The idea of the workshop/installation was that anyone could participate in the workshop by walking in, drawing their own character and then animating that character just by moving their own body.
This video shot by YLE for Keski-Suomen uutiset illustrates the process. (In Finnish)
The dances were streamed live to the internet. The first video (the last dance we did) has all of the characters on screen at the same time.
You can also browse all the videos over at the bambuser channel http://bambuser.com/channel/animoituliik. Unfortunately due to some technical problems, some of the dances were not recorded. Another issue is the sound. On some of the videos the sound is clipping very badly and on some of them there is no sound at all.
Almost 90 people came and drew their characters, 94 dances were recorded online and probably double that amount came just to see what was going on during the three days this project was running.
The movements of the participants were tracked by a custom built solution based on tBeta and Quartz Composer. The participants wore infrared “beacons” on their ankles and wrists that were being tracked by an infrared camera. The information was then sent over to Animata to animate the characters.
The infrared light can be seen weakly in normal photos as well:
Photo by: Sirja Moberg
Here are some photos from the workshop and behind the scenes. The first photos are from a little workshop that I taught covering the basics of Animata for some of our assistants.
A HUGE THANK YOU to Live Herring and all of the other people who made this possible.
Last week, I took part in the SenseStage workshop at the Hexagram BlackBox in Montreal. http://sensestage.hexagram.ca/workshop/introduction/. It was a workshop designed to bring together people from different disciplines (dance, theatre, sound, video, light) and cooperate in a collaborative environment with interactive technologies.
During the workshop, there were tons of sensors – light, floor pressure, accelerometers, humidity etc. – all connected to little microcontrollers which in turn were all wirelessly connected to a central computer that gathered all the data and sent it forward as OSC to any client conected to the network.
Basically, we had 5 days to complete an interactive performance sequence using the data gathered by the sensor nodes. This is what our group came up with.
We call it Treasure Islands and it’s a bit twisted interactive performance/game where a girl finds herself in a weird world where she is floating on a donut in the middle of the ocean with a mermaid talking in her head. She has to travel to all of the different Islands around her, and collect sounds from them in order to open a portal into this strange dream world for all her friends. Sounds like a good concept, doesn’t it? Check out the video and you’ll see that it actually makes sense.
There was a lot of sensor data available, but we ended up using just the pressure sensors on the floor and camera tracking. With a bit more time we could have evolved the world to be more responsive to the real world, but I’m pretty happy with the results we were able to achieve in such a short time. Our group worked really well together, which is not always the case in such collaborative projects.
Sarah Albu – narrative, graphics, performance
Matt Waddell – sound, programming
Me – animation, programming
And I guess I need to include some more technical details for all the people who check my site for that kind of stuff (I know you’re out there).
We used camera tracking with tbeta to track Sarah and used that data to move the doughnut and to make the environment responsive to her movements. All of the real-time animation was done in Animata, which really is a perfect tool for something like this, because it allows me to animate things really fast without compromising in quality. Max was used as the middle man to convert the TUIO messages and the OSC from the sensor network into the kind of messages Animata needs to hear.
We sewed some IR LEDs on the hat to help with tracking in a dark space.
Each island is an instrument that you can play with. Stepping on a certain area would trigger loops, add effects to your voice etc. Matt could explain the sound part better than me, but the video should make it pretty clear. it doesn’t reproduce the effect of the quadraphonic sound system we used though. Some visual clues were also triggered in the animation based on her movements on the sensors.
That’s pretty much it. If you have any questions, leave a comment and I’ll try to get back to you as soon as possible.
My workflow in creating ths animation was pretty unorthodox. Almost all of the character animation was recorded real-time with a custom setup involving Max/MSP and Animata. I created a patch in Max to control animation in Animata with the sound of the interviews. I also had some sliders and buttons to trigger things like blinking and arm movements. I used After Effects for compositing and for some additional animation.
Damn, how come I haven´t seen this earlier. Parra´s band Le Le with the track Breakfast. I´ve always thought that Parra is doing the best illustrations and typography on this side of the galaxy and now it´s in motion!
If you aren´t feeling the YouTube quality, check out the Quicktime at bigactive.com
I´m really interested in stereoscopy, which you might have guessed, if you´ve ever seen me running around with my View-Master camera. In my opinion, View-Master is still a superior method for viewing stereoscopic images, but it´s only still images. That´s why I wanted to see if I could improve the design and make an interactive View-Master for animations.
This little hybrid between Mickey Mouse and Steve Mann enables you to control and view stereoscopic animations that are animated in real-time.
It´s an old View-Master viewer modified to have ChromaDepth lenses, some custom buttons, accelerometer, bluetooth radio and an Arduino to control it all. I thought about hiding the electronics with bigger ears, but decided not to, because I like the ghetto-cyborg look he´s got going on there.
So how does it work? You look through the viewer to the screen where you will see some 3-layer Månsteri-action in all of its stereoscopic glory. The great thing about ChromaDepth stereoscopy is that it works with basic colors. You dont need two channels for the video to achieve a 3D-effect. On a dark background, everything that is blue will appear to be in the background and everything that is red will appear to be in the foreground. Colors in the spectrum between blue and red will appear to be somewhere in the middle. If you didn´t understand my explanation, look it up on the interwebs.
The accelerometer detects your motion and will move the character on the middle layer, giving the illusion that the character is trying to mimic your movement. You can control the content of the layers with the three buttons on the side of the viewer. Button three controls the background, button two the middle layer and button one controls the foreground. Check out the video and you´ll understand what I mean. If you have ChromaDepth glasses, put them on to see the 3d effect.
The Arduino sends the sensor data and the button states wirelessly via bluetooth to my computer. The information is parsed in Max/MSP, which in turn sends the data as OSC packets to Animata (my favourite software at the moment). Animata then animates everything in real-time and handles the hiding/revealing of different layers.
If you are interested, I have uploaded the Arduino and Max 5 source codes and also the Animata scene. It´s all very specific to my setup, but someone might find it useful. Download the source.