Photo of a ballerina altered with recursive repetitions
Shared by on 2018.05.18 12:52

Luiz André Gama (@LuizAndre) is a graphic artist and co-founder of NeoHub Design Studio. He hails from Brazil and lives in Fermo, Italy. In this community spotlight, Luiz André talks about the beautiful and bizarre recursive images he’s been posting on Instagram — and shares some never-before-published works made with a new technique.

"I've always used node-based applications to do live visuals. I came from Quartz Composer and have switched to Vuo since discovering it. In the last few years I started to use Vuo to do graphic design, my original professional background. It gives a more contemporary touch to my work and allows me to try different and endless ways of creation.

Photos altered with the recursive technique

These recursive experiments came out in 2017, when I was trying in Vuo some things I’d learned in Processing with Daniel Shiffman's online classes. I’ve always been fascinated with recursion, and at that time, after trying different approaches, I found Magneson’s fractal tutorial which helped me a lot. I spent a long time trying to make the first basic tree, but when I got it, it opened a lot of new possibilities, and after some tests with the tree, I decided to use images of people instead.

I decided to use these black and white pictures because I really like this mix of old and new. It creates a very different atmosphere.

Vuo composition and an altered photo of a violinist

For the violin image you can see that I used three image files: the background, the face, and the bow. The face and the bow are cut out but not cropped. All three images have the same size. The recursion is made with the face and blended over the background, and then blended under the bow to be more realistic.

The trick is to intercept the image before it reenters the recursion. Almost anything you put there will end up in a very crazy result. The challenge is controlling it and trying to find something you like. In the violin example, I used a Mirror Image node there.

After you put the recursion in the way you like the most, you can do another recursion of this first recursion. And with another layer node you can put it where you think it fits better with the composition, using x,y translation and rotation. This last step you can do as much as you want.

Photos altered with the recursive technique

Another technique I am experimenting with is with masked 3D effects.

Photos altered with 3D effects Original photo by Ian Dooley

I used the web app Smoothie-3D to transform the guy in the photo to a 3D model (very fast, nothing perfect). In Vuo I placed the obj file over the original photo. It allows me to play with 3D effects on the guy. Then I use the Trim 3D Object node to mask where the effect will appear, to make it more realistic.

I just started to play with this technique last month. I still have more tests to do. You can see this and other experiments on my Instagram page."

Photos altered with 3D effects

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