Monday’s committee review went pretty well I think. Overall, lots of good feedback that basically encouraged me to keep going with the Portal and adding more features and pushing it to its extremes. They mentioned that my instincts had served me well so far so I should continue to keep experimenting and adding more. A few notes:
look at possibly physically locating the portal in the physical space.
think about the portal as a new modality of interacting with space.
maybe the illusions could be considered “gimmicky” but that’s ok
play up the “magical” and visual tricks
cinematic solutions being applied to a different problem of interaction design
add more features
tie in the cinematic qualities
not just a background image, but more of an interactive environment
more precise interaction and layering of more reality
connect to the navigation
And then last night at the open house / holiday party thing it was fun seeing different people interacting with the box in their own ways. The little kids seemed really into it, which makes sense since it’s pretty playful. I really liked when people started putting their own objects into the box and interacting with it on that personal of a level.
As a side note, I was on Lake the other day when a pano shooting car drove by. Of course I ran after it to get a picture. I don’t think it was a Google car though because there wasn’t any sort of markings and I’m fairly certain the Google cars are all branded. But it was interesting to see the rig set up and everything. But maybe it WAS a google car and I actually will be there in a few months time! Hopefully…
Finally went and picked up some lights to try out. Found a nice set of LED strips and some ultra thin pucks. So I built a little foam core back lit stage to eliminate casting shadows. Its basically just a light box folded in half, though it took a lot longer to make than I thought it would. You can see bits of the lights inside cause I didn’t have enough foam core to make proper sides, but it works for now. I think ultimately I would want to cut it in acrylic. The mylar from Kizu works really well to help diffuse the light.
Also made little lamps/stands for the front lights. Probably not the most efficient or sturdy way to make the things, but I sort of like how they look, they’re a little quirky and kind of reminds me of my old stochasticity space.
Here’s what it looks with everything inside. Looks like a real little stage. Except for the Christmas mug holding up the little webcam.
And here’s the result of all that… Look at that chroma key! So clean and lovely. It still breaks a little, but it’s not really the lighting’s fault at that point, I think it’s just cause the camera is trying to re-white balance or something when there’s a lot of change to the scene. But I sort of don’t even mind when it breaks because the grey tone seems to sort of fit. Though I could probably still work on the lighting positioning.
I got the new HD webcams which are really nice, except that they’re maybe too good for their own good… When I put the green screen in the back it tried to white balance for the green and totally shifted the colors. Also testing the light sensor animation based animation spot, but for some reason the color doesn’t translate right so you can see a big difference…
I switched over to just using white paper, which put the colors back to normal, but this means I can’t use white in any of the objects… I guess it might be better though cause then I can back light it too to get rid of shadows.
Since I had the white paper in there I thought I’d try some drawing. Or rather, I asked Dustin to draw for me since the hole is on the left and he’s left handed…
Testing the animation. I set up a mini open portal for easier desktop testing for now. It almost works but you can see the seams of the animation because my duct tape mounting job allows the camera to droop a little bit. But the real test was just getting it to activate the animation. Right now it’s just using the light sensor, which isn’t exactly ideal since it breaks the ground plane.
I spent quite a while frustratingly trying to get code to work to enable a timer to delay the playback (like if it’s on the spot for 3 seconds, then play the animation) but I realized it was easier to just render out a video with 3 seconds of blank at the beginning.
I was going to try messing with RFID tags to swap out backgrounds, but I fried my reader. (First time I’ve seen such immediate smoke!) I ordered another but it’ll be a few days. New webcams should be coming in tomorrow so hopefully I can start working on a slightly updated box for Monday that incorporates the animation and a changing background image
I’m also really into the idea of having a round window. Partially inspired by these lovely dioramas by Patrick Jacobs.
And I also wrote up a little more about the project on the Near Future Laboratory blog, which goes into some more detail about the ideas this project explores. It also includes some pictures I drew to better explain the words I wrote.
Pretty fantastic timing really because I just finished working on the first draft of my thesis paper, which I’ll turn in today. So that means I’ll be able to spend a lot more time this last week just working on experimenting with the actual project more before the thesis committee meeting next week.