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Monday, 29 October 2012

Synthesis: Pre Exhibition

The BCT exhibition is in two days time and we have moved into the setup stage.  We do not have access to the Chroma Key Room until tomorrow morning and as a result have been focusing today on our studio space and supplementary material.

Synthesis: DVD

Similar to the brochure, we thought it would be a good idea to create a DVD showreel to hand out to interested parties.  We have invited several industry professionals and outside parties to the upcoming exhibition, who if interested will be given a copy of our exhibition showreel on DVD.  This allows us to give tangible artifacts to these interested parties, and offer them to re-access the exhibition content without needing to follow the digital breadcrumb trail.  The easier the better, and once again, the more exposure the better.

QR Code directs to

Synthesis: Brochure

For the upcoming BCT exhibition, we decided to produce a tri-fold brochure containing information on our process creating the installation, and a slight variation of the contextual statement.  The aim is to give audience members/ participants both a memorable experience within the installation itself, and a memento to carry with them.  The more exposure the better.

Here is the brochure design created by Lee Simpson, another member of Fantail Studios.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Synthesis: Concept Statement

The installation officially has a name -'Synthesis'.  

After the jump is the conceptual statement for the installation.  Read more if you're interested.

Projection Mapping: Fabrication

With this project one of my learning objectives was to spend a bit more time in the 3d Labs developing an understanding of the construction process.  The fabrication aspect of the installation was left in the very capable hands of Chris Starkey, but i was lucky enough to find some time to join him and get my hands dirty.

It was an awesome opportunity to spend some time doing something a little bit different.  The large scale of the structure meant that construction was actually quite a impressive feat to follow to fruition, and being part of it gave me my first point of pride in the project to date.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Projection Mapping: Concept Drawing

Concept drawing for a less 'abstract' more 'throw as much detail in viewers faces' concept.  Heavy on negative space which works well with the projection mapping, to create animated natural elements from the geometric synthetic canvas.  Like the idea of dense population within the space and love the idea of creating a miniaturized ecosystem within.  Not so great is the lack of synthesis involved and the reliance on very obvious representations with the visuals.

Would love to do this one anyway just to see it in action.

Projection Mapping: Visuals (-development)

We began the process of discerning what would actually be going on within our canvas.  This stage took a remarkably long time, and was something we all found difficult.  We are still working on this at the day of formative assessment.

The main difficulty is the idea of using graphics that work together form both aspects, but are individual enough to stand out and make their point.  We are also aiming to use visuals which are abstractions of the concepts themselves, as opposed to direct representations of synthetic and organic elements in action.

With the organic elements we looked at various forms nature takes in its construction, things that are elegant but display intelligent aesthetic and structural qualities.  The formations of beehives and spider webs were discussed and More obscure patterns were discovered such as the shape of frost as it forms, and the movement and lines of bamboo.

With the synthetic side we looked into light formations often found in time lapse photography and cityscapes captured at night.  This video I took a lot away from, due to the simple methods it uses to build a realistic cityscape using very little composition, it essentially relies on the negative space to form the buildings, and is amazingly effective in painting the picture.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Projection Mapping: Spitballing

Potential concept for the installation.  Would it be possible to run the projections down onto the floor and up onto the ceiling?  would this restrict interaction?  Would it be technologically feasible  Do we have the right equipment in the studion to pull it off?

The space in the Chroma Key room already has some really interesting shapes on the ceiling with pipes and grates and whatnot.  It would lend itself really well to the projection mapping technique.

Projection Mapping: Concept Development

"I would like to think it uses engaging, friendly, and absorbing visuals and sound to afford people the opportunity to get lost in its relative simplicity, and interpret its meaning for themselves."

The competition aspect has been completely scrapped.  Our installation was now to focus on the collaborative aspect of the group environment.  The collaboration was not to be directed in any way but instead, this was to develop (or not ) through people interacting with the installation and see what develops in what ways, and from what action (or lack thereof).

This in a way reflects the idea of nature and man collaborating to create.  It is not forced but it is registered that in the long run, development is easier when working with the elements as opposed to going against them.  It is important however to not emphasize the architectural component of the creation in the installation.  It is present of course, but it is not intended to be a focus.  We are walking a fine tight-rope with our conceptual backing, and how we choose to represent it.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Projection Mapping Progress: First Big Step

Concept Sketches for Various Structure Designs.

The first major decision which we reached as a group was how to construct our canvas.  We had decided early on that the easiest way to create an engaging projection mapping construction would be to use the same approach as seen in the research videos.  The construct would be in a corner and would essentially be a tower comprised of various sized bricks.

The biggest complication with projection mapping, is also what makes it an interesting technique.  It allows you to essentially create negative space within the projected surface, therefor manipulating the surface without doing so at all.  This poses problems however when adjusting the angle from which the surface is viewed,  if you imagine a large transparent box with a smaller box levitating inside, the smaller can be viewed from any angle and will remain fixed from from the viewer perspective.  When implementing this effect with projection mapping however and projecting the smaller box onto the surface of the larger, not only will the image not rotate when the viewer moves around the object, but when viewing from a corner not aligned with the projection the faces will be aligned incorrectly and will not make sense within their given space.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Projection Mapping Studios

Some interesting Studios that are using projection mapping techniques at a commercial level.  

I definitely did not start this course with the intention of becoming involved in public installations as a chosen medium, however the more we as a group pursue this avenue and develop skills related to public installations, the more I realize that this is a very viable option.  The fact that there are studios out there working in this field and killing it makes me excited about the prospect of pursuing it further.  The fact that they are specifically employing 'Creative Technologists' is pretty sweet also.

Michael Hodgson is an Auckland based video artist.  He is a co-founder of the New Zealand interactive video production studio 'The Dub Module'.  They have worked for major clients such as Louis Vuitton, Vodafone and the IRB World Cup showcase.

For more information check their website.

Advanced grid-based Projection Mapping Technique

Here are a few more videos which further display the technique we will be integrating into our installation.

Mute is your friend.

Projection Mapping Research

Projection mapping is the process in which an irregular surface is orientated with projected video feed, in order to create a 'moving canvas'.  This allows objects to utilize negative space to alter the viewed surface.

There are many ways projection mapping is put into practice.  This method utilizes a human subject within the environment to act out a scene.

Semester 2: Projection Mapping. Initial Stages/Ideas

We decided as a group that our next project would be another interactive installation.  We had developed an interest in what we could produce with emerging technologies in this area, and were excited about the idea of developing applied learning of the installation medium.

To this end we decided to produce an installation that was focused around utilizing interaction on a broader scale.  We wanted to create something that could potentially be left in a public space, where it would grow and develop relative to the amount of audience interaction, potentially without the audience being aware of their interaction at all.  Whereas last semester we produced an installation which relied on one person syncing in with the apparatus to register specific movements, this semester we would focus on the sensors picking up movement across a wide area, essentially allowing many people to directly interact with the installation as opposed to just one.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Eco Sym Contextual Statement

For anyone concerned, after the jump is the very formal and very wordy Personal Contextual Statement.

Eco Sym Installation. Progress Showcase

Video showreel of the construction process involved in the making of the Eco Sym Installation.

Look out for me spending an awful lot of time sitting on the beanbag polishing our animations during the time-lapse footage.

Eco Sym Installation Final

We are post the Eco Sym Installation now by about two months, time to get caught up on some blogging.  The project ended well, with several opportunities to take the installation further, potentially even to a commercial level.

By using Kinect sensors to monitor peoples movements we were able to effectively control an interactive on-screen marine ecosystem.  Users selected specific species found in the ecosystem and through movement increased or decreased the specific species population, or biomass.  this resulted in ripple effects throughout the entire ecosystem as detailed with the earlier research on biomass and keystone species.

This video was constructed after the first exhibition and shows the screen capture footage, and scenes of user interaction.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Network: Installation Summary

I feel it is important now to convey exactly what we will be doing with our installation, as I feel it may not be particularly clear from my previous posts.

  • Users will step into a designated area which is registered with a Kinect motion sensor.
  • This will be set up in front of a large scale projection which will display our living breathing ecosystem.
  • By interacting with individual animals on the screen, users will alter the amount of a particular species that are present in the ecosystem.
  • This will have a flow on affect which will be measured by following the principles of the 'Biomass Pyramid' and Biological Network' diagrams posted earlier (i.e. more turtles =less of what a turtle feeds on + more of what feeds on turtles)
  • The changes will be displayed on screen by numbers of species blowing up or diminishing, which the user will then (if desired) look at rectifying by further altering numbers.
The model essentially mimics the effects of human interaction on the environment by simplifying the effects to direct changes in population of animal Biomass.

Network: Installation Research II

Our second research component would involve How we would convey our concept through an art installation medium.

We looked at existing installations.  Some of which displayed ecosystems and marine life, some of which were more artistic and ambiguous.

I personally took a lot away from an installation set up by 'Selfridges' in London.  It was titled 'Project Ocean' and demonstrated aquatic life from a side on perspective.  People were motivated to interact with the installation by purchasing fish which would then be displayed.  Proceeds were donated to charity.  It struck a chord with me however as after watching this video I could get a feel for what our installation may look like on screen.  This will be important as my personal contribution to the project will be visual aspects, and developing an aesthetic for the installation.

Clusta : Selfridge's Project Ocean Digital from Clusta on Vimeo.

The group also viewed a local exhibition at the Aotea centre named 'Growth' by Jeffrey Nusz.  It is "an interactive ecosystem where people orchestrate the emergence of digital plants and trees."  essentially movement is registered via a Kinect sensor and manipulates the growth of plant-life on-screen.  After this installation I personally developed the desire to steer away from the potentially childish and bare-bones aesthetics attached to the 'Project Ocean' installation, towards something more abstract and artistic.  I feel like it is important to maintain the message and concept behind our installation, but there must be a more visually stimulating way to display our marine ecosystem.  I feel this is a directional desire that is mutual amongst the entire group.

More information on the 'Growth' installation:

Network: Diagrams Mapping our Ecosystem

Diagrams of our Biomass Pyramid.

'A visualization of the dynamics of our Biological Network'

Network: Installation Research I

We began our research component which would comprise the majority of our mid semester hand-in.  It essentially split into two components.

First we had to research ecosystems and real-world examples of species being removed from ecosystems already.  We came across several interesting concepts which had an impact on our installation idea.

'Biomass' is a measurement of how many of a particular species are regularly observed in its natural environment.  It is most easily mapped with Eco-pyramid diagrams -which display producer or provider species (plants) at the bottom with a larger biomass, and 'apex predators' at the top with a smaller biomass.  If it were any other way, an ecosystem would be forced to collapse as not enough sources of food would be available to sustain the food chain or web.

Biomass pyramid example

'Keystone Species' are particular animals who despite their comparatively small biomass, have an exceptionally large impact on their immediate environments.  This would be a good start to building the particular ecosystem we would choose to display, as having a keystone species as the centre of our network would allow radical change to be made to all nodes affected.  Essentially keystone species contribute a particular action (usually dietary) which sustains control over its immediate ecosystem.  Increasing or decreasing the number of this species has a flow on effect.

See this link for a detailed article on keystone species:

Network Brief and Concept-ing

With our websites live we were given our first large scale studio brief of 2012.  This project is to take the entirety of Semester One.

We were tasked with coming up with a project that involved networks in some way, shape or form.

"The brief is to develop a group project (in groups of 3-5 people) that explores the concepts, theories and technologies of networks. Rather than take up obvious or litteral responses to the topic explore the ideas and generate projects that extend our understanding of the issues. This is not necessarily an internet project! You are free to utilise any technologies or media that support your ideas."

Website UP

First project back this semester was to create a portfolio website to house our project work over the coming semesters.

It's functional and live, but theres not a lot of content uploaded yet.  Also domain is a bit whack, but will be changing over to a more suitable hosting service/domain name shortly.

Check back over the coming few weeks as I get it up to scratch.