A pervasive artifact that occurs when visualizing 3D content is the so-called “cardboarding” effect, where objects appear flat due to depth compression, with relatively little research conducted to perceptually quantify its effects. Our aim is to shed light on the subjective preferences and practical perceptual limits of stereo vision with respect to cardboarding. We present three experiments that explore the consequences of displaying simple scenes with reduced depths using both subjective ratings and adjustments and objective sensitivity metrics. Our results suggest that compressing depth to 80% or above is likely to be acceptable, whereas sensitivity to the cardboarding artifact below 30% is very high. These values could be used in practice as guidelines for commonplace depth mapping operations in 3D production pipelines.
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