February 10, 2006
Optical illusions in space & on the street
The work of two artists is opposite & complementary, creating flatness in space & depth in flatness:
- Felice Varini creates 2D images in 3D space, producing the appearance of flat shapes when seen from a particular spot. Samples of his work are collected here and here, and an animation on his own site depicts how the illusions emerge & disintegrate based on one’s perspective.
- Kurt Wenner rightly calls himself a “Master Street Painter,” producing amazing images that create the illusion of depth on asphalt, concrete, and stone. On his site he discusses the impermanence of his medium, comparing fragile chalk renderings to music & calling their creation a performance.
While working as a designer, I found that the bigger my monitor, the more greasy-fingered art directors inevitably wanted to touch it, to show that they wanted something put *right there*. Soon, however, touching a monitor may be less a party foul & far more useful. Check out this video demonstrating research into two-handed touch screen interfaces. Pretty ridiculously cool, eh?
It reminds me a bit of the Tactiva device shown last year. Plenty of hurdles (size, cost, hands blocking artwork, parallax interfering with small adjustments, greasy fingers, etc.) would need to be jumped to make these approaches mainstream, but it’s gotta happen, right? Just yesterday a 3D artist was talking to us about wanting to paint with one hand while using the other to dial exposure & intensity up and down in high-dynamic range images. It’s just too natural not to happen. And the sooner these devices move towards ubiquity, the sooner we can start taking advantage of them in Photoshop and other tools (requiring plenty of UI re-thinking & engineering, but potentially very worthwhile).
[Thanks to Colin Smith for the link.]