Design Iterations – Interactive Installation research

‘Create a piece of interaction information design for a shared public space, which is intended to elucidate/explain some an idea or concept you perceive as key to our 21st century media experience’

This is the brief we’ve been given to work towards in this part of the semester.

Reading the brief is of upmost importance with projects and I feel it is necessary for my own understanding to make notes on the brief and take the most useful parts of it to then refine it further to ensure I understand the project we have been given.

The project should ‘reflect ideas you have encountered in both media theory and design practise throughout the course so far’ encompassing ideas of ‘ubiquity, abstraction and convergence’ in media.

I find the concept of this brief fascinating, I have witnessed and had an interest in interactive installations for years, one particular installation that I remember watching countless times was the 4D projection Nokia created to launch the Nokia Lumia 800. 4D projection mapping was used for the first time on such a scale creating a full size image on one of the faces of the ‘Millbank tower’ in London back in 2011. Since then I have always found interactive installations fascinating and have wanted to create something of my own.

Here’s the performance by Nokia UK (accessed – 12th November 2014)

From this video I plan to explore what can be done using colour and visual art to create my project, I feel as we have access to the screens in Weymouth house it would be a good idea to try and use them to showcase a heavily visual project, furthermore, I plan to investigate further into processing sketches made by the general public, websites such as ‘openprocessing.org’ offer a large public platform for users to upload and share their sketches, I will use the time I have to look into this and try to narrow down my ideas into something that is both realistic and fits the brief set.

Full Frame Compact cameras vs APS-C sensor Compact cameras, which I chose

So recently I’ve been finding my current camera, the Sony NEX-5N to no longer suit my needs. It’s safe to say its taken some stunning shots, as I don’t usually crop too many of my photos, a 16mp sensor was more than adequate, however, it’s not 3 years old and starting to show signs of wear, for instance at random points the shutter will just go off, which is rather embarrassing when your on the bus as people tend to stare at you for the entire journey. The time has come to upgrade.

I’ve always been impressed by the way compact-system cameras perform in spite of their profoundly smaller size than DSLR cameras, as I usually like to take my camera around with me everywhere I go to get ‘the shot’ they suited me perfectly. The choice was therefore simple, get a compact-system camera with a standard CMOS sensor as seen in newer Sony cameras such as the ‘A6000’ which will be coming out April 2014 (Check it out here: http://www.sony.co.uk/electronics/interchangeable-lens-cameras/ilce-6000-body-kit) seemed to be the ‘obvious choice’ for someone like me, an enthusiast looking for a mid-range, highly portable camera, however, then I came across the almost as new Sony A7 and A7R cameras. (Check them out here – A7 – http://www.sony.co.uk/electronics/interchangeable-lens-cameras/ilce-7-body-kit A7R – http://www.sony.co.uk/electronics/interchangeable-lens-cameras/ilce-7r) These cameras differ from the mould when we talk about compact-system cameras, this being, they’re FULL FRAME! Changing, in one sweep the image everyone has in their head of full frame cameras being these huge behemoth type devices requiring a fairly beefy and enthusiastic photographer to possibly wield such a device. This was a major curveball for me, I had only done a small amiount of research in Full frame at this point as I’d never bothered beforehand as I didn’t think I’d ever be able to have a chance of buying something like that in a small enough shell. 

So, the field was now even, full frame had come to compact, but what does full frame offer as opposed to APS-C sensors? 

Well, starting off with the basics, looking positively at full frame, expect a higher image quality, due to the larger sized sensor, (23.6mm x 15.6mm APS-C vs 36mm x 24mm for full frame) and this generally corresponds to better ISO performance across the range, helpful for those like me who enjoy going out randomly at night to do some street photography (Check out my instagram here – http://instagram.com/olievans17) because you can’t sleep. 

Also, full frame sensors would be the choice for anyone shooting highly detailed, still objects, e.g. Architecture, Landscapes as they have a much larger range of lens options whilst boasting a 1x crop as opposed to a 1.3x, 1.5x or 1.6x crop offered by APS-C sensored cameras allowing essentially ‘more of the shot’ in each shot. 

Ok, so after looking through those benefits I took a look at advantages of APS-C sensor cameras, the main advantages being to those wishing to take shots of nature, moving subjects and wildlife, this is due to the crop factor touched upon previously, this allows lenses to essentially zoom in further as on top of the lens zoom the crop factor also gives the impression of an increased zoom. 

To me, in spite of the draws of full frame, APS-C still is the winner, this being largely due to pricing, full frame cameras do have useful benefits as highlighted in this blog, but in my opinion, you’d need to specialise in the areas in which full frame cameras out perform APS-C sensor cameras to justify the price difference. Since I photograph such a variety of subjects I went for APS-C as I think its more adaptable to a wider variety of situations, plus, my APS-C sensored Sony NEX 5N has taken some beautiful shots in complete night.

So, if you’ve got this far I hope it’s changed your opinion slightly on the importance of sensor size in cameras and how mostly, much can be achieved with very little. 

I will be pre-ordering the Sony A6000 compact system camera very soon.

 

Mini Brief – Flash Animation – Visual Abstractions – Final Thoughts, Reflections, Future Work

After having finished the Visual Abstraction part of this project it’s time to take a moment to reflect upon the work I have produced in this mini brief. Overall I feel although the animations I created we’re visually appealing they did not suit the brief as well as they could have, this is because of the complexity of my animations, as well as the colours used. Improvements I can make to these animations would be to soften the colours and perhaps add some sort of filter onto the animations to make them look more authentic and of the time they are made to mimic (this being the 1950’s when early animation and visual abstraction formed).

We were challenged to continue working on a mini-brief we took an interest in, this would help us begin the process of refining our field into a more specific job type as in our second year of studying at Bournemouth University I will be beginning to choose what I study as a continuation of the refining and specialising process. After completing this brief I can safely say I will not be pursuing animation from this mini-brief, this is because I have interests elsewhere with other mini-briefs which I plan to pursue.

Mini Brief – Visual Abstraction – Hours of work – 15 seconds of footage

Optical-flash-animation2optical-flash-animation3Optical-flash-animation1

 

Here is the final result of the project to create a series of visual abstractions, due to the length of time it took me to create these abstractions I chose to do a series of 3 animations, by clicking on the animations an external link should give you access to the sound clips I created for the visual abstractions, I used the software Audacity to create the sounds behind the abstractions, although not the industry standard music creation software it was a step up from ‘Garageband’ – a popular music creation tool available on Apple computers.

To describe each animation one animation consists of a variety of rectangles, I used rectangles due to the fact that they were a simple, repeatable shape which I could use in a pattern similar to the other shapes to create interesting and complex optical animations to immerse the user, at points the animation shrinks in size and grows and at others colours move between the gaps created by the pattern of shapes, all of which combine together to make a complex visual abstraction. The second animation uses a pentagon shape pattern to achieve the same sort of effect as seen in the first animation, as this is a series it was an aim of mine to keep certain features of each animation and have them running through all of the animations, in this series I chose to have an part of each animation where it reduces and increases in size, linking them together. The pentagon shape also incorporates some new animation effects, seen where the colours run into each fifth of the pentagon and it appears to rotate, again increasing the users immersion in the abstraction. The final animation uses circles in the same pattern seem in the pentagon and rectangle shapes, using a variety of colours as well as the reduce and increase in size effect explained previously.

My thoughts on the outcome of the abstractions is mixed – I say this because I personally don’t feel they tie in well enough with the brief’s instruction to create visual abstractions similar to early visual abstractions. I say this because although visually appealing my animations look more like they belong in Hollywood than in a 1950’s short film, this is because I have used perhaps too much solid colour in my pieces, as well as this I feel I have created animations which are too complex and which are at the risk of looking too ‘well made’ seeing as the abstractions are designed to mimic a time in which any animation would take hours of time to produce, I simply feel I’ve got too carried away with the potential of flash and forgotten the real idea behind this project.

To evaluate my personal performance throughout this project has been adequate, I say  this because I had difficulty staying motivated with this task as, as much as I enjoy watching animations I feel that this is not an area I feel as passionate about when compared to another mini-brief such as the photography brief.

Mini Brief – Visual Abstraction – I’m think having a seizure

Image

 

Above is a snapshot of a frame of a visual abstraction I’m working on right now. From researching various visual abstractions on Youtube and Vimeo I believe my interpretation of the brief is relatively sound. I have used strongly contrasting colours and simple plain shapes, in this case a square to ensure that the animation is not primarily about how it looks aesthetically but how the shapes change and move frame by frame, I believe this was what designers creating early visual abstractions were trying to get across, in modern times an animation is seen as a way of changing or manipulating an object, where the object is the focal point and users pay attention to only the object where visual abstractions were created to show the user that its about the movement and abstraction of what they see which is the focus (not quite sure how well I’m getting my thoughts across here).

At present I’m finding the process of creating these visual abstractions incredibly laborious, this is due to having to change and move the shapes I’m using frame-by-frame, which is a very intensive process, and, at times, rather boring because I’m essentially moving the same thing a bit to the left or reducing the size of it by an inch at a time which makes me feel a connection between the work I’m doing and the work that went into early animations, although I’m using much faster technology to create my abstractions I still feel some of what designers back in the time of early visual abstractions must have felt when they created animations, I take my hat off to those individuals.

Mini Brief – Visual Abstractions – Which means what exactly?!

Mini Brief - Visual Abstractions - Which means what exactly?!

Today we were given a mini-brief based upon early animation. This brief tasked us to produce a series of animations in Adobe Flash which somewhat mimic the way animations worked in the early days, this being very abstract pieces often involving a movement of shapes and lines in random orders using different colours to add to the abstract nature of the animation.
I’ve included a link to what sort of animations we’re looking at here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wYJ51nSXRQ

My initial ideas are to work with a more ‘optical illusion’ type theme for this brief as I have an interest in optical illusions and I feel the style in which they are portrayed fits the brief well, furthermore this will also enable me to create a clear theme for my series which will show continuity in my project.
Animations are to be atleast 15 seconds long and they are required to have sound, this is an interesting twist to the brief as it adds another level to the viewing experience as the user will be able to take in information both audibly and visually heightening their experience of watching my visual abstractions.
Initial ideas for the sounds included in the abstractions are.. well.. abstract. Due to the nature of the project its hard to comment on which sounds to use as I haven’t begun creating the visual abstractions.
I will post regular updates on here to show you how I’m progressing through this brief including problems and successes I’ve encountered.

Mini Brief – Photography – Final thoughts – Outcome – Future Development

Having recently finished the photography brief set I felt it necessary to reflect on the project and briefly discuss final thoughts with regards to the outcome of my project as well as discuss where I will take this project in the future as we’re encouraged to actively pursue one of the mini-briefs we partake in as part of the animation project we are currently working on.

So without further a do, as seen in my last post I found the photography brief incredibly interesting and I was really captivated by the idea of seeing more than just an object when walking around the area I currently live in, as said in the first post I felt this brief was designed to allow us to actively engage in the environment in which we live and train our eyes to spot more than just a lamppost or chair but to spot the way the form of the object can be interpreted as several things to different people. On reflection, as a photographer I believe this brief has achieved just that, before I had little interest in general objects around where I live but now I see more than just an object in them and I’ve found its really progressed my photography, now I’m using everyday situations to create interesting shots which I myself would not previously have seen thanks to this brief.

I will be progressing with this brief, if you hadn’t already guessed. I love photography and am keen to expand my horizons by doing a lot more street shooting, as well as this I’ve found a love for creating shots out of standard, everyday buildings to create visually appealing shots which will hopefully spark an interest in those who see my photos. As well as this I plan to carry on looking for patterns and ‘things inside of things’ (for want of a better way of putting it), so far I’ve found this to have really set alight my passion for photography and I’ve been able to find more shots in Poole, a fairly standard suburban town where I am currently living due partly to this brief.

My thoughts as to the outcome of the mini-brief are positive, to give myself a performance mark out of 10 I would give myself a 9 as I was incredibly willing to find the entire alphabet despite only being tasked to do the minimum which was to create my name out of objects. The reason why this is a 9 is because I feel I was slightly lazy when it came to some of the more complex letters, ideally I would have wanted to find a ‘Z’ or a ‘Q’ out of something more interesting than rope but both the time deficit and weather were rather un-co-operative the day I went out to shoot, meaning I wanted to go home early in short, as my hands were about to drop off!

In the future I also plan to update the image with all letters on it as I find more interesting examples of different letters.