Posts tagged ‘painting’

Daniel Xiao’s Beautiful Concept Work

Daniel Xiao

Daniel Xiao is a concept and matte painting artist who has worked for Pixar Animation Studios, Dreamworks Universal and Fantasy Flight Games, among others.

Xiao paints digitally in Photoshop, as well as working with 3-D applications like Maya and Sketchup Pro.

His fantastical landscapes have a wonderful sense of scale and atmospheric perspective, the qualities of which don’t really come through in the small images I’m showing above. The visual appeal of his work is much more evident on his on site, and even more so on some larger selections you can see in this post on Concept Ships.

Xiao also has a blog that features additional images and work in progress.

On his website you will also find images of digitlally rendered naturalistic landscapes, still lifes and studies from artists like John Singer Sargent.

Found @ linesandcolors.com

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Pierre-Auguste Cot’s The Storm and Springtime

Pierre-Auguste Cot's The Storm and Springtime

Academically trained French painter Pierre-Auguste Cot, who was a student of Bouguereau, among others, is particularly known for two similarly striking paintings, The Storm (above, top three images) and Springtime(bottom four images).

Both are beautifully rendered, with a feeling of lush naturalism, playfully romantic and more than a little suggestive. Check out the smoldering look the young woman is giving her companion on the swing in Springtime.

Of course, dressing up modern passion in academically approved antique dress, like the depiction of nymphs and satyrs, made an image a “history painting”, and events from mythology or history could excuse a great deal of romance-fueled suggestion in late 19th Century France.

Both works have been immensely popular from their creation to this day, and have been the subject of countless reproductions over that time.

Both paintings are in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and a reader (thanks, radium56!) has informed me that both are now prominently on display before the entrance to the 19th and 20th century European paintings gallery, where they make a dramatic visual impression.

For those of us who can’t run over to the Met tomorrow to check them out, the museum’s excellent website has high-resolution images of both (click on “Fullscreen” under the image on the main page, then the “Download” arrow at bottom right).

As far as I can tell the museum is not making a point of this as a mini-exhibition or feature on the schedule, it just seems to be a curator’s idea of a fine way to celebrate spring.

Indeed.

Article from linesandcolors.com

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Harry Potter and the film-makers’ magic: Incredibly detailed model of Hogwarts Castle used for every film in blockbusting series is revealed for the first time

I had absolutely no idea how big the models were (for Harry Potter) until seeing this article, Wow!

Ever since the first Harry Potter novel was released almost 15 years ago, children and adults alike have fantasised about visiting its famous boarding school for wizards and witches.

But, as these incredible pictures show, they need to dream no longer.

Whether you show magic ability or not – fans now have the opportunity to get as close to Hogwarts Castle as they are ever likely to get.

This extraordinary model of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is due to go on display for the first time.

Incredible: This extraordinary model of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is due to go on display for the first time Continue reading…

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Brain Scans Predict Subjective Beauty

When we find something aesthetically pleasing, the sensory areas of the brain light up, and the more beautiful we find, say, a piece of art,  the greater the brain activity in certain regions, a new study shows.

By further investigating the connection between humans’ subjective preferences and brain activity, scientists will someday be able to pinpoint various characteristics that make a painting, musical number or other sensory experience beautiful, researchers said.

“For the first time, we can ask questions about subjective preferences and relate them to activity in the brain,” lead researcher Semir Zeki, a neurobiologist at the University College London in the United Kingdom, told LiveScience. “There are some people who would prefer [beauty] to remain a mystery, but that’s not how scientists view things.”

In a previous study, Zeki found that an area in the pleasure and reward center of the brain is more active when people view a painting or hear a piece of music that they think is beautiful, compared with art they didn’t find particularly pleasing. Because the brain activity of study participants rose accordingly with their ratings of beauty, the results suggest that scientists can look at the brain to objectively measure an experience that seems wholly subjective.

“So the question that we askedis: Do beautiful objects have any specific characteristics that render them beautiful?” Zeki said.

Measuring beauty in the brain

If you look at a painting, video or some other piece of visual art, there are many “domains” that could contribute to the perception of its aesthetics, such as color, shape and motion. For the new study, Zeki and his colleague, Jonathan Stutters, zeroed in on motion, which is the simplest visual attribute, Zeki said.

The researchers used a computer program to generate sets of white dots moving on a black background. The eight patterns all had the same number of dots and changes in speed, but differed in the way the particles moved: Some of the patterns involved dots that moved uniformly on a grid, while others had groups of dots that moved in a seemingly random way.

They then had 16 adults view the patterns twice — once while in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner, which measures brain activity by detecting changes in blood flow, and once before going into the machine. With each viewing, the participants had to rate how much they likedeach visual stimulus.

“It turns out that there are certain patterns that are almost universally liked,” Zeki said, referring to those preferred by 14 out of the 16 participants.The researchers also found that a certain sensory brain area called V5, which is thought to play a major role in motion perception, activated more strongly when the participants viewed patterns they preferred the most.

By analyzing the participants’ preferences and the fMRI data, the researchers were able to pick out certain characteristics — such as the separation between dots — that made some patterns more preferable than others.

In a follow-up experiment, which was not detailed in their study published online today (Feb. 21) in the journal Open Biology, Zeki and Stutters created other patterns that utilized the characteristics they found. Participants overwhelmingly preferred these new patterns to the old ones.

Tip of the iceberg

“It’s nice to see that people are breaking down the aesthetic experience to basic processes,” said Marcos Nadal Roberts, a psychologist at theUniversity of the Balearic Islands in Spain, who was not involved with the study.”If we don’t break it down to smaller pieces, it will be very hard to understand the bigger picture.”

But, Roberts notes, the research is not saying that beauty can be reduced to a merely objective experience, because the participants in the study had slightly different likes and dislikes. For example, one of the participants in the study didn’t strongly prefer any of the patterns, while another participant preferred a pattern that no one else did.

“Beauty is not just about an object and all its features, it’s also about the person and all of his or her features,” Roberts told LiveScience. “So it’s subjective and objective, both happening at the same time.”

Roberts said that the study could have been more relatable to the real world if the researchers had used more natural forms of motion, such as the movement of waves in the ocean, the flocking of birds or the rustle of leaves in a tree as the wind blows.

The abstract motion of dots isn’t something that people would typically say is “beautiful,” Zeki concedes.

Zeki is now looking to tease out preferred characteristics in the other domains, and eventually combine them to get a better picture of the objective qualities of visual beauty. “This is just the tip of the iceberg,” he said. “Actually, it’s not even the tip, it’s just a few micrometers of the tip.”

Via livescience.com

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Geometric Illusionary Perspective Paintings

Interesting design -although I  wonder when/if you would get tired of seeing it everyday from other uneven points of view. 

Spanning over 30 years, Swiss artist Felice Varini has been mesmerizing viewers with his anamorphic illusions. The artist, who resides in Paris, displays his illusionary work in both private and public spaces. The urban paintings require a specific point of view to visualize the geometric shapes he creates as a continuous whole. From any other standpoint, the piece is fragmented and may not align properly.

Varini’s works appear effortless, often employing simple shapes like circles and lines. However, there is far more discipline and meticulous work put into the uninterrupted flow of each geometric entity. One of Varini’s most impressive illusions, which can be seen below, depicts a series of circles across a neighborhood of houses. When looked at from a slightly off angle, one takes notice of the number of disconnected curved lines abstractly painted across the residences.

There are so many fantastic illusions by Varini that it’s difficult to choose only a handful to present. Between his anamorphic paintings and his suspended installations, the artist has found several ways to boggle the mind and delight the spectator who spots the perfect viewpoint, where everything aligns. The bulk of the Varini’s illusionary works can be viewed on his website where he continues to keep a visual timeline of his projects.

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