Thursday, April 21, 2011

Miles Regis -- Behind the Scenes "Making of a 3D art Piece for Coachella"

Welcome to behind the scenes in "Making of a 3D art piece for Coachella."

Artists: Miles Regis and co-creator Brian Quandt
Title: "Art Music World Peace"
Developed: Late March to mid April 2011
Studio: Milk Studios Los Angeles California
Presented: Coachella, Indeo California, April 15-17, 2011
Sponsored by: The Creators Project, Intel, Vice Magazine
Contact Information: Brian Quandt,, 323-743-3639 
Press Release: Art Coachella

Wow were we surprised when we arrived at the location that our photographer acquired for the shoot! Brian Higbee got us Milk Studios for the day. Thanks to all of Milk and especially Shaun Murdock.

Here's some pictures we took as we walked through the space:

And now to get to work.

As you can see, Miles likes to paint with the canvas on the floor, while wearing sunglasses, even though we are inside. Guess that's Hollywood for you. I'm not sure I can place the music they were blaring. Then again, I'm the tech-y side of the artistry and probably wouldn't know the band even if you told me (unless it was Kraftwerk or something).

We set up a camera above Miles with strobes off to both sides. We stabilized the rig as much as possible and then computer controlled this from an Intel based Apple iMac.

The basic process is for Miles to paint some stuff, take a picture, paint more stuff (another layer) and take another picture. This was repeated for as many layers as we felt was necessary.

While I can't recall exactly how many layers we ended with for the Coachella 3D art piece, I think it was about twenty layers.

The next step in the process is to take all the images into Adobe Photoshop and process them. Amazingly, Adobe Photoshop CS5 has everything in it we need to turn Miles' work into 3D! There was no million dollar fancy post production tool, no gang of a thousand all doing some specialized job, like I'm so familiar with in the feature film world. It was all done on my nifty Intel i7 system with a couple of SSD drives, and the latest Adobe CS5 Production Premium.

Step 1 -- Separate all the layers:
The goal is to generate layers which only contain paint which was just recently added, i.e. since the last time a picture was taken. In short we want to create mattes or separations, of all the pictures taken of the artwork.

We load the first picture taken of the artwork into Photoshop. Then we load the next picture taken into Photoshop, but load it as a layer on top of the previously loaded image. Then we use the tools-built in to Photoshop to sort out and separate the layers.

Step 2 -- Make it 3D:

Then we bring all the separate layers into Photoshop and stack them.

Next we convert all the layers into 3D objects using Photoshop's internal features and then merge them. Now we have a single object that can be manipulated in 3 space.

Here you can see all the layers as one 3D object, I'm can then manipulate the object and place the art in its final 3D location.

Finally, I render a 3D lenticular to create an image suitable for a lenticular display. You can use the options here to render, using some slight of hand, to lots of formats. I've been able to use these tools to create full res material for Real-D 3D theaters (ie 3D DCP's) and of course in our specific needs for Coachella, files which work on an Alioscopy auto-stereo display.

There is of course lots more to this, which we'll cover in later blogs, but I hope this gives you all an idea how we used the Adobe Photoshop 3D tools to create art. Frankly, it has been a blast to do, okay sometime tedious, but definitely rewarding. Thanks to everyone at Adobe, Intel, The Creators Project, Vice, and other who have helped and support both myself and Miles in this process!

Other related items...
  • video, Making of The Music Peace, CES and Coachella, plus a special "3d fly thru" at the end of the video
  • Los Angeles KTLA Cyberguy video from CES, 30seconds in is Miles Interview

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