In 1909, the futurist poet Marinetti in their manifesto expressed a call for the celebration of speed, youth and aggression. Since then, artists like Duchamp, Muybridge, Balla and others have tried to closely imitate the sense of motion in their works. Their works reflected the beauty of graceful movements of human and animal body, ana a better understanding, ergo, representation of it. Their illustrations were modest derivations of ‘chrono’ (time) photography. Their photographs, paintings, etc attempted to eliminate the phenomenon of smooth pursuit of the eye; incorporated the depiction of visual frames or after images (lags), giving the illusion of movement in an otherwise static piece. Additionally, the object of interest may have been peaked by invention of the motion camera at the same time. No wonder there are fundamental similarities between the works of the photographs of Éntienne Jules Marey like the Running Man and Marcel Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2.
Despite their initial mistrust, the Futurists came to embrace photography with infectious enthusiasm (read more).
OBSERVATIONS OF OBJECT AND CAMERA
As objects in a scene move, an image of that scene must represent an integration of all positions of those objects, as well as the camera's viewpoint, over the period of exposure determined by the shutter speed. In such an image, any object moving with respect to the camera will look blurred or smeared along the direction of relative motion. This smearing may occur on an object that is moving or on a static background if the camera is moving. In a film or television image, this looks natural because the human eye behaves in much the same way.
Without this simulated effect each frame shows a perfect instant in time (analogous to a camera with an infinitely fast shutter), with zero motion blur. This is why a video game with a frame rate of 25-30 frames per second will seem staggered, while natural motion filmed at the same frame rate appears rather more continuous. Many modern video games feature motion blur, especially vehicle simulation games.
There are two main methods used in video games to achieve motion blur: cheaper full-screen effects, which typically only take camera movement (and sometimes how fast the camera is moving in 3-D Space to create a radial blur) into mind, and more "selective" or "per-object" motion blur, which typically uses a shader to create a velocity buffer to mark motion intensity for a motion blurring effect to be applied to or uses a shader to perform geometry extrusion.
When an animal's eye is in motion, the image will suffer from motion blur, resulting in an inability to resolve details. To cope with this, humans generally alternate between saccades (quick eye movements) and fixation (focusing on a single point). Saccadic masking makes motion blur during a saccade invisible. Similarly, smooth pursuit allows the eye to track a target in rapid motion, eliminating motion blur of that target instead of the scene.
The motion blur due to camera movement can be broken down into four distinct types of motion:
Rotation, so that the image sweeps across the sensor. This is dependent on focal length - will be strongest with telephoto or longer focal lengths, and less noticeable with short or wide-angle lenses.
Rotation about the lens axis, so that the image twists on the sensor. This is unaffected by focal length (but can still be reduced by a faster shutter speed).
Sideways or vertical sliding motion. For the same subject magnification, this is unaffected by focal length. Hence if a wide-angle lens is used close to the subject, to give the same framing as a telephoto lens far from the subject, the amount of blur is the same.
Back and forth motion towards or away from the subject. Only really important at macro distances, not a problem for a distant subject with a tele-lens, but could be a problem for close ups, regardless of focal length.
When I was working as the member of the photography team at my undergraduate college, we were introduced to the idea of motion blur techniques using the photos of extreme sports like racing cars and ski shots. Since then I have always associated speed with cars and sports. And if one looks at the history of automobile industry, engine upgrade has led to increasing fast passenger vehicles being driven on the streets. Hence, this thought extrapolated to the idea of a future, where the boundaries of vehicular speed would have extended beyond human perception and the highways will look like a carnival of neon trail lights. So, the question was how to represent this idea as a sculpture?
The idea was nothing new and I eventually realized that. In fact the futurist painter Luigi Russolo had already made an artwork named Dynamism of an Automobile, 1911 on similar lines. Similarly the motion of a human was captured in a sculpture by Italian artist Umberto Boccioni. These artworks inspired me to create a small scale wire-frame model of a Ferrari 480 F1 car’s and draw tangential lines across its surface, much like the drawing shown above. The result was not as impressive as I had hoped but lots of things were to be taken forward!
COMPUTER VISION AND MOTION BLUR
As a former computer science engineer, I sometimes crave to exercise my coding skills. And this idea of motion blur was something I wanted to capture on my device. How would the world look like if our brain did not perform saccadic masking and defragmentation. Things would be followed by their past self, fast motions would be impossible to see and reality would be a dizzy experience. These ideas were easy to describe and visualize mentally, but I decided to use to programming to better visualize it. Below is a clip of the visualization implemented in Processing. This can be easily installed on an Android device.
ZEOTROPE AND MOTION BLUR
The effect of motion and blur are the fundamental building blocks of motion pictures. One of the earliest example of this is a zeotrope. The artifact has a nostalgic and playful feel to it and I selected it as a medium to develop my concept of ‘futuristic high-speed world’ in its lines. I wanted to give my audience a feel of this world but did not want the experience to be overwhelming. It had to be completely under their control.
Hence came the idea of this ‘zeotropic umbrella’ like structure, made with reflective acrylic components, in which a user could enter and rotate (speed variable and controllable) using a regulator. The reflections would bounce between the surfaces of the installation and maybe induce the feel of standing in the middle of a kaleidoscope. It might sound dangerous to stand under this installation, and the alternative was to place a 360˚ camera and create a VR experience out of the same.