Students create 3D art from paintings

Students create 3D art from paintings

By Luke Nozicka

Students are creating a 3D replica of a painting as part of a project in the School of Architecture.

Thirty-eight freshmen are recreating Georges Seurat’s “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” as a 3D art exhibit. Two will receive honors credit while working on the project through their Architecture 122 class.

Shelby Orr, a freshman from Champaign studying architecture, said they have been working on the piece since last semester. She said the design has been through many trial and errors and this is the first 2D to 3D project they’ve done this year.


Koester said the assignment applies lessons learned in the architecture, interior design and art programs.

“It basically was a focus on perspective, proportion and how that works in contrast with the vanishing point,” she said.

Orr said the purpose of the project was to see how to turn art from 2D to 3D. The exhibit is being built in the Design Barracks on the east side of campus.

“We basically translated it between 2D drawings of it to three dimensional different scales,” she said.

Associate professor in architecture Peter Smith said they use a system called mapping, a method he introduces to all of his freshmen.

“We take a painting and then we take the painting apart, essentially,” he said. “And then we do what we call the XYZ axis. We sort of build a painting in 3D.”

Koester said the project took a long time to complete but the final product will be worth their time.


“We worked long hours and burned off our finger tips,” she said. “It will look amazing, I have faith in that.”

Koester said they took a photograph of the original painting and sectioned it off into 40 pieces. After dividing it into sections, they began to plan how they would build their 3D version.

For each section, students are assigned to create 3 to 10 layers of Foam Core artwork.

This was the biggest project Architecture 121 worked on last semester, Koester said.

Koester said they built four different models before working on the final product. The first several prototypes were smaller than the finished project and are made of cardboard.

Orr said the final model will be 16 by 8 feet and 8 feet high.

She said the final project would be completed before spring break and will hang at Gallery 119 in Quigley Hall.

She said the art is scheduled to hang for at least a week, but she hopes for more time.

“The gallery has become much more popular within the last couple years,” she said. “So everyone is vying for its space.”

Seurat’s original painting “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” is on display at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Luke Nozicka can be reached at [email protected], on Twitter at @LukeNozicka, or at 536-3311 ext. 268.