Hiking the trails in Vancouver we encounter bears, cougars and coyotes. We know how to respond to each one to stay safe. However, what would happen if dinosaurs were thrown into the mix? How would we relate to them? This was the simple premise for my project; assuming that dinosaurs still roamed the earth, how we would interact with dinosaurs on a day-to-day basis in an urban environment?
A simple premise but very difficult to implement. I started with miniature educational dinosaur models which I planned to enlarge digitally and integrate into urban backgrounds. I realized right away that I would need the flexibility to reposition the dinosaurs any way I wanted so I could photograph them at the correct angle for the scene they were being embedded in. This meant working with 3D digital models. Thus began a long, slow, challenging process learning to create and work with 3D models. I discovered a computer program called Metashape which would allow me to take many 2D photos of an object from different sides and heights and the program would process all the 2 dimensional photos into one 3D object. Another program, Meshmixer allowed me to fix up some errors produced in the 3D creation process. Viewers won’t get a sense of 3 dimensional dinosaur objects from the photographs. The 3D object just gave me the flexibility to reposition the dinosaur at any angle that was compatible with the background scene.
The next step was to use Photoshop to position the dinosaurs into the urban backgrounds that I felt produced a natural overall feel to the image. An additional advantage of working with 3D models was that when I blended the dinosaur object into the background I could light it anyway I wanted and add color to the light to match the color of the existing light. I could also render the dinosaur with natural looking shadows.
As I learned through the project some dinosaurs were friendly and harmless and could be fed by hand and other formed various levels of risk and had to be avoided.