This project was done through VAKA. Goethe Institut approached us and wanted to create a "interactive" art piece
This Blog outlines the work I did to create a painted portait looking video, to be deployed outside of the german language center in wellington
Firstly, I wanna show how it worked. Johann Wolfgan Von Goethe is essentially the mascot, and they wanted him to do a welcoming piece as people come to the language center. There's just 1 problem... He died in 1832... However we have technoology, and I can make it happen...somehow...
We sat down with the client (Judith, who is the Head of the Language Department), and we ran through the possible options for what image of Goethe we wanted to use. We essentially ruled out any close up images, so that left the middle one, because we definitly wanted to capture that "painting on a wall" feeling
Once we had decided on the routine for Goethe, we needed a voice actor, so let me introduce Torsen, who will be our voice actor for the portait.
We went through and recorded some lines that we may want to use, but now that we have the audio for the frame, next came figuring out how to make everything work
So the main issue we faced right away was that Goethe was painted looking off into the distance. The main problem with this is that the software we planned to use (which was crazy talk), probably couldnt compensate for the off angle of the head.
And with some simple testing it confirmed my theory that it couldnt handle it well. So, the next step was to figure out how to turn his head. I would like to make a note here, that I only had a week to get this "Shot" done and deployed.
I tried a few things, ranging from making a simple model in Autodesk Maya, and mapping the face onto it, with a green screen plate in the background, to even considering frame by frame animation to manually rotate the head.
In the end I actually came up with a cool solution, and its all cause of facebook!
While experimenting, I had remembered that facebook had a 3D photo sytem, and that it allowed the user to pivot in small amounts...well thats all I really need!
I found out that you can force facebook to create a 3D image, but pharsing it 2 images. the first image is the main texture, and the second is essentially a deformation map, and for the purpose of what I needed, I knew I could get away with a simple gradient map.