POTENTIAL BEAUTY. 2004. CGI animation, 3D CG animation, body scanning, motion capture
Practitioner Jane Harris builds on her knowledge of materials and works digitally with advanced computer media to create representations of fluid, three-dimensional forms – the clothed and moving body in space.
Shown here are two short animations that explore representations of garments being worn. “Potential Beauty” is from 2002/03 and explores the relationship between the textile, an asymmetric mid-length dress and the suggestion of a female form that is suspended and turns eloquently in space. Jane Harris studied textiles before concentrating her creative practice on computer graphic visualisations where the latest sophisticated software and hardware are employed. Here, she collaborated with computer graphic operator Mike Dawson to realise such arresting and captivating visuals.
Open to further collaboration and also with Mike Dawson, Jane Harris teamed up with the avant-garde fashion designer Shelley Fox for the work entitled “Balloon Top” from 2003/04. A garment from Shelley Fox’s “Collection 7” (Autumn/Winter 1999/2000) was selected. This top is cut in an unusual way to reveal different biases found within the cloth. The shape is a hollow sphere that has a drawstring back and is transformed from a flat, planar surface to a fully dimensional form once worn. The piece was worked as a triptych using three slightly different materials and the portrayal of the taking of a limp or folded flat garment and putting it on. Jane Harris’s 3D computer graphic (CG) animation ably describes this transition that is graceful in its depiction and meditative in its atmosphere.
In both these works the absence of the human form, where their presence is merely suggested, lends an abstract quality to them. Can the viewer perhaps imagine themselves wearing the piece? The results imply a beguiling softness and intimacy. Jane Harris sees her work as having many applications that connect the traditional aspects of textile with potential future scenarios of fashion. These include bringing static museum exhibits to life, aiming for realistic depictions of the clothed human body in films and the gaming sector, or as provocative artworks.
Working in the area of digital imaging media, she brings a wealth of information concerning the physical qualities of a variety of materials, which include not only cloth, but also hair and skin. She explores their malleability, their shifting and articulation; for example the effect of light on a surface, the creasing of a particular textile, or the physics involved in the depiction of a draped fabric.
In order to do this Jane Harris employs early moving image techniques, augmenting bluescreen, 2D compositing processes, 3D imaging, CG animation, modelling, body scanning and optical motion capture to digitally recreate a physical form. Motion capture technology involves a person’s movements becoming digital data that in these examples then connects to the subsequent imagery of cloth. The work of Jane Harris successfully moves from the past through the present to the future by employing digital media for accurate simulations of virtual textiles and virtual garments that have their say concerning the worlds of textile and fashion in the 21st Century.
Sarah E. Braddock Clarke