CGI Idea: Reconstructing existing prints


About “Personal Computer Graphics” project:

This is part of “Personal Computer Graphics” project. The project seeks new ways of CGI expression in the era when people can make realistic CGI for free and for personal, by an open source softwares such as Blender.

It must be different from commercial projects like Pixar animation or hollywood movie or promotion videos of companies, which use expensive CGI software like Maya.
Expression of these commercial products is restricted by needs for raising funds, making a profit from mass market, and team management.
One of the characteristics of “Personal Computer Graphics” is freedom from such limitation.

The project is integrated in the Gitbook:
The Practice of “Personal Computer Graphics” with Blender.


Reconstructing existing prints:

This is a kind of cutting-paper artwork in 3D.
Although commercial CGIs in similar art form already exist, the cutting-paper in 3D can be free and easy if you use existing prints, such as historical picture of art.

So it is a form of personal project for fun in CGI.



Assemble prints by a concept:

Print itself usually has a primary concept. When you reconstruct prints, it’s better to make a different concept from original.

When you can’t come up with a concept in the first place, there is a way for prototyping: Putting together prints which are in different area in a picture. And after that, see the result and think a concept for it by the common point, and refine it.


Respect original prints:

In the kind of project, you often cut and paste prints which other persons made. someone would feel being insulted by the reconstruction.
To avoid the unintended consequence, There are some tips.

  • Avoid copyrighted art. It may not need to mention, though. Instead, out-of-copyright historical art is a good source for such kind of project.
  • Parodies from other cultural area are sometimes regarded as insulting. So it is safe to avoid using prints other than of your cultural region, unless it is regarded human’s common cultural assets such as Mona Liza.
  • Don’t be vulgar. Even If you use uncopyrighted prints, the concept and result need respect the original.


Applying physical effect:

The reconstruction of prints is implemented in 3 dimensional space. Therefore, applying 3-D specific effect is very effective for such project.

Cloth simulation can drop and drape a picture over a object, like soft melting pocket watch in Salvador Dalí’s “The Persistence of Memory”.
The_Persistence_of_Memorysmoke simulation can make smoke or smear of ink in resulted image.
Light and shadow can affect color on cut pictures reflected by their 3-D position.


How to reconstruct them:

Reconstructing paint in Blender is quite easy in essence: Import images in 3D view, then cut and put the images at will.

1.Import images as planes:

Importing image as plane in Blender can be achieve by “Import Images as Planes” addon.
First, activate “Import-Export: Import Images as Planes” in User Preferences > Add-ons.
Then in Files > import > “Images as Planes”, select image file to import the image as plane in Blender.

2.Cut the image plane:

After selecting a image plane, go to edit mode and use knife tool  in the left tool shelf to cut part of the plane.

3.Arrange planes:

Repeat the process: import, cut, and put planes at will.


Case Studies:



The images are Katsushika Hokusai’s print series “36 Views of Mount Fuji”. I cut some of them and put it all together in one picture, which I call “one view of Mount Fuji”.

I used cloth simulation for hanging cloth on the bridge.
And I also used smoke simulation for smoke near the mountain.

The reason why I used smoke is to make arcs go toward the mountain Fuji. There are many arcs to the mountain in this picture: the wave, the bridge, the edge of cliff, and the mast.
Since I wanted to make one more arc for the composition, i added the smoke near the mountain.[1]




The original blog post: Blender CGI: “One View of Mount Fuji” made of Hokusai’s prints – Gappy Facets.

Series Navigation<< Blender users should make “Personal Computer Graphics”CGI Idea: Using pictures around us with bump/displacement >>
One Comment

Leave a Reply