The making of a digital panorama.

I’m working on a new piece for Cheongju Craft Biennale, opening on September 13th in South Korea. I’ll try to document the project and share insights on this page.

1- Experiencing Nature

As much as I love my work, it involves spending a large part of my life sitting at a desk, starring at a computer screen, and it’s not necessarily pleasant.
Forcing myself outside cities tends to brings some sort of counterbalance to this weird lifestyle, so I’m taking the habit to regularly escape the city/desk/computer scenario and I often find myself in remote locations.
After landing in Seoul, I headed South East and found my way to Sobaeksan National Park, to spent a day going up Birobong, a 1439m peak.


Alone on stone steps
Body aches and out of breath
Vanish at summit




Blue gradient to white
Ripped paper scattered away
Trace the horizon


Joanie Lemercier nature light timelapse clouds GIF Joanie Lemercier timelapse clouds mountains joanie lemercier GIF


2- Grids as mountains.

In order to better understand these landscapes, I recreate elevations with software.
The principle is very simple:
Create a flat grid, elevate the points on the Y axis.
Increase the resolution of the grid for higher level of details.
Load a texture, use the brightness of each pixel to move each point.

Here’s a Cinema4D source file (R16+) that reveals the process.

Joanie Lemercier 3d render mountain noise GIFJoanie Lemercier mountain noise map tron GIF

I worked with noises for a couple of years, always fascinated by generative textures, and how a few lines of code would create such intricate and interesting forms (see the landforms prints).
More recently, I used 2 softwares dedicated to the generation of realistic heightmaps: World machine and World creator, I recommend experimenting with both.


World machine heightmap (left) and its elevation.





Landform (details)
Turbulence noise, multiplied with perlin, black level +5%





In these attempts at capturing my experience of nature, I made hundreds of drawings depicting reliefs. I’m not very agile nor precise with my hands, so I use a plotter, a small robot holding a pen and who can trace lines on paper, 24/7, without showing signs of exhaustion. It’s an extension of my arm, it executes my ideas while I’m preparing the next ones.



3- Romantic paintings and landscapes. Bierstadt and the Hudson River School style.

When it comes to paintings and iconic representations of nature, my perspective in terms of inspiration is very narrow: I was mostly obsessed only by three kind of landscapes:
– The dark, heavy, dramatic and sharp scenes of Gustave Doré (1832-1883), engraved in wood and drowned in ink.
– The calm, foggy and haunting horizons of Caspar David Friedrich (1774 -1840) announcing the dusk of a civilization.
– The colorful and violent skies, blurred seashores of William Turner (1775-1851). Emotions took over everything.


Left: “Ship in stormy sea”, 1876, by Gustave Doré. (details)     Right: “Morning mist in he mountains” 1808, by Caspar D. Friedrich.

“Wreckers, Coast of Northumberland.” 1834, by William Turner.

The romantic paintings all depicts the immense forces shaping the earth, the sublime and suggests contemplation of nature, and insist on the insignificance of human figures.

I was recently introduced my to Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902) and the “Hudson river school style” and I quickly found my self standing in front of one of its largest canvas at the Seattle Art museum.

>> positive, hope, beauty and sublime, light gold, transparent, crest waves,

“Puget Sound on the Pacific Coast” (1970) by Albert Bierstadt. Currently at the Seattle Art museum.

Next updates:

4- Softwares, plugins, GPUs, brushes of the modern painter.
5- Panorama, a popular spectacle in the mid-19th century.
6- Paper, Glue, Ladder. that’s about it.
7- Projection mapping. pixels calibration and maintenance delights.
8- Cheongju Craft Biennale, South Korea.

5- Panorama
a popular spectacle in the mid-19th century.




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