Notes on image processing

2021-04-13 12:00:00 -0600

This is a collection of thoughts on different image and film making techniques. It's a personal list. I'm interested in ways of representing the world around us that are realistic without being naturalistic.


  • 'Bitmap' literally means 'a map of bits'. As I understand it this is pretty much any image format you find on a computer. However, I think when we say 'bitmap' we mean files in the .bmp format, where each pixel is either on or off.
  • The use of dithering techniques allows us to render beautiful, detailed imagery that resemble a photograph, with just 1 colour.
  • The handaxes on my homepage are bitmaps.

Further reading


  • I saw this one on tiktok. It's a technique that takes advantage of the H.264 file format. H264 achieves tiny video file sizes by only saving data for a keyframe when the image has changed a lot since the last frame. In between all of those, only the movement of pixels is saved.
  • You can take advantage of this by deleting or inserting keyframes, making the video player apply movement from one clip to a different one. For example, I made a video of my cats face superimposed on the movement of my own. It was terrifying.
  • The most creative of datamoshing I've seen is to use it to create 3D data of a clip. Better explained here

Further reading


  • This term is used to talk about two different techniques. The common thread is that they both map time to space.
  • The traditional slitscan effect was created by running a piece of film in front of a slit. Anything moving in front of the slit will be 'scanned' in according to the time it went in front of the slit. It was often used to determine who won a race.
  • A more modern interpretation of this effect is to displace strips of a video across time. For example, the left hand side of the video might be 4 seconds ahead of the right hand side of the video.
  • I've enjoyed using this technique to take videos of flowers in the park. There's a dissonance between the natural setting and the aesthetic of flatbed scanning. See an example here

Further reading


  • David Hockey said 'Photography is all right if you don’t mind looking at the world from the point of view of a paralysed cyclops-for a split second'. I like his cubist take on photography.

Further reading


  • Zeeman's Paradox states that a drawing in perspective (as in, the Western technique of depicting space) looks realistic from many perspectives, even though it should only look right from one.
  • 'Chinese landscape painting is manifestation rather than reappearance.'

Further reading