Helicon 3D Viewer

There is nothing like seeing your image in 3D! A 3D model lets others see your subject exactly the way you see it — for example, as it looks under your microscope.

Focus stacking not only lets you create images with an amazing depth of field: it also lets you create 3D models of your objects.

Helicon Focus reconstructs the 3D surface from a depth map; then it maps the resulting focus-stacked image to the 3D surface. This lets you rotate the 3D model, export it in anaglyph format, create stereo pairs, and save video and animations. And Helicon 3D Viewer opens 3D models generated by Helicon Focus.

Sharing Your 3D Model

With 3D Viewer, you can make basic adjustments such as: amplify and smooth the relief, add a light source, set the rotation speed, and define the viewpoint.

Once you're satisfied with a model, you can save it in a variety of formats.

H3D (Helicon 3D)

Although H3D format only works for Helicon 3D Viewer, the software is free and you can send both your model and the software by email.


You can save a video of the rotating 3D model and show it on the internet, for example, on YouTube.

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Parallel stereo


Parallel freeviewing requires you to let your eyes relax and look past the image so each eye only sees one view. Here you can read about 3D parallel freeviewing.

Or you can purchase an inexpensive paper 3D viewer, such as this one, for example.

Cross-over stereo


Try to cross your eyes, so that the left eye looks at the right image and the right eye at the left. Then focus in front of the stereo pair in order to fuse the two images into a single image that will have the stereoscopic 3D effect. That way you'll be able to see the image's depth.


Anaglyph images should only be viewed with special anaglyph glasses. They are cheap, portable and appropriate for all sizes of images, and they can be used for group viewing. We recommend you use red-cyan glasses as they are widely available and offer good color rendition.

Red-cyan (color)
cranefly-stereo_a-rch red-cyan 3d glasses

Web Animation

You can also create an HTML page that has a 3D animation of your model. It's easy to add to your website! (See an example.)


You can rotate your model as you like and save a snapshot of the current view as a JPEG file.



Wavefront OBJ

Finally, you can export your model as a Wavefront.obj file, which will let you open and edit it with third-party 3D software.

Making a Good 3D Model

Basic rule of thumb: the shallower the depth of field in each individual image, the more accurate the model.
Tip: to get a good 3D model, take more shots with a shallow depth of field.