Tuesday, August 28, 2012

"Same As Me:" Recent Developments

As previously reported in the following links, since 2009 we've been working to recreate Samye's famous "Same As Me" statue of Padmasambhava, destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, using high technology from the motion picture industry:



We, of course, are not the only ones. Several groups are approaching this project, not only in the United States, but Europe, and Asia. This is a worldwide cooperative effort, where we all share our findings. Quite recently, we heard from the Museo di Arte e Cultura Tibetana, in Italy, sharing with us their latest effort to extrapolate the head of Guru Rinpoche from the famous photo, above, using 3D modeling software. Below, you see some of the results.

Here is an excerpt of our reply to Italy, which I include here for the possible interest of all other parties to this effort:
"....the consistent problem we have is in finding another photograph of the original statue. We are quite certain more than the one photograph, i.e. the Queen of Sikkhim's photograph from the 1930s, exists somewhere, but despite an exhaustive worldwide search -- four years now -- we have been unable to locate anything.
"So, from that point, we set out in three directions:
"(1) We began collecting every photograph of every statue of Guru Rinpoche we could find, up to an arbitrary cut-off date of 1950. There are many such photographs in existence. We did this because we believed that the statue may have inspired duplicates, and we believe we found one such duplicate in the Potala, depicted in a photograph dating to the 1920s. We also wanted to established iconographic "baselines" from which we could extrapolate a homogenous iconography, i.e. the chin is commonly this way, the forehead is commonly that way, etc., etc.
"(2) We hit upon the method of placing the Queen of Sikkhim photograph in a stationary position, and then using a boom camera to photograph the photograph from extreme left to right, and extreme right to left, then from top to bottom, and bottom to top, describing a crossed arc in front of the original. This is similar to the modern x-ray machines that dentists use to x-ray the whole of your teeth in one shot.
"This last approach is, I think, promising. In your efforts, as depicted in the photos you sent me, you will for example notice how the nose width seems to be a problem. I believe you could cure that problem by using the technique described above. Basically, you want to find as many legitimate planes of the face as possible to use as your data set, and let the software extrapolate what is missing.
"(3) The third thing we did was to examine as much 8th century regional sculpture as we could possibly find, in order to establish a certain "logic" of the face. Although of divine origin, Guru Rinpoche took what by all historical accounts was a very pleasing human form. We wanted some sense of how pleasing male faces from the region may have appeared in the period, or at least how they were idealized. Some examples from Ghandara proved extremely useful in this regard."

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6 reader comments:

Anonymous said...

one photo has a katak on the right shoulder...another has no katak at all...any explanation. I believe both would have been the queen's photos?

Editor said...

The one without was Photoshopped and color enhanced.

Unknown said...

These renderings look like HH XVII Karmapa with a nice handle bar moustache E MA HO!

Anonymous said...

All men dream, but not equally.

Anonymous said...

The 3d image reminds of the 13th D.L.

Olivier PHILIPPOT said...

I suppose that the use of a flash during taking picture in Samye monastery has considerably modified the appreciation of the real shapes and volumes, sometimes even reversing the face expression. I guess you took this in consideration. :)
As a painter, I made some (modest) research about that. I can share.
Congratulations for your work!