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Special Project: Making the Pixie


In late 1997, I was hunting for a way to blend my interest in the beauty of the figure with the fantasy/futurism of my computer illustration - and to do it in stereo! Pixie is the happy result of that search (figure 1).

The idea for this image was actually inspired by the model. During one of our sessions, she mentioned that another artist had once wanted to photograph her as a pixie. The thought intrigued me, so I decided to do the same, but with the plan to create a proper, magical habitat for MY version of this pixie, using purely digital tools. This would have been a relatively easy photo-collage assignment in the world of flat "2d" pictures. In stereo, the task would prove a knotty technical and compositional challenge.

Before getting into the details, it helps to understand the basic technique that I used. First I stereo-photographed the figure of the pixie on a black background. This was done with my vertical format twin Pentax K1000 setup using 50mm f.l. lenses and a stereobase of about 75mm. Second I created a three dimensional environment for the pixie using the computer. Third, the stereo photography of the figure was scanned and imported into this digital three dimensional world as a discrete object - a photo panel object. Finally, the scene was rendered as a whole, with the photo panel in place. The resulting L+R files were taken to a service bureau, where a film recorder was used to produce 2x2 slide pairs.

To understand the factors that went into the photography (figure pose, composition + lighting), one must first consider the limitations of such digital world building.


Next: The Digital Scene I


Figure 1. Cross-eyed stereo pair of the Pixie

unclothed pixie stands at pond's edge

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