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    Holograms: potential and confusion for $1.99

    David Winograd

    I have been a fan of 3D ever since I found a 3D horror comic book in an old flea market when I was a kid. The anaglyph red/blue glasses made the black and white comic images jump off the page. It really hooked me, and since then I've seen most all of the 3D movies made, ranging from The Creature From the Black Lagoon, to Kiss Me Kate, to Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder, in the early days, to the pretty darned amazing IMAX 3D Across the Sea of Time, the first one that really blew me away. With recent releases using the Real-D process, films are using 3D as a storytelling device instead of a gimmick - as evidenced in both Coraline and Up.

    Now 3D is making a huge resurgence. It's hard to find a CGI animated film that's not in 3D. The market is getting ready to explode with live action 3D films from big name directors, like the upcoming Avatar, directed by James Cameron, and Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. Dreamworks states that all it's animated product will be in 3D from now on and Pixar is redoing the two Toy Story pictures for 3D before the release of Toy Story 3, also in 3D.

    I spent many visits exploring the old Museum of Holography in lower New York City standing, amazed, in front of, and walking around seemingly impossible sights. I'm by nature a gimmick nut and holography is the most impressive visual manipulation I've ever come across. I was very excited to find the Holograms app by Mach Kobayashi. Even though the app's 3D effect is not actually holography, the demo video looked amazing and the results are impressive - but getting it to work is less easy.

    Holograms [iTunes Link] is an illusion that makes a 2D picture look 3D by apparently slicing the image into a foreground and background layer, putting the foreground layer onto a bumpy surface and letting you adjust the height of the foreground and background image, thereby creating a 3D looking effect.

    The instructions were nil and that's a real shame, since without knowing what the buttons do, frustration will ensue. By watching the video demo, I got a few tips, but I still only understand a fraction of what this app can do or how well it can do it.

    I'd suggest an in-app detailed set of instructions, since I'm probably an average app user with an average attention span and after thirty minutes, I gave up on it.

    The video showed me how to put some dimensionality in a graphic, but no hint on the many options, looks, and even a blue/red glasses anaglyph effect which outside of turning the photo black and white, didn't seem to do much at all.

    At this point I wouldn't recommend it, since it's a frustrating experience to do anything more than the raw basics and that only if you watch the demo video. For something whose main virtue is just being neat, stumbling and bumbling around the controls at random is not worth it. What I hope is that full instructions will be written and embedded into the next version. Then it might be worth a try.

    Take a look at the video and watch Mach explain it. If he can write as well as he can present, hopefully full instructions are on their way.

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