It started, as it often does, with a tweet. “What can UX learn from gaming?” asked @TheDrum, followed by a link to this piece. Frankly, anyone who believes games offer a good model for UX to imitate probably hasn’t actually tried playing that many games, especially on the One True Format, although a cursory Twitter search for “PS3 Update” should demonstrate that consoles are far from immune from the scourge of thoughtless design. The question needs to be reversed — “What can gaming learn from UX?”
The answer, I think, is quite a lot.
A couple of months ago me and Alistair went to see the second part of New Designers 2013. We visited the DJCAD Social Digital (a combination of Digital Interaction Design and Product Design) stand, congratulated the class of 2013 on their three award nominations and two wins from over 1400 exhibitors, then we moved on to have a look round the rest of the cavernous show floor. And that’s when I started getting irate.
The New Designers show floor from above. Photo by Rachael Johnston.
My St Enoch Square Motion Tracking pieces remain one of the biggest projects I’ve worked on, and I’m really pleased that an updated version has now been used in the video for Royal Wood’s The Glory, directed by Adam Makarenko.
You can see the effect in action around the 2:35 mark.
Adam contacted me a few months ago about using the program, and I made some updates to it, adding things like a functioning interface(!) and support for different image sizes(!!). I also refactored the Voronoi/Delaunay code to use ToxicLibs which made it much more stable, and updating it for Processing 2.0 made a big increase in speed. I’m hoping to have an opportunity to develop it further at some point- using shaders for some if the image processing should make it faster- and a proper file loader and preset system would make it much more useable.
It’s really great to see what someone with a bit more artistic vision can do with tools that you’ve made, so thanks to Adam for the opportunity and the great work.
If you look back through the earlier posts on this blog you’ll notice that it originated as a way to show the coursework I was doing during my HND Computer Art and Design course (and yikes, there are a lot of unexpected slashes in that URL) which I did before moving on to DJCAD in Dundee. A few weeks ago I got invited back to my alma mater to be interviewed for a film they were making to attract people to the course. Here’s the result, featuring a bunch of very talented alumni, and me! There are also some snippets of my graded unit work and my Processing showreel featured, which is nice. The students have put together a really nice showcase for the course.
The main reason for writing this is to encourage anyone wondering whether this course might be for them to go and check it out. When I applied I had pretty much zero art and design experience, just a few terrible renders I’d made in 3ds Max and some horrendous sketching, but David thankfully decided to take a chance on me, and within just a few weeks he’d blown my mind with something that’s radically changed my course for the better and opened up an enormous number of potential doorways for me. I can’t really thank David, Dianne and Andy enough for all the help they gave us, and it looks like the facilities they have access to are better than when I was there too.
Anyway, if you’re interested in the course and want to talk about it with someone who’s done it (in a totally non-official capacity), I’m happy to oblige- that’s the least I can do after all that I got out of it. You can leave a comment here or go through my contact page.
Here’s the video:
I’ll not mention the fact that they misspelt my surname though… wait, what?
I know I’ve been away for a while, but you’ll no doubt be glad to know I have a selection of interesting stuff lined up (which I’ve been meaning to write up for ages) as I put together my new portfolio site.
First up, everyone loves a bit of glitch art. I’m a particular fan of GlitchBot myself. These pictures came about as a result of me mucking about with masking a photo using gaussian distributions. This is broadly the result I was going for:
Thanks to a strange edge case, where an alpha version of Processing 2.0, the crappy Intel integrated graphics on my laptop and not calling background() during the draw() loop collided, I got stuff like this:
Well, the end of year show has come and gone, and all that remains is the write up. Here’s a quick run down of the work that I showed and some of the development that went into it. I’ll also show the code I
cobbled together from other peoples’ code wrote to do it. If you’ve not seen it already, you might want to take a look at the first and second posts that show the earlier stages. Done? Onwards!
I shot some updated footage at the right resolution for my St Enoch project from two different points of view. In retrospect, shooting at 1920×1080 was probably excessive for my needs, and can cause extra problems (e.g. I don’t have a big enough monitor, resizing stuff on the fly in Processing is non-trivial, and it takes longer to process), so the results here are 1280×720. The ultimate goal is to make some large (A1-ish) prints which will probably be from PDFs anyway.
Went out to grab some better footage for my St Enoch Square project, but thanks to a hilarious(!) mix up with camera resolutions didn’t get quite what I was after. Tried some more experiments with it anyway, since it has a more static background (and is therefore easier to pick out movement against).
Here’s another approach to isolating movement in video- using slit-scanning. The code for this was a quick adaptation from the Processing slit-scan example with a couple of alterations and a little variation. Without further ado…
As part of the final unit on my course, we’ve been given a general brief to create a piece based on or in St Enoch Square, one of the larger public spaces in the centre of Glasgow. I have decided to focus on the movement of people through the square, and see if I can create some sort of “data-driven” piece using Processing.
Here is a video showing some of the development work I’ve been doing, using some footage from a previous project.