Fly By Night

This movie was suggested to me by my colleague Christopher Tyler, and we developed it together.  When the movie isn’t playing, the picture looks like a flat field of dots.  But as soon as you run the movie, the scene springs into depth, as we appear to fly past high-rise and other city centre buildings.

It’s known as kinetic depth, or structure from motion, and it shows how attuned our brains are to extract information from optic flows, as they stream across the retina, just as much as from images on the retina of static objects.  There are particularly beautiful examples of the human figure in motion and of rotating globes on the website of UK researcher George Mather.  But no one as far as I know has done a night-time city flyby.  We used the 3D animation software Blender.