« TOP Camera of the Year 2009 | Main | Deals o' the Day »

Monday, 11 January 2010


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Beautiful piece of work, at least to my eye. I ran across this a few days ago, and have been pushing it on as many architectural photographers I'm aware of. I don't fully understand the creator's motivation behind it, but I can only describe it as love letter from a filmmaker and talented CGI artist to architectural photographers and their art and discipline.

Not to mention that it appears to be 100% CGI, which blows my mind.

Simply astounding- thanks for diverting me from my work on putting together a fairly mundane, in comparison, wedding album. The only place it grated for me was when the wind turbines started turning the wrong way. Then again, it proved it was CGI. Absolutely beautiful.

An absolutely wonderful, photographic soak.

I doubt I have ever seen selective focus so graphically displayed in video.


Not to mention that it appears to be 100% CGI, which blows my mind.

Mine, too.


If you don't believe it is CGI then here is how it was done:


Simply incredible.


I'm not sure it's all CG, looks like the Phillips Exter Acadamy library building plus CG extrapolations.

"This is a soak" What does that mean exactly? For me the film is wet and dippy and meaningless. Also how it was made is irrelevant if it communicates nothing (to me).

Isn't that building where the white panels come out like a wing a real building? Looks like a mixture of real and CGI. Even so, wonderfully seamless and the music is beautiful.

I'll have to check this out later. The title makes me think of the blues.

Here's an interview with Alex Roman:


Sorry guys, gave it my best. I really wanted to like it, a lot. Cool cameras, cool vistas, cool... but it felt like one, very long, luxury car commercial- without the car.

Thanks for sharing. Saw it a bit earlier having obtained the reference from another source. Wonderfully artful and tranquil...

The main score for the short is from the film Gattaca which has some of the most beautiful cinematography and architecture I've seen in a film, it's a great tale of triumph over adversity and just as beautiful a piece of story telling as the Seventh and the Third is. Looking at the short I'd say it must have been in some way inspired by the motion picture, even the photographer in the short is dressed for Gattaca.

The track is Michael Nyman's The Departure, the original score is much better than the one in the short but still a perfect piece of music for a such a fine film.

Wow. Beautiful...

I hate to think for how long it must have rendered. :)

And yes, you can see it's CGI in some places. Like the trees. They were apparently intended to be birches. But then, the tree system gave them an all wrong trunk shape. :)

Still, it's beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

I disagree.
It is way to chinzy for being a reflection on architecture. This is what trendy and "how-to-be-the-male-of-the-year" glossy magazines want to portrait as architecture. Not good.

Too onanistic. Self satisfactory. A CGI engineers dream, so to speak.

"Isn't that building where the white panels come out like a wing a real building?"

Yes, it appear to be the Milwaukee Art Museum. There are several interiors based on the same building--the scene where the cloud appears indoors is in the main atrium.


Yes, it appears to be the Milwaukee Art Museum.

To be more precise, it's the Burke brise soleil (sun-breaker, or a shade) on the Quadracci pavilion of the MAM. It's a beautiful building.

It is 100% CGI alright. The buildings may exist in real life, but what you see are modified 3D models of same. As such, it is a state of the art CGI project, showing what one man can do in a years time of 3D max fiddling. As a photographer and 'seer' though, I must say that the selective focus orgy gives me a headache, and the whole thing is more of a CGI demonstration than a piece of art in its own right, unfortunately.

Very beautiful. I wasn't surprised to see the score was based, in part, on a piece by Michael Nyman.

The creator (Alex Roman) commented on the Vimeo page:

"I think i must make it clear. There are a few non-CG elements in the shortfilm: photographer (shot on greenscreen), pigeons, timelapsed growing flowers, flying airplane and sky backgrounds."

The buildings and most of the scenery are indeed computer models.

Brilliant. Absolutely stunning. Watching is quite a zen-like experience. Thanks for posting it!

I am shocked, shocked, that Mike even linked to this abomination. Why, in the first 3:30 there is bright-ring bokeh in practically every shot ;-)

Seriously, this does make me very curious how those lens-focus effects are rendered. Do CG wizards get into shoving matches over which ray-tracing engine is smoothest in the OOF areas?

You can design the lens faults both in Max, Maya, Cheetah and Premiere. They are not really the problem there. The main problem for CGI is the ligthing and the mapping.

The first nine minutes and thirty seconds where utterly intriguing - from then on he ruined the whole piece by making it totally obvious!

Less is more in this case...........

Voxphoto, an interesting question. A couple of years ago, while I was still active in 3D, I protested against a plugin or whatever it was on a 3D forum.

You see, that particular piece of software could produce vignetting and flare and some other flaws in renders. My position was, us photographers try to eradicate the flaws as much as possible and you're introducing them? Well, they wanted to match rendered material with real footage and what not...

As to the best renderer, there's an interesting bit (hah!) of software called Maxwell Render. It apparently uses physically accurate lighting models, so it produces quite realistic images. And was the slowest renderer, of course. :)

Quarrelling about bokeh makes no sense in 3D cause they can get any bokeh they want. Maybe they even invented the double bokeh by now, to achieve the sense of "reality"...

Interesting list of "Camera Features" in Maxwell Render, erlik!

Here we all are geeking out about 9 curved aperture blades for smoother bokeh; while that software lets you pick a nice ugly hexagon if you want it.

"The first nine minutes and thirty seconds where utterly intriguing - from then on he ruined the whole piece by making it totally obvious!"

Well, he had me fooled. Obviously some of it had to be CGI but I figured it was mostly real but spiced up with the odd bit of computer wizardry. To say I was surprised when I read the comments is an understatement. All in all, it was a stunning video.

Holy god, web art video has come of age.

Not being a CGI artist, I have a question. How is this piece 100% CG animation when I'm looking at existing spaces (inside & out) of The Milwaukee Art Museum and Phillips Exter Academy Library? Would this not suggest that what we're seeing is perhaps CGI modified? Any idea how the materials for the "modified 3D models" were sourced (large format photography; cinematography)? Am I misunderstanding what the artist means by a "FULL CG animated piece" or what modeling is in general?
That aside, it's one of the most beautiful pieces I have ever seen. Absolutely stunning!

"The buildings and most of the scenery are indeed computer models."

I am afraid many of the buildings are not computer models.

There is extensive footage shot inside the German Pavillon in Barcelona, including its original Mies van der Rohe chairs, which the architect designed for that location. A must see when in Barcelona.

A less known location featured in this movie is the Shiba Ryotaro Museum in Osaka. This superb library mock-up was build by architect Tadao Ando to commemorate a famous Japanese writer. (From my own experience I know that the place is not only difficult to find but also rather frustrating for photographers as you are not allowed to take pictures inside.)

The black house nestled in the woods is a week-end residence build by architect Satoshi Okada near mount Fuji. This private place is featured in many books dealing with modern architecture.

Other buildings were already identified. My guess is that all buildings in this movie are real.

CMS, please re-read the discussion above. They are computer models of real buildings. In the "making of" footage you can watch the modeling process in action.

"They are computer models of real buildings."

Matt, thank you. I got the point.

I am stunned by the incredible amount of work going into this modeling activity. For me it difficult to understand why this effort was made, as most if not all of the movie could have been realized with a camera in a conventional way. The surrealist elements, such as clouds forming inside buildings, books flying around and lanterns taking off, could easily have been added in post processing.

Perhaps the method by which the movie was made reflects my impression when viewing it: both fascinating and pointless.

This shouldn't be read as a dismissal of Alex Roman's work. He visibly is a master of his craft and has a very fine graphic sense. He should have a great future.

The comments to this entry are closed.



Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2007