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A Brief Note On 3D Paintings – History To Application

You may have seen many cases of pictures which are drawn on the ground and appear to have volume in different websites or on different social media. People take pictures of themselves with these drawings and create a few happy moments because these drawings are interesting. They even show the taken pictures to their friends and acquaintances. These drawings became famous as ‘ 3D painting ’. Although 3D painting is the chosen title for these drawings, they are actually not three dimensional but appear to be so because of their design and special way of application.

3D painting is not a new subject, but is being more noticed due to the development of internet and the appearance of social media and it is being passed around between social media users. It is why during recent years, we have seen more such pictures.

نقاشی سه بعدی 3d painting

3D painting history

3D painting did not emerge overnight and the different works of artists progressed and developed throughout history. The history of 3D painting goes back to almost 20-25 years ago, when street paintings became common in European countries, and especially in Italy which was the center for arts in Europe both during and after the renaissance. At that time, there were artists who painted on the sidewalks for receiving charity. There were also artists whose job was to paint indoors such as churches in which the roof paintings dignified them greatly. These artists, among which were homeless and pedlars who started working in the streets to receive charity money and would draw portraits or landscapes using colored chalk on the sidewalks.

This history which dates to almost 250 years ago, slightly started to change until about 25 years ago, when a street artist tries to paint a picture using chalk which would appear to be embossed from a certain angle. As mentioned previously, since this phenomenon was not emerged overnight, the name of one artist is not mentioned as the origin, but there are people who have helped the daily development and improvement of this art. The most famous of them which is still active is Julian Beever who is famously known as the sidewalks’ Picasso. Julian Beever who is an English artist, has had a very important impact in the formation of this art. They later chose the name ‘3D street art’ for this art based on his works. Other artists in this field who played an important role in the promotion of this art include the Germans Kurt Wenner and Manfred Stader and the Americans Leon Keer and Tracy Lee who have done many works during the years 2005-2010. Later on, a section was even dedicated to 3D street art in public art festivals.

اولین نقاشی سه بعدی دگرگون


How do 3D pictures become 3D ?

As we mentioned in the introduction, 3D painting is the name that has become famous for this kind of paintings which are on the ground or other surfaces. These pictures are not essentially 3 dimensional but they appear to be so because of their special design. We should note that these pictures appear 3 dimensional only from a specific angle, and the best resulting photograph which shows the pictures being 3D come from camera lenses (which can be either photography cameras or phone cameras) which shows the results at 100% and exactly as the artist desired it.

Various questions have been mentioned about 3D paintings and those who saw these pictures have mentioned this question countless times before that “Do these paintings appear to be 3 dimensional because of the picture editing or because of the way they were executed?” The basic question of “How do these paintings become 3D?” has always existed.

Designers of this work affirm that the unique design of these works are what make them appear to be 3D. Besides, a good execution of the picture also helps better the work. It should be noted that a good execution of the picture means correct use of colors, appropriate lightning and strong shadows. About the design of these works we should know that, as mentioned before, 3D painting is not a correct term. The correct name for these works is “Transformed 3D Design”. This means that pictures use a transformed design which makes them appear 3 dimensional from a specific point after they have been executed on the desired surface. It should be noted that the design of this style of works depends more on a scientific basis than depending on arts. The design technique is of great importance and artists have learned this style’s technique by experiment and they do not all have a calculated method or algorithm behind their works.

نقاشی سه بعدی از زاویه درست

نقاشی سه بعدی از زاویه درست و اصلی


نقاشی سه بعدی از زاویه غلط

نقاشی سه بعدی از زاویه دیگر

Tools and materials used in 3D painting

As mentioned in the history, 3D paintings were first executed by colored chalks or chalk-crayons publicly on the streets. Due to the kind of art done by the executing artists, these drawings were not meant to last for a long time. What was important was conveying the artists’ purpose and art at the time of execution. Furthermore, it was a way for the artists to communicate with the public audience and people with whom they got in contact with at the time of execution. However, with the extension of 3D paintings for various other purposes, different tools, colors and techniques were added to it.

With the extension of new methods, use and application of 3D paintings, and their exit from the street arts, a noticeable development in execution techniques of these pictures happened. This development included using methods, materials, colors and involving new surfaces for executing the pictures. Choosing any of the materials depended on the function of the pictures. For instance, when the artist’s purpose is to communicate with the public, they use chalk-crayons; because the highest importance is the artist’s subject. What we should take into consideration is that contemporary art compared with arts from the previous ages are not necessarily supposed to last forever.

Due to the formation of various technologies and changes in their artistic essence, the execution manners of this art have changed. For instance, when 3D paintings are executed using chalk-crayons, it’s the pictures and videos taken from the work which convey the message of the artist and the work itself does not last very long. In order to choose the material for executing 3D paintings, it is the manner of use which determines it.  For instance, a street artist uses chalk-crayons in order to convey his message and prevent harming their surroundings. In other circumstances, for beautifying the internal decoration of a commercial building or a public space, in which the 3D pictures should remain stable, they would choose colors which are resistant to corrosion.

Nowadays, there is great variety in choice of material and the selection of each will be different for each specific work depending on the artist’s taste and manner of use.

نقاشی خیابانی در نیویورک

یک نقاش خیابانی در شهر نیویورک مشغول کشیدن نقاشی


3D painting efficiency

These pictures have developed and people were absorbed by their charm. They became a way to present messages and they became a style which was interconnected with people and even provided happiness for them. This connection helped create further contexts for using 3D paintings. Today, transformed 3D paintings are widely used for two purposes:

  1. As media and for transferring messages
  2. Used for creating emotion or beautifying

In the first case, 3D paintings have gained purposes such as advertisements and notices and in the second case, have become an option for internal decorations and beautifying the surrounding environment.

Nowadays, we witness many effective advertisements which use 3D paintings. We must note that 3D paintings have different applications compared to digital transformed 3D designs. Advertising companies use this point to establish a connection between the artist and the public which in turn provides the setting for the execution of different advertising campaigns and presentation of the desired contents of the ads.

نقاشی سه بعدی برای تبلیغات

3D painting culture in Iran

During the recent years, different products and technologies have entered Iran before the appropriate cultural background for using these products has which is what has caused many problems in the way they are used. 3D painting is no exception. Due to the inexistence of a 20-25 years’ background and progress in Iran, there is still no familiarity with the way of use and encounter with 3D street paintings among Iranian public.

Some points will be helpful with the implementation of this culture. The culture of using 3D paintings means ‘how should we react when we are faced with such paintings’ and how we should appreciate them or how should we interact with and react to the artists who are executing these works.

When facing 3D paintings, the important thing to know is the consideration of the appropriate view angle for this style of painting. We will see a very long and meaningless picture if we look at them from the wrong angle. When placed in the correct place, they will be seen as completely 3 dimensional even in the pictures taken from it.