As the recent ubiquity of 3D movies reminds us, whenever a new technology hits the market, there will always be thousands of artists who are eager to apply it to their work. And as the recent ubiquity of 3D movies also reminds us, they will do so with varying degrees of competence; most such movies, in my opinion, look less like hyper-realistic immersive 3D than they do like a bunch of paper dolls standing a few feet in front of a matte painting.
The reason for this, obviously, is that it takes a while for society, as a collective whole, to learn what works and what doesn’t. Case in point, in the city where I live, there’s a building that was constructed shortly after the invention of the electric light bulb. Now,by this point in history, incorporating electric light effectively into architecture is a well-established practice…but this clearly wasn’t the case at the time that it was erected, since they decided to simply stud the poor edifice with more than five thousand individual light bulbs, making it look like a tacky fin-de-siecle mess by night.
Other great examples can be seen if you have the misfortune to watch a TV show which came-out immediately following the invention of colour television, or played the very earliest three-dimensional video games.
The salient point, however, is that in general if enough people try it, one or two will stumble-upon a way to do it “right.” Thus we have dramatic floodlighting beautifully illuminating buildings by night, colour that looks perfectly natural on our TV screens and are at liberty to play Portal to our heart’s content. As perhaps Hugo shows, we are gradually inching that way with 3D movies as well.
The sole exception to this rule, that I can think of, are lenticular prints, which people have been trying to use in an aesthetically pleasing manner since I was a child, but which still look like pieces of crap.