Who invented random dot stereograms?

THE FIRST RANDOM dot stereogram was invented by Dr. Bela Julesz in 1959 as an experiment to test stereopsis, the ability to see in 3D. By using uniform, randomly distributed dots (fig. 1.), Dr. Julesz eliminated the depth cues that are inherent in recognizable images.

Consider this example. First create a rectangle of randomly arranged dots. (fig 1). Within the rectangle select a group of dots that make up a small shape. In this example the small shape is a circle and the selected dots are the dots that fall within the area shown by the blue circle. (fig. 2).

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

NEXT, CREATE a new rectangle identical to the original rectangle, except that the dots within the small shape have been shifted to the left. (fig. 3). When the two rectangles are viewed together as a stereo pair, the image of the circle appears to float above the background. (fig. 4)

Fig. 3
Fig. 4

In 1979, Christopher Tyler, a student of Dr. Julesz, assisted by computer programmer Maureen Clarke, discovered that the offset scheme could be applied to a single image. This was the birth of the black and white, single-image, random dot stereogram. 

Fig. 5


Who invented Magic Eye stereograms?

IN 1991, engineer Tom Baccei and 3D artist Cheri Smith collaborated to improve on the research of Julesz and Tyler. With the assistance of programmer Bob Salitsky, the group developed the first sophisticated, full-color stereogram program. No more dots! Using this new program in combination with state of the art 3D modeling software and colorful art techniques, a totally new patented art form was developed... Magic Eye.

Magic Eye images were first released by N.E. Thing Enterprises, which reorganized in 1996 as Magic Eye Inc. Cheri Smith is the owner of Magic Eye Inc.


Can anyone see a Magic Eye image?

DEPTH PERCEPTION depends on having two eyes. Most people who have depth perception can see a Magic Eye image. People with impaired depth perception or people who have one eye which is extremely dominant (as in amblyopia) will have more difficulty seeing the image. If you are having trouble, feel free to e-mail us. We can suggest several different methods to give you the best chance to see 3D.


I'm seeing the image concave instead of convex. What's up with that?

MOST MAGIC EYE IMAGES are built to be viewed by allowing your eyes to diverge, as if you're focused on an object more distant than the printed page. If you cross your eyes you will also see 3D, but you will invert the image (see the image inside out).


I'm seeing too many, skinny objects in 3D... What's going on now?

A MAGIC EYE IMAGE is normally viewed at a divergence distance equal to the width of one repeat of the 2D "visible" pattern. If you're good at diverging, you can diverge your eyes twice that distance. This will cause you to see multiple, distorted hidden objects in 3D.


How much does it cost to get a custom Magic Eye image?

GIVEN THE MULTIPLE factors in every project, it is impossible for us to publish a price list in advance. Our unique ability  to produce custom images, as well as to select from our archive of hundreds of stock images, enables us to work within any company budget. The best way to determine the cost of a project is to refer to our Advertising and Promotions page.


Do you sell software to create Magic Eye images?

CURRENTLY, we do not have home-user software available, although we may reconsider this in the future.


Can I use a Magic Eye image in my personal project?

YOU NEED TO PURCHASE a license in order to use our images. This means that we do not allow our content to be stored on another website, do not allow our website's HTML pages to appear as frames inside a frameset located on another website, and do not allow our images to appear in-line as part of a web page located on another website. 

However, you are always free to add a link that transfers the browser's location to www.magiceye.com, or any page on our site, without asking permission. If you have any questions about linking or commercial use of Magic Eye images, please contact us.


Do you offer special rates for school yearbooks?

YES, WE DO. Existing images are available for qualified educational groups. Contact us for more information. 


Can you send me some stereograms by e-mail?

WE POST a new image every week in the "3D Fun" section of our site. You can also view the last ten images of the week on that page.


Can you help me with my school report on stereograms?

FOR INFORMATION on random dot stereograms and Magic Eye stereograms, please reference information on this website; especially the faq page you're reading now. We do not have any documented evidence, other that what is written on our website. For specific information on Magic Eye images and vision go to: www.vision3d.com


How can we get the Magic Eye comic strip in our local newspaper?

THE MAGIC EYE COMIC STRIP is featured every week in many newspapers around the world. (See a sample strip on this site). To get your own newspaper to carry the strip we suggest that you contact the Universal Press Syndicate by e-mail. The Syndicate will e-mail you back all the information you need to contact your paper.


Where can I get Magic Eye products?

CONSULT THE Mail Order section of this web site for a complete list of everything we have in stock. Your local book store can order a book for you if they don't have it in stock. If you're looking for a specific Magic Eye product that is not listed on the website, we probably have no way of knowing where to locate it. Sorry.