Philip Sanders

This series of images explores the process of constructing a digital image using an interrelated series of digital technology states, combining painting, photography, projection, performance, editing, 3D modeling, compositing, and special effects.

The origin was the Immersion Room at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York, an interactive museum experience designed to enable viewers to “select wallpapers from the Museum’s permanent collection and see them projected on the walls from floor to ceiling—for a vibrant, impactful, immersive experience.” The exhibit includes a basic digital paint program so viewers can “even play designer by creating [their] own designs.” Since it had a station where viewers could make visual decisions about what was being displayed for the rest of the audience, in a sense you were creating a performance as you experimented with making the image being projected.

Since I had previously worked with projections – physical and virtual, onto buildings, in installations, and with 3D constructions - I decided to experiment with a series of painted patterns projected onto the Immersion Room walls. The next step was to figure out what 3D form I could project those images onto and I was readily available, so I moved out from in back of the paint program and into the projection. Moving around in the projection space was reminiscent of the early Alias 3D program – if you moved a model that had a 3D shader on it, the intersection of the 3D form and the infinite 3D shader projection created a series of unique textures on the form depending upon where the object was in 3D space. The same type of interaction happened between the projected digital painting and myself as I moved through the space, using my face to intercept different parts of the 3d projection.

Using a phone camera as a video mirror I could see the painting projected onto my face, and make decisions about positioning and modifying it. I went back and forth from being the model receiving the projection to being the artist re-painting and editing the image to take advantage of how it worked with and illuminated 3D forms. There were two major advantages of being both the painter and the canvas - when I was in front of the projector, receiving the painting, I could align the image exactly the way I wanted, and when I was in back, painting the image to be projected, I knew how I wanted to compose the various elements for projection. When the 3D form and projected painting combined to create an image, I took a selfie.

Downloading the image back into paint programs, I re-edited it, using image adjustments, processing and repainting in order to achieve a dynamic balance between photographic, 3D, and painted elements. I then took the photo/painting and re-projecting it onto surfaces that I constructed in a 3D program, lighting and rendering it. The 3D rendering was composited with the photo/painting images and original photographs and once more processed and repainted to create the final image.
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