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Bringing Life To Still Life With 3D Animation

British animators Rob and Nick Carter update a 400-year-old painting.
March 7, 2012, 9:15pm

Some people aren’t excited by still life, because that’s exactly what it is—still. Despite its significance during the 17th century, Ambrosius Bosschaert’s 1618 painting Roses, tulips, anemone, cyclamen and other flowers in a porcelain vase is just a picture of some pretty flowers. But 3D artists Rob and Nick Carter are giving the 400-year-old painting a treatment that renders it anything but still.

The video above shows how the two British artists scanned Bosschaert’s painting, recreating all its lines, curves, and objects in full 3D. They then edited all these digital images into a video. The sequence is a spectacle of still life in which we see leaves carried by a gentle breeze, tiny insects flying about, clouds moving, and light declining, with the bouquet of flowers reacting realistically to its virtual surroundings throughout.

Developed in partnership with the Moving Picture Company, the project required more than two years of animation to perfect the flowers and their environment. This project reminds us of Scott Garner's interactive painting and Creator Quayola's geometrically abstract renditions of classical paintings.

The Carters’ video was recently exhibited at the The Fine Art Society.