Transforming Still Life Painting Transforming Still Life Painting

Animating a 400-Year-Old Painting in Maya

Many artists have animated famous paintings before, but the husband-and-wife artistic team Rob and Nick Carter have taken it to a whole other level. They created a a three-hour animated version of an Ambrosius Bosschaert still life painting from 1618:

Every aspect of Bosschaert’s painting has been brought to life including each flower stem, insect and background scenery. The film…takes the painted scene from early morning darkness through to noon (where the film exactly resembles the original painting) into dusk and late night.

They worked with a team of nearly two dozen artists from the vfx house Moving Picture Company where they first recreated all of the painting’s elements in Maya. Then they spent two-and-a-half years animating the film. If you go to Rob and Nick’s website and click on #10, you can get a taste of the exceedingly subtle and meditative quality of the real-time animation.

This article in Computer Arts offers more details of the challenges involved in creating such a slow-paced animated sequence. The digital artwork, titled “Transforming Still Life Painting,” is being released in an edition of 12 (plus 5 artist proofs). Each one is valued at £50,000 ($80,000). The Mauritshuis Museum in The Hague, which houses Bosschaert’s original painting, has already agreed to acquire one of the Carters’ digital reproductions for its collection.

(Thanks, Alex Rannie)