THE BIG PRO­JECT Draw a line in the sand

Armed with lit­tle more than a lawn rake and his lap­top, James Pater­son heads to the sea­side to ex­plain how to make anamor­phic sand art

NPhoto - - Nikon Skills -

An anamor­phic il­lu­sion is a pic­ture or scene that only makes sense from a sin­gle van­tage point. It’s an eye-catch­ing vis­ual trick that’s been used by artists for cen­turies in ev­ery­thing from clas­si­cal art right through to those ad­verts we’ve all seen that are painted onto sports pitches.

To celebrate N-Photo’s 50th is­sue, we’ve used the ‘N’ from our logo as the ba­sis of our own anamor­phic il­lu­sion. From any po­si­tion other than that of the cam­era, the ‘N’ looks dis­torted, but when it’s viewed from this sin­gu­lar po­si­tion, ev­ery­thing sud­denly clicks into place.

Over the next few pages, we’ll ex­plain how to cre­ate anamor­phic ef­fects to trick the eye into be­liev­ing an un­nat­u­ral per­spec­tive, if only for a split sec­ond. You need a large clear ex­panse of ground, and a way to mark it with a de­sign. A sandy beach is per­fect, so we headed off to one of the UK’s best for our shoot. Bam­burgh Castle pro­vides a stun­ning back­drop for our sand art here.

You can scratch the shapes in the wet sand with a rake, but that’s the

The chal­lenge is to mark out the ex­act po­si­tion of each point in the de­sign so that you can draw the shape… It’s an in­volved pro­ject, and ideally you need at least two peo­ple

easy part. The chal­lenge is to mark out the ex­act po­si­tion of each point in the de­sign so that you can draw the shape in per­spec­tive. To do this, you need to do some­thing that feels a lit­tle wrong: bring a lap­top to the beach! You can then tether the lap­top to the cam­era to get a Live View feed, and over­lay a semi-trans­par­ent de­sign on top us­ing third-party teth­er­ing soft­ware. Then, us­ing the on-screen feed as a guide, you can plot out the cor­ner points of the de­sign on the sand with pegs and string.

It’s an in­volved pro­ject, and ideally you need at least two peo­ple to pull it off, but the re­sults are play­ful and eye-catch­ing. And the beauty of it is, once you know how it’s done, you can cre­ate any shape you like.

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