Digital painting comes alive in a not so ‘Still Life’


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Artist Scott Garner’s ‘Still Life’ has all the trappings of a traditional still life painting. The lighting is intriguing, the fruit artfully arranged, a knife resting beneath a blue patterned vase adds a slight menacing edge to the image.

But this still life is not a painting, nor is it still. As the artist writes on his website, it’s an ‘interactive gallery piece that takes traditional still life painting into the fourth dimension with a motion-sensitive frame on a rotating mount.’


To put that into plain English: If you tilt this still life to the right or to the left, the vase tips, the fruit rolls, and the knife slides around. It will all settle down eventually, but move the frame again and the upheaval within the picture begins anew.

We’ve seen this technology in iPad applications--Atomic Antelope’s Alice in Wonderland app comes to mind, as does Moonbot’s The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, but still, seeing the technology applied to an old school style of art is pretty cool.

For those of you who want more on the tech behind the art, Garner is kind enough to describe how he put the piece together.

‘On the hardware side is a custom-framed television connected to a rotating mount from Ergomart, ‘ he writes on his website. ‘Attached to the back of the television is a spatial sensor from Phidgets, makers of fine USB sensors. On the software side is a simple C application to communicate with the sensor and feed the data to a Unity 3D scene. The scene itself consists of a camera tied to the sensor data with all lights and objects parented to it so they rotate in unison.’

Could Caravaggio have done that?

Still Life from Scott Garner on Vimeo.



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