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Anamorphic Art Revisited

Anamorphic art seems to be a secret passed on by people, yet few seem lucky enough to be at the recieving end. It is a great add-on to mathematics classes at all levels (6-14), as students are able to understand its principles quite well and then adeptly proceed to make their own creations.

Basically, anamorphic art applied to an image creates a type of perspective or visual transformation that seems to introduce a distortion. Then, the distortion can be "countered" if the transformed image is viewed using objects such as a cone or cylinder.

Consider this example, which involves a planar anamorphic art image of a girl pushing a wheelbarrow, which appears distorted until it is mapped onto the cylindrical mirror:

Now, can you determine what the following image is? You may need to get a sheet of mirrored foil wrapped as a cylinder to verify your guess.
Many web sites and YouTube videos discuss anamorphic art. One web resource that I prefer is Anamorphic Art.

This site offers a great amount of valuable information...both in background, explanation of the different mathematical techniques involved, procedures that users can implement to create their own anamorphic art images, and real-world applications of anamorphic art. [Note: I should add that this is only one subpage of this great web site...feel free to browse and enjoy but be forewarned that I may review other subpages on a later date.]

The site also includes materials you can download to both aid and motivate the creation of anamorphic images. Again, I have used these with students with great success....and the amazing fact is that many of the students even stick around to try to understand the mathematics involved.

Please visit this web site. Use it. share it. Remove the secretness of anamorphic art.

NOTE: This year, I will occasionally be reprinting columns from the MathNEXUS Archives, trying to entice you explore it's treasures. This week's offering is from the year 2005.