Bringing still-life paintings to life


by Lucia Ruggiero

rob-and-nick-carter-transforming-still-life-painting.jpgRob and Nick Carter, in collaboration with the MPC creative studio, have brought classic oil paintings to life by creating digitalised copies through use of digital animation. This body of work, entitled ‘Transforming’ adds slow, natural-like movement to originally still paintings, such as the opening of the petals of a flower over a long time-frame and depicting the stages of decay and decomposition of a frog. Through close analysis of natural processes and then the detailed use of digital animation, the paintings become more alive but, remarkably, maintain their classic composition of still-life paintings.

For example, the piece that depicts the decomposition of a frog lasts 30 minutes, creating the illusion of reality, rather than a piece that has been digitally manipulated. In order to keep the beauty and powerful detail of each original piece, the team used a 4k-resolution screen, four times the resolution of a standard HD television. The artists filmed a still shot of a real actress in the same position as a woman depicted in a nude oil portrait, to replicate the painting as close to reality as possible. They then used compositing software to alter and modify the physical appearance of the nude body filmed, to match the appearance of the woman depicted in the original painting.

[VIDEO: Making of Rob & Nick Carter, Transforming by MPC]

As we can see, these artists show a huge dedication to the study and incorporation of nature and real-life in the process of creating digital art. The focus on real bodies and creatures makes for an incredible display of digital pieces that represent images as close to real-life as possible, similarly to the approach used in traditional still-life paintings. By copying the intention of the original artists, and transferring this approach to the digital world, they have created digital art pieces unlike any other. The combination of animation, motion and high-resolute, colourful images makes the quality of these digital paintings a cut above the rest in the realm of digital art production.

dusk_nuke_mpc_0.jpgRob and Nick Carter are British artists who specialise in painting, photography, light installations and films.

The exhibition, ‘Transforming’, was on show at the Fine Art Society, London, until the 2nd November 2013.

Official Rob and Nick Carter website:

(Credits for photos: Rob and Nick Carter ‘Transforming’ 2013 ©,, )



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