Perfectly Rendered

It seems ironic that so much effort has gone into simulation of optically perfect, photo-realistic glass, while real glass in art rarely achieves, or even attempts, the perfection shown in synthetic images.

At the same time, it seems odd that glass has been such a fertile subject for computer graphics artists, yet similar pollination has not occurred from the computer arts back into physical glass arts.

When glassblower Daniel Schreiber and sci-vis researcher William Ray considered these facts, the Looking Glass collaboration project was born. Their work explores the synergy between CG and glass arts.

The Utah teapot has become an icon in the field of computer graphics. In returning the form to three dimensions, the artists have cast a sidelong glance at the pursuit of the perfectly rendered form; it is now, indeed, perfectly rendered.

Technical Overview
Hybrid digital/glass works start out as simple sketches of object profiles. Simple CG lathe techniques allow rapid prototyping of how collections of objects would interrelate in the physical world. The objects are then hand-blown freehand and worked without molds to produce physical objects corresponding to the sketches. Finished glass objects are then digitized in 3D, to provide virtual models of the real pieces. The models can be used for further previsualization modeling of installations or used directly in hybrid sculptural and print works.

The glass objects are formed using traditional glass-blowing techniques. The glass artist and his team of assistants manipulate molten glass, as hot as 2150 degrees Fahrenheit, by repeatedly heating and shaping it with simple hand tools.

Daniel Schreiber & William Ray
The Ohio State University Biophysics Program
ray.29 (at)