January 30, 2015
LOS ANGELES, California – My colleagues from the USC Game Innovation Lab and I spent the morning at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) conducting the most rarest of research activities by looking closely at actual source material. We were there to see, then deconstruct*, the seminal works of the Hudson River School as represented by the exhibit Nature and the American Vision – whose aesthetics of beauty and politics are a primary reference for Walden, a game.
We scattered and swarmed; as we fell into discussion and into the world of the paintings. Our virtual ferry ride up the Hudson River was guided by the School’s founder, Thomas Cole, who shared with us his favorite vistas. We delighted in Turrell’s luminescence before returning to actual reality for lunch off a truck.
Looking back at our visit reminds me: Immersive Environments and Virtual Reality are rooted in Painting.
* Deconstructing Hudson River School Paintings
The horizon line is drawn below the center of the composition.
The foreground uses deep, rather than dark colors.
The middle-ground uses a vivid color palate, and pools of light.
Distant terrain and skies use a pastel color palate with luminous, slightly over-exposed lighting.
The lighting and color creates a sense of depth.
Including man and man-made objects provides a sense of scale.
Man is not glorified and is in harmony with nature.
Atmospheric haze softens the image, pushing focus to areas without the haze.
The Sun is rarely rendered.
The lighting and color in Painting holds detail, even in the brightest and darkest areas.
Photography can now mimic this with High Dynamic Range (HDR) technology.