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Out and About

By December 21, 2012Uncategorized

I have been out at conference a lot lately

It was very interesting and rich. There was a lot of sophisticated work on video signal processing, image recognition, motion tracking etc aimed at solutions for the VFX industry. and a lot of work that involved depth sensors like the Kinect Highlights for me were:

  • Microsoft research’s project Kinect Fusion, http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/projects/surfacerecon/ cumulation arbitrary geometric construction derived for analysis of multi-sampled depth frames. I am evaluating this for generating set reconstruction reference geometry on my Autonomous Portraits project.
  • Double Negative gave a good presentation http://www.dneg.com/. The showed their recent R and D in matching up location footage, with performance capture and CG animation. They showed one of there approaches to High fidelity reference gathering based on PhotoScan software http://www.agisoft.ru/products/photoscan . I am evaluating this for facial detail reference.
  • Faceshift had a stand and I had long discussions with them about there facial performance capture system. http://www.faceshift.com/ I will be using this.
  • Another stand was manned by Tandent who have made LightBrush http://www.tandent.com/lightbrush-license/ this is a very useful tool for separating colour information from light intensity information in RAW photographic images. This has so many potential uses but I will be looking at its capacity to extract diffuse colour maps for my portraits.
  • Kinects and similar devices like Xtion are being used for many things, they originated as game controllers but they have been transformed into computer sensing devices with many applications even in there first generation, they should be taken seriously by everyone working with HCI. http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/kinectforwindows/discover/gallery.aspx. They are Gesture, movement and speech recognition devices and they are getting cheaper by the day. The chances are smartphone will also have useful depth cameras in a couple of years.

Last Friday I attended the Computer Arts Society Symposium at the V&A Museum. http://computer-arts-society.com/ It was also very interesting. Most attendees were from an Arts and Humanities academic background. A group who were former students from the Royal Collage of Arts Presented their work. I saw a couple patterns and themes in their approach to what they termed ‘The Digital’. They were all fascinated by the idea of continuousness in working with digital tools. They didn’t feel comfortable with a finished article and always reused their output in consecutive works. Their engagement with the digital tools they used was markedly passive and intentionally naive. They were also quite comfortable in taking content that was produced by other people and using in their own work. These are factors I have noticed in a lot of young digital artists. I provoked a debate by asking. “Given that we are in the V&A- the museum of craft- what do you think about skill and mastery in relation to digital tools?”. This debate constellated around issued of authoral ownership and authenticity. with many in the audience taking the stance that without mastery of the tools then the work done with them is merely an act of consumption, Lev Manovic’s ‘Readerly’ experience, where the creative authorship resides in the software producers or at best an editorial experience. The creative act is denied to the practitioner if the do not have command of the tools. It was quite sad to hear one of these mid twenties artist’s saying that they did not feel that mastery and hence full ownership of their work was not actually available to him and his generation. Claiming that; the complexity of the tools; the continuous release of new versions; and the scarcity and costliness of training; place the idea of mastering the digital tools beyond him. It is an error though, and the fault of his educators. Digital Sculptor, Scott Eaton (2010) proposed the idea that it take at least a decade of concerted practice to master any field. and that mastery of one set of skills and ideas, equips you to mastery other more easily. The expectations of educators of and for their students in creative fields is evidently far too low. skill and mastery are treated as irrelevant to creative practices by many institutions. This state of affairs debilitates students and consigns them to models of practice that are derivative production by consumption. taking premade models and images and processing them with preconfigure tools operations

Nick Lambert gave a short lecture on the history of 3D graphics as a simulative medium and covered some of the aesthetic and technical ground. It was striking to be shown a wireframe model drawn by early renaissance artist Ucello. He comprehensively proved that the fetishistic idea that digital technologies are perpetually new is silly and that there is a rich history that tracks the development of the ideas that led to these technological developments and that some of these ideas come through the medium intact. I will put up some examples when I get more time

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