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carving reality at the joints

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Swell 3D Q+A

Since the creation and subsequent rise to fame of the website Swell 3D, I have been deluged with many questions about the site, about 3-D technology, and about whether I could come downstairs and wash dishes. While I wish I could reply to every questioner personally, I can't, because I am important now.

That's why I have collected your questions, along with my answers, into an easy question-and-answer format. And I am posting it to this site rather than to my own, because it's not the sort of thing I am interested in publishing at this time.

So, now is your chance! Go ahead and ask me anything.

Why did you make a 3-D website?

It was part of community service plea-bargain. I also had to dig post-holes along US-66, and wash the mayor's car.

Was it hard to do?

No, I used one of those hose attachments with rotating sponges.

Does it get a lot of traffic?

It seemed like a lot, but I wasn't counting.

Do you think 3-D will ever be popular again, like it was 50 years ago?

There is abundant evidence that things are moving in that direction.

What evidence?

Well, there was that Helena Montana concert in July. And in 1983, there was Jaws 3D.

Some say that 3-D is gimmicky, old-fashioned, cumbersome, silly, and useless. What do you say to them?

I just have to chuckle. Are these the same skeptics who said the iPhone was ridiculously expensive, oversized, fragile, lacking in options, and prone to overheating?

They might be.

Look at it this way. Can you think of any new, innovative cool thing that wasn't accused of being gimmicky, old-fashioned, and useless?

Sure, lots.

Well, there you are, then.

I read in Playboy or somewhere that you're the "Johnny Appleseed of 3-D graphics." Is that true?

Close. I'm the Johnny Cochran of 3-D grammatics.

Why did you name the site "Swell 3D"?

I used a domain search tool that instead of checking whether the domains you want are available, just lists all the available ones. It saves a lot of time if you want a dot-com, because there are only 14 of them left. When I saw swell3d.com on the list, I snapped it up.

Which is correct, "3-D" with a hyphen, or "3D" with no hyphen?

The Swell 3D style guide says to mix them up, so we get Google searches for both. Also acceptable are "Britny Spers Maddona Hanamontna Lindsey Lohahn."

And how do you make 3-D pictures?

I do it in Adobe.

Fascinating. How does that work?

You start with a regular picture, and then go to "Filters." Under "Filters," choose "Use previous filter." This will always work, as long as you don't use other filters.

It didn't work.

Interesting. Your copy of Adobe wouldn't be bootlegged, would it?

Why did you make a 3-D website?

You already asked that.

Why aren't there any graphics in this article?

There are. All of the apostrophes are individually hand-drawn.

How do 3-D glasses work?

They work by turning everything blue in one eye, and everything red in the other eye, exactly the way your brain does. Or rather, the way your brain would, if your brain did that. Since it doesn't, the glasses do it instead.

Where do you get 3-D glasses?

Me? I'm surrounded by them. I have hundreds of pairs, and they are scattered around every flat surface in the house. I keep a box of 'em in the car, too, because I need them for driving.

Okay, where do I get 3-D glasses?

At my house. I think I bought all of them. Here, I'll give you this pair.

This one looks like it's been stepped on.

Picky, picky. They've all been stepped on. I have six kids, you know.

Can I see through things with these?

No. Well, windows, I guess. And Barack Obama's rhetoric. But nothing you couldn't see through without them.

Does it matter which lens goes over which eye?

What do you think?

Yes?

Right.

What would happen if I switched them?

Just don't.

I'm going to try it.

Don't.

AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHRRGGGGGAAAAIIIIEEEYYYY!!

I did try to warn you.

I should have listened.

Yes.

Say, can I make my own 3D glasses?

Yes.

How?

You'll need packing tape, a utility knife, and two clear glasses, with no etching or jelly labels on them. In one glass, carefully pour one part vodka to two parts grenadine. In the other, mix three parts gin to fifteen parts blue curacao. Tape the tops of the glasses with the packing tape, so the contents don't slosh out. (Ask a grown-up to help you cut the tape!) Remove your shirt, then hold the red glass to your left eye, and the blue one to your right eye, and enjoy the show!

Why did I have to remove my shirt?

If it will make you feel more comfortable, I'll remove mine.

What was the first 3-D movie?

The first major feature-length 3-D movie was 1948's "Meet the Smelly Foreigners," starring Bud Abbott and Oliver Hardy as two wise-cracking Gypsies in the Amazon rainforest. It was hugely popular, though in later years it was deemed so offensive that everyone involved agreed to pretend it was never made.

Why are 3-D images called "anaglyphic"?

Because they were invented by Ana Glyphik, a Greek painter, poet, belly-dancer, and waitress. Legend has it that she accidentally invented 3-D images while trying to cook podi.

What's podi?

It's a bowl of soup with a foot in it.

No, seriously.

I swear to God, it's a bowl of soup with a foot in it. Look it up.

Oh, jeez, you're right! There's a picture of it. That's gross. I'm going to email this to everyone I know.

Fine. Tell them about Swell 3D, too.

Posted by guest author: Sean Gleeson on Jul 27, 2008 9:15 am

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