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I am looking for a word similar to, or perhaps a generalization of, petrification/petrify. Whereas petrification involves a transformation of a physical object into a statue, the idea I have in mind is a transformation of a physical object into a two-dimensional projection of itself. Another similar word is made up within the video game Luigi's Mansion, in which physical ghosts are turned into paintings of themselves via the Ghost Portrificationizer machine, but neither portrificationization nor portrification are real words.

A word that applies broadly to any type of artistic representation would also work, but the word should suggest that the object gets consumed in the process of creating the art, unlike most or all art in the real world, which merely creates an artistic copy of the physical object.

Here are the thesaurus searches I've tried, with no helpful results:
https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/petrify
https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/petrified

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  • You might find a term in Baudrillard or other postmodern theory.
    – Stuart F
    Jan 15, 2023 at 14:51
  • If such a word exists the game writers might not have needed to invent portrification. Jan 15, 2023 at 19:35
  • 'Projection' itself has closely allied senses. Jan 15, 2023 at 19:46
  • @WeatherVane As reasonable as that sounds, further context might offer another explanation. The term chosen was "Ghost Portrificationizer" rather than something like "Ghost Portrifier," and the machine is owned by a character with the mad scientist persona, suggesting that the aim was to make the name sound wacky instead of linguistically realistic.
    – user10478
    Jan 15, 2023 at 19:47
  • 1
    In a fictional setting (and process) as asked, you can use a fictional word. Jan 15, 2023 at 19:55

3 Answers 3

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As there is no such actual action possible, you could consider some similar concepts from other fields. For example reduce or reduction as in Dimensionality Reduction

Dimensionality reduction, or dimension reduction, is the transformation of data from a high-dimensional space into a low-dimensional space

Alternatively, you can use common words and specify the exact meaning in context:

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  • "As there is no such actual action possible," - Citation needed.
    – nnnnnn
    Jan 16, 2023 at 13:58
  • For turning a physical 3D object into a 2D one?
    – dubious
    Jan 17, 2023 at 10:06
  • I think the onus is on nnnnnnnn to prove it is possible. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. (Regardless, even if it's possible, there may not be a word for it.)
    – Stuart F
    Jan 20, 2023 at 9:00
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You could use realise/realize, realisation/realization in the sense of "to make real"

"The ghosts are realized as paintings."

OED

I. To give real existence to something.

1.a. transitive. To make real or actual; to convert (something imagined, planned, etc.) into real existence or fact; to bring (a scheme, ambition, etc.) to fruition. Formerly also: †to show the reality or truth of (a statement) (obsolete). Frequently in passive.

1957 A. E. Stevenson New Amer. III. ii. 104 We cannot produce overnight an abundance of modern, well-lighted school buildings with plenty of capable and devoted teachers, where every child is free to realize his best self.

2004 Manch. Evening News (Nexis) 17 Feb. (Business section) 14 Our expansion plans couldn't be realised without more funding.

And the common "He left home and realised his dreams."

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  • The OP is asking about a process that starts with a physical object, not a ghost.
    – nnnnnn
    Jan 16, 2023 at 13:59
  • @nnnnnn I don't think so --in which physical ghosts are turned into paintings of themselves ghosts are immaterial (regardless of what the OP says, you can't have a "physical" ghost), paintings are material.
    – Greybeard
    Jan 16, 2023 at 15:47
  • The question says, "the idea I have in mind is a transformation of a physical object into a two-dimensional projection of itself", and then the ghost thing is mentioned as a similar concept for which there is already a word. I agree you can't have a "physical ghost", but other than that example I think the OP really is thinking of physical objects.
    – nnnnnn
    Jan 17, 2023 at 4:34
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I don't think you will find a "real" word that encapsulates that concept; consider coining one; portrify, like used in the game, seems like a reasonable option.

there is a vaguely related idea in 'The Picture of Dorian Gray', where a magic portrait ages instead of the protagonist

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