• "The 12 basic principles of animation were developed by the 'old men' of Walt Disney Studios, amongst them Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, during the 1930s. Of course they weren't old men at the time, but young men who were at the forefront of exciting discoveries that were contributing to the development of a new art form. These principles came as a result of reflection about their practice and through Disney's desire to use animation to express character and personality.
    This movie is my personal take about those principles, applied to simple shapes. Like a cube." Wonderful.
    (tags: animation )
  • Great interview on the end titles for the Lego Movie, which, unlike the rest of the film, were actual stop motion. From designing in Lego Digital Design, through digital previz, and into manufacture, lots of details shared and cunning insight; motion controller stereoscopic stop motion isn't easy, you know. Very much symptomatic of all the detail throughout the film.
  • "Today I want to talk about these moments when the future falls in our laps, with no warning or consideration about whether we're ready to confront it." This is a great, great talk from Maciej, on the histories of technology, and how culture interferes with work, and how 20th century history complicated most things it touched. Also: the rant in the middle is good. I think this might be my favourite Maciej talk I've read or seen.
  • "I was hoping that Simon Starling [would engage with CGI as a medium creatively]. But he didn't – he used it _invisibly_. CGI is always used invisibly. You're not supposed to see the seams. It's supposed to appear like it's not CGI in order to fool the eye and boggle the mind. Sadly (for me and probably no-one else) CGI was again denied the opportunity to do anything more than _facilitate_." I enjoyed Starling's piece, but this is astute and fair criticism. (I'm rather taken with Alan Warburton following his Spherical Harmonics at the Photographer's Gallery. All of CGWTF is very good.)
  • "We learned that being first is important, but should not be the only factor when determining the viability of a project. If you have an evolved approach to a preexisting concept, you are likely doing something original and the results have a good chance of being meaningful." So, in one sense, it's another physical mirror. But: I like this point, that sometimes, you have to do a thing for yourself to learn about it. And by learning about it, you might ultimately differentiate your own work. As long as you don't claim you were first, there is no shame in doing what other people do. How else do you learn things? Not by other people yelling "OLD!" at you, that's for sure.
  • "Gifsicle is a command-line tool for creating, editing, and getting information about GIF images and animations." Handy.
  • "These three frameworks — objects as portals, objects as subjects, and objects as oracles — propose distinct (yet related) structures for thinking about how connected objects might begin to contain their own narratives, seek their own history, develop their own perspectives, and become storytellers in a multitude of ways." Nice article about the various perspectives on Connected Objects (which namechecks Hello Lamp Post).
  • "Gor is a simple http traffic replication tool written in Go. Its main goal is to replay traffic from production servers to staging and dev environments." Handy to know about.
  • "While collaborating with the geniuses at Bot & Dolly in beautiful San Francisco, Munkowitz was tasked to Design Direct a truly unique piece called BOX.. The piece was originally supposed to function as a Technology Demo, but Munkowitz and the team quickly realized it's visual potential and transformed it into a Design and Performance Piece… The resulting short film is a one-of-a-kind visual and technological achievement due to the very special combination of talent and gear behind the doors of the B&D facility…" Projection mapping and motion control all at once; very clever, sure. But it's the art direction of the whole performance (and the camera's dollybot is very much part of that) that really grabbed me – especially 'Escape'.
  • ""Prisms" is fully algorithmic. There are no cuts, just one continuous generative animation. All decisions (camera work, movements, formations, etc…) are made by my system's interpretation of the audio track. My work was creating the system and then curating its output or, to put it another way, I just wrote a computer algorithm, and the computer did it all."
  • "Instead of using a dolphin model, we would, for example, use a colored rectangular solid or some tapered low-polygon basic shape. This plan would save us all a lot of headaches. Or it would have had I stuck to the plan. More on this later." This is a great post from Robert Hodgin about process, showing-everything, and how sometimes ambition leads to way more work, and is probably the right thing to do. Also: I'm still jealous of people who can think in 3D. That's part of my work for this year.

Raining on bus (s)tops

05 February 2012

BusTops Shoreditch profile

or: “I made some public art”.

It’s been lovely to see Bus Tops finally emerge into the world. If you’re not aware: it’s a series of LED-matrix screens on the top of bus stops around London, displaying a curated programme of art that anyone can submit works to. It’s been beautiful to see it come to life so well: feels like a thing, has its own aesthetic, the public nature of it feels exciting and odd and transgressive.

I decided I ought to start making some things for it. I’m particularly interested in the screens as an animated medium. So far, I’ve submitted two works; one, an original, and the other, very much not, although it’s the kind of thing that needs to be on giant red LED matrixes.

Anyhow.

Ripples has been selected for display, which is quite exciting! It’s a short animation that makes it look a little like it’s raining on top of the bus stop, even when it’s not. It was a nice exercise for me: making something attractive, graphical, in code (which is not my sweet spot of programming).

An hour or so with Processing later and I was getting somewhere, and it didn’t take much longer with the rather lovely gifAnimation library to spit out an animated gif to import into the Bus Tops editor.

The original animation that Ripples is based on can be viewed here. The source code for it is also on that site.

This feels like a good beginning, and I have a few more ideas for abstract moving works that would look good in red, black, and nighttime, from the top of a double-decker.

(And, as reference primarily for myself: the way you fixed “sad about not making things” is by just starting things, ideally small things, and before you know they’re done.)

Update: and here’s what it looks like on top of a bus stop. Static:

and in motion:

(thanks to the Bus Tops site for the images)