The basic principle involves taking two pictures, either still or moving, with cameras positioned side by side, and with identical technical characteristics. When viewed in such a way that each eye sees only the image taken on the same side as itself, the viewer's visual cortex will interpret the pair of images as a single three-dimensional image. See stereoscopy for a more detailed description.
3-D motion pictures date back to 1915, when the short film Jim, the Penman was shown in New York. Experimental or novelty 3-D films continued to be produced sporadically through the early days of movies. The 3-D boom began in 1952 with the release of the exploitation film Bwana Devil followed the next year by the first full-color, stereophonic 3-D movie, House of Wax. The theatrical 3-D craze would continue throughout the 1950s. In later years sporadic attempts to revive the form were made with limited success.
Today many IMAX films are made in 3-D.
3-D does have serious uses. For instance, examining stereoscopic aerial images can provide insights into topography which can have scientific and military applications.
3-D is used in computer displays primarily for technical and scientific data.
There are several ways to create projected 3-D images.