Imprevionism: Where Classic Art and Digital Media Collide

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Impressionism, developed by Claude Monet and his contemporaries in 19th century Paris, remains one of the most recognizable and popular movements in art. But how can such a traditionally static medium adapt to a rapidly evolving, digital world full of adorable puppy GIFs? By incorporating time-lapse video, of course.

Imprevionism, a collaboration between Vimeo contributors Jacek(JMS) and Ben, dovetails elements from Impressionism—a focus on light over detail, unique viewing angles, and the incorporation of movement—with the many of the same elements found in time-lapse videos to create this digitally animated montage.


Jacek(JMS) captured many of the time-lapse sequences himself using Program, which was written in the Processing programming language. Program captured up to 30 shots at a time every five minutes—starting at the top of every hour—then stitched together into 1,300-image time-lapse videos.

"Clusters of pixels are taken from time-lapse sequence, but those pixels are not altered/changed with colors, brightness, etc. So, this impressionistic view is created by color, light change over the day," Jacek(JMS) explained to Gizmodo. "In theory this can be done in analog film by using complementary masks. But such a masks needs to be very precise, I was trying to do this years ago with two masks, no success. With digital technology many photos (up to 30) can be merged more precisely."


When the video had finished generating, Ben edited the content into a montage and installed the opening animation. "I thought it was nice to build up these beautiful time-lapse paintings by drawing lines and give it colors as if I was making a painting," he explained. "I used the app, Explain Everything, on an iPad to draw the lines and to record the process. I used green colors to 'paint'. The green colors gave me the possibility to use it later in an edit program as a green screen (chroma key), so you could see the time-lapse on the places where it was painted green."

The result, above, isn't necessarily how Monet would have viewed our modern world. But you've got to think he'd at least recognize a kindred spirit.