Introduction to Digital Image Creation and Manipulation (C 102)

UCLA Department of Design | Media Arts
Spring Quarter 2002

Visiting professor Machiko Kusahara


Summary of Week 2 and 3


How do we classify digital images?
How digital image techniques are used?
What is the current situation?


Related texts from the reader:
- Digital Beauties
- Animation. Art, and Technology in Context pp3-4
- The Quest for Visual Realism pp605-607


1. Goals, purposes

- Almost natural and suitable to use computer graphics in computation-related fields such as architecture, urban planning, industrial design, science and engineering involving aerodynamiacs or fluid dynamics, pharmaceutical development, etc.

- Indispensable in the fields where "new aesthetics" is required: corporate graphics, advertising, SFX, music video, etc.

- Categories we know: still applicable, but the borders are not so clear
film, game, art, corporate graphics, music video, education, scientific research, etc.

- Same material, multiple use
"Layer" has become a basic idea in image creation/manipulation
Traditional techniques have new meanings: collage, colorization, etc.
Digital technology facilitates recycling/combining images

- Media mix and overlap = multimedia
Same content on different media: game, TV, fim, Internet, etc.
(The idea is not new, but it has become "seamless" with digital technology.)
Editing, remix, media conversion, publish, broadcast: anyone can do it!
Network: any digital information goes on the Net
Database technology: same data for different purposes, remix, modification and edition for personal use, "virtual database", etc.

- New possibilities
Real time editing/manipulation of moving images (as in VJ)
3D imaginary or simulated worlds with motion or even autonomy: games, artworks, on the Net, or as installations
Reactive environment
Personalized environment with multi-modal interaction
Blending or mixing the real world with the non-real

2. Nature, method, technology

- How computer is used in image creation/manipulation in art and entertainment?
Digital painting, illustration, design tool
Digital manipulation of photography/video/film
Full computer generated images
Sculptural approach in 3D image creation
Use of programs in image creation and manipulation
Dynamics and kinetics in creating animation
Motion capture in creating animation
Motion control camera in special effects
Simulation and visualization based on algorithms and data
Pre-calculated images
Real time image generation and manipulation
Interactive image generation and manipulation
Stereoscopic view

- It means:
Whole spectrum between real and artificial
Cross-over and new combinations of traditionally different techniques
Science and technology to serve as tools for creation

- Visibility vs. invisibility : How digital technology is used?
As tools for image creation:
Invisible: hiding computer behind the tool box
Interface simulating traditional tools (icons, color pallet, etc.)
Commercially available
No knowledge in programming needed
Meant for artists, designers, education, general public, etc.
Highly computational features requried to realize such interface
Visible: computational features useful for design, art and animation
Geometric manipulation such as scaling, deforming, morphing, etc.
Color manipulation such as filtering, masking, etc.
The reason why designers and artists use digital technology!
Invisibility and user-friendliness = goals of graphic software development
Beyond commercial packages: Programs, algorithms and plug-ins for specific purposes, both in 2D and 3D
Interactivity: Interface design and performance are essential to realize the user friendly tools for creation.

3. Style, expression

- Traditional styles in design, painting, animation, filmmaking can be simulated (with user-friendly interfaces for artists and designers)

- Powerful tools for experimental artforms

- New aesthetics and expressions: digital photography, 3DCG

- New artform: use of interactivity, VR, MR, autonomous agent, ...
Computational feature (real time graphics, interactivity, creation of virtual worlds with autonomous systems, etc.) helps artists to challenge the traditional paradigm of art.

Some of the images shown:

<Still images>
Kazuhiko Hachiya/Sony Communication Network "PostPet" The Grand Prix winner of Multimedia Grand Prize, 1997. Virtual pets living users' desktop deliver email messages.

Toshio Iwai "SimTune" (MAXIS) Art Award winner of the"Package" category at Multimedia Grand Prize, 1997 (Originally developed as "Music Bugs" at Exploratorium, San Francisco)

Edouard Lussan/Flammarion "Operation Teddy Bear" The Best Prize winner of the "Package" category at Multimedia Grand Prize, 1997. Digital Comics in the form of CD-ROM.

Masaki Fujihata "Beyond Pages" The Best Prize of the "Theater and Exhibition" category, Multimedia Grand Prize, 1997. An interactive installation that connects the real and virtual spaces with a "book" as an interface.

Bill Barminski "The Encyclopedia of Clamps" The Foreign Production Prize, Multimedia Grand Prize, 1997. An art/design work on CD-ROM.

Paul Debevec, UC Berkeley, "FACADE: Modeling and Rendering Architecture from Photographs" Industrial Application Prize, Multimedia Grand Prize, 1997. The author developed FACADE software that enables modeling and rendering existing buildings realistically from photographic images.

<videos>
Norman McLaren "Begone Dull Care" 1949, Experimental animation. An interpretation of jazz played by Oscar Peterson Trio. 7min. 48sec.

John Whitney Sr. "Arabesque" 1975, programmed by Larry Cuba. Experimental full digital 2D animation.

Une Artiste/An Artist Michele Cournoyer 1994 NFB

Katsushi Bowda "Kaidoriki REAL" 1998 Clay+model+ computer animation, digital compositing and editing. An Art Award winner of the animation category, Media Arts Festival of Japan

JPL "Mars the Movie" 1989 (http://www-dial.jpl.nasa.gov/, http://www.solarviews.com/cap/mars/vidmars1.htm)