Jeanne Kelly

Archive for the ‘Fall 2010’ Category

2D Composite Facial Reconstructions

In Fall 2010, Spring 2010 on January 18, 2011 at 3:27 am

The Rope Walker Gets a Makeover

After working so closely with the vintage photography these past months I started to think of them as another possible way to complete the reconstructions while working on the problems with the digital 3d reconstructions.

There is a forensic technique of creating a facial composite of an individual using a database of photographs.  This is a very general collection, meant to represent universal adverages and genaric features that can be refind and refine by making choices in a branching method until a reasonable likeness is achieved.  For instance, you would be asked by the compositor or compositing system if the person had a big nose or a small nose, high, low, narrow, wide, straight, crooked, and so on until all options have been exhausted and the image you are left with should be the best representation of the nose you have in mind.

To the right you can see a facial composite of Saint Paul created by experts of the Landeskriminalamt of North Rhine-Westphalia using historical sources as proposed by Düsseldorf historian Michael Hesemann.  The facial composite of the Apostle Paul helps to make this historical figure more accessible and real; something I want to achieve with the Hyrtl subjects.

To test this case I again turned to Mr. Zini our Rope Walker.  In his case the I decided that the most appropreate features and image would be those of his relatives, his time, and his culture.  I started my search by looking at images found through a search using his last name to determine hair and eye-color and dominant features.  I have an idea of build from his age, occupation and historical context. I looked for central and eastern european photographs of men taken from 1830 to 1870.  This would have been range of  time he my have died within. For Mr.Zini I decided to use the photograph below to create a two dimensional composite of his likeness from his skull.

I then began by importing the 3d rendering from Maya into photoshop.  There where gaps in the bone that had to be reconstructed before markers could be positioned onto the skull. I accomplished this by I first drawing over the skull to get the contours and plans mapped out.  I then painted the bone into place, only filling in where it was nessicary. As you can see I did not reconstruct his teeth. He will not be smiling so it would have been a wasted effort. I did however remove the hardware that was captured in the CT scan; it just doesn’t belong there.

Once I had Mr. Zini’s skull structurally clean I divided the features as seen below from the source image. and slowly began to sculpt them in photoshop using a wide range of tools, primarily transform warp and liquify.  It was necessary for some parts to be completely redrawn, such as the side of the head.

As always I found some of the process shots to be just as important and strong as the finished piece.  It seem inevitable that I get wrapped up in these in-between states. The glimpse beneath, the history of a thing is always distracted to me in an inspiring way.  Not to mention I think they just turned out looking kind of cool.

These are onionskins of the photo-composite technique.  So, meet Mr. Zini, The Rope Walker.  On the next 2D, which will be hand drawn, I think I’m going to go back to less but more “tailored” facial hair. Keeping the center of the left eye (his right 😉 consistent to the original you can see how the features changed in the finished reconstruction.

I “adjusted” the rest of the image to fit Mr.Zini’s figure.  He seems to be a bit of a tallish fellow as compared to his “ancestor”.  I’m very happy with this first prototype. I’ve received very favorable responses and a few request for copies. Which makes me hopeful that with a little more work these will be successful incentives on Kickstarter.

I’ve had  this 30″ x 40″ poster of  Mr. Zini hanging in my living room now for about a month and it still distracts me.  If it can have the same effect on others, then I’ll feel like I’ve accomplished a lot so far.

Prototyping the Diorama | 3D

In Fall 2010, Thesis Research on January 17, 2011 at 11:10 pm

NOW IN COLOR!

I decided to keep test the 3d images, especially I can not get the stereolithography done for the final piece.  I’ve worked in Klean Klay before, it’s the primary  material used in 3d forensic facial reconstruction.  If I’m able to get one of the Hyrtl skulls printed I’ll used this to do a true reconstruction, but it’s no good for createing the tiny diorama pieces. Too soft and not permanent.  Instead I’m testing several different material that might be a substitute for print 3d.  Remember this guy?  If you’ve been checking out the Thesis Page (the tab at the top there ^, after Home and About) then you would have seen the post on this prototype.

This was my first attempt at sculpy. I’d never worked in the material before and found it difficult at beat to get any significant detail at the small scale I have to work in. You can see more photos of those below at 11/04.

I then attended a puppet show at HERE Art Center called “the Fortune Teller”

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=14192604&server=vimeo.com&show_title=0&show_byline=0&show_portrait=0&color=615b80&fullscreen=1&autoplay=0&loop=0

I loved the look of the puppets and of course immediately wanted to make a puppet show.  That’ll  be next on the list. 🙂  I was able to go back stage after the show and see the construction close up.  I asked a lot of questions and decide to give “cell-u-clay” a try.  That was the material used to create the puppets. I felt the scale might still be a bit tight for the material, but I tried it anyway.

Sketching the Cabinet

In Fall 2010, Thesis Research on January 17, 2011 at 8:43 pm

I thought I post some of the sketches and ideas for the cabinet that will house the diorama, camera, lights, and all the guts of the simulacrum.

These are not complete, but just sketches.  I’m not a arcitect or draftsman, I’m not sure how to draw them as blueprints.  Luckily I know of a few folks who have been kind enough to help out in this department. I’ve also briefly discussed this with with Jim Rogers, the master cabinet maker (and my brother-in-law 😉 who’s going to be building this for me if I’m able to come up with the funding.  He’s not asking for much and in return I’m willing to give him some space to add his own creative touch.

I’ve played around with the idea of using a planetary gear on the bottom of the diorama table.  I think this is going to be the most stable.  And from the testing I can see right away that the sketches below don’t leave enough room between the camera and the closest focal point within the scenes. That has to be redesigned to accommodate about a foot of clearance. I’ll update when I have something substacial to post.  Until then, I’m sure you can get a good idea the direction I’m head from the previous posts, the Thesis page (^tab at the top) and these drawings.

Think steampunk, that should help.  😉

Testing the Follow Focus

In Fall 2010, Thesis Research on January 17, 2011 at 5:35 pm

The follow focus on the simulacrum is being built with a help of a friend and photographer Louis Lucci.  We set it a few times now and ran some test and took the measurements for the cabinet based on the dementions of the rig and the diorama table together.  I’ve tried a few different mounts and while I think the Skil mount is best for movement, it will not support the weight of the follow focus.

The video is recorded directly through the camera and streamed live into the living room.  No great feat, but no small accomplishment either.

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=18201661&server=vimeo.com&show_title=0&show_byline=0&show_portrait=0&color=e8e8e8&fullscreen=1&autoplay=0&loop=0

The ruler allows me to get a better idea about placement and focus when setting up the dioramas. This also lets me see how much space has to exists between the camera and the diorama.  Right now the measurement looks to be around one to two and half feet from lens to the closest focal point in the scene, close to what I expected.

This second video is the documentation of that test.  Louis and I are taking the measurements and also getting an idea how the scene changes when view in a different way.
http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=18196453&server=vimeo.com&show_title=0&show_byline=0&show_portrait=0&color=e8e8e8&fullscreen=1&autoplay=0&loop=0

I had a real heart wrenching moment the second time we set up the entire rig.

I had returned to my family home in Virginia over the holiday to pick up some of my mother’s camera equipment to use in the project. My mother was a photographer and my best friend. She died on May 1st, 2005 at the age of 66; too young with too much undone.  I decided to take back a two tripods, a few lens and filters with some other odds and ends to use in the prototyping.  I carefully separated out the things I’d used and backed them up to return to New York with me.  The one thing I took that was particularly special to me was her 50 mm lens.  This one has a lot of very fond memories attached to it for me.

Louis had been setting everything up while I was in another room working on the diorama.  When I finally saw it all put together with my mom’s lens, I just cried.

I’m just so happy to be using it and I knew she would be thrilled with what I was doing and would have been right beside me helping if she could. In a way it made me feel like I was still able to include her and at the same time it made me sad that she couldn’t be here.  I miss you mom ad this one’s for you all the way.

and a side note:

This 90° gear is found inside the main compartment of the follow focus. It’s pretty substantial and it’s actually just what I need for the crank to shaft in the final build as well.

Prototyping the Mechanism

In Fall 2010, Thesis Research on January 16, 2011 at 11:06 pm

Geometry and Gears

I had not used this particular set of tools in a long time and it felt good to get them out and work with geometry again. I got this set during my second year in college and it has more then past the test of time, that extension are is perfect for this job.

The first few prototypes for the turntable’s gearing where pretty unsuccessful.  My biggest problem is simply making something sturdy enough. I was given a great book for beginners in gears and simple analog mechanical movements.  This helped with understanding the basics and getting started with figuring out the ratio.  I also had to start thinking about the placement and accessibility of the handle and how each user is going to experience the function.

Coat-hangers, cardboard and foam-core don’t seem to cut it, they’re all too flimsy to last longer then a few turns and even those struggle to move the diorama.  Nothing I’ve put together so far moves very smoothly, but that’s the point of prototyping, right?  I like the 1:1 ration for rith now, it’s more intuitive to “scroll” through the scenes at this 1:1 movement.

I also decided to allow the gears to work in both directions.  This allows the viewer to “rewind” the narrative.  They can return to what they have already seen or actually view the entire thing in revere. This is one less restriction to the narrative.

There is no question that I’m going to need the construction to be much more substantial.  Not only to support the weight of the diorama itself, but to support the force required to also turn the thing smoothly and effortlessly.  In the second or third iteration of the gears I replace all the cardboard shafts with wooden ones.  This improved the stability and tremendously, but it also added to the weigh.

My next step here is to laser cut the gears in MDF or black plexiglass.  The weight of these will be supported by the wooden cabinet that will eventually contain all the guts of the simulacrum.

Prototyping the Diorama

In Fall 2010, Thesis Research on January 15, 2011 at 9:44 pm

2D Construction

I haven’t posted anything on the diorama construction since the 11/16 update (a few post below). So lets catch up. I’ve been constructing the 2d diorama by altering period photography, drawings, paintings.  I decided to concentrate on the 2d for testing until the problems with the maya mesh can be worked out.

I’ve cut out most all of the images and details that I need to get started on the completion of Zini’s scenes and possible one each of his connections. I also started to “modify” the images to reflect the narrative.

These are most of Veronica’s pieces, our child murder. Below you can see pieces form Zini’s and also a few images that will be used for the Wounded Heart, visually he’s become the Boy with the Charlie Brown Heart.

After some camera tests with the original images I decided the scale had to be greatly reduced. This opens up working with the images in photoshop and printing the smaller size as I need, increasing detail while reducing size. I can also print on card stock for a bit more rigidity. I decided to use these wooden skewers to hold each piece of the diorama in place. Because the mock up is made of foam core it this has made it easy to move the different pieces around and yet keep them stable and in place each time.  Granted this is leave a few extra holes in the bottom of the platform, but that’s fine for this prototype.  It’s all about the placement and the interpretation now, the details of the visuals will be refines as I go.

I started with the scene where we learn about the relationship between Gerilarmo and Veronica.  This is a particularly difficult scene because it encompasses so much time.

I don’t want to “explain” what exactly is happening and what every detail means. As in real life, what you see is not always what you believe and stories are always up for interpretation.  I goal is to  create a mood and enough signs and symbols for the curious to interpret the circumstances of each character.  Their mind will begin to fill in the blanks, building the narrative like a rumor.


I’m treating the college pieces a bit theatrically.  I need them to hold a ton of quickly readable info and this piece is a small theater, so i worked in strong exaggerated expressions on the secondary characters.

The Charlie Brown Heart was a pleasant accident.  I was trying out different ways to show a broken heart and this one really appealed to me.  Charlie Brown is such a classically downtrodden and pathetic character, but he never gives up and we love him for it.  I liked the thought of Julius Farkus as Charlie Brown all grown up, and finally giving up.

Zini in Osirix and Maya

In Fall 2010, Thesis Research on December 26, 2010 at 4:21 pm

So I finally got a good working render from OsiriX and opened it in Maya, and just as I’d thought, it was a mesh mess to an extreme degree.


Maya can’t seem to automatically fix the Nonmanifold Geometry.  Nonmanifold Geometry is, simply put, a mesh that could not exist in the real world. Maya refuses to convert to subdivisions, booleans won’t work and smooth operations can lead to strange results.

There are three different types of nonmanifold Geometry (actually four since lamina faces are technically also nonmanifold):

• Three or more faces share the same edge on an object
• Two or more faces share the same vertex, yet they share no edge
• Two or more adjacent faces have opposite normal directions

I can’t clean they geometry up myself in the state it’s in. Opposite normal directions can’t be seen because I can’t even seen all the faces.
I’m not sure at this point if it can be any other way.  I need to fix the geometry completely if I ever want to print these.  As of right now however, I need to just concentrate on the reconstructions, even if that means creating a 2 dimensionally likeness first for each of the eight subjects in the narrative.  I just have to get the ball rolling.Click on the image below to take you to a link that will then take you to a video of a fly through I put together in OsiriX. There has got to be work around for posting videos to wordpress without having to click, click, click to actually see it.  I’ll work in this friends.

Here are a few screen captures of the OsiriX interface.  It’s pretty intuitive if you’ve ever used a 3D program before, but it does take some processing power. I’ll have to get it onto a computer at Parsons to save myself some headaches.

The visuals of the build are interesting as well. Click on the image below to take you to a link that will then take you to a video to watch OsiriX in action stitching the layer back together.

JONAH SAMSON | PLEASANTVILLE

In Fall 2010, Thesis Research on December 12, 2010 at 1:45 am

PLEASANTVILLE

Jonah Samson, Peeping Tom, 2008

Current photographs from Jonah Samson are on display at G. Gibson Gallery in Seattle. The work is being shown as part of the exhibit, “View Master” along with Lori Nix and Grace Weston. The group show is very strong so be sure to see the gallery website for details.

Grave Digger, 2008

Samson creates dioramas in miniature and photographs the arrangements. The viewer is often the only witness to the moments the artist produces. The audience turns accomplice through their inability to act in the virtual world of “Pleasantville”. We become guilty bystanders helpless to alter events for better or worse.

Giant Octopus, 2008

All of the scenarios put forth in the exhibited series are plausible, save one. “Giant Octopus” (below) could be interpreted as an homage to Ray Harryhausen the special effects legend of “Clash of the Titans” and “The 7th Voyage of Sinbad” fame.

I discovered this great precedent today on a blog called Look Into My Owl.  (Awesome name)  I’m reprint their article here, but you should check out the site yourself, worth the time.

3D Magic With DICOM Data

In Fall 2010, Thesis Research on November 19, 2010 at 10:35 pm

OSIRIXIMAGING
BUT THE MESH IS RIDICULOUS!

I received the first four CT scan sets from the University of Philadelphia’s Anthropology Department today.  Tom Schoenemann, the gentleman working on getting me those scans, recommended OsiriX as a good program for viewing and processing DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine) data created from the CT scans.  DICOM is a comprehensive set of standards for handling, storing and transmitting information in medical imaging.  These images can come from not only CT scans but other medical imaging modalities such as MRI, PET scans, etc.

OsiriX is a freeware program available to the public on the Apple Inc. Website. It is seamlessly tied into the Mac OS X platform.  Biomedical Visualizers can use this software to visualize anatomical data sets and extract visual information for reference.

OsiriX software has a “C-STORE SCP” capability, and is therefore capable of storing incoming DICOM images into a local database.  I’ll use the DICOM data from the CT scans of the Hyrtl skulls to create 3D volume renderings using the Osirix program to emulate a PACS system (Picture Archival and Communication System) on my local drive.

The 3D renderings will then be imported into image editing programs such as Maya, Mudbox and Photoshop.  From these renderings forensic facial reconstructions will be made for the different Hyrtl subjects.  The first subject of the narrative will have their skull printed 3 dimensionally as well to create a traditional 3D forensic facial reconstruction.  Printouts will be made of one of the subject’s skulls so a 2D forensic reconstruction can be made.  But all of the characters will have digital facial reconstructions made and printed.

These reconstructions will be the basis for the figures in the dioramas.  They will beminiature versions of how the Hyrtl subjects looked in real life.  Facial expressions will be changed in Maya and Mudbox to reflect the different emotions experienced by the characters.  These different face will be printed on one of Parsons’ 3D printers and used throughout the scenes.

On “NewTek” discussion forums a usergoing by “mrxd” was having similar issues and offered some images that I’ll share with you until the Hyrtl skulls are done.  All of the images on this post are from his attemps to use the DICOM data in CT scans imported it into Lightwave to make a model.

A Precedent @ ClampArt Gallery

In Fall 2010, Thesis Research on November 19, 2010 at 8:25 pm

THE CITY
Solo Exhibition of New Work
November 4 – December 18, 2010
Opening Reception: Thursday November 4, 6 – 8 pm

ClampArt Gallery
521-531 W. 25th Street, New York City 

Constructed and photographed since 2008, the new images Lori has produced in her series The City (2005-2010), including the ‘Map Room’ (above and below), will be on display at ClampArt. While much of her early work was grounded in personal experience, the latest work is more speculation.

The City, moves indoors to a variety of architectural interiors that could be found in our own urban surroundings.  These public space lie deteriorating and neglected while later slowly reclaims them.  The reason for their decline is unclear, but the effects are not.” via ClampArt

This is her first solo show at ClampArt. Her work will then travel to Chicago for an exhibition at Catherine Edelman Gallery, January 7 – February 26, 2011.

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=17016772&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=ffffff&fullscreen=1&autoplay=0&loop=0
Details from ‘Map Room’, from “The City”, 2010, Direction & Cinematography: Joshua Priestley, Music: Kevin Jordan, via Lori Nix.