Inception, Minecraft, and Pointillism

Post date: Jul 11, 2012 7:53:46 PM

A Facebook friend posted a link to this picture by Nick Ladd (click through for original on Flickr):

This is brilliant, on so many levels. For those who don't know, it is a Minecraft-themed parody of the famous "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte" by Georges Seurat (which I have been fortunate to view in person, having visited the Art Institute of Chicago a few years back; it's also the one uptight sidekick Cameron trips out on in Ferris Bueller's Day Off). Seurat's painting is also a well-known example of a painting technique called "pointillism" where the picture is made up of tiny dots of paint, as opposed to more traditional techniques that use brush strokes.

Now, it turns out, pointillism (so I'm told, but sadly can't find a reference) help lead the way in the development of computer graphics which, as you probably know, are really just a big matrix of colored dots. And like Seurat's painting, our brains blend those discrete dots into a cohesive picture.

Which leads us to Minecraft. The Minecraft world is made up of big cubic "dots" giving a 3D pixellated vibe. Even though the mountains and trees and creepers and such in the game don't really look like their real-world counterparts (yes, I know Creepers aren't real; just go with it) our brain discerns the general shape enough that it works.

Now back around to the Inception-like nature of Ladd's painting above. We have a scene using 3D pixellated actors and objects from Minecraft, represented in a pixel-based computer image, inspired by a painting that in turn played a role in the fundamental development of computer graphics.

I dig.