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METRO Re/De-construction


Chris Coleman used a 3D scanner to document his daily commute on the Denver Light Rail, and compiled the results into this fascinating video.

Chris writes:

I just completed a new animation made with Blender Cycles that was featured on a digital billboard in Denver Colorado.

With a handheld 3D scanning device from Primesense and a laptop, I rode the Denver Light Rail as I do every day for my commute. The train was scanned by walking through the car from one end to the other while en-route and train stations were captured with short strolls between stops. The fragmentation and gaps in data are defined by the physical bumps, speed, and curves in the journeys affecting the hand of the artist while scanning. While the final models are still, they are in fact documents of time, perspective and perception. In this way no two scans will ever be the same; each is documentation of that unique body on that particular journey.

METRO is a journey, beginning outside and moving inwards. Sometimes enveloping and sometimes sparse and shattered, time produces forward motion and simplification. It is documentation of a physical space, captured millimeter accurate coordinates, colors and varied textures. Several real journeys have been digitally distilled to become a beautifully abstracted experience, not unlike to the disconnection one has while riding public transport.

Sound Design by George Cicci
Sound Design by George Cicci


  1. Wow, the Denver Light Rail. Boy, did that bring back some memories. Used to live in Denver myself. Anyways, very interesting display! Hopefully we can see more usages like this to see something even more amazing done with it. Challenge accepted? :D

  2. Very interesting but I'm afraid you lost most of your impact by making it painfully long. Cut this down to 1'30" and it will have more impact. Don't get me wrong, I love the cinematography too, just not that much

    • Yeah I also think it is long in the tooth - 1:30 is too short tho, im tired of the sort of commercial length pieces - 3-4min would hit the spot. Remixes and re-renders are underway - this iteration was for a billboard show, new will be a much higher res render with DOF and better pacing.

      • Chris-
        Great to see some of your recent work. Really liking the break down of the point clouds to the geometric forms and the moment is spot on. Though I would have loved some higher fidelity 3d captures, but I know it's a limit of the tech. Good luck with the re-edits.

        -former student at the U of O Andy Palatka

        • Hey Andy! cool that you got to see this and glad you are still hopefully poking around in blender. It is interesting that due to the scanner and the way it saves color as vertex shading, the higher res stuff wasnt as interesting to me - the movement of the train led to some real fragmentation and errors that i appreciated more when decimated...

      • Lawrence D’Oliveiro on

        You could add more interest for the longer length: perhaps two trains passing, aerial schematic views of the entire route, masses of commuters rushing in/out of a station, that kind of thing.

  3. It makes me "fly off" and comfortable when watching the imagery and sounds combined. I really love this kind of style, well done ;).

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