Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Trompe L’Oeil and the Brain, 3

Trompe l’oeil is sometimes referred to as perspectival illusionism. A comparable illusion to Trompe-l’oeil is found in forced perspective, a technique employed to make an object appear farther away, closer, or larger or smaller than it actually is. Used primarily in filmmaking, photography, and architecture, it manipulates human visual perception by using scaled objects and the correlation between them and the vantage point of the spectator or camera. You’ve likely seen this in a variety of movies and may not have realized what was happening. For example, Wikipedia points out that this technique was utilized in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring with some enhancements for use in moving shots. Portions of sets were mounted on movable platforms that would move precisely according to the movement of the camera, so that the forced perspective would be preserved for the duration of the shot. The same techniques were used in the Harry Potter movies to make the character Hagrid appear to be a giant. Props around Harry and his friends are of normal size, while seemingly identical props placed around Hagrid are in fact much smaller. More tomorrow.

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