If you’re a digital curator, an artist, an art historian or you’re just interested in tech, you need to watch this video. It’s about five years old now, but it’s still one of the best examples of why CGI matters to art history.
The animation was produced by animation student Jeremy Mooney-Somers, and is a proof of concept for TRP functionality (True Reverse Perspective). TRP simply inverts the traditional perspectival plane, resulting in objects far from the camera appearing larger than those in the foreground. It’s quite disorienting, partly because you’ve probably never seen something like this before, but just think - one clever nugget of code and you can upend the narrative of post-renaissance perspective. Such a shame CG is still obsessed with reproducing photographic reality!
TRP is a good entry point into the concept of the virtual camera and if you’re interested in this sort of thing, you should delve a bit further into some of the other functions available to CG camera operators. At the click of a button you can switch your camera from 35mm to a spherical, cylindrical, box, fisheye or pinhole camera. What’s more, cameras in 3D space are weightless, massless and invisible - you can go anywhere with them. Although you can rig their controls to mimic all the trappings of a traditional film camera, there’s so many more possibilities for perspective.
In my film Spherical Harmonics, I played a few tricks with cameras (link). At about 2 minutes into the film I created a little script that linked the position and rotation of the camera to the scale and rotation of a vase full of flowers.