Reimagining computer art

by dharris63

Lately I’ve been wondering how programmers can work together with artists to create visuals for mobile applications that are more complex than sprites or polygons, such as simulating paint strokes. Today I was shown a video on an interactive “Starry Night” animation:

Starry Night

See the link above for a video of the animated "Starry Night."

If you go through the video, you can see that there are thousands of small paint lines that are constantly redrawing on the scene to create what look like motion “whirlpools” across the scene. The user can also touch the visualization to extend a “whirlpool” or change its direction.

I did some searching to see whether I could find any similar examples. One that struck me as interesting was a film working with da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.” Using the original painting, film maker Peter Greenaway played with lighting different areas of the painting to highlight different features and give the illusion of movement.

"The Last Supper"

Peter Greenaway's film of da Vinci's "The Last Supper."

I think that in order to create more artistic visuals in the future, software developers will need to move away from existing modeling techniques. This visualization of “Starry Night” suggests that an early path of exploration may be to recreate physical techniques such as painting using digital “paint strokes.” One could perhaps simulate another existing technique by dispersing pools of color to simulate watercolors. Eventually, though, the goal would be to create new art styles that are unique to the affordances of a computer screen.


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