Transformative Bodies in 3D Cinema: Computer Generated Morphing and Extra-sensory Depth Cues

  • Miriam Ross
Part of the Neue Perspektiven der Medienästhetik book series (NPM)


A reoccurring object of study in 3D media is the human body, particularly the way its contours and volumetric depth are manifested in different ways from its depiction in 2D media. Whereas analogue stereoscopy attempted to closely replicate the physical characteristics of a performing body that was placed in front of two cameras, digital stereoscopy using CGI is able to create hybrid bodies that belong in part to the performer and in part to digital code. This chapter discusses 3D films that demonstrate the transformative capacity of human bodies in digital stereoscopic films with an emphasis on the way presence and proximity, as well as tactile and sensory visual fields, are maintained and reconfigured across these transformations.


Visual Field Human Form Depth Plane Stereoscopic Depth Optical Illusion 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Babbitts, Judith. 2004. Stereographs and the construction of a visual culture in the United States. In Memory bytes: History, technology and digital culture, eds. Lauren Rabinovitz and Abraham Geil, 126–149. Durham: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bak, Meredith A. 2012. Democracy and discipline: Object lessons and the stereoscope in American education, 1870–1920. Early popular visual culture 10 (2): 147–167. doi:10.1080/17460654.2012.664746.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Colligan, Colette. 2008. Stereograph. Victorian Review 34 (1): 75–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Fisher, Kevin. 2000. Tracing the tesseract: A conceptual prehistory of the morph. In Meta-morphing: Visual transformation and the culture of quick-change, ed. Vivian Carol Sobchack, 103–129. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  5. Freedman, Yacov. 2012. Is it real…or is it motion capture: The battle to redefine animation in the age of digital performance. The Velvet Light Trap 63:38–49.Google Scholar
  6. Johnston, Keith M. 2016. “The action is so real I thought I was cheating on my wife”: Realism and nature in the 1970s 3-D sex film. In Sex and 1970s world cinema: From smut to softcore, eds. Eylem Atakam and Andy Willis. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Klein, Norman. 2000. Animation and animorphs: A brief disappearing act. In Meta-morphing: Visual transformation and the culture of quick-change, ed. Vivian Carol Sobchack, 21–39. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  8. Mitchell, Wendy. 2013. Ang Lee: 3D offers “so much realism.” Screen Daily, March. Accessed 27 Oct 2014.
  9. Ndalianis, Angela. 2004. Neo-baroque aesthetics and contemporary entertainment. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  10. Norling, J. A. 1939. Three dimensional motion picture. SMPTE 33:612–634.Google Scholar
  11. North, Dan. 2008. Performing illusions. London: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Paul, William. 1993. The aesthetics of emergence. Film History 15 (3): 321–355.Google Scholar
  13. Paul, William. 2004. Breaking the fourth wall: “Belascoism”, modernism and a 3-D Kiss Me Kate. Film History 16 (3): 229–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Pellerin, Denis. 2000. File BB3 and the erotic image in the second empire. In Paris in 3D: From stereoscopy to virtual reality 1850–2000, eds. Françoise Reynaud, Catherine Tambrun, and Kim Timby, 91–100. London: Booth-Clibborn Editions.Google Scholar
  15. Purse, Lisa. 2013. Digital imaging in popular cinema. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Río, Elena del. 2008. Deleuze and the cinemas of performance: Powers of affection. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Ross, Miriam. 2011. Spectacular dimensions: 3D dance films. Senses of Cinema (61). Accessed 27 Oct 2015.
  18. Ross, Miriam. 2012. The 3-D aesthetic: Avatar and hyperhaptic visuality. Screen 53 (4): 381–397. doi:10.1093/screen/hjs035.Google Scholar
  19. Ross, Miriam. 2013. Stereoscopic visuality: Where is the dcreen, where is the film? Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies 19 (4): 406–414. doi:10.1177/1354856513494178.Google Scholar
  20. Ross, Miriam. 2015. 3D cinema: Optical illusions and tactile experiences. London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Sinnerbrink, Robert. 2011. New philosophies of film: Thinking images. London: Continuum.Google Scholar
  22. Snyder, Steven James. 2012. The amazing Spider-Man crafts Hollywood’s greatest 3D sequence yet. Time, July 9. Accessed 27 Oct 2014.
  23. Sobchack, Vivian. 2000a. Introduction. In Meta-morphing: Visual transformation and the culture of quick-change, ed. Vivian Carol Sobchack, xi–xxiii, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  24. Sobchack, Vivian. 2000b. At the still point of the turning world: Meta-morphing and meta-stasis. In Meta-morphing: Visual transformation and the culture of quick-change, ed. Vivian Carol Sobchack, 131–158. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  25. Stork, Matthias. 2011. Chaos cinema: The decline and fall of action filmmaking. Press Play 22. Accessed 27 Oct 2014.
  26. Trotter, David. 2004. Stereoscopy: Modernism and the “haptic.”. Critical Quarterly 46 (4): 38–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Wenders, Wim. 2013. A film for Pina: Keynote of the Toronto International Stereoscopic 3D Conference. Public 47: 214–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Zone, Ray. 2012. 3-D revolution: The history of modern stereoscopic cinema. Lexingtone: The University Press of Kentucky.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Film ProgrammeVictory University of Wellington/School of English, Film, Theater and Media Studies (SEFTMS)WellingtonNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations