My blog: pixelcounterrr.com

What is there yet to be said about The Shining, let alone the mastermind behind it, Stanley Kubrick? Not much, so I talk instead a little about the technique used creating this animation, which is Camera Mapping (or Camera Projection).

To find a suitable frame for proper Camera Mapping is an art form in itself. Protip: Primarly avoid images containing lens flares, smoke and other particles, reflections / refractions, and overlapping complex geometry, especially when located in near the camera. They will hurt you at some point in the process.

Once the right frame/image has been found, the first challenge is to figure out the dimensions of the given space, and determine the focal length of the camera being used. I personally did not use any additional information concerning the spaces (like blueprints or making-ofs), other than previous and following frames in the film (which helped a lot), so I pretty much relayed on my own perceptual judgment when constructing the geometry.

Finally the overlapping parts must be photoshopped so that in the end everything comes together without any seams or texture repetition. The Content Aware Fill feature found in Photoshop CS5 is a Godsent for this type of work.

The reason why I’m so fascinated by Camera Mapping is the way it enables, in a sense, rebuilding physically long-gone spaces and situations by using relatively simple geometry coupled with a little bit of photoshopping. And the ultimate pay-off that comes with it, if done right, is the possibility for near photorealistic, but more or less limited, interaction. The most obvious interaction, of course, is dollying the camera into the frame, which creates something of an elaborate Ken Burns effect, if you will.

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It seems that Stanley Kubrick, even when passed away, continues to push people to do strange things with his work, and mine was partly inspired by Rob Ager’s spatial study of impossible spaces in The Shining (tinyurl.com/3tzjwwx). Even though Ager’s points often miss the idea of film-making, in that many seemingly artistic decisions originate out of convenience or necessity, it’s a fascinating illustration of how far and beyond one can go when studying work of an established genius.

So, it’s highly untypical for me to do a piece like this out of my own enjoyment that basically repeats itself in such a fashion, producing a fare amount of monotonous effort as an effect. Granted, it was grinding, even frustrating, at times to get the textures and geometry right. However, I did manage to carry it through with acceptable results, perhaps like Shelley Duvall, because of Stanley.

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