Drawing Light-fields: Hand-Drawn Approaches to Abrasion Holography

Tristan Duke
United States

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The depth illusion apparent in light reflected from circular scratch patterns has been noted independently by many commentators since the 1930’s (e.g. Weil, 1934; Lott, 1963; Walker, 1989). In the early 1990’s William Beaty compared this illusion to holography and formalized a technique for creating 3D drawings by hand, which he called “scratchograms” or “abrasion holography.” Several recent publications (Regg et al., 2010; Augier & Sánchez, 2011; Brand, 2011) explore computer-aided methods of producing abrasion-type holograms, using CNC engravers, and milling machines. Very little, however has been published in the way of expanding the techniques available for hand drawing abrasion holograms.

I explore new, hand-drawn approaches to abrasion holography, presenting a variety of techniques that expand the possibilities of the medium. Complex curves and organic forms can be constructed by hand more easily and intuitively than previously described methods, allowing for more diverse and artistic effects to be achieved. In an analysis of reconstruction lighting and viewing geometries, I suggest solutions to reduce or eliminate distortions present in abrasion holograms (such as the “swinging” sensation experienced with motion parallax). Various tools, materials, and scratch geometries are considered. I also present a new class of hand-drawn abrasion holograms that exhibit novel animation effects. In conclusion, I outline preliminary findings related to the duplication of hand-drawn holograms using a simple foil embossing process.
I detail these findings along with illustrations and test plates. I also will show examples of artistic works exploring the medium of hand-drawn abrasion holography.

In the field of hand-drawn abrasion holography we have, so to speak, only scratched the surface of what is possible. As a medium, hand-drawn abrasion holography offers many interesting and as-yet unexplored possibilities. It is my hope that the investigation presented here will inspire further exploration of this unique medium.