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3DVisA Index of 3D Projects: Digital Arts

Holography by Paul Scattergood
Auto-stereoscopic visualisation for digital imaging and computer modelling

Keywords: 3D, stereoscopy, holography.

The advent of digital holography has made possible the production of 3D renderings from either a physical system, using an optical camera, or a virtual camera system in an artificially generated 3D environment. This technology has been utilised to visualise architectural modelling, engineering schema (principally for the automotive industry) and to produce 3D renderings from CT scans in the medical profession. These images may be viewed without the aid of any equipment on the part of the viewer, and are displayed in the same manner as any picture. They require illumination with a halogen lamp, but otherwise remain constantly viewable while in situ.

Another advantage of the use of digital holography to produce visualisations is that a single holographic image can contain both time and motion based data, which is played out to the viewer as they study the image. This can be utilised to visualise flows of data, differing levels of an engineering or architectural model. It is thus possible to reveal relationships between different levels within the structure, or movements of objects within the image. For example, people inhabiting an architectural model can be seen to move throughout the space.


Fig. 1. Paul Scattergood. Stills from Untitled 1, 2008. Digital holographic light work, 60 x 40 cm. © Paul Scattergood 2008. Reproduced with kind permission.

The current project is an investigation into the digital and spatial materiality of 3D and illusionistic projection. Exploring the relationship between the durational aspect of image and conceptualisation of space, the project expressly analyses the role of sequentiality and consecutiveness in both production and comprehension of image.

Digital holographic practices allow for efficient inclusion of imaging and image types that would have been impossible to generate with analogue holographic optics. The foremost issue with analogue holography is that each hologram is captured in what could be described as its own bespoke ‘camera’. Each differently sized object would require significant alterations to physical and mechanical processes within this ‘camera’. This is not a factor that affects digital holography, because each digital stereogram can be produced on a relatively standardised system; the variables within the system are no longer as intricately tied to laser use within a holographic lab. The use of optically-captured parallax image sequences, utilising digital photographic processes, is a significant step. It allows for a more portable and itinerant image capture procedure that is not limited to use in darkened and motionless laboratory conditions.


Fig. 2. Paul Scattergood. Stills from Untitled 2, 2008. Digital holographic light work, 60 x 40 cm. © Paul Scattergood 2008. Reproduced with kind permission.

The latest project was filmed using a motion parallax based camera-rail system in a photographic studio, however virtual camera systems can also be utilised. The data were output as AVI files and JPEG images and subsequently edited using Photoshop and Final Cut Pro, amongst other proprietary software systems. These data were then input into the holographic systems, where a three-colour laser system (RGB) was used to optically stack the images within the holographic plate.

Project dates: Ongoing since 2008.

Resource status: The artist retains control of the master files. The holographic light works may be viewable by request or at any forthcoming exhibition.

About the artist: Paul Scattergood is a researcher currently (2008) based at the Royal College of Art in London, England. He has trained in the visual arts, creative technology and communications. His interest in, and production of holograms is part of a broad understanding of the processes associated with stereoscopic digital imaging. He works with 3D digital video systems (for stereo output) as well as Lenticular printing.


M. Richardson and P. Scattergood, 'Holography: Re-defined', in: The Handbook of Research on Computational Arts and Creative Informatics, ed. by J. Braman, G. Vincenti and G. Trajkovski, Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference. Forthcoming 2009.

P. Scattergood, 'Subject to Change Without Notice: How Advances in Modern Holography and Digital Imaging May Alter Our Understanding of Vision and Perception’, Seeing… Vision and Perception in a Digital Culture, Proceedings of the Twenty-fourth Annual Conference of CHArt, Computers and the History of Art, Birkbeck, University of London, 6-7 November 2008, Forthcoming at www.chart.ac.uk.

Information supplied by Paul Scattergood, 4 December 2008. Edited by Anna Bentkowska-Kafel. Last updated: 17 December 2008.

3DVisA gratefully acknowledges the help of Paul Scattergood with preparation of this record.

© Paul Scattergood and 3DVisA, 2008.

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