Signed Distance Illusions

Kedrick Brown | Harvard GSD SCI-6483 | May 4, 2023

Perspective illusions like M.C. Escher's Belvedere are generally well known. However, attempts to recreate such illusions in the real world quickly fall apart if a viewer moves away from the preferred perspective for the illusion.

As computers enable us to create virtual environments with nonstandard relationships between locomotion and perspective, I explore some implications of this in this project by generating a variety of interactive simulated perspective artworks.

In each artwork, three virtual points are defined behind a virtual screen surface that is defined in the z = 0 plane. I then use x and y coordinates from an input device to simulate a real world viewing location with a fixed z coordinate on the other side of that screen surface.

I use shader language algorithms in Javascript with three.js to create each artwork from these simple starting conditions.

The interactive exhibit lasts three and a half minutes and repeats after its conclusion.