Extracting Geometry from a Painting – 3D Art/Virtual London circa 1616

Maybe it just us, but we sometimes look at paintings and think wouldn’t it be great to flyinside that scene. So, using a section of Visscher’s panoramic view of London circa 1616, we put in lines of perspective and traced around the main features.

As the movie above shows you can then create a 3D flythough or indeed a full 3D model. We also put the painting into ActiveWorlds with avatars a while ago and its kind of interesting to not only have 3D art but also see people walking around a picture.

This would seem to be of use for multimedia applications in galleries etc… its neat but seems to be one of things that sits on our hard drive and never gets out of the lab.. still least now its on YourTube.. Soundtrack is Beethoven, Sonata nr.8 in G-Major btw.

Comments as ever welcome…

Author Bio

Andy is Professor of Digital Urban Systems at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at University College London.


  1. Simon Doyle - July 7, 2006

    Great image Andy. What about applying this to some more recent (copyright free!) imagery?


  2. Smithee - July 7, 2006

    Depends what sort of imagery your talking about i guess – the one used is copyright free btw..

    (?) bit lost…

  3. Edwin - July 7, 2006

    Good job! It really does feel strangely real.

  4. Jim - July 8, 2006

    That is amazing. Great work!

  5. Aldo Hoeben - July 11, 2006

    I’ve been involved in a very similar project, I’ld guess we’ve used the same software even: Canoma

    In our case, we used a number of paintings by painters of Johannes Vermeer’s age (not by Vermeer himself though). The results can be found here:


    (some) more info on the project:

  6. Smithee - July 11, 2006


    Thanks for the comment, i did indeed use Canoma. It was created a while back and turned up during a hard drive search, thus the movie.

    I have been trying to replicate the movie with the current generation of software but so far with poor results. The loss of Canoma to Adobe and then its subsequent demise was such a shame.

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