Oct 24, 2012

Iphone5 and a matter of perspective

I find the Cheese commercial of iphone5 on local TV very interesting. Years ago Paul had his frustrating experience making panoramic image using Photoshop Elements' photomerge tool. Kind of difficult to maintain steady movement and it would be too late to do a retake after finding out the images wouldn't merge, "now that we are home". Parallel lines from different angles of perspectives are unforgiving, when they won't vanish to the same point, they won't. Perspective 101.

A student of Drawing will take his (or her) drawing board and a piece of charcoal, go to the country side, find a scenery with curves and vanishing parallel lines, preferably huts with gable roof, and off he goes with his creative drawing from a single viewing point, usually with two vanishing points where the parallels join. He is not allowed to move, because it will change his viewing point and with it a new drawing and a new perspective. In our everyday language, in particular in our democratic society, we say, "we need to hear (or see) different perspectives". And our everyday language doesn't lie.

A photomerge image intends to trick the viewer into believing that an image composed from images of multiple perspectives has been taken by a camera from a single perspective. Artists have been using this concept of multiple perspectives for a long time, most notable for those in Hong Kong is traditional Chinese landscape paintings. It is interesting to note that straight lines that might defeat the trick are seldom used in those Chinese paintings (otherwise it will be like paintings by Picasso and other Cubist painters whose artistic objectives were quite different).

The greatest challenge in art is of course not to trick the viewer but to capture the full beauty of reality for the benefit of the viewer. Monet was a genius here. In the area of multiple-perspectives, Monet insisted his mega water lily painting to be displayed in an oval room in Musée de l'Orangerie (see image below). If a viewer can stand at the centre of the curvature, turned his body slowly in either direction to scan-view the painting, he can recreate the reality of the scenery painted with multiple perspective. Monet didn't trick the viewer, he had succeeded in presenting the reality, imbued with his passion, to the viewer, and presented it in Einstein-like curved space! Of course, you have to visit the museum at odd-hours to avoid other viewers walking around.

As for iphone5's Cheese commercial, the art director did a great job in making taking a panoramic image looks so easy with iphone5 - by using a white background.


  1. Sabina gives me One BIG "buying" point for iPhone5 (even though I have to wait until my hTC1X refuses to work again!)


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