GRilli 3D film for iPod Touch

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Are you interested in purchasing the GRilli overlay?

I already own one and it's impressive!
2
25%
I already own one and it's disappointing.
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No votes
I do NOT own one but do have interest in purchasing one.
4
50%
I do NOT own one and have no interest in purchasing one.
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No votes
GRilli? Huh? Is that like a George Foreman Grill or something?
2
25%
 
Total votes: 8

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TheRealistWord
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GRilli 3D film for iPod Touch

Post by TheRealistWord »

First off, I apologize if this is in the wrong forum - it's the closest match I could find for this specific thread, considering it's a 3D display!

Anyway, I've noticed that I can't seem to find any substantial user feedback whatsoever on the net about the GRilli screen overlay for the iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad. Every article I've come across about the GRilli is just speaking about its release, sans any personal user experiences. So, I've decided to write up a quick review as mine just arrived in the mail yesterday!

-------

The device I tested the Grilli overlay on is a 1st generation iPod Touch (seeing as how they don't currently support 4th gen devices). The GRilli is just a thin, plastic film you stick ontop of your iPod screen. It operates in the same manner as lenticular and parallax barrier methods operate - separating the onscreen image so that each eye sees a different image, essentially creating the 3D depth effect. It works in a vertically interlaced method, so each column of pixels is seen by just one eye alone. The film is shaped to reflect the physical design of the iPod, with a semicircular notch in the film indicating where the home button is. The user is instructed to download the calibration image from the main GRilli website and, within a few short steps, align the GRilli on the iTouch screen. Overall, setup is relatively quick and easy, and if you stick the film on incorrectly, you can simply peel it off and try again (but don't worry, it's not that difficult). Be very wary though - the sticky side of the film attracts particles and dust and debris like a super magnet. I worked in a clean environment with clean hands, as instructed by the included GRilli sheet, and still found random bits of dust and such clinging to the screen. They warn about this, but also reassure that the GRilli can be easily cleaned with water. Along with the calibration image, GRilli's website also contains a few sample images developed specifically for the iTouch (or Ipad/iPhone) and GRilli overlay to get you up and running.

The iPod's touch screen input functions normally with the GRilli overlay attached (thank goodness!), so you won't need to worry about peeling it off whenever you want to use the screen or switch to the next photo. When not viewing 3D content, the screen is still viewable for normal 2D applications with the overlay on, but of course as expected, the screen appears interlaced, and subsequently, a tad darker. This means you can keep your GRilli permanently attached if you really so desire (and aren't bothered by the minor physical alterations).

Of course, one of the most important factors of any 3D display is how well it performs and its capabilities of oresenting a strong sense of depth and space. I'm not going to lie - I did notice a 3D effect with the GRilli installed on my iTouch, but unfortunately, it was very minimal. Yeah, that cog is on a plane in front of that snowman, with the text hiding slightly further back, but none of this is really noticeable unless you take a second and really study the image. With other 3D displays I've tested, the sense of depth was quite powerful and extended deep into the display, with some objects even reaching out slightly, but the GRilli seems to have a terribly shallow field of depth. An object at the very front of the picture seems to be just a breath away from an object standing far off in the distance, which means unless you take two extremes, everything will more or less appear located on a single plane. I tested various photos and all yielded similar results. The few people I demonstrated the display to all had a similar look on their faces, kind of like a "Wait, that's in 3D? Oh yeah, I guess I kind of do see it now that I look closely... sorta"

After constructing a sample image for testing purposes, I realized what one of the major hindrances to the GRilli's 3D effect is - an unacceptable amount of ghosting. I drew a single vertical red line on a blank, white background, wide enough (just one pixel!) so that it should be visible to one eye and not the other, considering the GRilli overlay works via an interlaced method. My left eye could see the red line perfectly clear, and in a perfect world with a perfect 3D setup, the red line should've been completely invisible to my right eye. Unfortunately, such was not the case. I could still see the red line with my right eye as well, but just not as strong. A bit translucent, perhaps 50%, meaning that the film does work at separating the signal... just not as well as one would have hoped. According to GRilli3D's website, the GRilli features 100% signal separation, provided you're in an appropriate viewing distance and angle they refer to as 'pools'. In my experience, I couldn't come close to that percentage; the right eye would always see a fair amount of what was intended strictly for the left eye and the left eye alone, ultimately diminishing the 3D effect.

The other setback is finding appropriate content compatible with the GRilli. 3D content is still in its premature stages, so finding a satisfying library of 3D media can be a bit of a challenge. Of course, you're always given the option of creating your own, provided you own a Finepix W3 (or other 3D cameras) or can handle the take-a-picture-move-camera-slightly-take-another-picture method. Even if you've got your 3D photos and videos all ready to go, there's still going to be a considerable amount of prep work involved before you can get your popping masterpiece converted and downsized to the GRilli iTouch screen. You'll have to prepare the image to match the iTouch's resolution (480 x 320) and convert it to an interlaced 3D format before downloading it to the iTouch. This process can be simplified slightly with software such as Stereo PhotoMaker (and Stereo VideoMaker), and the GRilli3D website gives a quick and dirty tutorial on creating 3D content with Photoshop. Unfortunately, having to go through a somewhat lengthy process just to view your 3D photo might be enough to deter the average 3D consumer. It doesn't help any that GRilli3D hasn't yet released any software capable of scaling the images appropriately and converting it into an interlaced image yet with the click of button, but we can always hope something like this is on the horizon.

I'm a proud owner of a Fujifilm Finepix W3 camera and some other 3D capable displays, like an iZ3D monitor. The depth on the W3 is pretty incredible, but using that as a direct comparison to the GRilli wouldn't be quite fair, considering the W3 lands in around the $400 plane while the GRilli is a measly fifteen bucks. Ever heard the saying "You get what you pay for"? It couldn't be any more truthful in this situation.

FINAL SCORE: 3/10

With 3D on the rise, it's no surprise that more and more companies are rolling out 3D enabled devices and accessories. The GRilli overlay does work, but not as well as one would expect. The depth is nearly nonexistant, and finding/converting content with the exact format requirements can be daunting task. Having to install the screen every time you want to view 3D content isn't necessarily all that offputting, considering it takes under 30 seconds to ensure it's aligned correctly. Still, if you have trouble lining it up on the first couple tries, it could easily turn into a frustrating venture. If you'd like to witness a bare bones, extremely minimal 3D effect, go ahead and purchase this, it's only $14.99. Otherwise, I'd recommend passing it up and waiting for something better to roll out (SpatialView's 3DeeSlide, anyone try that thing yet?)



*NOTE: I e-mailed the customer support at GRilli3D asking them for any additional assistance or advice in ensuring a more impressive 3D experience with the GRilli film overlay. I'm currently awaiting their response, so if anything changes for the better, or if there was some user error on my part, then I'll gladly reconsider and rewrite this review. In fact, I do hope they can prove me wrong and provide me with a more satisfactory 3D experience.

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cybereality
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Re: GRilli 3D film for iPod Touch

Post by cybereality »

Thanks for the review. I was wondering how that thing looked. I don't have an iPhone/iTouch device myself, but they do have some at work so I was thinking about ordering one of these to check it out. Sounds like it does work, but maybe the quality isn't perfect. However I am surprised you say that the 3D effect wasn't impressive. Maybe its just because of the small screen. I imagine it could look pretty cool on the iPad. You think you would be able to take some pictures so we can see the quality?

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Re: GRilli 3D film for iPod Touch

Post by Chiefwinston »

I bought the family a couple of 64gb ipads for christmas. I looked at the web site for this product and decided to pass. Your review confirms my initial thoughts. Thank you.

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Fredz
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Re: GRilli 3D film for iPod Touch

Post by Fredz »

Yes, please post images with this device. Good examples could be what cybereality used for his parallax barrier tests with his printers, like the red and blue image.

Image

Image

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cybereality
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Re: GRilli 3D film for iPod Touch

Post by cybereality »

Here, you can try with these images:
grilli_test_01.png
grilli_test_02.png
grilli_test_03.png
grilli_test_04.png
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braces12
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Re: GRilli 3D film for iPod Touch

Post by braces12 »

:3D you guys should really get this thing it is really impressive. TheRealistWord you might not have put the thing on right the results i got were very cool and very immersive. but other than that it is cool

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Re: GRilli 3D film for iPod Touch

Post by Fredz »

If you also have this device, could you take screenshots using the images posted ?

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TheRealistWord
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Re: GRilli 3D film for iPod Touch

Post by TheRealistWord »

Sorry for the delay all! Haven't been on in a bit. I'll post some pictures using those test images that have been posted once my iPod Touch 1st gen is returned to me (I also have 4th gen, but that's incompatible with the Grilli).
you guys should really get this thing it is really impressive. TheRealistWord you might not have put the thing on right the results i got were very cool and very immersive. but other than that it is cool
braces12, I second what Fredz asked - would you also be able to post some images of your iPod w/ the Grilli using the test screenshots provided? I was hoping that somehow I installed the screen overlay incorrectly, but I followed the instructions directly, and even adjusted it with no change in performance. I definitely did see the 3D effect, but it was... well, diluted and barely noticeable. If you could provide some pics, that would be a great help! I'll take back all the negative comments I made about the Grilli if someone can prove to me that this product really does work as advertised.

Thanks!

(A side note, like many others here, I just completed my HTPC setup with 3d Blu Ray and NVidia 3D Vision - it's definitely some of the most impressive 3D effects I've ever seen! Didn't want to start a whole new topic thread to say that, but... yay! :lol: )

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Re: GRilli 3D film for iPod Touch

Post by GRilliGuy »

Disclaimer: I actually do reflect the official opinion of GRilli3D LLC

Hi all, GRilliGuy here. 1st off, I gotta jump in on behalf of TheRealistWord. GRilli's are not a perfect solution, and I think his journalism was very fair. However, there are some tips we need to achieve maximum effect, and I'm here to offer them.

With GRilli's, it's all about distance and angle. They really do achieve more than 97.5% signal separation, but only at the right distances and angles, which, frankly, are unique for each individual. I find it helps to step into a darkened bathroom, and project the calibration image (which produces rainbows from the iPad, and dark and light bands from iPods and iPhones) onto the viewers face, so they can see it in the mirror. Another method is to hold the unit very close to ones face, with the calibration image displayed. You'll see a lot of banding/rainbows when quite close, which will diminish in number as you pull back. When there's just one band, spread across the entire display, you're at the right distance. Then it's just a matter of 'Yawing' the unit a tiny bit either way to achieve the full effect.*

As regards the depth/distance comments, well, unless the 'extreme' images were pulled from the GRilli3D site, we weren't putting up really deep images, as they're very difficult for beginning users to perceive. Beginners invariably have a problem with ghosting! (Especially if they're wearing glasses. I wear bifocals, yet I see the stereo depth far more clearly without them, however, since I can't keep exact focus without them, I lose some detail, on close focus mobile devices like the iOS line...)

The odd thing with GRilli's is that ghosting is what you're supposed to get when you're NOT in pool. The ghosting disappears when you're IN pool. And the single most difficult thing for beginners seems to be realizing that it's not a matter of refocusing their eyes in some strange and different manner, but instead a matter of changing the position of their eyes, relative to the display. Once they learn to 'seek' a pool, they've got it.

My personal experience (and I've watched hundreds of folks test GRilli's) is that folks frequently think they've achieved full effect, when they're not even close to a correct position. Then, a little bit later, there's a sudden epiphanic moment when they actually do hit one of their 'pools' and everything comes into focus. (It's generally hallmarked by them reaching out for the gears in the extreme images. I know they've got it, when they try to touch each gear, and their hands reach out to the correct depths...) After that moment, they start seeking pools, and find them ever more quickly.

* Another factor is that if the disparity between the viewer's eyes is too great, they may not be able, ever, to use a GRilli solution. 20/20 in one eye, vs 20/400 in the other, just doesn't work. GRilli's do require a bit better match between eyes than polarized or shutter glasses implementations. However, we've found that, for most folks, most of the time, GRilli's are an easy, inexpensive and portable solution to displaying their stereo content on the go.

P.S. I'll toss out one more thing, that I'm rather surprised hasn't been the object of more attention. We could have made a slightly 'better' signal separator, knocked off that last couple of percent leakage and even increased our profit margins. But to do so would have poisoned rivers. Instead, we made the absolute best separator we could, safely and sustainably. So, for what it's worth, you can use a GRilli without that nagging feeling that you've somehow damaged someone somewhere. Environmentally speaking, it's an extremely low impact product. In the course of developing it, we've tested and worked with a wide variety of 'blocking densities' from 40% up to 100%. Once we got past 90% things were pretty peachy, and at 97.5%, no one could detect the difference between that and 100%. (Good thing too, as the next step would have required chemistry of a kind we were quite actively striving to avoid...)

P.P.S. I feel I would be remiss, if I failed to mention content creation method as a factor as well. In the course of just the last year, I've seen so many different stereo compositions that I couldn't begin to list 'em, and, again frankly, the only thing they all had in common was that they were all different! And I don't mean by what they were showing, but by what production variables were set. I've seen divergent content produced by major video professionals, parallel, close focus long convergence, long focus close convergence and a ton of other variants! A lot of it just doesn't work well, or even at all. This is very new, this stereo stuff, and the majority of folks are just now, trying to figure out how to make generally acceptable content for it, so there's a lot of borderline, or even over it, content. Here in GRilliland, we take it as our job to make sure GRilli's display the widest range of other folks content possible. We weren't setting up to go into content production ourselves, lol. Nonetheless, as a result of requests from folks like TheRealistWord, we've now begun efforts to provide a much wider range of example content, and will be adding a lot more to the site very shortly.

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Re: GRilli 3D film for iPod Touch

Post by Fredz »

Thanks for the information, much appreciated.

To illustrate what you said about finding the sweet spot, I think a short video could be nice. You could film a test image by being quite close, then moving farther until the image is crisp and ghostless for one eye. Then you could move the camera sideways to show what the other eye should perceive.

I think it would be the best way to sell your product and convince people. I was rather hesitant (and still am) to buy your device but with this sort of illustration I could be convinced.

It would also be nice if you could take pictures with some test images like the ones that have been presented in this thread.

Another thing that should also be quite valuable would be to offer advices on a web page for content creators, explaining them the many things that must be taken care of in order to produce good stereo 3D content (parallax divergence, frame violations, etc.), also with some pictures illustrating these key factors.

A similar page for end users could also be very useful, with all the information you gave here and a little video showing one or several ways of finding the sweet spot.

I'll soon apply for an Apple Developer ID and would be interested in creating 3D content for your device if I buy one (3D model viewer, games, etc.). I guess you could also set up some informations to help developers produce such type of interactive content, taking into account the eye separation and viewing distance to give the best depth perception for a particular observer and explaining the effects of setting a depth percentage.

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Re: GRilli 3D film for iPod Touch

Post by GRilliGuy »

I hear you, Fredz!

We went out and got a Panasonic AG-3DA1P and have been shooting our hearts out, lol... Very shortly you'll be seeing a lot more.

Oh, and just cause you won my heart with the 'Frame Violation' comment (I wrote a white paper on that back in the 90's) you'll just have to be the first to know that we've developed a Unity plug-in that we'll be releasing, for free, in very short order. See Unity3D.com if you're unfamiliar with it as a development tool. Unity is the primary 3D game development tool for iOS and this will enable developers to add VCI (Vertical Column Interlace) with no more effort than a drag 'n drop. (The plug-in also enables developers to 'pass through' the stereo tuning to the user (Eye sep dist, convergence, tracking), so they can set to their own comfort levels...) We expect there'll be thousands of games available for GRilli autostereoscopic viewing within a couple of months...

I'm not sure I understand what you mean by 'take pictures with some test images' as the only thing that will take an adequate picture of a stereo display is a stereo camera, lol, and man, do you have to be careful with lining it up correctly, hehe...

I also have several other white papers, covering many of the subjects you've mentioned, that we'll also be adding to the site ASAP.

So, when you decide to develop, let me know and I'll make sure you're appropriately equipped!

P.S. We've also developed a program for developers, that enables them to both offer their buyers a discount on GRilli purchases and a cut-back revenue stream from any sales they generate.

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Re: GRilli 3D film for iPod Touch

Post by TheRealistWord »

GRilliGuy - Firstly, thanks very much for taking the time to write out that description, it's appreciated. Most other product companies/manufacturers would suddenly become defensive and attack the reviewer and his claims. Instead you replied with helpful instructions :D

Unfortunately, I don't currently have access to my GRilli nor my iPod Touch, but when I do, I'll be sure to give the calibration/positioning the GRilli another thorough look. May I suggest perhaps adding some demonstration videos or additional visual instructions to the website? The instructions included with the product, as well as the instructions on the website, might not necessarily present the beginner to 3D a strong understanding of exactly how to install the overlay. If I struggled with it after reading the instructions, I'm a bit concerned that there may be a heap of others who will as well. Like Fredz mentioned, a demo video of installing it or even showing the 3D effect (by moving the camera slightly left and right to show the two separate views) would be a great help.

3D on the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad has huge potential, considering just about everyone these days has one of those devices (I have two iPod Touches (Touch's????) and am planning to get the 5th gen Touch once it hits stores hopefully in September), so I'm glad you guys are pursuing that market! Now I just need to see the Grilli in action, installed correctly, to be convinced.

Question though, when's a GRilli for 4th gen iTouch and iPhone expected to arrive?

Again, thanks for replying!

(Btw, the Unity plugin sounds interesting. I've used the engine, but I don't have an Apple Developer ID. After spending so much on upgrading my Windows PC, I don't think I can drop $700 for a Mac just so I can do some iOS programming! Haha)

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Re: GRilli 3D film for iPod Touch

Post by Darwiniantheory »

I just want a PC program or app that creates it for me :(

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