The Question :
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Old papers on chemical structures often contained “3D” renderings of the molecule by using 2 2D images and requiring the reader to go cross-eyed to get the 3D image. A good example I recently found was figure 2 from Carter and Kraut, 1974, which I copied below:
However, this paper is from 1974, which feels like ancient history for 3D graphics. Since I have unrelated interests in molecular biology and 3D graphics, I was wondering how they produced these images so long ago, and if the code to produce them is floating around somewhere. I know there are programs to do it for me because I have seen modern images of proteins that do this, I want the code because I might try to build it into my crappy 3D rendering project that I’m wasting too much time on.
The Question Comments :
The Answer 1
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Created in FORTRAN by Carroll K. Johnson, of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and first released in 1965, ORTEP (Oak Ridge Thermal-Ellipsoid Plot Program) rapidly became a favorite of crystallographers and protein crystallographers to produce illustrations of structures for conference presentations and publications. A key strength of ORTEP was its capacity to generate stereoscopic images automatically.
For source of above and more information see: History of Visualization of Biological Macromolecules
For the ORTEP program itself, check ONRL Report #3794: https://web.archive.org/web/20170210061629/http://web.ornl.gov/info/reports/1965/3445600599779.pdf (big file warning)