“Then and Now” Techniques, Part II

Mar 28 2010

In 1813, the architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe did a quick sketch of the US Capitol being built. We used this sketch as a test to see how non-photorealistic rendering styles (a technical term meaning painterly or illustrative) could work to visualize the early city of Washington DC.  The first impulse for doing re-creations is to make them look photo-realistic.  It can be argued, however, that presenting the past in an illustrative style better conveys the uncertainties of re-creation.   The animation test is included here.

Ryan Zuber, animator at the Imaging Research Center at UMBC, used a rough 1790 terrain mesh of Capitol Hill and applied all of Latrobe’s sketched lines to it. He built the needed buildings and trees in 3D and used 2D effects to render them. The camera moves through the scene and ends up on Pennsylvania Avenue moving through the rows of poplar trees that Thomas Jefferson had planted when he was President.

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