Every photograph seems to start with the real, and contain some sort of truth. But now that 3-D computer-generated imagery (CGI) can be indistinguishable from a genuine photograph, what is the truth in a photograph? This technology has been enthusiastically adopted by Hollywood, where its use is familiar in disaster and sci-fi movies, and by advertisers, to sell us a car that doesn’t yet exist. But it’s still a problem area for artists and photographers for whom authenticity can be critical.

Artist Pat Flynn makes photographic works about belief. Belief is his subject, but he also asks whether we believe his works show something real. Superficially, in that they are all computer-generated, they don’t. But by allowing him total control over the content of a photographic image, his methods might reveal different levels of truth and reality. His works are currently exhibited as Half Life of a Miracle at Manchester Art Gallery until 17 April 2016.

We invite you to spend a day with Pat exploring the philosophy and technique behind these works.


For the first hour, Pat and the curator Kate Jesson explore the aims, rationale and thinking behind the works. Given a tool of almost unlimited creative power, how can artists and photographers focus on the possibilities, and use it responsibly or tastefully - or not?

Pat will then demonstrate the complete process of creating a work from scratch. The main stages are research, pre-visualisation and planning, modelling (creating the basic shapes), mapping (adding texture and surface to the shapes), lighting, and rendering. This demonstration will use the commercial software 3ds Max and V-Ray, but Pat will also briefly look at equivalent open-source software Blender.

Who is this event for?

This workshop/demonstration is aimed at any photographer or artist seeking to explore this subject. It is suggested you will have some familiarity with using a computer, and Photoshop or equivalent. You don’t need to know anything about CGI software.

You are welcome to bring a laptop with CGI software pre-loaded so that you can try some of these methods out yourself on the spot during breaks. But that is not required and you will benefit equally from just attending.

Software details:

3ds Max is for Windows only and a 30-day free trial is available here: http://www.autodesk.com/products/3ds-max/overview. There is also a free version for current students (over 13) and teachers at state-registered educational schools, colleges and universities.

Blender is free for Windows, Mac OSX and Linux and can be downloaded here: https://www.blender.org.

About Pat Flynn:

Pat Flynn (born 1972) lives and works in Manchester. He studied BA (Hons) Fine Art at Staffordshire University and MA Fine Art at Manchester Metropolitan University. His previous solo exhibitions include: Cold Children at Marion Scharmann, Köln (2013) and at The International 3, Salford (2012). Draw me a Castle at Chapter, Cardiff (2007) Previous group exhibitions include: Sublime at Pushkinskaya 10, St. Petersburg (2014), The Tomorrow People at Forman’s Smokehouse Gallery, London (2013), Digital Aesthetic³ at Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston (2012), Exeter Contemporary Open at Exeter Phoenix, Exeter (2009), FRESH PAINTING at 14-1 Gallery, Stuttgart (2008), False Mirrors at Marcus Winter Gallery, Berlin (2008). His work is held in a number of public and private collections including Bury Art Museum & Sculpture Centre, University of Salford and Inflexion Private Equity. Pat Flynn is represented by The International 3 (Salford) and Marion Scharmann (Köln)

We are very grateful for support for this workshop from Arts Council England and Manchester Art Gallery, allowing us to deliver it at a low price.

Access information: The venue, including toilets and café, is fully accessible for wheelchairs, with nearby disabled parking spaces on Nicholas Street. A British Sign Language interpreter may be booked in advance. Please click here for more details. Work will be projected on screen for the full duration of the workshop.

Prices: £15 Redeye members, £20 concessions, £30 standard (log in to buy tickets)
Timing: 11:00 to 17:00, 12 March 2016 (including lunch and tea/coffee breaks)
Venue: Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, Manchester M2 3JL


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