Ray Zone, a pioneer in methods of converting flat images like comic books into stereoscopic images, helping to earn him the nickname “The 3D King of Hollywood,” has died. He was 65.
Zone, whose interest in 3D began in 1953 when, at age 6, he started reading 3D comics starring Mighty Mouse, died Nov. 13 at his home in Los Angeles of a heart attack, the International 3D Society reported Thursday.
Zone worked with John Byrne on DC Comics’ Batman 3-D, a full-length graphic novella released in 1990. He produced 3D adaptations of art for more than 150 comic books for clients such as Disney, Warner Bros. and The Simpsons, and stories by Alan Moore and Grant Morrison were specifically written to accommodate his stereoscopy.
Zone served as “3D Artist” on metal act Tool’s platinum-selling 2006 release 10,000 Days, which garnered the Grammy in the category of best recording package. The CD packaging consists of a cardboard-bound booklet partly covered by a flap holding a pair of stereoscopic eyeglasses, which can be used to view a series of images like portraits of each band member. Viewed with the glasses, the artwork produced an illusion of depth and three-dimensionality.
Zone also worked as 3D supervisor on the Sony Pictures feature Dark Country (2008) with director-star Thomas Jane, and in 2010 he served as 3D producer on Brijes 3D (also known as Guardians of the Lost Code 3D), the first animated 3D feature made in Mexico.
He wrote four books on the subject of stereoscopic cinema and was involved in the move to bring 3D to television. His website is viewable in anaglyphic 3-D.
“The 3D Society truly mourns the loss of our community’s best friend,” the organization said in a statement. “Ray was our mentor and advocate. As an accomplished 3D producer, stereographer and leading scholar, he helped pave the way for all of our success today. Ray served as the society’s historian and now takes his place as a treasured part of our industry’s history. He will be profoundly missed.”
Survivors include his sons Johnny and Jimmy Ray.
Carolyn Giardina contributed to this report.