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The 3D Stereoscopic technology in OpticBOOM™ combined 3D information with a normal 2D image or movie at the time of viewing. This allows the 3D effect to be turned off, the relative "strength" of the 3D effect to be adjusted and a variety of rendering formats to be selected:

The v1.0 interface shown below was the first publicly released version. The interface worked totally within the movie playing area - as released in v1.0 it resized the movie to display status information whilst you were making adjustments. We also trialled overlaid status displays and more complex menus using a blue background, more like TV displays.

A demonstration to Apple's then head of SE Asia (and former QuickTime evangelist) literally had his jaw drop, seeing this rich a UI within a movie and the real-time adjustment of the image..

The interface was designed explicitly as a consumer item and to match the appearance (then controversially introduced) of QuickTime Player. The grainy metal background and subtle curve of the control area nicely match the QuickTime Player's controls.

The technology behind the interface can't all be disclosed but what is obvious from inspecting a 3D movie in QuickTime Player is that it uses Wired Sprites to provide the onscreen interaction. How they are hooked through to change the 3D effect whilst playing, and broadcast to a ControlStrip/System Tray widget as well as Control Panel application and other external devices is proprietary information.

I can tell you (as the primary architect and developer of that infrastructure) that it was two years of refinement and a lot of reverse-engineering and experimenting with QuickTime. That Apple themselves had never thought of using the Derived Media Handler and Effect combination I used and that it is robust on every platform running QuickTime with the exception of mild bugs when embedded in a PowerPoint presentation (blame the obvious culprit).

I'd like to take more credit for the UI design but it was definitely a team effort with input from professional graphic designers and other team members experienced in interaction design. We had many fun sessions roleplaying and arguing over the consumer item vs computer package metaphors.

One of the issues resolved was the save vs instant effect regarding settings. Most software packages present a dialog with either modal behaviour and an OK button or floating with an Apply button to make the settings change software or document appearance.

However, consumer equipment typically has no saved settings, no undo and each change takes effect immediately.

The subtlety and apparent small number of controls on this interface belie the amount of thought and alternative interaction scenarios that we went through in the design process.


Version 1.0 Interface

The following interface is Copyright 2000 Digital Dynamic Depth Pty Ltd. and is taken from a publicly released (no longer online) sample movie.

Pressing the upward triangle on the left cycled through various displays such as the 3D Intensity shown. There was a timeout of a couple of seconds - if no user action in that time then the detailed display would collapse to only show the control bar, similar to the Version 1.1 interface.

The "Peanut" +/- control adjusted levels up and down with consequent changes to the bar display.

Something that was of great controversy in the design team was the topic of allowing clicks directly on the intensity display. Users in trials tried this but soon went back to using the Peanut control. From memory, the main reason for not allowing the direct clicks was to reinforce use of the controls on the control bar, with their strong affordances, which allowed us to evolve the status display in future releases.

There was also concern about users getting inconsistent results from clicking on the status display. As the status display could disappear due to a timeout, a user could decide to click it just as it disappeared, resulting in a click on the content area of the movie. The control bar was always displayed.

As you can see from the floating tooltip, if you left the pointer over an element, tooltips would appear (the pointer is pointing at the large 3D button). Like the original Apple Balloon Help (and unlike many common tooltips in OS/X) the message in the tooltip would change according to button state.


Version 1.1 Interface

The following interface is Copyright 2000 Digital Dynamic Depth Pty Ltd. and is taken from a publicly released (no longer online) reference manual. You can see how the control bar has been trimmed compared to the v1.0 interface and registration added (which allowed the user to purchase a key to unlock display using shutter glasses and other features - the free version supported only red/blue glasses.

Marketing decided they wanted a stronger branding mechanism so for version 1.1 all the adjustments other than turning 3D on/off were moved out to a separate Control Panel application (with room for big logos).