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Grey Cross Studios
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Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Perplexing Puzzle of Enlarging Perspectives

One of my biggest problems with my digital art, is that I create it to be a lot larger than what you see on your computer or cell phone or Ipad. Its always been a constant frustration to me that we as artists are limited by the size of our screens. 

When I began creating highly detailed art that was a combination of photography, body painted models, scaled down architectural pieces, assimilation art and finally digital imaging. It was always with the intention that if the art were ever in gallery, it would be reproduced in a print that would be no smaller than 8 feet in diameter. But face it, in today's connected world you are often going to see art online long before you will see it in gallery. 

So the quandary has always been, do I sacrifice detail in order to satisfy screen size, or do I stick to detail and just expect that viewers online will only see part of the tale being woven into the art. Since I refuse to sacrifice detail, I've always just tried to be content that the viewer will have to enjoy what they can see on whatever device they may choose to view it. 

That brings me to my current project. The Abbey at Skye has no lack of details. The scale model alone 42" x 33" and rises 20" at its highest point. As I've begun work on the final images for the series, I've been constantly frustrated that the viewer really has no concept of what I am trying to achieve here because its just impossible for them to see it. This series incorporates a lot more than digital art. There is a story being told in each image. What seems like a simple detail is in fact a part that has its own story. But that story seemed impossible to tell.

So I began to do some research. If I wanted to include more detail, how could the viewer see it? These are not 360 degree images, for which there are a host of apps to display. They are simply huge files with a lot of content. Then I stumbled on the right criteria of search words on google and came up with a program called Closr which at first view seemed to solve several problems at once. 

So I spent some time experimenting with it and found that I could do some damned amazing things with it. First I could upload the whole image with all its pixels. I did not have to resize the image so that it would load quicker and lose details. Images as large as 100 megapixels could be uploaded. Once there the viewer could move around the image, expand on any area they wanted and explore the image much as someone looking at a map might do once its unfolded. But the other feature which was unexpected was the ability to create hot spots anywhere on the surface that a person could click to gain more information on that part of the image. For me, the image now truly takes on a storybook quality where I can describe things I want the viewer to take notice of. I can tell the tale within the image instead of as a separate entity. 

This solves a whole lot of problems. It also presents me with a few new problems, but thats part of what art experimentation is about. Always more complex ideas and concepts. 

With all that said, I am beginning a new piece tonight that will by far be the largest piece of art I've ever created. It will not be a single image but a whole series of images stitched together around the Abbey to tell a much larger tale. We will see how it plays out but for me this is the reason I am an artist. To find new ideas and experiment constantly with my own preconceptions of what art is and should be.

With that said, the first experimental image has been uploaded and some of the hot spots created for it. Please check it out and give me feedback on how it worked for you. The original image is above. The interactive image can be found at: 


The Grand Conjunction - Stage 1

So here is the first stage of a large frame piece of art. As you can see from image above, the detail is completely lost due to the size of the art. But by using the zoomable program described in my previous post, I can now put a whole hell of a lot more detail into the art without that detail being totally lost to the viewer due to screen size. I have a lot more I want to add to the piece and I want to extend it out further. But I wanted people to see the progress made so far. Keep in mind that the buildings are real scale models and the people are all body paintings that I've done over the years and often bring back often in my iconography. 

The link below will take you to the zoomable version of the image. Please look around and zoom in and out to catch some of the details already created for it. I'd love feedback on this as I work through its development over the coming week. I suspect there will be many updated versions as the piece is developed and refined.

Here is the magnified zoomable version for Stage 1: Grand Conjunction Stage 1


The Grand Conjunction - Stage 2 

Here is the second stage of the Grand Conjunction piece. If you followed the previous version posted yesterday you can see that the piece has grown substantially. The original is now 36 megabytes in size. There are a lot of little glitches in the piece that can only be seen on extreme magnification. Once I get the composition for the piece finished I'll have to do a microscopic review of it to find all the tiny areas that look bad. There is about 3 days of work into it at this stage. 

Its a fascinating project where I am learning more about depth than I have in any project prior to it. This will definitely strengthen my ability to work with perspectives and understand depth of field. Each time I add to the frame of the piece it makes objects already there recede into the distance in a way that makes me want to keep adding and adding to the piece just to see what I get.

Here is the magnified zoomable version for Stage 1: Grand Conjunction Stage 2


The Grand Conjunction - Final Version

The final art for the Grand Conjunction is completed. I think for my first large scale story piece it went pretty well. There are approximately 42 hours of work put into the piece above. The final image is 42.3 megabytes in size. There are a ton of details in it. I think I smoothed out any of the areas that needed it, but its still not as refined as I would like. But I think I need to end this one and start a new one. The final zoomable image has been uploaded now and I've added a couple of hot spots to it with basic information in them. I will probably add more hot spots but I think this is enough to get it started. 

You can view the full zoomable image at: The Grand Conjunction

Comments and questions are welcome. 

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