Picture Box Redux: New Perspectives on Pictorial Imaging

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper offers innovative insight into traditional methods of pictorial Image making re-interpreted for use in cutting edge CGI technology used in games design. Artists have used the picture box to solve problems of near and far perspective in painting and drawing throughout history. Its development dates back thousands of years with elements of its evolution evidenced in Prehistoric rock paintings from Europe and Africa and Ancient Egyptian Bas relief. Picture box elements have resurfaced at various times, and in various art-forms including stage design, photography, cinema, and animation. Stage designers represent far perspective on shallow platforms by positioning realistic props in front of painted back-drops. Photographers use depth of field to isolate foreground figures and blur background imagery. Film directors construct elaborate sets and choreograph complex camera movement to force perspective and point of view. Disney’s horizontal multiplane camera allowed two dimensional images to be photographed in three dimensional space. More recently, we have seen the picture box utilised in Computer Graphics Imagery, (CGI) Objects viewed by virtual cameras are rendered in a pyramid-shaped volume known as a viewing frustum, which is structured in many ways, not unlike, the picture box. While technologies evolve and adapt, the picture box continues to provide a solution for representing near and far perspective in image making.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
JournalThe International Journal of the Image
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Feb 2012


  • Picture Box
  • Image Making
  • CGI
  • Animation
  • Moving Image.


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