Anamorphic Images and Transformations

The purpose of the present research is to analyse mathematically the ancient art of anamorphism with the object of being able to calculate the anamorphs (or anamorphoses) exactly and thus be able to use the power of a digital computer to manipulate any bitmap image into one of many forms of anamorph.

Those interested in the mathematics can review the Anamorphic Images paper. There are many kinds of anamorphic image although the plane anamorph and the cylindrical mirror type are the best known and most often seen. View anamorph samples calculated from first principles.

Conical and Pyramidal Anamorphs

Simpler but less well known are anamorphs formed on the external or internal surfaces of cones and cylinders. The photograph of a Euoropean Finch has been anamorphized on to the surface of a pyramid using the exact transformation equations. The figure below is the unfolded 5-sided pyramid-the image is unrecognizable.

Conical anamorph of finch

When the pyramid is assembled and observed from above, the reconstructed image can be photographed. The 5 sided pyramid is the upper right in the figure below. The transformation can be done for any order pyramid; here is shown 5, 6, 4, 3. Of course a cone is just a pyramid of a great many sides but I will not show one here.

five sided finch

six sided finch

four sided finch

three sided finch

Conical and Cylidrical Mirror Anamorphs

Anamorphs are also made using mirrors. Here is one for a conical mirror (centred on the +) -what is it?

Canada flag anamorph

Reveal first cononical image

Here's another-what is it?

Pop Eye Anamorph

Reveal second conoical image

The most famous anamorphs are those observed in a cylindrical mirror. Here is a photograph of your host and his anamorph.

J Hunt image in cylindrical mirror

The mirror in the above anamorph is made from a soft drink can and the anamorph fits on a standard letter-sized sheet. If the mirror is large the anamorph can be quite spectacular although it is hard to convey here.

Here is our finch again but this time reconstructed in a mirror 22 inches high. Most people seeing it for the first time in real life are quite impressed. The image seems very "alive" and 3-dimensional. It is the explanation of the 3-dimensionality and the alive, or luminous, quality that constitutes the direction of the present research.

cylindrical finch

There are many  web sites on Anamorphic effects. Try Googling "anamorph", "anamorphic" or "anamorphosis"