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Old 05-06-2017, 09:26 PM   #1
shawmkreitzman shawmkreitzman is online now
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Default Face-Blindness and 3D

Hi, Everyone,

Firstly, an apology: this post is not strictly related to 3D movies or Blu Rays as such, but I'm hoping to pick the brains of everyone here.

I happen to suffer from Face-blindness (Prosopagnosia to its friends) which is an inability to recognise faces. This is hardly a disability, but it does mean that I'm very, very bad at recognising people I know if I meet them out of context, or if they drastically change their hairstyle, grow a beard etc. When I worked in a shop in West London (about 150 years ago) I was useless at recognising regular customers until they spoke to me (I'm much better with voices, which is probably a compensating technique). I also have difficulty recognising actors in films, or even keeping track of characters if their appearance changes significantly over the course of the story. (And I have no hope if there is more than one character of roughly the same build, age and hair-colour.)

I'm posting this now because I recently learned that the late Oliver Sacks (who also suffered from prosopagnosia) was an obsessive lover of stereo photography. Apparently he collected 3D photos throughout his life (particularly View-Master) and had a great love for all things 3D.

This has piqued my interest, because I also have a very strong (almost visceral) love for 3D photography, going back to the first View-Master I was ever given (at the age of 5). To this day, I get a little thrill when I put a viewer to my eyes (or put on the polarised glasses) and see an image fuse into a solid, three-dimensional scene. Stereoscopic images speak to me in a way that flat images simply do not, and I am now wondering if this response is somehow connected to the prosopagnosia.

Clearly, my love of 3D is not universally shared by the general population (witness the backlash over 3D movies over the last few years). Many people I speak to simply do not understand why I love 3D so much; they tell me it's a gimmick, it hurts their eyes, it gives them a headache... I'm sure everyone here has heard the same lines. But that has never changed the fact that a 3D photograph will always be more meaningful to me than any 2D image. I never get tired of it.

I have taken many facial recognition tests over the years (and always score very low) but every test I have seen uses flat, still images. As far as I am aware, no one has ever looked into the relationship between face-blindness and stereo perception. In the real world of course, most of us see in stereo, and I wonder if my enjoyment of 3D is connected to my inability to perceive information that is second-nature to most people.

All of this brings me (finally!) to the reason for this post: does anyone else here have experience with face-blindness? Are you (or is anyone you know) also face-blind? Everyone in this group is presumably interested in 3D on some level, so I would be very curious to know if my experiences sound at all familiar to you.

Thanks for reading!

Shawm

Last edited by shawmkreitzman; 05-07-2017 at 07:45 AM.
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Old 05-07-2017, 02:53 AM   #2
bavanut bavanut is offline
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Shawm, I do not have any experience with prosopagnosia, and so cannot offer any helpful comments concerning that, but I am very happy that you have shared your story with us. You must be a special person to adapt with such aplomb to this formidable challenge, and I for one salute you.

I would be very interested to learn if anyone has investigated any relationship between stereopsis and prosopagnosia, if indeed one exists. That would be fascinating.

I am glad we have this in common-- an uncommon devotion to stereoscopic imagery. Speaking very personally, I regard the ability to perceive stereoscopic 3-D as a kind of grace note bestowed on humanity by our Creator. Every time I see a beautiful real-life vista in three dimensions, and most every time I view a remarkable 3-D film, a part of my heart sings praise.
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Old 05-07-2017, 08:34 AM   #3
shawmkreitzman shawmkreitzman is online now
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Thanks, Mike!

I should stress that I really don't regard prosopagnosia as a disability or handicap; more of an inconvenience. I'm not paraplegic, and I'm not blind or deaf, so there are many people who need to cope with far greater obstacles than this. If anything, I like to compare it to being colour-blind (which I am not). It simply means that I am missing certain visual cues that others take for granted. (I would be completely useless as an eyewitness, by the way. Stick me in front of a police line-up and I would have no hope of recognising anyone!)

The more I think about my own perception of 3D, the more I am curious to explore this. To give a recent example, I found the CGI version of Peter Cushing in Rogue One (sorry, spoilers!) much less convincing in 3D than it was in 2D. Watching the "flat" version, his face looked extremely realistic, but in 3D, it looked plastic and artificial - more like the faces in Steven Spielberg's Tintin. The final effect didn't work for me anyway because the voice sounded absolutely nothing like Peter Cushing (as I've said, I'm hyper-aware of voices). It was interesting to me that they would spend millions of dollars on a computer-generated face, while the voice was just some guy doing an impersonation.

Did anyone else find the 2D and 3D versions so comletely different?
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Old 05-25-2017, 11:44 PM   #4
Zivouhr Zivouhr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shawmkreitzman View Post
Thanks, Mike!

I should stress that I really don't regard prosopagnosia as a disability or handicap; more of an inconvenience. I'm not paraplegic, and I'm not blind or deaf, so there are many people who need to cope with far greater obstacles than this. If anything, I like to compare it to being colour-blind (which I am not). It simply means that I am missing certain visual cues that others take for granted. (I would be completely useless as an eyewitness, by the way. Stick me in front of a police line-up and I would have no hope of recognising anyone!)

The more I think about my own perception of 3D, the more I am curious to explore this. To give a recent example, I found the CGI version of Peter Cushing in Rogue One (sorry, spoilers!) much less convincing in 3D than it was in 2D. Watching the "flat" version, his face looked extremely realistic, but in 3D, it looked plastic and artificial - more like the faces in Steven Spielberg's Tintin. The final effect didn't work for me anyway because the voice sounded absolutely nothing like Peter Cushing (as I've said, I'm hyper-aware of voices). It was interesting to me that they would spend millions of dollars on a computer-generated face, while the voice was just some guy doing an impersonation.

Did anyone else find the 2D and 3D versions so comletely different?
Interesting, thanks. I will have to watch that in 2D to test it out. The more I watch the movie though, the more I recognize the minor details that give his face away as CGI.

What is most impressive for now anyway, is how realistic the CGI younger faces of Michael Douglas in Ant-Man appear even in 3D, and Kurt Russell's younger version in Guardians of the Galaxy 2 3D.
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