“Silhouettes of Jazz” by ETH Zürich

  • ©Dominik P. Käser, Martin-Sebastian Senn, and Mario Deuss


SIGGRAPH Video Review:




    Silhouettes of Jazz



    The viewer is guided through the history of jazz by examining sculptures that exhibit distinct silhouettes when viewed from different angles in a virtual walkthrough of a shadow art museum. Shadow art is a unique form of sculptural art that exploits the fact that we can recognize objects from their shadows or silhouettes. Improvisation, a key ingredient of jazz, is mirrored in the ambiguity of shadow sculptures, where many different 3D shapes can cast the same 2D shadow.

    The movie highlights five different milestones in the evolution of jazz: the early songs of field workers, ragtime, New Orleans jazz, swing, and bebop. Each era is represented by a room containing 3D sculptures that cast multiple shadow images at the same time. This unique property is achieved using a novel computational method for interactive creation and manipulation of shadow art. Given a set of desired silhouette images, a global geometric optimization builds a 3D shadow volume that can subsequently be edited by the artist using a set of 3D modeling tools. The reinterpretation of jazz and non-jazz music is crucial in jazz pieces. In the same way, a shadow object can be seen as a 3D interpretation of the desired 2D shadows.


    2x 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon Mac Pro on Mac OS X 10.5


    Shadow Art Creator (custom software), Cinema 4D, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe After Effects, Final Cut Pro

Additional Contributors:

    Directors: Dominik Käser, Martin-Sebastian Senn, Mario Deuss

    Researchers: Niloy Mitra, Mark Pauly

Animation / Video Overview: