Dezeen Magazine

CGI recreation of Damien Hirst painting takes viewers "inside" the artwork

This CGI animation, created by art studio Prudence Cuming Associates, takes viewers on a journey across the heavily textured surface of Damien Hirst's Veil of Faith painting.

London-based Prudence Cuming Associates created the movie to coincide with an exhibition of Hirst's latest series, The Veil Paintings, at the Gagosian Gallery in Los Angeles.

The animation takes viewers on a journey across one of Damien Hirst's latest paintings

The company wanted to "imagine another dimension" of Hirst's work – one that gives the feeling of being inside the painting.

"Having worked with Science and Gagosian for many years, we have always been interested in what technology can do to get the viewer closer to the artwork," said Stuart Trood, CEO of HENI, the company that Prudence Cuming Associates forms part of.

The aim was to give viewers the feeling of being inside the painting

Prudence Cuming Associates collaborated with Damien Hirst's own studio Science, as well as the Gagosian Gallery, to create an exact digital replica of the painting's undulating 3D surface.

Using a 4K-resolution camera, they captured both pull-back photographs of the painting and high-resolution macro shots of each part of the paint, in order to mimic the exact texture and shape that had been created by Hirst's paintbrush.

The team, which was made up of specialist photographers, filmmakers and VFX artists, then used a specialist visual-effects software called Flame to start stitching together each shot, creating 3D versions of each blob of paint.

"Our visual effects (VFX) creatives have yet again pushed the boundaries between reality and virtual reality, creating art inside art," said Trood.

Called Veil of Faith, the painting is currently on display as part of a Damien Hirst exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery in Los Angeles

While working on the modelling of each blob, the team started piecing together the animation, making sure the gliding movements weren't too fast or slow. The aim was to allow the viewer to be "immersed in this world" of the painting.

Using animation software Cinema4D, they were able to trace the journey of the camera. Then, to complete, they pieced together the various 3D renders using Flame finishing software, and adjusted the lighting, textures and timings to create a natural flow.

The paintings in the show features multiple layers of brushstrokes and brightly coloured dabs of thick impasto

The creators believe the result captures the sensory experience of looking directly at the painting, and shares this with a wider audience.

"Our VFX creatives worked closely with Science on a storyboard that would transport the viewer gradually from the depths of an intriguing fantasy landscape, only pulling out at the end to reveal the whole painting," added Trood.

Damien Hirst is one of Britain's leading contemporary artists, best known for works including The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living and the Spot paintings.

The Veil Paintings is on display at Gagosian Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, until 14 April 2018.

They all feature multiple layers of brushstrokes and brightly coloured dabs of thick impasto, which reference the pointillist, impressionist and abstract expressionist art movements.