How Do 3D Billboards Work?

Three-dimensional (3D) billboards have become a popular way for businesses and organizations to draw attention and increase their visibility. 

With the help of modern technology, 3D billboards create an eye-catching display that leaves the greatest impression on the audience.

But what exactly is a 3D billboard, and how does it work? In this article, we’ll explain the basics of these fascinating advertising displays. We’ll cover how they work and their underlying technological framework. 

Finally, we’ll discuss the pros and potential limitations associated with using 3D billboards as your primary interactive display solution.

Let’s get started.

What are 3D Billboards?

3D billboards are outdoor advertisements that feature motion pictures or text designed to create an immersive three-dimensional experience. They appear as if they are popping out of the billboard.

3D billboards differ from their traditional counterparts in that they add depth and dimension to their design, which in turn gives the displayed content more realism. Hence, this makes for a more visually striking and engaging viewing experience.

Some billboards are made from durable plastics, while others may use metal or alloy for their structural elements. 

There’s no one-size-fits-all manufacturing material when it comes to 3D billboards. The final material composition ultimately depends on the billboard’s design philosophy.

In order to improve the 3D effect and create more dynamic, attention-grabbing displays, 3D billboards also incorporate LED lighting fixtures and projection technology.

When you leverage this type of innovative media tech for your outdoor advertising, you’ll be able to flexibly create display contents that are tailored to the specific needs and goals of a campaign.

How Do 3D Billboards Work

The “forced perspective” theory underlies the working principle of 3D billboard technology.

To paint a clearer picture of how the forced perspective technique allows us to observe 3D content without external props like 3D glasses or VR helmets, let’s start from the basics.

How do our brains see the 3D world?

The human brain has a remarkable ability to perceive the three-dimensional (3D) world around us. 

This process involves integrating information from both the eyes and the brain to create a seamless and immersive experience of depth, texture, and shape. 

The process begins with visual perception from our eyes. Each eye views the world from a slightly different perspective. The phenomenon is known as binocular disparity. 

3d working principle

The eyes’ binocular disparity allows the brain to create a sense of depth and distance. The magnitude of disparity between the two eyes is greatest for objects close to us and decreases as objects move further away.

Once our eyes capture the visual information, it sends the visual signals to the brain for processing. 

The brain, in turn, processes this information using a number of different cues, including binocular disparity, texture gradients, perspective, and shading. 

  • Texture gradients. As objects move further away, the texture of their surface becomes less detailed and more compressed. This cue allows the brain to determine the relative distance of objects in the environment. 
  • Shading. When light falls on objects in the environment, it casts shadows and highlights that reveal information about the shape and form of the objects. 

For example, a sphere will gradually change in shading from light to dark as the surface curves away from the light source. The shading cue helps the brain to determine the shape and form of objects in the environment.

  • Perspective. Objects that are further away appear smaller than objects that are closer to us. This cue helps the brain to create a sense of depth and distance.

The brain combines all these cues to develop a mental model of the 3D world, which then guides our actions and interactions with the environment.

Forced perspective

3D billboards capitalize on the brain’s visual cues to create a convincing illusion of depth and perspective, which is where forced perspective comes in.

As the name suggests, this technique aims to project a desirable perspective cue to the observer’s brain where closer objects appear larger, while objects farther away appear smaller. 

This phenomenon is achieved by adjusting the distance, angle, and size of objects in a scene, as well as the placement of the camera or observer. 

Mirroring this, 3D tech combines two versions of the same image shot from different angles in a single display clip. 

How Do 3D Billboards Work

The individual images are then superimposed so that the observer’s left and right eyes see the display visuals from two distinct points of view simultaneously. 

These superimposed images now account for all the visual cues the observer’s brain needs to perceive a 3-dimensional output.

Using a curved screen and a parallax barrier that filters the light emitted by each image — leaving only the superimposed images — the 3D screen successfully simulates our eye’s 3-dimensional perception of the world.

The outcome is a highly persuasive and eye-catching advertisement that can stand out from the surrounding visual noise.

How 3d Billboards Help You Grab Real-Life Attention

3D LED billboards are a step forward in the evolution of outdoor digital marketing. 

Let’s look at the key features of these innovative products that’ll help you grab real-life attention.

High resolution

High resolution is an inherent top-tier feature of 3D LED billboards. A high-performing 3D LED screen typically displays exceptionally high-resolution images and videos. 

This is because higher-quality display images translate to more display detail and depth. Similarly, the better the display parameters, the more effectively the billboard will attract viewers’ attention.

Adaptive brightness

3D-LED billboard screen manufacturers design them to perform optimally in all weather and lighting conditions. From bright sunlight to nighttime, they auto-regulate brightness to ensure the best viewing experience.


Compared to traditional 2-D LED outdoor display screens, 3-D billboards offer a greater degree of versatility and flexibility when it comes to design and creativity. 

You can grow your audience engagement to the next level by incorporating a wide range of elements into your design, from realistic props and sculptures to abstract shapes and forms.

Increased visibility 

High levels of visual impact and audience engagement is one of the main selling points of 3D billboards. A lion roaring at passersby will leave a lasting impression compared to a fading display of the same content.

With the increased visibility of the 3D LED screen, you can go beyond traditional limits to make the most intense visual impact and leave the best impression on your audience.

Brand differentiation

In the United States alone, there are over 5,000 digital media branding ads on display daily. 

In such a crowded digital marketing and advertising landscape, leveraging the versatility and increased visibility of 3D LED billboards will help differentiate you from your competitors and help you stand out.

An increase in brand recognition will ultimately drive sales and revenue.

example of forced perspective


Limitations of 3D Billboards

Like any other advanced technology, 3D billboards come with their atypical challenges. Let’s quickly review the compelling ones.


Outdoor LED screens are typically delicate equipment, and 3D billboards are even more so. They contain more components that are sensitive, like the parallax barrier.

As a result, they require more maintenance than their flat 2D counterparts, as you may need to clean, repair, or regularly replace the physical elements.

This can add to the overall cost of the advertising campaign and require ongoing investment.

Location constraints

Outdoor 3D LED screens are typically massive. They require more space and can be visually obstructive. The implication is that they can’t just go anywhere.

There might only be limited locations that fit the bill.

This location constraint can limit the reach and impact of the advertising campaign and make it harder for you to reach your desired target audience.

Universality limitations

3D billboards may be less effective in some situations, despite their advanced features and versatility.

For instance, if the billboard is located in an area with limited visibility or is viewed from a great distance, the 3D effect may be less noticeable and have less impact on viewers.

How Do 3D Billboards Work

3D Video Effect vs. 3D Holographic Projections

The core technology of the 3D LED billboard is forced perspective. While 3D holographic projections work based on laser technology, diffraction, and interference depend on the product’s manufacturer.

Although both visual technologies produce the same result, they have distinct underlying processes and operation parameters. 

The 3D LED billboard is a 2D LED screen redesigned in a way that displays two images superimposed such that your brain perceives it as three-dimensional. Think of it as an image that has space and depth.

To achieve optimal 3-D perception effect, there are general requirements for viewing distance and angle. 

There are no such limitations with 3-D holographic projections, which makes them suitable for live events and illustrations. They can, however, be more complex to set up and typically require specialized equipment and expertise to operate.

Final Thoughts

3D billboards are a powerful advertising tool that can capture the attention of potential customers and engage them in an immersive experience. 

The outlook of the 3D LED innovative tech looks great. With more brands jumping on the trend to gain an edge over their competitors, suffice to say, they are here to say.

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