Raphael Perret

Raphael Perret is another artist who has produced rapid prototypes of bodies in motion. In his case both small and life size renderings of Mestre Corisc, a Capoeiro artist. Rapheal states that his specific interest is in the personal usage of space and the ability to cultivate and develop that usage from the habitual to the skillfully considered.

His goal was to produce the sculpture in lifesize as a positive and negative. The latter meaning a solid block with the movement carved into the material. So the visitor can crawl into the space and explore the space of the body from inside.

Motion tracking was used to record the motion and then this was applied to a 3d body model.

Raphael discusses three technical approaches to the task in an interesting essay on his website:

“theoretically, the innumerable stages of the movement could be added up by means of a so-called Boolean Join Operation. If, however, the volumes are not saved after each step, the computer is bound to crash after a short time. The second approach would be a virtual version of Schlemmers soft, plastic material, also called volumetric pixels, or voxels. The voxel is a three-dimensional equivalent to a pixel and is used to transform 3-D surfaces into an evenly screened bitmap. This means that out of voxels, the exterior volume of an avatar could be calculated, which would again accumulate an enormous amount of data. Much more elegant is the third approach. On each vertex of the avatar a particle is placed, which produces a point cloud while the movement is progressing. By employing this point cloud, a net of polygons can be construed.”

The third elegant approach was used, giving the project its name – BodyCloud. I think the technique is to cull interior points and then wrap a surface around the remainder. The resulting sculpture has a smoothness (oddly like squeezed toothpaste) which brings out the rhythmic dance and grace of the action. Raphael rendered several mini sculptures and showed them at Kinetica this year. You can read about the project on his website.

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