NY Library's Cool Tool Turns Ancient Photos into Animated 3D GIFs
If you've spent much time in antique stores, you've likely come across something like the pretty cool device in the picture above. It's called a stereoscope.
Stereoscopes hold a panel of two photos taken from slightly different angles, made popular in the mid 19th Century. Thousands of these panels were created using special cameras that took two photos, one adjusted at an angle for the left eye, and one for the right. When the photos were put together using a device called a stereoscope, the mind saw a three-dimensional image.
The New York Public Library has 40,000 of these special 100-year-old image panels in their archive, and have decided to let us have some fun with them, with a unique online tool called a Stereogranimator.
Because each image in a stereogram has a slightly different angle, when both images are combined in their own layer of a GIF-style image, the image can be easily animated. Loop the two images endlessly, and you got yourself something to share with your social networking friends.
Here's an example of an animated gif from the NYPL collection. Some images, of course, lend themselves to the animation process, while others are just plain annoying.
To make something new out of something really, really old, visit the NYPL Stereogranimator site and choose an image. Decide whether you want to make an animated GIF or even a 3D image, then create and share your work.
Our great-great-grandparents would be proud...