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3D workflow

3D workflow
Shoot, preview and publish stop motion in 3D using Stop Motion Pro and a Mr Moco or RAX stepper unit

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The clip above  was shot in stereo using Stop Motion Pro running a Canon DSLR on a Mark Roberts Stereoscopic stepper.  We have published the shot on YouTube which converts the parallel image above into over a dozen different 3D viewing formats. You can see the 3D effect above by going cross eyed - or better still, use some anaglyph (red / cyan) or  side-by-side viewing glasses.


This page gives an overview of a low cost 3D capture and post production workflow.  We have used Sony Vegas 10 software to finish off our production and tweak the 3D for final delivery.

Calculating 3D interocular distances and how they relate to screen size and viewing comfort are well handled by the IOD calculator or the free for non commercial use spreadsheet from


Here is a video showing the all new RAX rig prototype working:

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Connect Mark Roberts stepper rig or RAX stepper unit and a Canon / Nikon live view DSLR.  Make sure they are both turned on before opening Stop Motion Pro.

Start a New Project in Stop Motion Pro Studio Plus edition.


Click on the Multiple Exposure tab

Start a new project


Number of exposures: 2

Pause between exposures: Automatic

Delay: 1 second

Use MR or RAX stepper: tick/check

Port: The COM port Depends on your system, you may have a couple appear, try each one. The little Z button confirms the stepper is connected and it is at the correct zero point.


In the Description column rows, give one name of "right"  and the other "left".

Use the Eye allocate option to choose which description matches each eye.  This is useful when extra sets of stereoscopic images are take for effects shots, for instance.  


Select the TV (shutter speed) value as determined in the DOP tool. 


Modify how far the stepper unit moves between each exposure using the Left eye: and Right eye: You will fine tune this in a moments.


Click OK

Stereoscopic Capture Settings


Open the DOP Control using the side bar, or from the menu Tools > DOP Control


Check your focus and exposure.  Check the full tutorial here if



Live 3D stereo view and control allows you to interactively preview and test stereoscopic shooting. It is available in the side bar of the DOP tool.


open DOP tool

 It is recommended that Red / Blue ( Red / Cyan ) glasses be used for anaglyph viewing. Parallel viewers should be used for side by side stereo viewing.


Enable live 3D stereo view


Turns on the Live view.

View Mode

There are three ways to view your stereoscopic images:

Side by side in full color

Red / Blue anaglyph - monochrome

Red / Blue - full color


Clicking the radio buttons next to either the Stepper Left eye distance or Stepper Right eye distance will activate the live view for this eye.  You can see we have set the stepper to move 24 mm.


Move the Live eye slider and the stepper unit will move accordingly, updating the live image. Control the slider using the mouse to drag left or right, clicking the up/down spinners with your mouse or clicking on the number value and using your mouse wheel to scroll up and down.



Shows the distance in millimeters between the left and right eye positions on the stepper. Negative values are possible (when a camera is upside down, for instance).


Stepper Convergence
Enter the number in millimeters between the camera focal plane and the subject to be converged on. Click update to apply the change to the Stepper Right eye distance and Stepper Left eye distance


Post Convergence

Simulate the final stereoscopic output by adjusting how the images overlay each other in anaglyph mode, or trimming the point where side by side images join each other.


Changes to the Post Convergence values are automatically applied to the Preview Player anaglyph and Preview Player Side by side


Update Capture Settings

Settings in the Live 3D stereo view and control tool can be used in the current project by clicking on the Update Capture Settings button.


This must be clicked to update the settings in the Capture Settings | Multiple exposure dialog.


Shoot your animation.  Note you use SMP completely normally, the 3D image aquisition is all automatic.

RAX Stepper unit

While you are shooting you can always preview your 3D instantly in full color.  Use Tools > Preview player stereoscopic 3D side by side viewer to watch your 3D clip as you work.  You can output the stereoscopic images to a second monitor.


Tools | Preview player anaglyph is another viewing option using a red / blue (cyan) viewer.


Note: Make sure that you select the correct exposures to be displayed on each side. The exposure name corresponds to the name you gave each exposure in the Capture settings dialog.

When you want to export your animation, use the File > Make movie function. Exporting your finished shot

In the Make movie dialog, choose the right or left Exposure to export.  Do this for each exposure, so you have two output files.


The exposure name corresponds to the name you gave each exposure in the Capture settings dialog.

For simplicity, we exported AVI files.  Now we have two AVI files, which are ready for post production. 3d_smpsetup_dop8

It is then possible to use the video clips in video editing software with 3D stereoscopic functionality.

The video files can be played back with a Zalman 3D monitor and playback software.

In our case, we stuck with the recommendations of YouTube which was side by side.

YouTube then uses this single side by side file to create its own versions in the different 3D viewing formats.