THE CRUCIBLE OF TRANSMUTATION



anecdotes about the creative process

Serendipitous Still Photographer

Jack Skellington in a hall meeting. edge

Feature film productions traditionally hire a "Unit Still Photographer" whose job it is to shoot images for use in the promotion of a movie. Unintentionally and in a very different manner from the norm, I became the primary still photographer for The Nightmare Before Christmas. I was hired to be a character animator for the project; however, I just happened to be an avid 3-D stereo photographer who loved to capture amazing stop-motion setups in 3-D for my private collection. At the point when the movie was nearing completion, Disney publicity decided that they needed some compelling photos to promote the film and, incredibly, no one had been officially assigned to shoot the stills! Their only hope was to make an appeal to the crew for their personal pictures of the production. Surprisingly, they determined my stills were exactly what they needed. The publicity department had no interest in the 3-D aspect; however, the photos worked equally well in standard 2-D format. We reached an agreement and my pictures were used in the big pre-release promotional push of the film in 1993. I have to admit that it was highly gratifying to see so many of my photos published in several major magazines and newspapers as part of The Nightmare Before Christmas marketing strategy.READ AND SEE MORE...

The Red-Nosed Reindog

A dog that looks like Rudolph the red nosed reindeer with pretty elf. edge

Behold the Red-Nosed Reindog, a rare creature from a remote mountain region near the North Pole! Okay, what you are actually looking at is a surreal photorealistic composite, which I created for the amusement of friends and family as this years Christmas card. I thought it would be fun to portray my daughter as an elf, and her dog as the iconic Rudolph. Being fairly adept at Photoshop magic, I combined a number of photographs to illustrate this imaginary scene.READ AND SEE MORE...

3-D Anaglyph Technique

I am often asked about my technique for creating the 3-D pictures on this site. This is a complex subject about which entire books have been written; however, here are the basics of the methods that I personally use.

Nimslo stereo four lens camera. edge
Most of the images portrayed were captured by a Nikon Stereo Rig or the Nimslo 3D camera using film such as Kodachrome. I never perform any kind of "2D to 3D conversion" from a normal photograph because it lacks the presence and power of real stereo photography. While sounding exotic, the Nikon Stereo Rig is actually a conventional Nikon camera mounted on a sliding rail to allow horizontal movement. This method requires a tripod and a subject that does not move during photography. One shot is fired, the camera is racked over horizontally the appropriate distance for eye separation, then another shot is fired. All camera settings must be set manually to ensure consistency of exposure and focus resulting in two slides, one for each eye, known as a "stereo pair". For moving subjects such as people, I typically used the Nimslo, an unusual camera from the eighties that shoots four photos at once. The Nimslo's four lenses were originally designed to produce lenticular prints, but only the two outer pictures are utilized for classical stereo. The slides produced from these cameras can be viewed with special 3-D viewers or even projected in stereo with the right equipment.READ AND SEE MORE...