Brooklyn-based animator Mackenzie Cauley transforms Van Gogh’s “The Night Cafe” into a virtual reality

Animator Mackenzie Cauley of Brooklyn, New York, has transformed The Night Café by Vincent van Gogh into a 3D environment and animated certain features in the artwork – for example, there is a hazy, hypnotic effect encircling the lights, while a man resembling van Gogh himself casually smokes a pipe.

USA – 

Not that Vincent Van Gogh’s work needs animation, but animator Mackenzie Cauley brought Gogh’s work to life. Cauley added a dimension to Gogh’s “Le café de nuit” (The Night Café) (1888) by taking the viewer inside Gogh’s painting. The flat canvas transforms into a café brimming with life. Gogh is found sitting on a chair, toasting while a pianist plays a mellow tune.

Cauley, a self-confessed fan of Gogh’s work, said in an interview, that his main goal was to “see what kinds of stylized 3D rendering could be experienced through VR.”


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Cauley’s café has a life of it’s own just as Van Gogh’s “Le café de nuit” (The Night Café) (1888) has. While creating the animated environment, he used elements that added depth and heightened the visual experience. For instance, he used rooms behind the doors, and objects that aren’t a part of the original painting. Cauley found the process interesting. He used his imagination and inspiration from the original painting, “just off the edges of the canvas” to create the 3-D night café.. It took Cauley nearly 400 hours to create an animated rework of the Dutch impressionist. He used software like unity, maya, mudbox, and photoshop among others.


Art & Cultur feature -Written by Manmeet Sahni 

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