Upgrading vision system OVS-0

I am right-eyed. A phenomenon also called “master eye” or “ocular dominance”.

So my left eye is the lazy one. And I don’t think it was properly treated when I was growing up. What I remember is that I saw double while reading: two images floating on top of each other. I could not fuse the two images into one “percept” of the book in front of me. I could accomplish that fusion easily for normal objects that were further away than the words on a page at arm’s length.

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Your eye is not a camera

Although sometimes credited to the Renaissance artists and engineers, the camera obscura, or pinhole camera was already used by the Chinese in the 4th century BC and the Arabs in the 10th century AD. If you have never seen one in action, you are missing out. The images have a vibrant dreamlike quality, especially when objects in the scene are moving.

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Railroad panoramas

I don’t drive. I tried to get my driver’s license several times, but I failed. The main reason is quite ironic. My control of the car was up to standards, but all the examiners stated that I lacked the perceptual abilities to safely navigate traffic. At that moment, I had spend almost half of my life studying visual perception. That knowledge apparently does not transfer to my visual skills at all.

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In perspective

Being skilled in the art of drawing a convincing scene in linear perspective is no guarantee anymore for a successful career. For roughly four centuries this was a pretty good tool to have in your kit as a visual artist – from the moment that Filippo Brunelleschi gave his demonstration of a perspective rendering of the Baptistery in Florence in 1425, right up until Joseph Nicéphore Niépce took the first photograph of a view from a window in Saint-Loup-de-Varennes in 1826.

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Pen and paper

At the start of my vacation I closed my laptop and went back to pen and paper. To get at the heart of things, nothing beats an empty sheet of paper and a clear schedule. I spent many weeks drawing objects and scenes, and deriving geometrical formulas with pen and paper. Don’t get me wrong, I am devoted to my computer and the internet. I would be totally lost without them. But each and every day, I spend my energetic and creative hours sketching and scribbling on paper.

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Three-quarter view

The three guys in the painting above are all depictions of King Charles I, painted from different viewpoints by Anthonis van Dyck in 1636. In the middle we see a frontal view (“en face”), on the left a side view (“en profile”), and the most intriguing is the one on the right: the three-quarter view (“en trois quarts”). So here is the question that has bugged me for some time. Why is it called three-quarter, or 3/4? Three quarters of what?

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2 teams, 1 ball, and 78 cameras

One of my friends is a true soccer fan and he has probably watched every single game of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. I only watch the occasional game, like yesterday when the Dutch team played Cameroon (2-1). And I have to admit I sometimes get distracted from the game itself and start studying the way it is filmed. Its truly amazing that we can now watch it from so many viewing angles, with slow-motion replays of crucial events.

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