Stereogranimator: transform historical stereographs from NYPL archives into animated gifs and 3d images

Above, "Dixon crossing Niagara below the Great Cantilever Bridge," U.S.A., 1895-1903. And you can make your own, with Stereogranimator, a new project from NYPL Labs. Stereogranimator is " a tool for transforming historical stereographs from The New York Public Library's vast collections into shareable 3D web formats."

(thanks, Mikael Jorgensen!)


  1. Wouldn’t it result in a better illusion if they just scaled down the original so it’s easy to do the cross-eyed trick?

    I’d much prefer that to looking at a shimmering gif.

  2. “Stereogranimator a new project from NYPL Labs” sounds impressive indeed.  But isn’t it just taking two stereopticon images and making a two frame animated gif out of ’em?  (sort’ve convolved in time instead of in visual field)

    1. yeah, but the website automates that process for you, so it’s instant and fun and you have a huge repository of cool historical images with which to do so.

  3. On the site, you can also view the stereograms as anaglyphs, which is a bit handier than the animated GIF option if you have the glasses.  However, the website is designed with red buttons over the anaglyph, which are VERY painful to look at with red/cyan glasses, especially when you’re going through a huge portion of the collection.  It would be nice if they consider a change of color palette for the site, or at least for buttons that float on top of anaglyph images.

  4. Here’s a test of your hand-eye coordination:  spread the fingers of both hands slightly apart, hold one hand in front of each eye, and wave them up and down in alternation – if you get the frequency and phase just right, you should be able to recreate the stereo illusion.   For a second or two I thought I had it….

  5. It’s kinda frustrating that we don’t have access to the higher rez images. Some of us have 3D monitors and TV’s, and the free software could convert the side-by-side for display. Even without a 3D monitor an inexpensive Loreo or wheatstone viewer would do a nice job.  They are also missing out on making an iPhone compatible site, which you can use the Hasbro My3D to view.

  6. guh, i’m feeling old and far too self-promote-y, jeez, i am starting to regret this but it’s my birthday, so why the hell not. i explored stereogram manipulation waaaay back in 2007 after i saw a horrible post on i am attaching my video for a horribly recorded version of hybrid moments by the misfits.

  7. I’ve posted a lot of stereophotos on Flickr, but lately what I’ve done is post the best picture of the two. Otherwise, you can’t tell from the thumbnail what it’s a picture of. There’s always a flaw in the camera that makes one pic in the stereogram better than the other.

    1. also… it’s a whole film clip shot in “wigglevision”. It’s been tested on the Harding Test, so epileptics should be fine, but keep it in mind. The technique works great for some shots, but may cause mouth foaming. 

  8. Seeing all of those animated GIFs at once on the Stereogranimator website, I immediately thought of a quivering mass of Jello.

  9. What’s really interesting about wiggle-gifs is that if you close one eye, they suddenly get more 3D-your brain seems to know to stop looking for stereopsis cues, and to rely entirely on parallax.

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