How a designer turned Renaissance woodcuts into an amazing high-tech optical illusion

And now for some remarkably inventive shadowplay, courtesy of spatial artist Pablo Garcia. Using a technique he calls "profilography," the Chicago-based designer transformed a series of drawings by 16th century German artist Albrecht Dürer into one continuous facial profile — a 3D extrusion which, when formed into a closed loop, mounted on a motor driven spindle and illuminated by a lamp directed tangentially to the extrusion's curve, animates an ever-morphing series of human silhouettes.


Writes Garcia:

Studies in male profiles, from Albrecht Dürer's Vier Bücher von Menschlicher Proportion (Four Books on Human Proportion) (1528), transformed by what I call PROFILOGRAPHY-a method of tracing and extrusion through sequential profiles. The machine is made from 3D printed shells, mounted to laser-cut aluminum structure, rotating on a motorized spindle.


The end result is wonderful. And while the finished product is intriguing, Garcia's process — beginning with Dürer's profiles and finishing with a motor-driven, intricately contoured ring — is a thing of beauty in its own right. He's catalogued the process on his website; if you're the least bit interested in 3D printing, sculpture or plain old inventive design, we highly recommend checking it out.

[Pablo Garcia | vimeo]

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Where's the optical illusion?