Creating 3D Pictures For The Nintendo 3DS Featuring Super Smash Bros Brawl!
Note: Please do not re-post this guide anywhere else, but feel free to spread the link to it as much as you want!
So who has a new Nintendo 3DS? It's a neat device, and you bet I got one! I was first in line at the store I got it from at midnight ready to go right away. Even without any games (I hate the launch line up lol), there is still plenty to do. The pack in games are fun, and the 3D camera (even though the cameras suck ) is really neat. After using the system for a bit, the interest I have as a game developer peaked, and I wanted to toy around with the 3D. Since there was no way yet to do run homebrew (reliably, nor do I know how to code for the DS lol), and no way to run your own 3D video, I set out to do the next best thing - 3D pictures.
How does it work?
The 3DS uses a picture format called .MPO, which stands for Multi Picture Object. It's a simple format that is basically just a container for two JPG images, one meant for your right eye, and one for your left. Using simple free programs you can combine two JPG files into a single MPO file that the 3DS can read.
Hold your finger in front of your face and imagine how each of your eyes see it. Your finger is straight out from your nose, but each of your eyes is set off to the left or right, and rotated to focus on a single point (your finger). Your brain then takes the two images and combines the two separate images to form one 3D image. Alternate closing your eyes and you will see your finger and/or surrounding objects move a little bit, this is just because of the different placement of your eyes. The objects more in focus move less because that is what your eyes are fixated on.
The 3DS screen has alternating columns of pixels specially designed so each of your eyes see every other line, essentially sending one image to your left eye and one image to your right. When MPO files are viewed on the 3DS, it positions the left eye image so only your left eye can see it and the right eye image so only your right eye can see it. Your eyes get the images, then your brain puts together the different images, and boom! You've got a new 3D image.
Why Super Smash Bros Brawl?
Any two images can be combined to make a 3D image. You could technically take a picture of a cat and a picture of a dog and combine them, but since they don't match your eyes will likely bug out from nothing being in focus, and it will give you a headache lol. Anything normal can work though, I even recreated the vVv logo in a 3D modeling program, positioned two cameras where the two "eyes" are, took a snapshot of each, and combined them into a single working 3D image.
What I'm going to discuss in this guide however is Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Why? Well, I'm a competitive Brawl player, is that reason enough? lol. Joking aside, when you pause the game in Brawl you can move the camera around and take snapshots and save them to the SD card, it's very simple and easy. Additionally, there is a trophy demonstration mode where you can place trophies you earn in the game into a diorama sort of scene and move a camera around to take pictures. These two modes lend themselves PERFECTLY to making 3D pictures.
How to make 3D images:
Here is the super simple watered down version:
-Load up Brawl and either pause a match, a replay, or use the trophy demonstration mode
-Take two pictures of a scene from different viewpoints similar to two different eyes
-Bring the pictures to your computer
-Combine them into a single MPO file
-Copy the MPO file to your 3DS
But it's a lot more complicated than that if you aren't used to the process, so lets go through it step by step.
Step 1: Preparing the picture you want to take
I can't help you too much on this one here, this is all on you! Basically just either pause a match, a replay, or use the trophy demonstration mode. Position the camera in the game to be end result you want. I would take a snapshot of this image so you have a 2D representation of what you want. You can call this the center image. This won't be used in the MPO, but can be used for reference if needed.
Note: Sometimes the trophy demonstration mode doesn't work the best. The backgrounds in the diorama move which can make a difference in the two pictures. If the images don't match up, it won't produce a good 3D effect and it might just end up giving you a headache. The space theme one has a noticeable problem with this, as the image I tried to make from there hardly worked. Using the stadium background worked fine because there were very few moving parts. Pausing a match works best as everything stays still, but it's harder to get the pose you want.
While looking at the picture on your TV, decide on a focus point. It doesn't have to be anything too important, just something that needs to stay consistent that is recognizable. Here is an image from an MPO I made recently, it is the left eye image, but it doesn't particularly matter right now.
In this image, I used the red ROB's right hand as the focus point. In my right image here, you'll notice that the position of the hand is in the same place, right around the middle of the picture.
The two pictures are clearly different, but the position of ROB's hand stays the same, this is important when making a 3D image. To know the location (and help with focusing the camera), I taped a small piece of paper to my TV.
With the "center" image up on your TV now, find your focus point and tape a small piece of paper to your TV, this will really help you.
Step 2: Taking the left and right eye images
In any sort of camera mode in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the C stick on the GameCube controller will pan the camera and the analog stick will rotate it. You can take the pictures with the Z button. I don't know the controls for other controllers off the top of my mind but it will say it on the screen.
Note: When moving the camera around in game, you should never move or rotate the camera up or down, just left or right. Your eyes are not on top of each other now are there? Moving the camera vertically in one of the image will do nothing but unfocus the picture and give you a headache.
Start with the left image and pan the camera to the left just a little bit, you don't need to do it much. Imagine how close our eyes are together, a little different goes a long way. After you do that, rotate the camera to the right to move the focus point back to where your taped piece of paper is. So in the above example, when I moved the camera to the left, ROB's hand was to the right of the paper. Then I rotated the camera until the paper was over top of his hand again. Take this picture, this is your left image.
Now move the camera back to your original placement as best as you can. Use the piece of paper taped to your TV to server as a guide. Now do the opposite as before, pan the camera to the right a little bit and rotate it left until your focus point matches the paper. Take a screenshot again, this will be your right image.
Step 3: Moving the images to your computer
Take the SD card out of your Wii and pop it into your computer. The image files for Brawl are saved in the following folder: "SD Card:\private\app\rsbe\al\" The only problem is that they are stored as BIN files, not JPG. Fortunately for us they are basically one and the same. You are able to convert your BIN files into normal JPG images using many different free programs available.
You can download a program to convert your BIN files here: http://jeffsprotberry.com/theblog/2010/11/super-smash-bros-brawl-bin-to-jpg-converter/
Once you have your two images in JPG form, put them in a folder and name them left and right to avoid confusion. If you forget which is which, the left one is the one you can see more of the left side of the images, and the right is the opposite. If for some reason your image turns out to be a disaster, it's probably because you mixed up the images.
Step 4: Creating your MPO file
First you need to download a program that will be able to make the MPO file for you. You can get such a program here: http://stereo.jpn.org/eng/stphmkr/file/stphmkre432.zip
Open the program, and from the File menu choose Open Left/Right Images. It will ask for the left image, and then the right one. Choose the two JPG files you made from your last step. Once both are opened, choose Save MPO File from the File menu. That's it, you have your MPO file!
Step 5: Check out your new image
If you haven't already taken a 3D picture on your 3DS, do so quickly. This will save the image to your SD card and create the needed folder structure for pictures. After you are done, take the SD card out of your 3DS and put it into your computer.
Note: Do not take out the SD card from your 3DS while it is using it. To be safe, only take it out and put it in when the system is off. You should be ok if you change the card from the home menu or from sleep mode IF not programs are currently running.
First you have to name your MPO file properly so the 3DS will recognize it. There are a few different naming conventions it can use, but a simple one to remember is LLL_NNNN.MPO Where L is a letter and N is a number. So for instance, the name I chose for the 3D image I made from the above pictures is ROB_8888.MPO. Copy this MPO file to your 3DS SD card where all of the other images are located, or you can make your own. The folder for other images is: "SD Card:\DCIM\100NIN03" however you can create your own folder in the DCIM folder that will work, for instance I have: "SD Card:\DCIM\830CUSTM" A custom folder must be titled NNNLLLLL.
Pop out the card, put it in your 3DS, load up the camera app, and view your photos. The system will tell you it has to update the management file, just proceed on with that. Then your new image will be in your gallery!
Here is the finished product from the above image:
Here is a "wiggle" representation of the image, since you can't view it in 3D on the monitor you're using (likely)
Share some of the custom pictures you make and provide a download link for them below.