Painting ID website, painting page

Update 06/16: has been turned off, but you can visit an archive of the site at

I recently had the pleasure to work on a website for the NYC artist Brendan Smith with designers Harry Gassel and Seth Hoekstra and 3D Illustrator James Orlando.

One of those short-notice jobs that always has the potential to become a nightmare it nontheless turned out to be a great time thanks to the professionalism of my main-point-of-contacts Harry and Seth. However, three.js was another matter entirely. A mess of horrible documentation, awkward anti-patterns and hundreds of mutable variables it took me a week before I could even display a painting on the screen and when I did it looked something like this:

3D painting, broken render

After that it was a matter of figuring out rotations, positioning, texturing, hooking up controls and how to swap out colours and paintings on the fly. I then discovered how tricky it is to light a scene to show anything from white to bright purple to black. On the advice of a friend I ended up going with two lights, a very dark blue-black ambient light and a very bright yellow-white directional light.

Despite the pains of three.js it was great to have the opportunity to learn some new skills.

Painting ID website, opening page

Painting ID website, painting page

Painting ID website, preview page

Painting ID website, about page