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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Drawing in 3D - anno 1949


I was wondering what Paul Satterfield had been doing after he left Disney. He was not involved in the infamous strike of 1941, and information is scarce at best:

Paul McKinley Satterfield was born 3/27/1896 and died 8/14/1981.
Alberto Becattini had this info for Paul Satterfield:
Animator: CARLSON 19-21 (The Gumps 20-21); DISNEY c36-38 (Mickey Mouse 38, Silly Symphony 38-39 [Farmyard Symphony 38, The Ugly Duckling 39], Donald Duck 39)
Sequence Director: DISNEY c38-41 (Fantasia 40, Bambi 42)

Thus I was very surprised to find at a paper show recently a set of cards dated 1949 with 3D drawings on them that show they were made by P & C Satterfield. Am I right in deducing that this "P" may be said Paul Satterfield?

The sets include five whole series and two incomplete ones. Some (like the one above) are very cartoony, others are more realistic Lone Ranger-type sets. If there is more interest among you, I may scan a few more...

Technically, note that these are not the cross-eyed type: the left image is for the left eye, the right for the right eye. Thus, if you size them so the images are no more than the difference between your eyes apart, you should be able to see the depth (with some practice). You can also use your old stereo viewer. You DO have one, don't you? Else, I have made a version that can be seen cross-eyed, here:
It tends to be easier to see stereo images cross-eyed, as it does not strain the eyes in the same way and the distance between the images can be larger than the standard "about 2.5 inches" which means that you can see larger images. In the image just above I switched the left and right eye images, so the left eye sees the right image.

With a little training you can get the left and right-eye images to coincide, and the brain will take over and show you the depth information. Here is how you can train this: put your finger at the bottom edge right in between the two images you want to see as a 3D image. Slowly move it straight towards your nose, and keep looking the tip of it with both eyes. In the mean time still take note of the images that start to come together just above your finger. When it is about halfway in between the screen or paper and your face, the images should coincide. At this point, concentrate on the images, and have your brain place them perfectly over each other. Your brain should take over here, and show you the image in 3D.

Of course this works only for cross-eyed 3D images. For the other type your finger should move away, possibly to infinity, or even just split up, and this is not at all practical. Yet even many of this type of images can be seen in 3D with practice, if you teach yourself to look "through" the image into the space behind it. The advantage of this is the size of the resulting image, it will seem closer by. On the other hand, the distance between the images should as a rule not be larger than the distance between the centers of your pupils, which is rather an obvious limitation. Many older stereopticon images are a little further apart, and the glasses in the viewer make up for this increased distance. Obviously, cross-eyed viewing is much easier to train.

It is actually quite helpful to train this, as you can find more 3D images on the web that work this way. Also, for those of you making 3D CGI, placing two images next to each other this way makes it possible to see them in 3D without glasses (and without their inherent loss of light and color!) Some programs that present 3D video from two separate sources let you view the images side-by-side, and cross-eyed you can often see any mistakes more clearly than using 3D glasses. I used this on our own "Olsen Gang Gets Polished" feature, which four of us made into a 3D presentation in about four months, two years back.

It is to me pretty amazing just how much work the brain does to get the 3D to work. A few years back I was fortunate to attend the 3D Festival in Hollywood, where all the known 3D films from before the recent revival of the medium were shown, and I noticed that taking my glasses off showed me two weaving images moving in any direction constantly. With the glasses, the 3D image was rock steady. I speculate that it is all this correcting by the brain that for some people leads to headaches.



Anonymous Michael Sporn says...

What a fabulous discovery. I have no doubt that this is the same Paul Satterfield. The drawings of the pig are exactly in the Disney style and very well drawn, at that. I haven't been able to see any 3D in the drawings, but they seem to be similar to the turn-of-the-century stereopticon photographs, and I imagine they'd work in that device.

Friday, December 30, 2011 at 4:12:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Joe says...

The "C" could be his brother Claude, or his son, "Charles," born 1925.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 10:16:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Dona Patrick says...

I have this set of 3-D drawings that used to belong to my aunt. They came with a special viewer to make the images 3-D.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013 at 7:52:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Bob Swarthe says...

I have a complete set of all 10 sets with 10 cards per set (that's 100 cards!). I bought them new when I was a kid sometime in the early 1950's probably during the 3-D movie boom which began with "Bwana Devil." Each story of 10 cards came on a single sheet. You had to cut them apart to put them in the little viewer. I didn't do a very neat job of cutting out the cards. I was 11 or 12 years old.

Fast forward a few decades. I actually met Paul Satterfield sometime in the 1970's or '80's. He had his own little company in Hollywood where he was making titles for 16mm films using a optical printer he had put together with parts from a 16mm projector and camera. He looked to me like a kindly senior citizen who enjoyed tinkering with cameras and film. Unfortunately, I did not realize who he was -- that he had directed "The Rite of Spring" seq. for "Fantasia." I did not realize that he had created these 3-D cards which I had saved for many years. It was only a few weeks ago that I unpacked a box containing them & noticed his credit. Now the name meant something to me, so I did a Google search and found your lovely website with all kinds of useful research. I note that you received a comment about this from Michael Sporn in 2011. I also knew Michael, but sadly the subject of Satterfield & 3-D never came up and Michael is gone. Another lost opportunity.

Thursday, March 24, 2016 at 3:39:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Rick Cullis says...

I also met Mr. Satterfield a few times around 1975 when I worked for an industrial film producer in Newport Beach, CA. Paul was doing aerial image titles with some sort of optical printer in either a spare bedroom in his house or in his garage. I was only 23 years old and remember him telling me Walt Disney stories when I'd deliver and pick up film. Priceless!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017 at 10:57:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Bob Swarthe says...

Rick, Please share those Walt Disney stories with us.

Thursday, September 14, 2017 at 6:32:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Rick Cullis says...

Well Bob, it's been such a long time I don't remember much except Mr. Satterfield giving me some water or orange juice and sitting in his living room while he talked to me. He lived in a modest house in West Hollywood (?)and I was delivering background film for some aerial image titling and I asked him about working with Walt Disney and he said something about being in a creative meeting (not sure for what project) and someone didn't go along with something Disney said and he (Walt) let it be known to everyone present and was adamant about doing it his way (whatever "it" was) and that you never wanted to cross Walt when it came to certain things. Anyway, all very sketchy and that's about all I can remember. The main memory was that he was happy to take the time to talk to some 20 yr. old filmmaker kid from Whittier.

Monday, October 16, 2017 at 12:25:00 PM PDT  

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