Outdoor Naked Eye 3D LED Displays Are Not A Thing!

Posted by Ross Noonan|10 Apr 2024

The mesmerising world of 3D illusions and three-dimensional visuals is taking over large-format video platforms worldwide, notably within outdoor advertising. This innovative aspect of digital creativity proves to be an ever-growing tool for immersive storytelling and creative marketing.

However, there's a pervasive myth that needs dispelling: The so-called "Naked Eye 3D LED Display Technology."

The Myth of Naked Eye 3D Technology

A significant rise in claims about "Naked Eye 3D Technology" has been observed, especially targeted at the outdoor market, and it is now encroaching on the indoor market. As if LED displays weren’t complicated enough!  

After many discussions with industry consultants, and technology experts, there is a clear frustration often revolving around assertions from certain LED display manufacturers and suppliers about possessing “unique technologies” that allow outdoor screens to offer “Naked Eye 3D” visuals. The reality, however, is starkly different.

The Real Magic: Creativity & Perspective

The foundation of these astonishing 3D style visuals lies not in the display technology itself but in the creativity of the content and, crucially, the angle from which it is viewed.

Most promotional imagery and videos for these displays are cleverly shot from a specific angle at the corner of a 90-degree screen setup, just as the content creator intended, avoiding direct frontal or side views, which ruin the illusion.  

This reveals that the accolades for these incredible illusions belong not to the hardware, but to the content creators and their ingenious use of perspective and creativity.

Below you can see an example of this creative process from our Creative Lead Kyal Cundall:

Watch an example of how the 3D illusion can be affected by viewing angle here :


The Truth Behind the Technology

Furthermore, promotional narratives from manufacturers, irrespective of their size, often allude to "special products" that can create forced perspective and 3d anamorphic illusions. These insinuations suggest their LED panels are specifically designed with “Naked Eye 3D technologies”.  

Yet, the truth is much simpler: almost any contemporary LED screen, whether intended for indoor or outdoor use, flat or wrapped around a corner can achieve this effect if the content is designed creatively.  

Anamorphic What…..

So what should we be calling this kind of display use case?  From a content creation standpoint, a more accurate term would be "Anamorphic 3D Illusions"

This refers to content that is intentionally distorted to appear three-dimensional or geometrically correct from a specific vantage point, achieved by manipulating the image along its perpendicular axes to align perfectly from selected viewpoints.

Committing To Honesty And Transparency

As manufacturers and industry leaders, we owe our clients clear, honest advice and guidance to support their visionary projects. This includes being transparent about the real drivers behind these visual effects: creative content development and the associated costs, rather than misleading claims of proprietary technology.

Evaluating The Investment

So, is pursuing these visual spectacles worth the investment? If your goal is to create content that captivates, potentially going viral on social media, then absolutely.

The investment in creative, anamorphic content can dramatically enhance the impact of your visual marketing, making it a worthwhile venture. However, remember that the costs lie in the creative execution and possibly a larger, two-sided display setup, not in non-existent "Naked Eye 3D technology."

The real value and effect comes from creative content and the clever use of perspectives, not from the hardware itself. Let's shift our focus to where the true magic happens: in the creativity and innovation of content creation and story telling.

Could Naked Eye 3D Be A Thing On LED displays?

Well in short the answer is yes, naked-eye 3D LED displays, often referred to as "autostereoscopic displays," are indeed a thing and have been a topic of research and development for several years.  Although they are VERY expensive, difficult to service and almost impossible to repair (in terms of LED display) and are unreliable.

These emerging technologies allow viewers to experience 3D effects without the need for special glasses or headgear. The technology behind these displays often involves the use of lenticular lenses or parallax barriers, which direct light from the screen in such a way that the viewer's left and right eyes see different images, creating the illusion of depth.

This technology has not been used or deployed on outdoor digital signage LED displays, yet, and is unlikely to do so, at least for mainstream use cases.

Two such methods are:

  1. Lenticular Displays: These use lenticular lenses that direct different sets of images into the viewer’s left and right eyes. By carefully aligning the images with the lenses, a 3D effect is perceived without the need for glasses.

  2. Parallax Barrier Displays: This technique involves placing a layer with slits in front of the display. The slits allow each eye to see a different set of pixels, creating a stereoscopic effect. This method can be simpler than lenticular displays but might reduce the display's resolution.

To Conclude

The journey into the realm of "Naked Eye 3D" visuals reveals a landscape not dominated by elusive technology, but rather sculpted by the artistry of content creators and the clever manipulation of perspective. The allure of anamorphic 3D illusion displays lies within the reach of almost any modern LED screen, provided it is paired with innovative and creatively designed content.

As we dispel myths and embrace transparency, we invite you to explore the boundless possibilities of visual storytelling with us. Dive into the future of digital displays, where your vision, paired with our expertise, can create captivating experiences that transcend the ordinary. Let's craft your next visionary project together, breaking boundaries and setting new benchmarks in the world of digital advertising.

Need help with your content creation? Why not get in touch here