Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Apps + Apps

Okay this lets you create QR codes in your browser:

I'm very curious who tarotaro is. Thanks. I am stating to understand the hours it takes for these things to come together. I am a novice^2.

Also, after installing CS4 and flex I realise that I want be really want to be using a Beta Flash Builder located at Adobe Labs. Do I still need flex? Who knows.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Code Snippets

I bought flex builder. I'm in it to win it. Having professional tools makes things easier, creation faster.

Useful: code snippets. You can create hotkeys to do a lot of the coding for you instead of writing things over and over. I could delve into personal concerns about authorship and intimacy with code that this brings up, or I could use what the professionals use and actually get things done.

Helpful link, shout out to the gentleman who wrote it:

Shortcuts != art?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Red Ink / Red Tape

These are places where you can download IDE's, packages of code that enhance Eclipse. What's Eclipse? Eclipse is a free code editor (think Word for programming). It's useful because, much like word, the editor highlights mistakes formats things and makes life easier in general.

I have spent the entire night hunting down the plugin for ActionScript. I eventually found it here:

But this was after many brick walls and misleading blog posts. What I think is going on is that Adobe, the creators of Flash, Photoshop, Dreamweaver etc. want people to pay a few hundred dollars for THEIR plugin for Eclipse, called "Flex." The majority of developers do, so the subculture/open source culture for this project is dying out. Sure, it's only a few hundred dollars and is probably better than anything I'd find... but I've read all over the place that paying for ECLIPSE is a sin and there are ways around it.

I don't have the cash, but I also don't have much more time to mess around. I should be further along schedule than I am.

These tools shouldn't be so difficult to discover.

Or maybe they should.

Either way I'm probably going to shell out for this thing and eat less for awhile. What if I just_couldn't_afford it? Art wouldn't happen. The void between those who "can" and those who "can't" is only going to broaden as what we can do... develops.

I feel like I trying to catch up to a bullet train on a rusty tricycle.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Assessing Other AR Works (While adobe emails me back)

Wouldn't reviewing AR works, games and experiences be the greatest job in the world? What aspects of an AR work would lead to excellence? Let's give it a shot:

1) Lalala Lab's AR works' "AR Magic System" and "Careful, Fragile!" are both worth mention because they make meaningful, creative statements about identity and art using recently developed technologies (both were made in 2006). In Magic System, the artists seem to use a pre-established human ratio of eyes-to-mouth as a QR-Code to detect viewer's faces. Once detected, viewers faces are replaced by foreign visages (digitally laid over). The AR industry standard modus of the user staring at themselves on a screen is the most limiting aspect of the field today: the technology is tied to one place, one code, and the viewer has very little freedom of movement. However this technological imitation emphasizes Lalala lab's viewer-as-art message instead of detracting from the function of the installation overall.

The viewer is forced to solve a puzzle AR so often presents those unfamiliar with it: what's going on here?
Here, to answer this question the viewer must reassess their identity and experience what
their life could otherwise be. The designers take what would normally be another problem for AR designers,
the first moments of disbelief, and use them to a emphasize an artistic message regarding selfhood.

Careful, Fragile! uses what are now basic methods of laying a 3-dimensional object over a QR-Code (the vase, the black platform) to create an artwork concerning reproduction, originality and art itself. The vase-image is scripted to "fall off" of its pedestal whenever the QR-Code becomes obscured by a viewers passing hand. AGAIN, the artists take what would otherwise be a weakness in the tools they are using (QR-code obstruction) and make creative use of it with a bit of scripting.

Wonderful design.

The question remains: would these works gain acclaim today (three years later)? The technology has advanced to a point
where QR codes and face tracking have a been-there-done-that feel to them.

Other face-recognition projects, implemented later:

Transformers (

Lalala Lab's made incredible use of what they had when they had it by creatively designing their installations
around their technological shortcomings.

So how do I make creative use of new limitations today? Need to find the limitations first.

Gearing up for ISMAR

Found a very detailed and useful guide on how to set up FLAR at I'm conducting an independent study this term in AR.
The goal: to create an AR music visulizer. To keep me honest, I'm going to post the proposal right here.

Hold me to it:

Brendan Scully (why is microsoft word having difficulty importing text?)

Digital Humanities Study 09F

Professor Mary Flanagan
Digital Practicum: Reality Manipulation


In this course of study the student will explore new methods

in the creation of mixed reality media works by building a

music visualizer presentable to the public in the form of a

gallery exhibition. Three-dimensional sculptures laden

with data will be displayed to viewers using AR goggles.

As Augmented Reality is a fledgling technology, much of

the effort involved in the creation of this project will

involve research and experimentation with Flash and the

FLAR toolkit. The end result could thus range anywhere

from a series of three-dimensional sculptures to a fully

dynamic 3D visualizer tied to live musical data.

To aid in the production of this installation, the student
will attend the International Symposium on Augmented and
Mixed Reality in Orlando Florida in October. By this point
in the term, the student should have a concept report and
appropriate questions for specialists in the field.

Project Schedule:

Week 1: September 20th – 27th

Concept fully realized, workflow established between within Flash

Due: The production of one Papervision-> FLAR model.

Week 2: September 27th- October 3rd

Attempt to tie music data to Flash models (via socket


Due: Log of attempts to establish socket server and/

or tie data together.

Week 3: October 3rd – October 10th:

Build out visualizer into floor-based experience that ties

music input to visual changes.

Due: One model column rising/falling

Week 4: October 11th-October 17th

Skinning/Shading Objects in Papervision using Photoshop.

Due: One test model fully skinned / shaded. (color)

Week 5: October 18th-October 24th

ISMAR 2009 Orlando Florida,

Present questions regarding sockets/FLAR data

to specialists.

Week 6: October 25th- October 31st

Refine Flash visualizer data input using methods

gained from ISMAR.

Week 7: November 1st- November 7th

Implement visualizer in FLAR/Papervison using QR code

and glasses obtained at ISMAR.

Due: Establish model to ascertain optimum viewing distance.

Produce large custom QR code for testing purposes.

Week 8: November 8th- November 14th

Refine visualizer to handle large amounts of sound data input

What is the upper limit?

Once established, continue work on sound design to make best

use of technology available.

Week 9: November 15th – November 21st

Aesthetic/Design work on visualizer with technology available.

Week 10: November 22nd – November 28th

Due: Performance/Exhibition using visualizer (Final Product)

I'm taking Music 9, "Music and Technology" along with this independent study;
the two should compliment each other perfectly.

My professor for Music 9 ( has experience
with AR: he built an ocular reader as an undergrad and is currently
working on a project that helps amnesiacs recall their surroundings
by labeling their world for them...
I am not worthy.

In the mean time, watching the tutorial and trying to clean up my AR
folder from the summer. We sort of jumbled everything together to
make things work...
I'm starting from scratch to make sure my workflow/folders are clean
and ready to roll. How lame is that? It's like I'm growing up or something.

Why waste my time? Because Adobe is giving me grief about my
"control code" and I'm locked away from the tools I need. I mean,
sure, they programmed everything and deserve the right to charge
me but... what kind of artist is one who's work is
the whim of a toll-free number?

What kind of artist is one who just figures things out by watching demos
and reading blogs and trying things out?

There are no formal schools of training for what I want to do.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Philosophy != code?

So taking some time off was good for the soul, but did it help my Flash literacy? Maybe.

My time spent away was refreshing, grounding. But a pure experience of reality like the one Aldus Huxley attempts to explain in his "Doors of Perception" would, most likely, render coding completely uninteresting. How would he have responded (under the influence of mescaline) to Augmented objects in his reality?

Anyway my progress has been held up a bit. Wrote a small Flash game called "Alien Shooter" Where you just click on triangles as they fly by. Not sure how to host things like that.

I also ordered a scanner so I could correctly model the figures I want to augment with first. Turns out "Mixed Reality" is a more easily understood term for what we are doing. Does that imply that there was another reality of ideas that is currently mixing with the physical?

Been doing a lot of research, writing a series of proposals. Turns our AR is way more advanced than I had previously thought. has the right idea exactly. His links and posts are incredibly useful.

"Welcome to “games alfresco” where I vow to sensuously take the pulse of the new field of Augmented Reality (AR). They say it will reinvent interactive entertainment. And I believe it’s best played outdoors – alfresco.

If it’s your first time, start the journey by observing augmented reality through my eyes with the Top 10 AR Demos post."If you’re into hardware – you’ll find solace with the Top 10 AR Devices, always a top post.

As a game developer, you’ll probably hang out in the Top 10 AR Engines area – a constantly evolving field."

Look at where things are! It's incredible already. So my post about programmers being succeptible to spiritual entropy inspired a response from a close friend in the field:

[her email]

... Also, what is this?

"It seems like every programmer I've met has let go of a certain degree of flexibility (spiritual?). I hope I don't lose touch. But I don't think I have to. Programming is the newest artform, and only a certain kind of person has been willing to engage with it."

explain, I want to talk about it!

--- end of quote ---

[My response]

I guess I have an irrational fear: by studying the way logical, digital, formal systems work and by bending them in intricate ways, programmers become affected by the systems. The mental processes of those who use code/ can think in it may or may not become somewhat logic-leaning. I don't believe rationality has anything to do with the phenomenon I'm trying to describe. It's just... something I experience in meeting people who program.

Some people get taken down by it, others don't (you) because they're stronger, have a stronger personality, something....

I guess I was afraid that programmers become "hard," inflexible to a certain degree because they know a logical decision when they see one and, understandably, might be more likely to act in unnecessarily efficient ways.

But so far... I remaind unaffected. Maybe a little, in that my mind is becoming more able to think in coding structures, literally beginning to think in a different language.

It's a similar effect I guess I'd pick up after meeting a series of people who had learned to speak russian after english late in their lives. Or arabic. Something. These people might develop a kind of alternate personality.

Or maybe not.

ps. I dont really like the name "Augmented Reality" maybe "Holodeck narratives" or "interactive movies" would be better.

[Her reply]

Hmm. I suspect that we do get a bit hidebound about things, because we spend so much time with the constrictions of current technology that we focus on what we can do, and what we can do easily. So when we see something that isn't going to be easy, we immediately think of the painful hours that are inevitably going to come. And part of it is probably the type of people who usually become programmers - people who really like logical systems. Because it's just easier for them to think that way, and it makes them happy.

If we're talking about programming seeping out into the rest of life and, if you want to view it like this, muddying the waters, I feel like logical decisions and efficiency and all that comes from having an analytical vs. non-analytical approach to life. To be a good programmer, you have to be comfortable approaching problems analytically, which again means that many programmers are naturally analytical - correlation does not imply causation.

A lot of programmers are incredibly literal-minded and think very logically, but it's not necessarily because of the programming. Granted, when I program I put on my logic hat and end up talking logic-speak. I also use computer metaphors a lot more than nonprogrammers (inevitably, I suppose), like the concept of conversation as a stack. But my mind isn't completely computer analogies (although there are many in there) - it's also stacks, and filing cabinets and doors and the occasional grassy field (or sloggy, dreary swamp, I suppose, depending on my mood).

I get extremely annoyed when I'm surrounded by non-analytical people because oftentimes straightforward logical argument doesn't work. But I get more frustrated with the analytical types, because only logical argument works (none of this "emotions" nonsense, now, that's just not the thing).

At the same time, working within all those constrictions, and learning to think within them, leads to creativity. (As we know all too well.) To use a metaphor my brother uses for constructing math proofs, writing programs or developing algorithms is like writing poetry in french. If you don't know french, you're screwed. But once you know it, and know it well, then it's a matter of choosing the perfect word and working within the constraints of a system, and being miserably creative, and hopefully ending up with something clever and beautiful and slightly ineffable.

Re: Also, you know I get a little creeped out by AR stuff, because I like my technology nicely compartmentalized

[my response]

Hmm, this question of programing's effect on the spiritual self is going to have need more time, let us... put it on simmer, if you will. I agree that correlation is not causation. Perhaps the mind just works in patterns, and the types of patterns you carry out tend to echo within one's neural system. Logic begets logic. Emotion begets emotion. Have you seen this?:

Perhaps there is a relationship.

Anyway thanks so much for checking that out. I am also worried about mixing realities... but for some reason I am drawn to it. Maybe its like wandering down to the battlefield to try and save the wounded.

maybe I'm just trying to escape.

That seemed worth posting, forgive the length. Now it's time to look at socket programming, work on proposals and try to freshen up with maya. All while working 7 days a week. Coding is a full time adventure, but for right now the it will have to take turns with maya.

Gotta build the illusion before you make it do tricks.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Solar System

So I used tweener to move mercury once around the sun, but Nick wasn't satisfied with the way it was working so he used a file downloaded from "FLARmanager" that did the same thing as our borrowed "simplecube" but did so by extending "sprite" instead. What the hell is sprite? We're figuring that out, its used to display graphics in flash somehow, but whats handy is it has a method called "moveobject." We discovered that each object that's displayed is held within a "container", and that by moving these containers ("basenode" in the original code for simplecube was itself a container), you can move the objects they "contain".

Long story short, with some sin/cos tricks and by getting variables from an imbedded timer called "getTimer," the planets in our solar system not only move around the sun, but do so at the correct relative speeds. Gotta give this one to Nick, I made them move but he made them fly.

Get Hyper baby:

Off for vacation in Aruba for two weeks, hopefully the project doesn't suffer. It feels good to have gotten this far.