• How To...Fly In 3D With Red-Blue Glasses

    How To...Flying 3D With Red-Blue Or Anaglyph Stereo Glasses

    By Bram Stikkel (24 February 2007)

    Flying in the real world has always been something contradictionary to me. Impressive and attractive but also frightening and dangerous. Thats the way I experience it, at least.

    Therefore I am so glad there is something like flightsimming, where you can observe and fly planes without the slightest risk of any injury, unless it be an exploding videocard or overheated processor.

    But of course reality attracts and therefore the crusade for getting closer to reality in simulation keeps going on and on.

    In this context, a year ago or so I ordered the electronic 3D glasses, but after a few days I used the right to return them. I experienced them as exhausting for my eyes, the brightness of my view was reduced strongly in my experience, and most of all, I was disappointed about the narrow range of view through the rather small shutter glass screens.

    But there's some light here: I recently started experimenting with red-blue glasses. They vary in price from very cheap to rather cheap (I bought a luxurious type, solid plastic frame and glasses, for less than $10).

    The necessary drivers for Geforce video cards are free available at Nvidia's web site. And it works.

    Probably just like me, you will expect to see no color anymore if you use a red-blue 3D setup, but this appears not to be so. The Geforce stereo drivers do lay a sort of red and blue transparant layer over the normal view. Therefore a through the glasses separated left and right eye view is coming in your eyes, but because not all the light is fully filtered, a reasonable part of the color stays visible.


    I will explain here how to install the stereo drivers for Geforce video cards. I have no experience with Radeon cards, maybe someone else can try this and tell us all. They will probably have a similar kind of stereo possibility.

    First of course, you need a pair of red-blue glasses. Find yourself a cardboard version first. I found them available on the internet at the site of the Dutch Mars Society. No doubt, the American Mars Society exists too. But probably there are more places where you can buy one. Just in case you cannot find a seller in your country, I here provide the web adress of the Dutch Mars Society where they sell several types of red-blue glasses:


    I am sorry, the language is Dutch indeed.

    Another company call Eyecessories has recently started selling red-blue glasses specfically for flightsim use. You can find out about these here.

    Once you are the proud owner of a pair of red-blue glasses, let's start downloading the stereo drivers for Geforce videocards at http://www.nvidia.com/object/3dstereo_91.31.html

    If your version of the normal Geforce driver has a lower version number than the version of the stereo driver, update your normal Geforce driver too. You can find the latest drivers at http://www.nvidia.com/content/drivers/drivers.asp On my PC it works fine with the newest driver versions of both. Only if the version number of the normal Geforce driver is the same or higher than the version number of the stereo driver file will it work.

    If you needed an updated normal Geforce driver, install this one first. Then install the stereo drivers.

    If you have installed everything correctly you can follow the next - I think rather simple - instructions. The most important thing you should know is that even after you installed the stereo drivers, you first have to switch it on. It is switched off by default.

    Therefore right click your desktop and choose Properties. You get a screen that looks like this.

    Next choose the tab Settings (Instellingen), the most right tab.
    and click at the Advanced button (here Geavanceerd). If I do that I get the next screen:
    on which you choose the - probably most right - tab that displays your type of video card.
    If the foldout screen on the left is not visible, click on the green button next to the sliderbar Stereo-separation (here Stereoscheiding)

    Now first activate the stereo drivers. I choose the, in my opinion, most practical option of switching the stereo drivers on and off by using a key combination, the middle option.

    Next reduce the amount of stereo separation to about 8%, this is a good amount of separation to start with. You can always change this later.

    Third, set the stereo type to Anaglyph (red-blue glasses).

    Now in the foldout screen left of the mainscreen, click on the + before Stereo Properties. The sub options for stereo settings are reachable now.

    The only part to change now and then is the first sub choice, extra or more stereo properties (here Aanvullende Stereo-eigenschappen).

    Here you can change the key combinations used to adapt the stereo separation while you're in a game, and with which you switch the stereo effect on and off.

    By default the on/off key-combination is set at CTRL + T.

    Take a look at the key combinations so you know how to switch the stereo effect on and off and how you adapt the stereo settings. I would suggest you only change them if there is a conflict with the key combinations you use in your favorite 3D game.

    In the screen shot below you see my chosen key-combination for switching on and off, not the default one.

    And finally here is the moment you can start Flight Simulator. After you choose your flight and are in the actual flying screen, hit the key combination to start the stereo effect. If you did everything OK, you will see a transparant red-blue 'echo' of the normal screen as an overlay over what you would normally see.

    Now put on your glasses (the red-blue ones I mean, eventually in combination with your normal glasses) and enjoy the breathtaking 3D view that your eyes think they see.

    Don't tell your eyes it's all fake. Just move your throttle to max and fly your now a little more realistic simulation.

    Bram Stikkel
    [email protected]

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