PROTIP: Press 'i' to view the image gallery, 'v' to view the video gallery, or 'r' to view a random entry.
Wigglegrams (also known as stereographs) are animated images that simulate 3D effect by looping two or three frames of an object shot from the vantage points of the viewer’s right and left eyes. Similar to cinemagraphs, each instance usually consists of a few continuous frames that play in loop.
In 2002, Californian interaction designer Jim Gasperini uploaded eight experimental GIFs that combined right and left images from stereographs he had previously taken, describing them as “wiggling scenes.” Titled “Time for Space Wiggle,” the page was shared on Metafilter on July 31st, 2003 and BoingBoing on November 1st. The next month, Gasperini published an instructional blog post for the Oakland Camera Club, in which he stated that he was overwhelmed with people’s response to his GIFs. The word “wigglegram” was coined by British photographer Brian Harte in one of his blog posts in 2007.
A stereogram, also known as as stereoview or stereograph, is a term for a pair of two-dimensional photographs taken from the vantage of each eye separately. When viewed through a stereoscope or after one crosses their eyes, the pair appears as a single three dimensional image. In 1838, scientist Charles Wheatstone published a paper arguing that the brain, when viewing two similar images side by side, would unify the photographs. These photos began appearing in the 1850s after being displayed at the Great Exhibition of 1851. This technique was used to photograph events like the Civil War as well as local landmarks. Many libraries and museums currently host collections just for these photographs, including the New York Public Library with over 43,000 stereographs in their digital collection and over 17,000 in the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Online Catalog.
A particular type of stereograms were popularized in the 1990s under the book series name Magic Eye. The series utilizes random-dot autostereograms to create an optical illusion of a three dimensional image popping out of the background. The images below contain a dinosaur (left) and a shark (right).
In March 2006, Flickr user Okinawa Soba began uploading a set of stereoviews taken in early 1900s Japan by photographer T. Enami, who often hand painted the photos after they were developed. As of March 2012, the set has 311 photos and over 93,000 views. The photos depict a range of topics from everyday life to war. In 2009, Japanese culture blog Pink Tentacle created animated versions of 20 of Enami’s original photographs.
On Flickr, users can submit these images to several pools including Stereophotography with over 37,000 items, 3D with over 12,000 items and 3D Animated Stereo with 1800+ items as of March 2012.
On February 17th, 2011, an art director from Portland, Oregon named Matt Moore began a project called 3ERD. Moore used a camera with an interchangeable 3D lens to capture the same image from two separate angles, turning them into animated gifs. The project was featured on the Creators Project and Mental Floss in 2011.
The technique was further popularized on Tumblr by graphic designer collective Mr. Gif, who began posting wigglegrams on May 25th, 2011. Wigglegrams can be found on the blogging platform with the tags stereoscopic and wigglegram.