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Stereogram too hard? What to do?

#1 User is offline   Mar-elendili 

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  Posted 15 January 2009 - 11:51 PM

I have a few questions regarding a cache we've placed almost a month ago. The cache is a mystery-type one, with the missing numbers of the coordinate being displayed in a stereogram picture. I know the idea is not new, but I liked the concept.
Here is the cache in question : GC1JHY3

Normally, caches in my area get found within a week max. This cache still hasn't been found. Ive received a personal e-mail from a local geocacher complaining about not being able to read the picture. I answered that to me it was visible and provided him with a few tips to help him, like take off glasses or lenses, and print the picture.

Now I'm wondering. Can anyone else read it? What about you guys? Is the stereogram too hard to read?
Please let me know. I know of at least one other cache of this type in my country (in the German-speaking part) that has been placed in August and has received more than 30 visits by now...

Caches in my region are generally not difficult, puzzles mostly include easy calculations with zip codes or whatever so I wanted to make something more challenging. Am I risking to get a bad reputation for making "elite" caches? Should I go out right now and place an easy 1/1 to get myself forgiven?

What about the star rating? I listed a 3.5 difficulty / 1 terrain. Theoretically, anyone who has two eyes should be able - with a bit of training - to read stereograms, but you still need some experience. Does that make it a 5-star?
Regarding the terrain, it is perfectly suitable to get to the place in a wheelchair, but the cache itself is placed like 160 cm above ground, making it thus difficult to actually grab it from a wheelchair. Should I reconsider the terrain and make it a 1.5?

Thanks in advance for your opinions about my cache problem! :rolleyes:

#2 User is offline   Jumpin' Jack Cache 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 12:08 AM

I can see it.

The first character doesn't look right but it should not matter.

#3 User is offline   yamone 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 12:10 AM

It is actually quite easy and very visable. I could see the numbers just fine. [:rolleyes:]

#4 User is offline   webscouter. 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 12:14 AM

I can see it and usually never can.

I wouldn't worry about what others think. It looks like a good cache, let it stand on it's own merits. It could be that some people are put off by the difficulty rating and are not even attempting the puzzle.

#5 User is offline   Harry Dolphin 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 03:13 AM

Can't see a thing. I blame it on cataract surgery.

#6 User is offline   mousekakat 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 03:41 AM

I can read it, kind of... and I've been able to see stereograms since they first came out in the mid 90's, so I know how to 'focus' on them.

Is there a way for you to do this in different colors... the browns can give someone with red/green color blindness trouble, and it's rather dark. I'm sitting here in a sun lighted room and using a LCD monitor and felt it was a bit dark. I did have trouble reading the firs character of each line, and the bottom line was much more difficult to 'read' than the top one was, but I could do it with some serious concentration.

Just my observations :rolleyes:

Good luck!
Naomi :)

#7 User is offline   BBWolf+3Pigs 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 03:42 AM

I was able to make out the numbers. I think some of the difficutly may be due to the dark stripe that runs through the lower set of numbers.

Could you try producing a different image, to see if that helps people? Or perhaps providing a link to a website that describes what a stereogram is, and how to view it?

#8 User is offline   Bad Duck 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 03:48 AM

Only 20 seconds to focus and easy to read.

#9 User is offline   NYPaddleCacher 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 04:00 AM

I didn't have a problem either. I've done a few of these and this one was actually easier to read than some. One of the others that I looked at didn't have coordinates on it, but instead some encrypted text that then had to be decrypted to get to the next stage of the puzze.

#10 User is offline   briansnat 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 04:05 AM

I can't see it right away but it usually takes me about 15 minutes to see these things. If others can see it I'm sure it's fine.

As far as your questions...

Quote

Am I risking to get a bad reputation for making "elite" caches?
With one cache I doubt it. If all your caches where, then probably. But whether that is a "bad" reputation is a bad thing is debatable. Some
people actually like caches that require more than jumping out of a car and lifting a lamp post skirt. You'll be their hero.

Quote

Should I go out right now and place an easy 1/1 to get myself forgiven?
And then you'll need to place a 5/5 to be forgiven for the 1/1. Seriously, be forgiven for what? For placing a cache that has a slight level of challenge? They should be erecting statues in your honor!

Quote

What about the star rating? I listed a 3.5 difficulty / 1 terrain.


I'd say that 3.5 difficulty is on the high end of what it should be. If it was my cache I'd probably rate it a 2.5 or 3. These things can be read by nearly everybody if they stare long enough. A few won't be able to, but there are always a few who can't do a cache for one reason or another. Terrain is your call. Its hard to judge that without seeing it.

#11 User is offline   Jackalgirl 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 04:14 AM

I can read it just fine -- and I've never looked at stereogram on a computer screen before. What an interesting effect!

I think it's a good idea. Not everyone's going to be able to find every puzzle cache. I agree with briansnat on the rating, though take my agreement with a grain of salt (only four cache hides). : )

#12 User is offline   The Leprechauns 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 05:47 AM

I couldn't see a thing. I've never been able to solve these.

I would simply not seek this cache, just as I do with advanced math puzzles and virtually all other mystery/unknown caches. Other people are frustrated by their poor skills finding urban micros, so they ignore those. Some are not blessed with the health and strength to find terrain 4 caches on the tops of mountains, so they ignore those.

I would be happy that people in my community were hiding different and difficult caches that others were enjoying. I would not write to the owner to complain about not accommodating my own shortcomings, nor would I start a forum thread to flame the owner.

There are thousands of other caches to find.

#13 User is offline   Mar-elendili 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 06:11 AM

Wow, so many answers in so little time! Thank you everybody, your help is greatly appreciated. Now I know that my picture is readable by others than me and the difficulty can be considered as rightly estimated.

Mousekakat, your proposal of making a picture in other colours is very good, I didn't think of the trouble it could cause to some people. Here I have taken the background from a portion of my cat's fur, so yeah, pretty brownish. I will work on another picture with more lighter colours. Would blue be all right?
I will offer both pictures on the cache page and people could try them out and see which one works best for them.

BBWolf+3Pigs, I will follow your advice and offer links to pages with techniques to read stereograms.

Briansnat, thanks for your complete answers, I feel better about this cache now! I will leave the difficulty as 3.5 because it is kinda hard for our local standards (stereogram + cache placed in not so obvious place!)

Jackalgirl : any advice is appreciated, even if you had no hide placed. You know, this is only our third one!

We'll see if the cache stands for another month unfound... or not :rolleyes:

#14 User is offline   DeRock & The Psychic Cacher 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 06:12 AM

I can never read these things.

But when one of these came out in our town I was able to find the free software online to decode them!

The cache rating seems fine to me.

Deane
AKA: DeRock & the Psychic Cacher - Grattan MI

#15 User is offline   mousekakat 

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  Posted 16 January 2009 - 07:24 AM

View Postmar-elendili, on Jan 16 2009, 03:11 PM, said:

Mousekakat, your proposal of making a picture in other colours is very good, I didn't think of the trouble it could cause to some people. Here I have taken the background from a portion of my cat's fur, so yeah, pretty brownish. I will work on another picture with more lighter colours. Would blue be all right?
I will offer both pictures on the cache page and people could try them out and see which one works best for them.


Heck, I'm impressed you found a way to make one of these gizmos, I loved them when they first came out so much that I bought a poster sized one and framed it for my bedroom wall, it was the Statue of Liberty and NYC skyline and a big moon if you could 'decipher' it :)

If I remember right, mine was in blues, yellows and some bluegreens.

In any case, I love these things. I am an American living in Sweden and we've got one of these stereogram mystery caches about 45 minutes from me that we've solved, just waiting on the thaw to go get it.... it's currently -18c here right now (around 0f) and aside from going to work when I gotta, I ain't leaving the warmth of the house :rolleyes:

Texas gals have NO business living 7 hours from the polar circle!

Naomi :)

#16 User is offline   Userzero 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 07:52 AM

I could read it just fine by clicking on the link provided directly on the cache page, but the link in the photo gallery does not work for me. Maybe that's what they were complaining about?

If your cache page is clear about what difficulties people will encounter while searching for it, you will get only a very small number of complaints. I say don't worry, your cache page is just fine and you don't have to worry about being forgiven. You have done nothing wrong.

Ne vous en faites pas et bon géocaching, Cousin!

#17 User is offline   Mar-elendili 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 07:58 AM

There, I've added a new picture with modified blue foliage and a couple of links to the page.

I use a little free program named Bigle3D which allows me to create these pictures from a base in black and white (for the 3D picture) and a background. I know there are also other programs like Stereogram Maker and Stereogram Magician out there, but never tried them. You can also find some ready to use web-pages which offer the service.

Userzero, I just reuploaded both images, so maybe you visited the photo gallery just at the same time! Try again. Et merci pour votre avis!

#18 User is offline   briansnat 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 08:24 AM

Much better. I could only read the other one after printing it out and even then I could just barely figure out some of the numbers. This one I can read on the computer screen quite clearly.

#19 User is offline   mousekakat 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 08:25 AM

OH WOW!! The blue one is so much easier and better! I'm going to have to try that program of yours, I love stereograms!

Naomi :rolleyes:

#20 User is offline   9Key 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 08:25 AM

I have a stereogram puzzle that gets found fairly often. No complaints.
If you do some Google searching you can find web sites that will decode the images for you.
Here's a site that will make a stereogram for you: http://www.eyetricks.com/stereograms/onlin...ereocreator.htm

#21 User is offline   9Key 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 08:28 AM

double post.

This post has been edited by 9Key: 16 January 2009 - 08:29 AM


#22 User is offline   Dinoprophet 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 08:51 AM

The blue is much better. But I still can't quite make out the numbers. I can see them, but I can't tell the difference between a 6, 8, 3, or 9.

I highly recommend (to all puzzle cache makers) making use of one of the verification sites, like evince.

#23 User is offline   van der Decken 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 09:18 AM

I found the numbers in both the blue and brown pictures to be clearly defined and easy to see within seconds of taking my glasses off.

#24 User is offline   Harry Dolphin 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 10:01 AM

Nope. Still cannot read it. But my eyes do not focus. Oh, well. But, that's what we have friends for!

#25 User is offline   briansnat 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 10:09 AM

View PostHarry Dolphin, on Jan 16 2009, 01:01 PM, said:

Nope. Still cannot read it. But my eyes do not focus. Oh, well. But, that's what we have friends for!


That's your problem, you should not try to focus. You don't stare at the stereogram, you kind of relax your eyes and stare through it as if you are looking past it. It becomes a blur, then voila! It all suddenly comes into focus. Usually takes me a few minutes of staring before it happens.

#26 User is offline   Markwell 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 10:15 AM

Blue is much easier on my eyes than the brown, but I also read the numbers in less than 10 seconds on the Blue. The fact that most of your caches are found in a week max, and this one isn't is due -IMHO - (at least in part) to inate laziness of cachers and the greed for the find count.

It's the same problem with the demise of popularity of the long hike multi-cache. Given the Chicago area, there are 364 active Unknown (Mystery) caches and 343 active multi-stage caches. So these caches take a little extra time to complete, and the reward is the same - 1 smiley face. Then consider that there are over 4200 active traditional caches where the seeker goes to the coordinates and finds a container. The reward is the same - 1 smiley face.

Everything else being equal, those that somehow equate their self-worth with a large find count will most likely go after the 4200 caches before going after the other 700 more difficult caches. They'll find the Multi's and the Mysteries on the way but I've seen (and been a part of) groups whose sole goal is to up their find count by as many caches as possible in one day.

Given THAT fact (that this behavior even exists), having a cache that isn't found in a week would be a badge of honor for me - that if the coordinates and the puzzle were good and solvable for a single point, andthe cache had very accurate coordinates - then it's not your run-of-the-mill cache.

#27 User is offline   Navi-Gatr 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 10:52 AM

Your stereograms are perfect. The numbers are crisp and well defined. I am colorblind and both images popped right out at me.
I have hidden a couple of similar caches and my experience is that some people get them right away - for them the cache difficulty rating is too high, some will never get them - they usually ask a friend for help, and some see the image but have difficulty distinguishing some of the numbers - for these people, you might want to add a "Checker" as suggested by Dinoprophet so they can use trial and error to narrow it down.
Good luck

#28 User is offline   Geoaddict 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 11:20 AM

It only took me about 10 seconds to bring it into view on both of the stereograms.

#29 User is offline   Mar-elendili 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 11:23 AM

View PostDinoprophet, on Jan 16 2009, 08:51 AM, said:

I highly recommend (to all puzzle cache makers) making use of one of the verification sites, like evince.

I might add the link to a verification site after the FTF, thanks for the idea!

#30 User is offline   mousekakat 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 11:50 AM

How I learned to look at them was to focus not on the picture, but on a reflection from behind me, but a small one, like a light in the background... focus on that, look 'through' the actual image, and just relax a bit and you'll notice that it's getting to look deeper than just 2D, and after it does, you'll find that you are actually able to look around the image a bit and explore it.

It's seriously cool when you can finally get it to 'work!'

#31 User is offline   Renegade Knight 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 11:54 AM

View Postmousekakat, on Jan 16 2009, 09:25 AM, said:

OH WOW!! The blue one is so much easier and better! I'm going to have to try that program of yours, I love stereograms!

Naomi :rolleyes:


Hmmm...Here I thought I was reading the old one. The contrast isn't the best, but it never is with these things. Still I was able to read all the characters. Now I'm wondering what the first one looked like.

#32 User is offline   Renegade Knight 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 11:59 AM

View Postmar-elendili, on Jan 16 2009, 12:51 AM, said:

...What about the star rating? I listed a 3.5 difficulty / 1 terrain. Theoretically, anyone who has two eyes should be able - with a bit of training - to read stereograms, but you still need some experience. Does that make it a 5-star?...


There is some dissagreement over what the Cache difficulty should be on a puzzle cache. Personally I think the puzzle should have a Difficulty, then the cache based on the cache itself and then the terrain. There is a difference between a hard puzzle leading to an easy cache and a easy puzzle with a hard cache.

Thus I'd rate the difficulty based on finding the cache itself once you know the coords.

The puzzle here is one of those "either you can, or you can't things".

I found the blue and brown to be about the same. Took a couple seconds to snap it in. Contrast made the 8 a bit harder to read than the other characters.

#33 User is offline   Parabola 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 12:16 PM

I usually have a hard time "seeing" Stereogram's. But I tried both the blue and the brown color, and was able to use them both. I thought the blue was easier to read but it took longer for my eye to adjust.

I would say job well done!!!

#34 User is offline   Dinoprophet 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 12:19 PM

View Postbriansnat, on Jan 16 2009, 10:09 AM, said:

View PostHarry Dolphin, on Jan 16 2009, 01:01 PM, said:

Nope. Still cannot read it. But my eyes do not focus. Oh, well. But, that's what we have friends for!


That's your problem, you should not try to focus. You don't stare at the stereogram, you kind of relax your eyes and stare through it as if you are looking past it. It becomes a blur, then voila! It all suddenly comes into focus. Usually takes me a few minutes of staring before it happens.

Focusing on a reflection on your monitor screen also (sometimes) helps.

#35 User is offline   onfire4jesus 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 01:51 PM

View Postmar-elendili, on Jan 15 2009, 11:51 PM, said:

Theoretically, anyone who has two eyes should be able - with a bit of training - to read stereograms, but you still need some experience.

Actually some people for some reason can never learn to read these. I had a friend who could never get her eyes to unfocus just the right way.

I can read them quite easily, but I am also very adept at reading them.

I wouldn't worry about it too much. There are some puzzle caches that I am never likely to solve because I just don't have the knowledge to do so. I can either spend my time trying to find a way to solve them or I can move on to the next cache. I wouldn't be surprised if someone somewhere has a program to "unstereo" these things.

Thanks for sharing! I'll have to check this out if I ever get over there.

#36 User is offline   Prime Suspect 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 02:32 PM

I don't bother straining my eyes. I use a decoder that cracks these in a matter of seconds. Works a treat!

Example:
Posted Image

Ta Da!
Posted Image

#37 User is offline   mousekakat 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 02:40 PM

View PostPrime Suspect, on Jan 16 2009, 11:32 PM, said:

I don't bother straining my eyes. I use a decoder that cracks these in a matter of seconds. Works a treat!

Example:
Posted Image

Ta Da!
Posted Image



Kind of takes the fun outta them :angry:

#38 User is offline   Renegade Knight 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 02:51 PM

View PostPrime Suspect, on Jan 16 2009, 03:32 PM, said:

I don't bother straining my eyes. I use a decoder that cracks these in a matter of seconds. Works a treat!

Example:
Posted Image

Ta Da!
Posted Image

Nice. I can see about 4 layers in that one but I can't pick out "Testing" though. The colors make it hard to pick out the details. At least for me.

Edit: seems like 5 or 6 layers and I still can't pick out testing.

This post has been edited by Renegade Knight: 16 January 2009 - 02:53 PM


#39 User is offline   sTeamTraen 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 02:59 PM

Decoding your first stereogram takes quite a leap of faith. I know a lot of people who think that they are from the same stable as cooties or Mornington Crescent. I'm usually pretty poor at them on a screen, but the one on the OP's cache page only took me about 5 seconds.

#40 User is offline   StaticTank 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 03:13 PM

I can read them just fine, but when using the gallery I get linked back to the cache page.

#41 User is offline   Harry Dolphin 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 03:35 PM

View Postbriansnat, on Jan 16 2009, 10:09 AM, said:

View PostHarry Dolphin, on Jan 16 2009, 01:01 PM, said:

Nope. Still cannot read it. But my eyes do not focus. Oh, well. But, that's what we have friends for!


That's your problem, you should not try to focus. You don't stare at the stereogram, you kind of relax your eyes and stare through it as if you are looking past it. It becomes a blur, then voila! It all suddenly comes into focus. Usually takes me a few minutes of staring before it happens.


Nope. Just does not work for someone with cataract surgery. My plastic implants do not focus. They do not blur. They are set for 4 feet and beyond for the implants, and 24" for the bifocals. (24" being the distance to the computer screen. Hard time talking my ophthalmologist into that one!) The good news is that I went from 20/1200 to 20/20. The bad news is that I cannot decypher this sort of mystery cache. I can live with this! :D We were looking at one of these in Maine. My brother had a lens inplant for a carpentry accident. He cannot decypher these either. (Or maybe it's something hereditary?) He got a friend to solve it for us. :angry: We looked at the one in South Mountain. Neither of us can decypher that one either. (Fortunately, the CO took pity on me, and supplied me with the coords.)
I can see things at 4' and beyond, and I can see things at 24". I cannot make anything out of this puzzle. Oh, well. But after fifty-some-odd years of complete blindness with out my glasses, I can now read the alarm clock without glasses!!!! Seems a small price to pay.

#42 User is offline   Jackalgirl 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 08:15 PM

View Postmar-elendili, on Jan 16 2009, 07:58 AM, said:

There, I've added a new picture with modified blue foliage and a couple of links to the page.

I use a little free program named Bigle3D which allows me to create these pictures from a base in black and white (for the 3D picture) and a background. I know there are also other programs like Stereogram Maker and Stereogram Magician out there, but never tried them. You can also find some ready to use web-pages which offer the service.

Userzero, I just reuploaded both images, so maybe you visited the photo gallery just at the same time! Try again. Et merci pour votre avis!


Very nice! I'm a big fan of blue. : ) Didn't have any problems seeing the brown, but the blue comes through just fine too. Neat!

#43 User is offline   Jackalgirl 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 08:16 PM

View PostRenegade Knight, on Jan 16 2009, 02:51 PM, said:


Nice. I can see about 4 layers in that one but I can't pick out "Testing" though. The colors make it hard to pick out the details. At least for me.

Edit: seems like 5 or 6 layers and I still can't pick out testing.


Me neither; I can see bits of the "S" and the "G" and the "T" and the three crossbars of the "E" on the top layer, but the rest seems to be a mixture of all of the letters. Weird.

#44 User is offline   Prime Suspect 

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 09:07 AM

View Postmousekakat, on Jan 16 2009, 04:40 PM, said:

View PostPrime Suspect, on Jan 16 2009, 11:32 PM, said:

I don't bother straining my eyes. I use a decoder that cracks these in a matter of seconds. Works a treat!

Example:
Posted Image

Ta Da!
Posted Image



Kind of takes the fun outta them :huh:

If by "fun" you mean "headache", I agree. :)

#45 User is offline   Prime Suspect 

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 09:17 AM

View PostRenegade Knight, on Jan 16 2009, 04:51 PM, said:


Nice. I can see about 4 layers in that one but I can't pick out "Testing" though. The colors make it hard to pick out the details. At least for me.

Edit: seems like 5 or 6 layers and I still can't pick out testing.

That was saved as s jpeg, which can sometimes make them harder to see (though the decoder had no problem with it). This is the same thing, with a different color scheme, and in a lossless format.
Posted Image

This post has been edited by Prime Suspect: 17 January 2009 - 09:18 AM


#46 User is offline   LostMontanan 

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 10:28 AM

View PostStaticTank, on Jan 16 2009, 03:13 PM, said:

I can read them just fine, but when using the gallery I get linked back to the cache page.


Yep, me too. It's quite frustrating.

#47 User is offline   Mar-elendili 

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 10:54 AM

I have no idea why the gallery links back to the main page... Anyone knows how to resolve this problem?

#48 User is online   Lil Devil 

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 11:02 AM

That "Testing" one that Prime posted sure has a lot of depth. The first time I saw it I only saw the horizontal part of the letters and no vertical parts. Then I looked away and came back and the whole letters were there. I've never seen one quite like that.

#49 User is offline   nonaeroterraqueous 

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 02:59 PM

Way cool. I never get these things, usually, but I could see the blue one right away. The brown one is a bit harder, though. However, from reading the description, I didn't realize that the pictures were in the gallery, at first.

#50 User is offline   bogleman 

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 03:21 PM

Must be getting old or just don't know or what to look at - everything looks like colored noise to me :) There was a huge local puzzle years ago that used these as clues (in the caches). Looked at them every which way but could never make anything out.

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