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The essential components of generating three-dimensional (3-D) images are defined, and various methods of creating each of the components are explained. The components are image acquisition, image multiplexing and processing, and display mechanisms. For image acquisition, transforming, synthesizing based on disparity, voxel and wavefront deformation, and sampling and photographing methods are used. For multiplexing, time, spatial, and spatiotemporal, and for processing, chirping, layering, and pixel cell based multiview image arrangement methods are used. The display mechanisms are classified into projection, contact,and scanning types depending on their means of displaying images. From these methods, 3-D images with real volume, with parallax only and with psychologically induced depth sense can be generated. The display mechanisms have another important mission of creating viewing zones. For this purpose, all 3-D imaging methods employ a special form of optics or mechanisms complying with their image multiplexing schemes. These optics and mechanisms are essential in realizing 3-D imaging systems but at the same time they provide many unfriendly and uncomfortable effects to viewers, and also impose some functional limitations.