Understanding Multiple Dimensions

In this chapter, we discuss how we can create images using lines, but more then that, we will be discussing the concept of dimensionality. When we create a drawing or take a photo, we are essentially creating a two-dimensional representation of a four-dimensional scene. Sound confusing? We'll dig into this with several examples provided in this lesson.

Chapter 7: Line


Although the chapter in our textbook mainly talks about lines, I want to take this lesson to another level by talking about the various spacial dimensions. I think this will help us to have a deeper understanding of what we are actually doing when we are creating 2d images. Some argue that there are as many as 11 dimensions, of which we can only experience four.

The Four Conventional Dimensions

Most of us are pretty well aware that we experience four dimensions, being width, height, depth, and time. However, dating back to the late nineteenth century, philosophers, physicists, and mathematicians have explored the idea that there are many more theoretical dimensions, and even multiple universes. Further on in the lesson, I have included a video that briefly explains this concept.

We are able to experience three dimensions through the offset of our eyes, which give us the perception of depth. We see two images that are at slightly different angles, and when they are combined, our brain is able to calculate the differences of those two images and perceive depth. Things that are far away do not shift as much from one eye to another as objects that are near due to the effects of perspective, which we will discuss in the next chapter.

Engineers and developers have been able to use this same principle to build technologies like the Xbox Kinect, which has two cameras in it to percieve depth.

Xbox Kinect - How it works

The Kinect has been an extremely innovative technology allowing players to control the came without any sort of controller or wand, but just by using their own body movement. Few people actually know how this technology works though. The video below explains how they were able to take images from two 2d cameras and combine them to create 3d data. Check it out!

Cross Sections

Jurassic Park T-rex Creation

Stan Winston Studios, one of the best known special effects studios in the world was responsible for building a giant, actual-size model of the T-rex for the film "Jurassic Park". In order to build this massive, flexible creature, they had to use a technique of cross sectioning out the creature into 2D pieces.

If you've ever seen an MRI scan, you will see that it goes through the body and makes a series of images that are slices of your body, almost like a butcher making slices of ham. This technique is one way we can cross between the two and three dimensional world. Watch the video to see what I mean.


3d Paper Sculptures

This sculptor has used a very similar technique to build these amazing paper sculptures. Watch and be amazed!


Imagining The Tenth Dimensions

This video tends to make people's minds feel like they're going to pop, but please go ahead and try to endure it. If you are able to grasp anything from this video, it should be that we, as humans, are only seeing a very thin slice of reality and when we draw things on paper or take photos, we are creating even thinner slices of reality.

**NOTE: I won't be quizing you over any of the specifics of this video, but just wanted to included this for your own mind-expansion. Enjoy. **

Hypercube / Tesseract Rotating

This video demonstrates the concept of the forth spacial dimension, rather than the fourth dimension referring to time. The hypercube or tesseract is an example of a four-dimensional object, while cubes are three-dimensional, squares are two-dimensional, lines are one-dimensional, and dots are zero-dimensional.



Below are some examples of how artists use 2d drawings to create the illusion of 3d in very creative ways. Prepare for your mind to be stretched.

3d Tape Illusion

Here is an example of how you can create the illusion of something floating in space by messing with perspective.

Anamorphic Chalk Art

Many of you may have seen this chalkboard artist's work. If not, he does an amazing job of creating the illusion of 3d images on a flat surface from one particular angle.

Anamorphic Sculptures

This sculptor takes it even further by creating 3d objects that bend the idea of reality.

3d Eye Trick Music Video

Have you ever seen one of those chaotic-looking illusion images that have hidden 3d images when you cross your eyes? Well, one band took that concept and made it into a animated music video. Just another example of how we are able to cross through into the third dimension.


As always, please email me if you have any questions!