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Eric Shackle Writes: 3D Artist

Pavement artist Julian Beever takes advantage of the way the human brain sees the world to impart an astonishing 3D effect to his drawings, as Eric Shackle reveals.

There's a rich trove of fascinating facts and entertaining reading in Eric's e-book: www.bdb.co.za/shackle

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3D artist's Dazzling Display of Depth

Thousands of passers-by in the real world, and millions of internet surfers have been astonished by the remarkable 3D drawings of talented pavement (sidewalk in US) artist Julian Beever. Its almost imossible to believe they're actually presented on a flat surface.

Vaughan Bell, of Cardiff (Wales) University's School of Psychology, says:

"Julian Beever is a street artist who takes advantage of the way the brain understands the world to create some amazing artwork.The brain works out our 3D experience of the world from the 2D light patterns that fall onto our retina at the back of the eye.

This process takes advantage of many of our implicit assumptions of the world, such as the fact that textures will fade as they go farther away, parallel lines will tend to converge in the distance and that objects will seem larger the closer they are.''

Julian Beever's art uses a knowledge of these processes, so when seen from a certain angle, the pictures fool the visual system's inbuilt processes to produce a false sense of depth.

When seen from an alternative angle, the illusion breaks down, and it's possible to see how the artwork was created.

"Julian Beever has made pavement drawings for over ten years," says a story on the artist's website. " He has worked in the U.K., Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Germany, the USA and Australia. The UK-based artist specialises in pavement drawings, wall murals, and traditional paintings.

"The pavement drawings have included both renderings of old masters plus a wealth of original inventive pieces of work."

Turning to other visual illusions, Michael Bach's website in Germany claims to be attracting two million hits a day. It shows rotating circles and other colorful patterns which make you dizzy when you look at them.

"These pages demonstrate visual phenomena, called optical illusions or visual illusions." he says. "The latter is more appropriate, because most effects have their basis in the visual pathway, not in the optics of the eye...

"Most visitors of this site are not vision scientists, so you might find the explanatory attempts too highbrow. That is not on purpose, but vision research just is not trivial, like any science. So, if the explanationsounds like rubbish, simply enjoy the phenomenon."

Julian Beever's website http://users.skynet.be/J.Beever/
Julian Beever's pavement drawings users.skynet.be/J.Beever/pave.htm
View as sideshow
Mind Hacks http://www.mindhacks.com/blog/2005/06/optical_street_art_o.html
Michael Bach's rotating circles http://www.michaelbach.de/ot/index.html


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