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Creating Lightfield Images

There are three major ways to create Lightfield Images:
  • Shoot images with a camera
  • Render images using a software tool
  • Capture images inside real-time software

Shoot

You can use a variety of 2D and 3D cameras to create Lightfield images. We'll list them here from highest potential for quality to lowest.

Custom Stereo Rig

The best way to capture Lightfield 3D images is to build a custom stereo rig using two or more high-quality cameras. Doing this is difficult, but can yield the highest quality results. The distance between the sensors, the accuracy of the synchronization, the percision of the calibration, and of course the quality of the sensors and optics all play a part in the quality of the outcome.
You should expect to use a 3rd party software tool like StereoPhoto Maker after the fact to rectify and align the images. You should create files in an SBS or Quad Lightfield format for viewing on Lume Pad. High disparity images made this way will look much better viewed in Stereo View Mode (ST) instead of Lightfield View Mode.

3D Cameras

Purpose-built stereo 3D cameras have a wide range of potential quality, even within units of the same model. While there are many different models, we recommend the FujiFilm FinePix W3 for photos if you can find it. High disparity images shot on stereo 3D cameras will look much better viewed in Stereo View Mode (ST) instead of Lightfield View Mode.

iOS Device Cameras

iOS devices use a mix of software and hardware to capture superior depth in their Portrait Mode pictures. These Portrait Mode images are fully supported by Leia software. Please read Supported Filetypes in LeiaPlayer for more information.
iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro series devices with LiDAR generally are expected to produce better images than LeiaCam on Lume Pad, while standard iPhone 13 and iPhone 12, as well as all iPhone 11 Pro series device and lower are generally expected to produce worse results than LeiaCam. Feel free to try and explore to see what works best yourself.

LeiaCam

One of the best ways to create Lightfield images is with LeiaCam, which shoots images and videos with immersive depth on the Lume Pad. LeiaCam lets you capture the world around you in both Lightfield and 2D shooting modes. Take images and videos with immersive depth that pops out of the screen.
To learn more about LeiaCam, check out the LeiaCam page.

Cha-Cha Method

This generally isn't recommended if you have alternative options, but one method that can work well with practice is the Cha-Cha Method, which uses a single camera and a quick motion from the photographer to move weight from one foot to the other to capture a stereo image. Here is a description of how to do it. Any movement in the scene between shots will make for a bad image. But it can work in a pinch! And if the Cha-Cha itself didn't work to produce a good 3D image, you can take one of the images and convert it to 3D, as described below.

Traditional Cameras

You can also use a variety of normal cameras to shoot 2D images to convert to Lightfield later. Your smartphone, a DSLR, or a mirrorless camera can all be used. You can even use a webcam!
Simply shoot the 2D image, and then move it onto your Lume Pad. Open the image in LeiaPlayer, and tap the Leia icon (Lightfield View Mode Button) in the bottom left hand corner. Voila, your formerly 2D image now has a Lightfield 3D copy!

Render

There are a variety of software tools that let you render out a stereo 3D or Lightfield image.

LeiaPix Converter

In LeiaPix Converter, you can upload any image you want and it will automatically estimate a depth map. You can then edit that depth map in your browser and export it as either a LIF or an SBS to view on Lume Pad.

Maya

You can use the Leia Maya Plugin to render out a Quad Lightfield image in Maya.

PhotoShop

Some creators compose Quad Lightfield and SBS images in PhotoShop.

Capture

You can also capture 3D content from inside some of your favorite real-time apps on a variety of different hardware.

Photo Mode Cha-Cha Capture

Any game that has a Photo Mode with the following features can be used to take 3D photos:
  • In Photo Mode, EVERYTHING on screen stops moving
  • In Photo Mode, you have horizontal directional control of the camera
  • After taking a photo in Photo Mode, the scene doesn't change in any way
If all of the above are true, you can simply take two or more photos in a horizontal line from within the game's Photo Mode and stitch them together into an SBS using a 3rd party app like 3DSteroid from Google Play.
Supported platforms include PC, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, XBOX One and XBOX Series S/X, and Nintendo Switch.
Games that have Photo Modes that are known to work include Marvel's Spider-Man, Final Fantasy 7 Remake, and God of War. Games that are known NOT to work include Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
Here is an example of what a good 3D image can look like when captured in this method:
Captured in Marvel's Spider-Man on PS4 Pro

In-game 3D Capture

Some games on some platforms have built-in 3D cameras that let you natively capture from 3D from inside the app.
Platforms that support this frequently are 3D-first platforms like the PlayStation 3 and Nintendo 3DS. Games like WipEout HD on PlayStation 3 will natively capture 3D photos in MPO format when using Photo Mode to capture photos when the game is being displayed in 3D mode. Games like Animal Crossing: New Leaf, StreetPass Mii Plaza: Flower Town, and Nintendogs & Cats on Nintendo 3DS all allow for the capture of 3D screenshots in parts of the games.

Depth Buffer Injection

You can actually capture 3D images from almost any PC game using a 3rd party tool that gains access to the graphics engine's depth buffer like SuperDepth3D. Try these tools yourself to experiment and see the best ways to capture 3D images inside your favorite PC games. SuperDepth3D supports over 100 of the most popular AAA PC games of all time. Here is SuperDepth3D's game compatibility list.