Capturing lightning in 3D

Two photographs combined to model the path of a lightning strike

A chance encounter made possible by the informational maelstrom otherwise know as Reddit has resulted in this dynamic reconstruction of a lightning strike.

The animated image above is a render produced in Blender, and you can see how it all came together in a brief but informative post over on Richard Wheeler’s Calculated Images blog. In short, two separate photographers happened to snap pictures of the same bolt of lightning from slightly different positions. Richard then took these pictures and applied them in a similar manner to the way a stereoscopic image is resolved.  

The images aren’t exact, but the two views of the strike are close enough to approximate a set of volumetric data. The outcome may not be an example of true scientific precision, however as an artistic experiment it certainly is a flash of brilliance.

Although in this instance, the lightning has only been reconstructed virtually… the next step will surely be for someone to send the data to a 3D printer and give this bolt from the heavens a lasting physical presence.

via Calculated Images