Real or Photoshop? It's real! (mostly ...)
December 10, 2009 6:34 AM   Subscribe

If you have kids, you almost certainly have at least one of the 'I Spy' books, or something from the 'Can You See What I See?' series on your home bookshelf. Created by artist/photographer Walter Wick, the books have page after page of images filled with astonishing amounts of detail, including any number of objects for the kids to find. Wick's website has dozens of pages taking us behind the scenes, showing us how many of these wonderful photos were created, many involving the construction of incredibly detailed models that are used for just a single shot. The Impossible Columns is perhaps my favourite.
posted by woodblock100 (17 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
(I forgot to mention ... this came via the wonderful Lines and Colors blog today ...)
posted by woodblock100 at 6:43 AM on December 10, 2009

Haha, that is awesome. I do like the Impossible Columns example. It doesn't completely explain what he's doing, but I assume it has to do with refraction and lining things up perfectly.

I'd love to see a "Where's Waldo" image made using these methods! XD
posted by stevemkuro at 6:52 AM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

The Impossible Columns one comes from Walter Wick's Optical Tricks, which is a book of optical illusions. The end of the book shows how some of them were made too.

(Can you tell I have kids?)
posted by DU at 7:01 AM on December 10, 2009

This is great. I loved I Spy as a kid, I wish I still had some of those books around. They were completely mesmerizing in their level of detail.
posted by autoclavicle at 7:13 AM on December 10, 2009

I love Walter Wick--I've spent more time with his books than my kids have. And he's local (has a studio in Hartford) so he gets quite a bit of press around here.

If anyone's in the area, he's doing a multimedia presentation at the CT Science Center this Saturday. Check out his YouTube video also.
posted by dlugoczaj at 7:25 AM on December 10, 2009

My wife and I had a long discussion about how these were done at some point in the past. And now we have some answers. I think that we were actually looking at the book that the creepy gate is in at the time. This is great.
posted by jefeweiss at 7:26 AM on December 10, 2009

Wicxk is awwwesome. My kids love these books, and I have been thinking of making one myself. I have a workbench full of stuff, I own a decent digital camera, and those photobooks you can order online are getting really cheap. Without sending this into ChatFilter, has anyone else tried to emulate Wick's "I Spy" books without going to the lengths shown in the poster's links?
posted by wenestvedt at 7:32 AM on December 10, 2009

Here is a photo of plasma cut metal impossible fork.
posted by Tube at 7:57 AM on December 10, 2009

Wow, that Impossible Columns trick is actually even cooler once I realized how he did it. I love it when that happens.
posted by quin at 8:08 AM on December 10, 2009

Those are some great books. Although I lack the amazing linking skillz that you mefites have mastered, please be sure to check out Animalia by Graeme Base. That has always been one my kids favorite rainy day books. You can look at each page 1000 times and still find something new and interesting.
posted by winks007 at 8:16 AM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

There are now a couple of kids' computer games: "I SPY Funhouse" and "I SPY: Spooky Mansion." Free hour long demos of them are pretty easy to find.
posted by LynstHolin at 8:16 AM on December 10, 2009

Awesome, thanks. Forwarded to my 11 year old daughter, who's loved the books for years. We spend considerable time discussing how they might have been created, so this is going to make us both happy.
posted by valleys at 8:27 AM on December 10, 2009

Joan Steiner's Look-Alikes series of books are made in a similar vein. She creates 3-D scenes of real-life places and events. When you look closer, you find that everything has been constructed from mundane household objects. (the body of a train is really a thermos, an ornate window is a tennis racquet, steps are playing cards, a coffin is a sunglasses case, etc.)
posted by meadowlark lime at 8:43 AM on December 10, 2009

These were some of my favorite books as a kid. I remember going through them with my mom. It's great to see how he did it. You can tell that things are hand crafted instead of added in with digital imaging in photoshop.
posted by codacorolla at 10:00 AM on December 10, 2009

How did you know I have these books at home? Get out of my house!

Also, awesome stuff!
posted by GuyZero at 10:20 AM on December 10, 2009

I loved sharing the I Spy books with my son. Great post, thanks.
posted by theora55 at 10:26 AM on December 10, 2009

John Allen's Gorre and Daphetid model railroad from the late '50s. He was the first to do this type of photography in model railroading.
posted by Jumpin Jack Flash at 10:21 PM on December 10, 2009

« Older PEZ Advertising   |   Careless Women Never Appeal To Gentlemen Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments