Thursday, December 14, 2006

final final

It all came together in the end, and I am quite happy with the outcome. People who had a chance to play with the portal seemed to enjoy it and had fun.

The way the portal works is that you stand above it, and slowly move your hand in. The sensor picks up your hand's location and activates one of the scenes. If you hold your hand steady, the scene will loop. If you move your hand lower, you will part the clouds, and the next scene will play. If you move your hand up, the previous scene will play. It takes a little getting used to, but it does work.

The one problem was that almost everyone rushed to the bottom, missing out on the middle scenes. I think that using computer vision rather than the IR sensor might have made it easier for me to buffer that and slow it down.

Part of the interactivity was discovering how to control the action in the scenes, and it seemed that with practice, most folks got it. People also learned from observing each other.

A link to the movie here:


and if you want to see the Max/msp jitter patch its here:


Test takes

Powers of Ten.

I have settled on the "Strata" concept to use for the portal. I am going to honor Charles & Ray Eames' film, "Powers of Ten," by creating stop-motion animations of a location seen from above. I will use illustration rather than photos or live action. And it will be black and white. I will use a MAX patch to control my DV camera to capture the images and write them directly into a movie file.

The Setup.

Here is a test stop motion technique I will be using for the final. It's a lot easier than I had thought it would be, but I fear that the real deal will be a lot more time consuming.


Here goes.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Concept for Final

Final project proposal: Catchy Name To Be Determined


Portals act as gateways between spaces, whether they are physical or virtual spaces. Once we pass through a portal we are changed—time has elapsed, we are in a new location, and we are somehow different. This interactive installation will serve as a metaphor for a portal, one in which users can influence what’s on the other side. The space beyond the portal might be based on time, where users can “reach” back and see the past, or might be based on color, where their entry affects the display of color in the space. Alternatively, it may be based on strata, where the users’ motion will uncover various layers in this environment.


The installation is based on a column, probably waist high, and a few feet around. The column is hollow, with a hole at the top (the portal.) Embedded inside the base of the column is a monitor, oriented so its display faces up. An array of sensors (motion, proximity, cameras?) along the sides of the column monitor the hollow space. The sensors are connected to a PC which controls the images and sound on the display. Input from sensors influence the content on the display. To interact with the installation, the user reaches through the portal, causing the sensors to initiate changes in the display. The sensors will report depth and location.

Solid View

Cutaway View


Option 1. Time
Reaching in, and back, users can pull the past back into view, content might be captured on cameras placed around the 4th floor, or the world.

Option 2. Color
The display will be a solid hue that slowly changes over time. User interaction will cause areas of the display to change, which will slowly decay back to the surrounding hue.

Option 3. Strata
Parting the clouds like a god, users can reach down from the heavens to explore the spaces below. It might be interesting to place cameras on all the floors of the Tisch building and grab content from each floor so that you can sift through the floors. Another direction could be to use hand-drawn animation and create your own world.