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As I experimented with AR and painting I soon realised that the most impressive visual experience occurred when there was a smooth transition between the target or real world image and the digital content.
This is the reason why my paintings are 16:9 aspect ratio ie the same ratio as my video. For example, I have paintings 32 x 18 cm, 90 x 51 cm, 98 x 55 cm and so on. Although I could crop my video to any size* and therefore change the dimensions of my paintings I’ve grown quite fond of the 16:9 painting ratio and so I will probably continue like this for at least a little longer.
Morphing is the other technology that helps with the smooth transition. I love watching people experiencing my AR artwork for the first time with that simultaneous look of confusion and wonder appearing on the face as they realise what is happening. Morphing plays a big part in this. Whether you’re an abstract or realist painter, or anything in between, morphing will help to create a visually powerful AR experience for your viewers.
Initially I outsourced the morphing work to someone on fiverr (it costs about £3.50/morph) but eventually I purchased Abrosoft FantaMorph Pro Photo Morphing Software for about £40 (Standard package £20). It’s really easy to use and I have complete control over the final product.
To break it down very quickly, I begin my paintings not with paint or brush or even a sketchbook but with a video camera. I produce a short video and then take the first still image of the video to inspire the painting. There are loads of excellent and inexpensive video editing packages but I currently use PowerDirector, which costs about £45. After I’ve finished the painting, I photograph it and in Photoshop I crop it and, if necessary, stretch the image to make sure it’s still a 16:9 ratio if the camera didn’t capture it perfectly. Then I morph the painting into the still image and add the morph into the beginning of the video. I produce the morph in the video with about a one second still image delay and a two second morph transition (see above example).
And that’s it! Upload your painting (target image) and your video with Creativmuse, add your website or social media links to the buttons option and you now have a very impressive augmented reality painting that will amaze all your friends and, hopefully, potential patrons!
* I use VLC, a free and open source cross-platform multimedia player and framework, to crop my videos. You can watch a short tutorial video that demonstrates how to use VLC to crop and save your video.