Sergio Albiac takes live action videos, meta-tags them with emotions, stacks them behind a portrait and melds them together with painted brushstroke masks. The result is a wonderfully impressionist-like portrait that feels eerily fitting to our times…
Creative Applications has a great write-up, check it out.
Today’s post is only indirectly relevant to non-photorealism… but this piece by Elliot Burns is a poignant illustration of how the imperfections of manual repetitions can take on their own meaning. The above image represents the first 5 lines of Rupert Brooke’s poem The Soldier written over itself 350 times, once for each British soldier killed in Afghanistan (as of 28/01/2011) – the original literal meaning is buried beneath an appealing visual texture. One is a catastrophe, one thousand is a statistic…
I’m not sure what I think about using such a patriotic, empire-adorning poem, but it certainly doesn’t reduce the work’s power.
Vladimir Todorovic milks processing for some very intense abstract imagery. His description is appropriate, so if you’re looking for light entertainment, be warned:
The movie is made of five chapters, which critically address the questions of artistic and scientific efforts to understand nature. The topics that arise in those chapters are: sublime view on nature, role of knowledge, ubiquitous bureaucracy, and destruction of nature.
Filters usually adjusts a pixel based on the values of neighboring pixels with the goal of controlling the image’s representative quality in some creative manner. But what happens when you through representation to the wind? Inspired by losslessprocessing, author of the animated Hiroshi Sugimoto image rewrite above, Mikael Hvidtfeldt Christensen got some groovy stuff. The rules are simple:
- Pick two pixels from a random column. Swap them if the upper pixel has a higher hue than the lower pixel.
- Pick two pixels from a random row. Swap them if the left pixel has a higher saturation (or brightness) than the right pixel.
- Repeat the above steps until the image converges.
The results are fantastic. Here are a few, left the original, right the result.
Again and again, the motion communities such as processing.org show where the possibilities of non-photorealistic representation and animation are being explored – amongst VJs, motion designers and artists. I can’t wait to see what 3D artists such as Peter Blaskovic come up with once these possibilities are combined with 3D technologies. Check out his website of processing experiments for a taste of things to come. I’ve highlighted 3 pieces here. Above, fields – make sure to activate the field controls and change their ranges, move them about, etc. Also, leave it to render out a while to get dark, deep colors.
Biolab also seems simple, but the movements and affiliations of the individual points can become quite complex and beautiful. After filling your petri dish with some colorful populations, play with the membrane, separation and magnetic field strengths. Explosive!
And finally, ember. As the artist says:
Every small entity has its friend, which he wants to meet but he doesn’t want to meet another entities. Every entity is sometimes changing its friends, so life looks like this…
I highlighted one such entity above. Ain’t he cute! It would be even cooler if you could mark one in order to track it, or have a slider to control its cooperation level / mood.
Be sure to check out the others, quite a few simulations and interesting interface ideas.
No, this isn’t the new Day & Night poster – Pixar’s new short. As cool as that is, its release is just a good excuse to point to Shank’s blog, and larger body of work. There are few concept artists who dabble so boldly in science, with a cool mix of artsy disrespect and well-digested knowledge. Soak it up!
Patrick Tresset and Frederic Fol Leymarie of Goldsmiths in London are taking NPR to a new dimension… ours. Instead of remaining within the confines of a computer / monitor configuration, they literally bring the computer to the table by means of a mechanic arm. This is not only clever – traditional artist-model roles are upheld – but also meaningful. The portrait situation hits the nerve of perception and vision studies and I hope that future work will explore this more directly.
portraiture as dynamic process
The current portraits take a snapshot of the model, process this visually and transfer the results to commands which are carried out by the robotic arm. Note: this is my guess from the demonstration videos. This sidesteps two of the most interesting aspects of artistic process. Namely, the portrait is a dynamic process. The dynamic quality of sampling information over a period of time instead of a captured instance is an integral difference between photography and artistic perception. The model tries to hold relatively still and the artist tries to piece together numerous glimpses into a figuratively recognizable likeness. The discrepancy is a great source of artistic interpretation. I see this in the videos. The models pose, get photographed and then fall into the role of detached observer. They immediately recognize that they are no longer being artistically scrutinized. The tension dissipates. I would love to see this very interesting project expanded by a dynamic element, having the ‘eye’ continuously update its sampling, piecing elements together. The resulting errors would of course lessen the exactness, but heighten the tension – and thus come much closer to replicating portraiture.
one eye or two?
Another keen element of the vision process is that the artist (or at least most artists) have two eyes. While processing visual input the mind decides between the two, often reflecting human bias. This results in a tendency to ‘unfold’ the face, so that more of the far eye is seen behind the nose than would be possible from a sole vantage point. I often mimic this with mesh deformation or manually controllable rigs that allow a similar deconstruction of a character’s face. It would be fantastic to discover more about the artistic processes behind this bias. Can it be replicated by fragmenting the face into zones and processing scrambled viewpoints to reconstruct the whole? It would also be interesting to see what effect this would have visually.
Head over to the AikonII project site and check out some very interesting research. Its great to see NPR projects that get up from behind the computer and explore the artistic elements beyond algorithms. From their nodal structures and the sensibility shown in their work, I suspect Patrick and Frederick are well on their way.
I learned that the eye is not like a camera, but more like an extension of the brain itself. I learned that moonlight is not blue, it only appears blue because of a trick that our eyes are playing on us.
The eye isn’t a camera, says Gurney, it’s an extension of the brain. And our brains are deceptive little things. We are quite perceptive to reds and yellows – likely due to the perception of ripeness in fruit. What many don’t know – our traditional color wheel reflects this bias.Wonderfully succinct communicator that he is, James Gurney arranges the hours on a clock with similar bias. As you can see, noon is about 3:30. (Mental not to self: make a biased clock representing the production process with final rendering landing at about 6:45)
James Gurney is not just incredibly talented – the type of talent that reeks of endless hours of having repeatedly and thoughtfully executed every idea – he is very generous with the fruits of his exploration. Click on the clock to go to the fourth post in his overview of the color wheel. (Second mental note to self: BUY HIS BOOK!)
The Japanese artist Minako Abe, creates provocative landscapes tottering on the edge between abstraction and photography – well actually, I’d love for that to be the case. Areas in the images tend to push them too solidly into the realm of the representative. But nonetheless, a beautiful case study of the effect of photo-realistic palettes and abstracted details combined.
I was recently informed of a Dinosaur documentary focusing on – you guessed it – Tyrannosaur Sex - and the thought of the talking-head paleontologist commenting on it in recent Discovery style generated some interesting humor over at the dinosaur mailing list.
It also made me think of the incredibly bold and fantastically informative Green Porno videos from Isabella Rossellini. Anyone interested in communicating science can learn a lot from these. Isabella understands dramatic tension and uses it to great effect here, contrasting the silly costumes and giggle-assured sexual content with deadpan informational monologue. Kudos to Sundance for honoring these videos! And congratulations to Isabella for some very deserved attention.
Ever wonder what your favorite video looks like when rendered in the cyber-glory of ascii text? Wonder no more. Click the above sample image to beam over to Peter Nitsch’s insightful blog, and make sure to stay a while. There’s some provoking stuff over there. Particularly if – like me – you’re interested in the materiality of cyberspace.
Yesterday, I wrote about Brett booth’s comic-style theropods, and today I encountered a small wave of images that I find relevant. First off, Brett posted some true comic dinosaurs, the first time his two disciplines overlapped. Typical in comics work, Brett had little say in story (sentient Dromeosaurs survive in Cryobooths to attack humanity) or color (“they couldn’t pull off anything but green and brown”) and the load was heavy (22 pages on a tight schedule). Check his paleoart out in yesterday’s post.
Next, Michael Ryan (Paleoblog) reviews a new William Stout book and the look is quite ‘comic-bookish’. Graphic inking pushes out contours and surface details, while pigment washes fill out surface coloration. Shadows are also communicated via the inking, so these color layers are a very flat and saturated.
What’s interesting about William Stout is that he is a very skilled and knowledgeable artist who delves into the research material and masters numerous artistic techniques. He is also skillfully diverse and categorizes his work as belonging to genres such as fantasy, fine art, comics, prehistoric and concept work (or film design). Its revealing to see what categories the artist assigns his own work to.
Below, two Glacialosaurus by Stout (not 100% sure about the first one) first in an oil painted mural style, then in comic style . Below those, a gull painted in yet a further watercolor style. The artist categorizes these as ‘prehistoric’, ‘prehistoric’ and ‘fine art’ respectively. Further dinosaurs can be found in the comics gallery – ie. Alien Worlds features a buxom-babe loving tyrannosaur.
Lastly (for now), the German magazine Spiegel reviews the artist Walton Ford (here a gallery to click through). Here is a fine artist working in large format aquarells that demand a price tag of $40,000 and hang in renowned museums around the world. And still – as the Spiegel reports – “the artist has yet to truly make a mark on the international scene. Perhaps because he seems to be a Ford among artists and not a Ferrari. Certain critics find his oeuvre too illustrative ,recalling the style of the gifted ornithologist and artist John James Audubon”.
The painting above seemed particularly relevant – almost a counter-weight to the comic style dinosaurs above. Its called Loss of the Lisbon Rhinoceros, and is based on the iconic woodcut by Albrecht Durer, who made his version based on a sailor’s crude drawing . By in turn basing his anatomy on Durer’s, Ford highlights on the popularistic portrayal of natural subject matter that hasn’t even been experienced by the artist – a subtle, fantastic surrealism and very relevant in a world in which nature is most often experienced via television documentaries. The stylistic decision is there to push the right buttons, packaging social commentary in the scientific authority of a specific figurative portrayal. Its helpful here to be familiar with the artist’s more common outright humor, so here I add another of his works. In Le Jardin, the harmony alluded to in the title is little more than a momentary respite in a battle dictated by the natural order.
What strikes me is the power of assumption that a stylistic means can create. The inked line and flat colors of a comic immediately calls up dramatized low-brow story; popular but not exactly credible. A finely worked aquarell with skillful anatomy alludes to scientific correctness, but struggles for high-brow recognition from art critics, even after proving itself in museums and art collections. Crazy world.
I’m always amazed when I stumble across some wonderful something that has been off my radar for years and years. Check out this presentation of the 3D drawing application Rhonda and follow the link to author Amit Pitaru‘s presentation from 2003. Yes, 2003. There are very cool things going on here. The artist draws on the camera plane, creating wire-like line sculptures. The representation of these lines fades beyond the draw-plane, however, and a little point marks an existing line’s intersection with this plane – so you can see where you would be drawing in space. Clever. It’s also refreshing to see how smoothly the workspace flows… simply by rotating space instead of the object. I’ll be watching to see what this team continues to put out.
I’ve been very slow on posts here lately. I’ll soon be active once again… the open source release of frapper by the Institute of Animation is around the corner. And a few aQtree nodes will be included.
Fons is the Fons! If you’re in Berlin check out his paintings; they are cultural stock.
Violent happy Bugs 4 (2005) makes me think of Berlin. That city loves its dogs, and its dogs’ freedom to do business wherever the hell they want to. I’m only back occasionally and an exhibition likes this isn’t helping me deal with my Heimweh.
Professorial side-note (you’ve been warned):
I love the way the very low level-of-detail characters are balanced with a high level-of-detail camera. Makes for lots of excitement and works exclusively in the temporal media. His paintings confirm – Fons knows animation.
Pass on the link. Watch it again. And then start reading. I’ve been a fan of David’s films since back when I wasn’t sure if they were good or not… the xyz rgb series. They were such a driven exploration of… yeah, of what? …that I didn’t mind them not being successful films. That ambiguity has long since been replaced by pure admiration… for his films and for his humor. I don’t want to have his baby, but I sure do want to see more of his work! And I’m pleased beyond measure that the Berlinale jurors had the courage to honor “Please say something”.
That ‘what‘ that I think he was exploring has a lot to do with cg materiality, btw. Things like medial transmission and compression artifacts. Go David, go!