At this year’s ICFF, we spotted twenty2’s 3D wallpaper, which piqued our curiosity into how the designs came about. The design and printing studio, founded by husband and wife team, Kyra and Robertson Hartnett, connected with Pratt Institute Visiting Associate Interior Design Professor and Yale Architect, Sarah Strauss, who asked them to become mentors for her Pattern and Ornament Graduate Seminar. The duo worked closely with the students, challenging them on pattern repetition and dimension and the result inspired their Spring 2015 Collection called DEEP, a series of 3D wallpapers done in collaboration with the students. In this month’s Deconstruction, we get an in-depth look into one of those patterns, Vikingr, designed by student Nadia Shaheen to see how the design came to be.
Figure 1: Beginning explorations of visages and other elements commonly associated with Vikings that were ultimately used in the creation of the collaged wallpaper at various scales.
• Figure 1.1: Exploring various line weights and rendering techniques for the Viking head. Within the beard, lines are used to render various types of beards a Viking may have, i.e. tight curls or long swaying strands. The use of line weights play an important role to distinguish between the main elements the eye can read from afar and the details one can see once close. This provides a variation on tonal values within the collage as these elements are scaled in the wallpaper.
• Figure 1.2: These elements were not used in the final wallpaper design, however were early studies of the various facial expressions, animating the Vikings personality. Various elements that were commonly used by Vikings, such as a shield and an ax were also studied as possible elements within the overall composition.
• Figure 1.3 and 1.4: Since Vikings were known to set sail and conquer far away lands, the motif of the sea was rendered using two types. One in which the sea was calm with longer lines and linear form (figure 1.3), while the other more violet, and crashing waves during stormy weather or when the ship cuts through the sea (figure 1.4).
Figure 2: Digitizing process of hand rendered images.
Once the original prototype was collaged and amassed with hand rendered images, the need for digitizing these elements were made apparent as they began to pixelate with various scales. By digitizing the images, it was easier to edit the line weight without having to redraw each element at various scales.
• Figure 2.1: The first row shows the original hand sketched element used in the prototype phase. By using AutoCAD, splines were used to manage the many anchor points necessary for the complicated curves found within each element. Once the various line weights were established (rendered here in different colors for clarity), the elements were taken into Adobe Illustrator to bring back the hand quality seen in the original sketches. By doing this, the element can now begin to act as a smart object within the wallpaper tile, easily changing the line weight if one element is too bold or faint. What is more, by digitizing these objects, the elements are now vector objects, proving beneficial when scaling the element within the wallpaper. Vector images does not compromise the quality of the image when the lines are scaled up or down, allowing for a crisp clean line at every scale.
• Figure 2.2: Finalized vector objects used in the wallpaper.
Figure 3: The various stages of the Vikingr wallpaper. Exploring different collaging techniques and line weight qualities.
• Figure 3.1: From left to right, the first exploration, the wallpaper was made to feel more like a toile with Viking heads and ships inspired by Flavor Paper’s “Brooklyn Toile.” After further review, the decision was made to populate the background with more elements. After visiting the Standard Hotel in Chelsea, a populated wallpaper of people caught my attention (seen below- designer unknown) and inspired me to collage together what it would feel like to be in the sea with these Vikings. Images 2-5 are studies on varying line weights of each element, making elements come forward while others recede. Having a high contrast and bolded outline was found to be the most impactful when converting it into 3D, with the contrasting elements behind the fainter lines of the sea.
• Figure 3.2: Final version of 3D wallpaper.
Figure 4: The individual layers used to create Vikingr, giving it the depth seen once converted into 3D.
• Figure 4.1 – 4.6
v4.1: Ships, upper most layer of the wallpaper
• 4.6: Waves, last layer of wallpaper
• 4.7: The final image is what gets put as the backdrop once making the wallpaper 3D. and then the layers (4.1- 4.6) are shifted in the photoshop channels either right to left, bring the images forward or pushing them backward, creating the depth seen in 3D.