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Relativity Theory-Inspired ‘Layer-Lapse’ Sheds New Light On NYC And Concept Of Time-Lapse

By Brittany Smith on November 15th 2017

Inspiration in art can come from anywhere and anything and for some the biggest inspiration is from those dominating the field. The most common advice is to never copy and instead take the inspiration and put an individual twist on it to make it entirely unique; not everything has been done before.

Julian Tryba is a photographer, videographer and cinematographer that epitomizes this very notion with his most recent layer-lapse of New York City. His first layer-lapse took place in Boston and consisted of about 30 layers per scene that were manually animated. The project was a pivotal moment in his career that allowed him to focus on photography full time.

“Traditional time-lapses are constrained by the idea that there is a single universal clock. In the spirit of Einstein’s relativity theory, layer-lapses assign distinct clocks to any number of objects or regions in a scene. Each of these clocks may start at any point in time and tick at any rate. The result is a visual time dilation effect known as layer-lapse.”

For the NYC layer-lapse, Julian was working with 100-300 layers per scene and used his engineering background to automate his workflow. He began scripting the after effects and writing code for each unique layer-lapse ‘look’ such as the waves of day and night that move through the shots in the film.

[Rewind:] ‘Timeless Dreams’ Captures the American Southwest in Fun Layer-Lapse

Triggers, such as each note of the music, signal a change and when linked to a certain script the computer generates a layer-lapse that is animated in response to the music. The final result is an incredible piece of art that is a combination of mathematical and manual animation.

The art and creativity is not lost as it will still require a lot of man-hours to achieve. The NYC layer-lapse was the result of 232,000 photos captured with 6 different cameras over the course of 352 hours. Seeing as how this is only Julian’s second layer-lapse, it will be exciting to see the progression of this technique as he continues his journey and learns to further automate the process.

Enjoy the following NYC layer-lapse with the beautiful views of the Hudson, Chrysler building, Central Park and other gorgeous vantage points to see NYC as you’ve never seen it before. It will definitely brighten up your day.

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Brittany is a fashion and beauty photographer who works between NYC, Montana and LA. She photographs the way she has always wanted to feel and believes in the power of raw simplicity. When not behind a camera she can usually be found at a local coffeeshop, teaching fitness classes at the YMCA, or baking something fabulous in the kitchen.
Instagram: @brittanysmithphoto

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Todd Barnett

    Talk about dedication….this is Amazing!  

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