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.