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Life Mimicking Art

When I was commissioned to build three MCM benches for the art department at UNC Asheville I created a 3D mock-up and V-Ray ray traced image on top of an actual photo of the empty corridor where they would be placed.

Before I started on the build of these benches, I asked the school to send me a photo of the space where the benches would ultimately rest:

Once we agreed on the design and materials, I built a model in Sketchup and recreated the camera settings (focal point, aperture, Etc) and superimposed my 3D model using those settings, treating the 2d photo that I was sent as if it was a 3D environment:

Luckily, V-Ray comes with a great library of people in various poses so this was easy to do. I added lighting and realistic shadows by creating 3D surfaces to represent the floor and walls so they can catch the light reflection and shadows.

A recreation

Fast forward: a few weeks after the benches were completed, shipped and installed, I was surprised to get an email from the school with the following attachment:

What an incredibly nice gesture! Kudos to the students at UNC for staging a replica of my 3D rendering in real life only this time they were posing by the benches I hand crafted. They even posed in the exact stances as my digital models! Now that’s talent!

Want to learn more about this project?

Check out the series of videos documenting the build: from wood selection all the way through unpacking and installation by visiting my YouTube Channel.

Here is the build article for the benches.

Thank you very much Prof Eric Tomberlin for your enthusiastic support of the craft of fine woodworking. Check out his emotive photography which shines a light on humanity’s challenges.
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