Have you ever wanted to eliminate the distracting background from sculpture photographed on-site? Cutting out the background can be very easy or a bit challenging, depending on how complex the image is. The magic wand tool can be a very effective tool when your background is simple in nature.
1. Select the magic wand tool from the toolbar.
2. Click on the area you want to sample. The magic wand will outline the area with flashing dotted lines.
3. Initially, the magic wand may only pick up some of the background. Use the sub-tools to add or subtract to the selection and continue clicking on the areas to add until the sculpture is isolated.
4. Use the Exposure tool to adjust the background to white or black, pulling it to the far right for white or far left for black.
5. You may need to use the clone tool to clean-up areas that the magic wand tool missed.
Princeton University holds a stellar collection of modern sculpture by artists such as Alexander Calder, Frank Gehry, Sol LeWitt, Henry Moore, Pablo Picasso, and Louis Comfort Tiffany to name only a few. These works are installed on Princeton’s campus, and the Princeton University Art Museum recently launched a new mobile website called Campus Art to facilitate users who wish to explore their outdoor works in situ.
The website explains the goal of the web project:
Campus Art at Princeton enhances the educational and visceral experience of art and sculpture on campus for students, the local community, and visitors alike. Visitors can hear the voices of Museum curators and experts involved behind the scenes, including fabricators, installers, conservators, and photographers. For some of the works, architects and historians contextualize the art in relation to surrounding architecture and University history. Users can browse a light box of images or take walking tours using an interactive map divided into five campus neighborhoods. As new works are installed and new perspectives added, the site will continue to evolve.
The website allows users to browse through thumbnails of installation photography, by artist name, or by “neighborhood” (the five different geographic areas of Princeton’s campus). The record for each artwork in the collection includes robust data about the work, some historical context, a map of its location, and an audio file of a curator narrating something significant about the work.
For more information, explore Princeton’s Campus Art project.
The Museum of Modern Art recently launched a website for the Complete Prints & Books of Louise Bourgeois (1911–2010), who was best known for her sculpture but focused on printmaking throughout her career, often using it as a tool for her creative process. In 1990, Bourgeois donated the full archive of her printed work to MoMA, about 3,500 sheets. The new website so far contains about 400 images, but will eventually grow to contain all all 3,500 prints and will serve as the definitive scholarly work on Bourgeois, highlighting the relationships between the artist’s prints, drawings, and sculptures.
The feature-rich website, which is largely organized by theme and technique, allows users to zoom in on works, save works to a folder, and compare works in a new feature that allows users to view two related works side-by-side. The website also includes robust data about the works, including commentary, publication information, and background information on Bourgeois’ projects.
The website also allows users to download the catalogue The Prints of Louise Bourgeois in its entirety, which was published by MoMA in 1994. For more information and to explore the collection, visit Louise Bourgeois: The Complete Prints & Books
Two archaeologists at Harvard University’s Semitic Museum have begun using 3D-scanning and 3D printing to repair a ceramic artifact that was partially destroyed 3,000 years ago during an attack by the Assyrian army. They envision that this kind of work will be useful for conservation, research, and teaching purposes. The archaeologists describe their project:
Using a process called photomodeling, the Harvard team photographed sculpture fragments in the museum’s collection from hundreds of angles to create 3-D renderings of each piece, then meshed them together to form a semi-complete 3-D model of the original artifact. They compared the digital model to scans of full statues found in the same location, noting the gaps and creating the missing pieces and support structures out of 3-D printed parts and CNC carved foam. The technique worked successfully: The reconstituted sculpture will be displayed at the museum when this gallery is reinstated in 2014-15, but will likely be online well before that.
From the New York Times’ ArtsBeat:
Chinese archaeologists have unearthed 110 new terra-cotta soldiers of the kind that stunned the world in the 1970s when thousands of such figures were discovered at Xian in central China, part of a tomb army built to guard China’s first emperor in the afterlife.
Agence France-Presse reported that the newly excavated life-size warriors were found near the Qin emperor Ying Zheng’s mausoleum over the course of three years and that archaeologists also uncovered 12 pottery horses and parts of chariots, as well as weapons and tools.
A recent profile in the New York Times showcases two artists, working inside and outside academia, who both believe that “better visualization leads to better thinking.” Sculptor Nathalie Miebach “translates weather data and other scientific measurements into three-dimensional objects that accurately display temperature variations, barometric pressure and moon phases, among other things.” Matthew McCrory uses 3-D display to help scientists at Northwestern University visualize their data:
“Undergrads in front of a big 3-D display? They’re going to be pulled in.” But that’s just the beginning. “We are translating computational theoretical data that could not be seen in any other way,” he continued. “Astronomy, chemistry, biology — there isn’t any place we can’t touch.”
Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851-1951 is the first authoritative study of sculptors, related businesses and trades investigated in the context of creative collaborations, art infrastructures, professional networks and cultural geographies. This database is the main outcome of the research and contains over 50,000 records about sculptural practice. The information has been entered so that the numerous connections between different areas of practice can be explored. To read more about the research programme click here or to view some sample searches click here.
A mobile interface is also available.
Last week CLAROS launched its first public web-based search interface, allowing users to discover digital resources from multiple collections of international art at once. Emphasis is placed on the art of Ancient Greece and Rome.
Based at the e-Research Centre in Oxford, CLAROS is an international research collaboration to enable simultaneous searching of major collections of digital material about archaeology and art in university research institutes and museums. It contains material from a wide range of data partners, including the Beazley Archive, various digital archives in the Ashmolean Museum, the Arachne archive, the Lexicon of Greek Personal Names, and the Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae, recording over 2 million objects, places, photographs, and people.
CLAROS provides keyword searching as well as browsing based on category, place, period, text and collection. It also performs reverse image searches of pottery and sculpture. This means users can upload an image or point to an image on the web and CLAROS will try to match it with those in the collections.
Via CLAROS: The World of Art on the Semantic Web
This week PBS aired a new episode of their television program Secrets of the Dead in which producer Steve Talley explores the life-sized terracotta warriors of China:
This clay army of 8,000 including infantry, archers, generals and cavalry was discovered by archaeologists in 1974 after farmers digging a well near the Chinese city of Xian unearthed pieces of clay sculpted in human form.
An amazing archaeological find, the terracotta warriors date back more than two thousand years. But what was the purpose of this army of clay soldiers? Who ordered its construction? How were they created? Secrets of the Dead investigates the story behind China’s Terracotta Warriors and documents their return to former glory for the first time.
The episode is now available online.