means of e-beam printing Proc. SPIE 3293 2–14

[23] T.  Hamano, M. Kitamura and H. Yoshikawa 1999 Computer-generated holograms with pulse-width modulation  for multi-level 3D images Proc. SPIE 3637 244–251

[24] T.  Hamano, M. Kitamura and H. Yoshikawa 2000 Computer-generated holograms for reconstructing multi 3D  images by space-division recording method Proc. SPIE 3956 23–32

[25] T.  Hamano and M. Kitamura June 2000 Feasibility study for making electron-beam CGHs Holography (SPIEs International Technical Group Newsletter) 11 (1) 3

[26] Chih-Kung  Lee et al. Jan 2000 Optical configuration and color-representation range of  a variable-pitch dot matrix holographic printer Applied Optics 39 (1) 40–53 Julie  Lee private communication. Ahead Optoelectronics, Inc  No. 13, Chin-Ho Road, Chung-ho, Taipei hsien 235, Taiwan

[27] Pawel  Stepien private communication. Polish Holographic Systems s.c., Kazimierzowska 76 m 7, 02-518 Warszawa, Poland.

[28] Rob  Munday private communication, e-mail Spatial Imaging Ltd, Shepperton Studios, Shepperton, Middlesex TW17.

[29] Diana  Newcomb private communication. Pacific Holographics Inc 503  Caledonia St. Santa Cruz Ca 95062

[30] Light Impressions International Ltd, 5 Mole Business Park 3,  Leatherhead, Surrey KT22 7SL. TEL: 44-1372-386677 FAX44-1372-386548

[31] Brian  J. Monagahan and Anthony Heath private communication, International Holographic Paper 300 High Point dr., Chalfont, PA 18914

[32] The Matrix ©1999 Village Roadshow Films (B.V.) Ltd  Warner Brothers. Clips from “What is Bullet Time” documentary  from The Matrix DVD & Video

[33] David  Pizzanelli Aspects of Spatial and Temporal Parallax in Multiplex Holograms, a study based on appropriated images, PhD Thesis, Royal Collage of Art, 8 July 1994

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