To begin we’ll download and install the StereoCam script. The best way to do this is to download the script and copy it to your \3dsmax\scripts\startup folder. This tool makes a lot of steps easier, as it makes the 3D convergence plance visible in the viewport. In the modifier’s settings we can set up the final screen size, the eye distance and a lot of other features.
The StereoCam modiﬁer is created for use on a Free Camera. However, as most of us are more accustomed with animating a Target Camera, I’ll describe how to set up a scene for creating an easy workﬂow using a Target Camera. Firstly, create a new Free Camera and name it ‘S3D_Camera’. With this selected, go to the Modiﬁer panel and choose the StereoCam modiﬁer. This will create two new cameras that we’ll use for the rendering stage later.
For easier camera animation, add a new Target Camera and name this ‘Mastercam’. This camera is the only one we’ll be animating. The aim of the workﬂow is that we only animate this camera and camera target, while any 3D camera follows it properly and gets the correct values for the important Target Distance and Field of View. For this, we have to link the S3D_Camera to the Mastercam and align both cameras to the same position.
For forwarding the correct values from the Target Camera Mastercam to the Free S3D_Camera, we have to set up three little scripted controllers. Select the S3D_Camera and open the Graph Editors menu. Unfold all the values of the S3D_Camera, right-click on Projection Distance, choose Assign Controller and then the Float Script controller. In the next screen, insert the script: ‘Cam.Target_distance/(Cam.modiﬁ ers[#StereoCamera].StereoScale/100.0)’.
Now repeat these previous steps for two further values. For the Field of View, enter: ‘DegToRad $Mastercam.CurFOV’. For the Target Distance, enter: ‘$Mastercam.targetdistance’. These three little scripts force the Free Camera to take all values from the Target Camera. We are now able to completely hide the S3D_Camera and only work with the Mastercam. This can now be animated like any normal camera, but keep in mind that the convergence plane (the screen) is always on the depth of the camera target. This way we can easily decide which parts of the scene should be in front of or inside the screen.
Finally we can create an animation using the Mastercam and its target. When it comes to rendering, we have to remember to render out only the S3D_Camera_StereoLeft and S3D_Camera_StereoRight cameras that were created by the StereoCam modiﬁer. In After Effects, we can import these two animations into one composition, with the left movie above the right movie. Place an adjustment layer onto these two movies and add the effect 3D Glasses onto that. After setting up this effect correctly, we can choose which 3D format we would like to render out.
For checking the 3D stereo effect, it’s best to have a 3D monitor that’s compatible with NVIDIA 3D Vision. If you don’t have this, simple red/cyan glasses also work. For the ﬁnal output on a 3D ﬂat TV with shutter glasses, the format side-by-side is good. For the best quality, encode two full-HD streams onto a 3D Blu-ray. Studios use Sony Vegas Pro for encoding the frame, packing full-HD streams onto a 24p 3D Blu-rays. Stereo 3D may be a hyped technology at the moment, but as soon as 3D screens without glasses are available at lower prices, it could become a new standard for 3D production, just like HD.