Anamorphosis is a technique for transforming pictures. Usually the transformation is used to turn a three-dimensional scene into two dimensions or to produce an image which is impossible to interpret without knowing the details of the transformation and how to view it.

An example of the former is the advertising logo seen on sports pitches which appears to stand out when viewed on the television. An example of the later is found in Holbein’s The Ambassadors in the National Gallery in London. In this workshop we shall consider both types of anamorphosis and show short video clips of examples.

There will be a wide variety of examples and all participants will have the opportunity to get some hands-on experience of producing an anamorphic image. The explanation of anamorphosis has its roots in the underlying idea of perspective. The students will be involved in an intuitive appreciation of perspective and how it is used in art. It all depends on the position of the observer.

A particularly interesting activity arises in anamorphic pictures on a cone. We shall describe how conical anamorphosis works and all students will produce conical anamorphic pictures. As well as drawing, this will involve making cones and viewing the resulting pictures from above.

PRIMARY: development of perspective, hands-on development of projections onto a cone and a cylinder.

SECONDARY: plus algebraic representation of transformations.

SIXTH FORM: plus conic sections, polar coordinates.

Copyright Maths Discovery 2015