Friday, January 30, 2015

Welcoming Ceremony Color Palette and Screenshot

Darius_ Kim Comments

The free spirited, Kim Tuttle has a good understanding of music. She seems to have a understanding at the level that further lets me know the potential of this piece. Being a classic pianist will bring in some many other connections to the musical piece. I dont think it is a coincidence that the performance will have an orchestra. We have a lot in common on how we feel about music and visuals that compliment sound. I'm excited to work with her and pick her brain. Although she has a music background she seems to be open to visually artistic ideas. I was afraid she would have a "my way or the highway" type of attitude but she doesn't. I'm glad she likes what I have done so far. I appreciated her feedback. She says "She pictures the Sisters as goddesses." This is challenging but doable. Having a director that is easy to collaborate with is the ideal situation.

Comments Kim Tuttle

Meeting the director was really helpful to know what she is expected from our animations. Also, it was interesting to learn about her career as a musician and pianist.

During her speach, I was able to answer one question that I had when I started this course, which was what were the reasons to pick Corroboree?

The most important aspect that she highlighted in class is how technology should evoke and blend with spiritualit. Her advice to listen to the music while animating has inspired me a lot more to create new ideas

Kim Tuttle

I am very excited to be able to work with Kim Tuttle. After doing some research on her, I found that she has been involved in many high level productions as a choreographer, director, and musician. Although she has many ideas of her own, she is very flexible and giving us leeway with what she wants to go into each piece. For the last segment that Zhuang and myself are working on, she liked the idea of the totem poles that eventually are engulfed in flames and also the animation of each animal. One important factor that she was worried about was overshadowing the dancers with the animations which will not be a problem. I am looking forward to working with the ballet dancers and seeing one of her final products live.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Thoughts on Dancing with the Digital Dervish and Reading

I was really like the virtual reality experiment about Dancing with the Digital Dervish and the most memorable words in that video were the maker said that: "if multimedia had a level of interactivity that once beyond clicking and pointing, if you could walk into it, you have virtual reality."
In other words, early experiment explorers attempt to create a virtual reality was because they had developed a deeper understanding of multimedia design. When it concerned to multimedia, I thought it could be better for us to understand and appreciate virtual reality. That environment was not too complicated to analyze in an ordinary logic, the basic direction was also aimed to establish the same emotional enjoyment like multimedia.
Those explorers were amazing and constructed a real virtual reality feeling for our 21 century people. Rather than nowadays Massively Multi-User Online Role-Playing Games, early experiments mainly focused on the link between human and human's nature, which I thought was one of their fascinating point.
All in all, we should appreciate their aesthetic value from past to modern days. Virtual reality could help us to build a rational relationship both with exterior and interior side. Whether the scenes in those environments are real or not, our feelings are always the most truly one to indicate ourselves to respect them.

Reading about Placeholder and Osmose in VR

After watching Osmose and Placeholder, I was able to have a better idea of immersion in virtual reality. Both artworks immerse the user in a unique experience through the use of technology. As noted from the reading, Osmose provides a full-body immersion through the use of a data-suit and stereoscopic head mounted display. As Dixon mentions, Chair Davie’s incorporation of breathing and upward body movements allow the imersant to navigate within virtual worlds. This was a great way for Char Davie to design a new way to provide an experience different from head movements, focusing in connecting “body, mind, and world” (p.375). Osmose represents natural reality through the use of natural objects like trees and rocks

Although technology was not as advanced as today, Osmose’s after effect of immersion and multidimensional sounds seem to create a floating sensation, which is a great potential for the user’s enjoyment. Thus, after watching the video and doing the reading about Osmose, I became really curious about how new technology can create new environmental effects that could replicate Chair Davie’s Osmose.

On the other hand, Placeholder provides a distinct virtual reality through a simple character animation with a 2D photographic perspective with 3D navigability. In this artwork, there is more interactivity with two participants using a HDM to connect with virtual spirit characters. Placeholder allows the participants to move virtual objects through the help of data gloves. Spiritual creatures simulate natural objects like spiders and snakes.

What I found more interesting in Placeholder than in Osmose is the link between people and spiritual characters in the virtual landscape. Placeholder connects the participants not to her or his own self, but with others. However, both artworks reconnect with nature through a virtual reality and the use of natural objects.

Reading, Placeholder, Oculus Rift, HMD's, VR

Before the reading, I did not know much about VR, 3D vision, and Head-Mounted Displays. It amazed me that the design for these products remained same today from the 1980s. I am interested in specifications and how to built head mounted displays. I began to look up some of the oldest and newest to compare the characteristics. The old and new versions both have a single display optic in the front or one for each eye. Most HMD’s have semi-transparent mirrors inside the helmet, data glasses, a visor, and some way to emit light (CRT, LCDs, LCos, OLED). 
I also found that there are many different uses for HMD’s. In 1997, Charles J. Murry, Midwest Regional Editor, posted an article about ways that head-mounted displays simplify surgery. Before the introduction of head mounted displays, surgeons often had to take a lot of time squinting their eyes to look up at television monitors. This not only distracted them, but made surgery times much longer. With the new high-resolution images projected directly to doctors, surgeries are much more efficient. For example, during a knee operation instead of trying to look back and forth to the monitor to determine which part of the knee is being operated on, doctors can position themselves as if they were looking directly into the knee with the mounted display. I found that these displays are used in other areas also such as aviation, sports, training/simulation, and engineering.
After watching many videos, I would like to try out the Oculus Rift during gaming. I am surprised that with such high tech of a device, the estimated price was not more than what was posted online. I think that in the next year or so, everyone will be using this type of device in gaming. After playing with the Oculus Rift, I do not think that people will want to play much without it. It gives that real life, in-game feeling that you would not be able to experience on a regular television.
There were many problems with the first developments of the Oculus Rift. When first created, the device had issues with latency, response times, and tracking. One of the newest devices, the Oculus Rift Development Kit 2, eliminates most of those issues. With positional tracking, the headset quickly tracks all of your head movements in the right direction. One of the coolest features that I liked was the low persistence OLED display. I know that when I have played a game in the arcade with head mounted displays, a big issue is while moving your head the picture is blurred momentarily. With the low persistence display, the picture is stable and there is no motion blur when turning your head. It is also very light, so you wont have to worry about getting tired while playing.
Watching Placeholder made me think about all the different things that go into actually creating virtual reality. I think the hardest thing would be to get the correct point of view in an environment. It would be hard to portray what we see with our eyes through a screen. The entire 360 view would be recorded and pieced together. Last week, we went to the Planetarium in our Interactive Storytelling class. It was interesting to see the fish eye point of view that surrounded us. I think the same recording settings would probably have to be used to create virtual reality. One very cool element about VR that was shown in Placeholder was point of view from different animals. Since we do not know the actually viewpoints of an animal, I do not think that we will ever actually get a correct POV but we can get close. I think that many of the techniques used in Placeholder and technology such as head mounted displays and motion tracking is all still used today. The only difference is that there is higher definition and more improved technology.


Osmose was a little bit confusing in the beginning. I thought that it was a very unique idea to use breathing to help portray the environment. When I first saw the video, I immediately though of x-ray vision and how soldiers use head mounted displays in different movies to get around. It also made me think of different video games where you must use stealth and quietly complete your objective. I would like to see more elements of this, but with better quality.

Suspension of Disbelief

As referenced in the beginning of Chapter 15, immersion into the virtual world in any culture, has always been dependent on the "suspension of disbelief".  Whether it was watching a Greek tragedy involving actors portraying gods using movable sets, fire and sound effects, or Jedi knights levitating x-wing fighters out of a swamp in a hollywood studio, seeking mind immersion and reality escape has long been pursued throughout time, for both good, and bad. And it may seem that time has progressed relatively slowly.
When the first computer-aided HMD was revealed to the world in 1968, it took until the early 90's for this application to VR immersion for performance to be explored. With the introduction of HMD's, the suspension of disbelief is becoming less and less necessary.  The progression of pursuit towards a total-body immersion and complete transformation into a new physical form is the goal.  The desire to build new dimensions of "belief" where time and space fall away and convincing is no longer needed will no doubt drive the technology.  This is where the HMD and now the Oculus, is most useful.
While we have less and less patience with "underdeveloped" technology or technology that seems to lag behind a world more connected and immersed with an online design, I think the Oculus Rift has progressed enough to see the possibility of becoming a mainstream piece of hardware.  Certainly with the recent publicity of new Oculus VR short film Lost making it's premier at the Sundance festival this week, even a Hollywood director and production company has been convinced that Oculus VR (just recently bought by Facebook for $2 billion) is quickly becoming a financially viable tool for the masses.
And they are apparently not the only ones convinced.  Google now has their lemonade-stand looking Google Cardboard to use with your mobile device, Samsung has a Oculus-like Gear, and  Microsoft's HaloLens claims to be the next PC by removing the monitor so you can enter your computer; something crudely imagined 30 years ago in TRON.  But with all of this diving into VR, we are still tethered into immersion, not freed by it.  I think if we were to write the zeitgeist's goal for VR it would to free humans through immersion by turning us into untethered and digitized superheroes sliding effortlessly between our biologically-immersed world and our virtual one.
I used to think that the immersion was an escape to flee the unsatisfactory malaise of first-world problems.  Can't get laid in this life?  Try Second Life and a fleshlight. Want to murder the bullies of this world?  Grand-Theft Auto them to death without repercussion.  But physical and mental ailments abound and perhaps VR immersion tools can help a Vietnam or Iraq War veteran who lost the use of his legs or his sanity, to help them feel moments of virtual normality.
No doubt though, the virtual porn industry will be marching in the same parade (albeit at the back) in hopes that the mainstream will only see the creative and positive humanitarian force for good it can become.  Perhaps the real suspension of disbelief may be that we are rushing to immerse ourselves as philanthropes and not not greedy misanthropes.

Monday, January 26, 2015

After watching the video of Osmose and Dancing with the Virtual Dervish, the most impressive part is their integrity. Considering those virtual environment projects were created in 2 to 3 decades ago, they already contained considerable visual graphics, audio portion, and interactions compared with most of the VR projects we have today. The major difference is probably that those ancient projects were driven by like eleven computers and over 25000 lines of code. Nowadays, VR is no longer a cutting-edge technology that only happens in University laboratories. It is not hard to create a 3D virtual reality environment with software like Maya and Unity. People can experience activities in the virtual world through mouse and keyboard. On the other hand, unlike it was first realized, the technology of VR has been used in a much wider range of fields and industries. From military to education, from healthcare to art. Actually, VR is not a serious topic. We can experience it through video games and 3D movies. It is mostly regarded as a fancy recreational element. 

Thoughts on Placeholder

This early experiment similarly linked human to nature elements like Osmose. Participants in experiment "change" to "snake""spider" or "crow" to accomplish their a series of virtual reality behaviors. In that virtual reality environment, participants could move, chat, and even fly. The magic was that once participants entered that space, they would automatically pretend they were real and got real emotion from it.
A live performer stood aside and guided participants' action through navigational advice. The whole procedure was orientated and I thought that was one of the crucial significance to both participants and viewers from nowadays, because we could start to consider how a story initially developed, and what could be the best way for story to construct its corresponding environment. All in all, human used their own wisdom to create a purely unreal and unnatural world for human better feeling nature and knowing themselves, itself also could be viewed as a good story.

Blogging on Reading on VR and Placeholder

All of the things that were discussed in the reading were very interesting to me because I have done some work looking into VR. Last semester I worked on a project in Foundations in Digital Culture where my group worked to design a machine that would work all the senses to have you believe you were in the fantasy world. We had our own form of a HMD that was meant to be light to prevent you from noticing it was on. It also had speakers built in so you could hear the world and communicate via a condenser mic. There were several other aspects to the project such as a body suit that allowed you to feel the world and a omni-directional that allowed movement in the digital world. While reading about Dancing with the Digital Dervish it reminded me of the final project I had done in Projection Design last year in which we worked with several dancers from the theater school to create a dance piece incorporating technology. In my particular piece rather than having the dancer where a special suit such as in Digital Dervish we used a camera hidden in the audience to record the dancer live and download her form onto the screen and into the digital world where she danced with a prerecorded dancer on screen. The process also warped her body to become lines of code adding to the technical feel of the piece. The next frontier is most certainly going to be the digital world. With things such as the Oculus Rift, Google Glass, and Microsoft Hololens we are getting more and more used to incorporating technology into our lives and bringing online closer to our regular lives. Everything is shared on the internet now that it is a surprise more pieces are not done in virtual reality like how Digital Worlds has been doing for years. I have heard about artists who are now doing live concerts from their studios rather than going on tours which is just the beginning. Soon enough they will start to have virtual concerts where they can make their shows even more spectacular with limitless possibilities.  One thought that I started to have while reading about Placeholder and Osmose was a way to add another layer to the immersion by raising the users into the air when their actor wasn't on a solid surface. By lifting they gently like when in water their physical body wouldn't feel the floor and start to take away from the feeling of floating. They could raise and lower according their height in the game just like the crow flying up higher and higher.

Osmose Commentary

When we watched the Osmose video it was a little confusing to understand what was going on due to the sudden shifts of scenery which was probably in video editing. There are a lot of cables and restraints that the user had to attach as well as a large HMD that I'm sure weighed down on their heads. The idea of using the user's breath to control the rise and fall of the actor within the world is really unique and allowed the user to feel a connection to the world. By having the user control the environment it provides a deeper sense of immersion rather than just watching a scene such as in a movie. Because the imagery of some of the scenes were so abstract it led more towards a meditative feel rather than the user focusing on how real the scenes looked. Even the soundtrack for most of the environment had an ambiance to them that was relaxing. Also by focusing on their breathing in such a manner you tend to gain more control of your body and stress levels. It is a form of relaxation to control your breathing. The computer code part of the experience was also pretty cool to be able to see what is going on underneath the skin and realize that what you're seeing is creating the world around you. Make me think of future uses where you could create a compound in science and actually zoom down to the smallest level to teach how things are made up.

Digital Dervishes

VR and Performance on Placeholder

While reading the history of digital performance, I keep thinking of where ultimately, this medium is heading.  When considering the development of immersive activity like a VR headpiece that was used in Placeholder and where we have developed the technology today, my thought is something similar to Marina Grinic's comment in our textbook that, "We are witnessing an ever more exact and complete aesthetic sterilization of the image...the physicality of the connection of the image with reality-time is lost".
Perhaps total immersion is the idea, and to lose all time in the process is the ideal.  After going to the Medieval Faire this weekend, I see the same yearning for immersion into an idealized world that can allow one to escape and immerse, retreat and re-cover.  Isn't that the point of theater, of film, of all art?  Enveloping, and immersive, make-believe?

Comment about Osmose (1995)

I really enjoyed learning how technology was utilize with art in 1995.While looking at this documentary from a production perspective, it was really interesting to see how Osmose created a virtual space with transitions from world to world. I perceived that the sounds played a fundamental role to help the audience perceive changes of location direction, and speed of the piece.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Virtual Reality review

After 20 years of development, Virtual reality is no longer a typical cutting-edge technology.
People are able to create their own virtual worlds through simple equipment and software.
Looking back to 20 years ago, people needed to use a lot of resources in order to implement a virtual environment project (Placeholder and Osmose). It was approximately at the beginning of the VR development. Meanwhile, it can also be regarded as the origin of digital performance.
After watching the Osmose video, I think that digital performance is a really unique art form: Unlike most of existing art, the life and soul of visual art is held in hands of technology developers rather than artists. In fact, it seems that artists has very little influence on the art compared with the progress of technology.  Their long-term efforts may be replaced by some new technology so easily. After all, humans are not like machines, it will take a long time to learn and adapt new things especially when those things are upgrading rapidly.
In this particular field, it is hard to reach the balance between artistry and technology.
Comments on Osmose video

If I am considered to be the audience of this particular performance, I would say it was rather disappointing. I would have liked so see more of the performer and his/her tactics and actions that had an influence in the performance. Maybe a split screen of the performer and what they are viewing. This video is mostly visuals and sounds that have very little connection. At some moments the visuals match the eerie feeling of the audio but those moments are rare. Maybe a split screen showing the performer and the actual performance would give a clearer understanding of Osmose. I would classify this as explorational performing aka improv. Digital exploration performance is what this is but unfortunately the only one who maybe be intrigued by the performance is one who is participating in the performance. Just watching the video is confusing because I am not the one interacting. Therefore, I cannot make the same connections and experiences as the performer is. I am not critiquing the quality of the piece nor am I comparing the piece to what we can create today. However, it still falls short of my expectations. The idea behind the performance is pretty cool but, the video that is being shown is weak. I'm sure from their perspective the experience is mind blowing.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Welcoming Ceremony Progress

This is what I have put together for now for my animation. Each color is a part of a different layer in Photoshop so I can make them into 3D layers in After Effects. I just have one more part to add to the sky before I bring all into After Effects to start animating. The ground is going to have streams of dots flowing and a sun will be rising from behind Ayer's Rock into the sky with rays waving and a colorful sky behind it.

Thoughts on Osmose

Using human's breath as one of variable to accomplish that interaction was an original idea for me. I thought if I wear that equipment at that environment, I would imagine that I was walking in one of my dream.
Even though the visual effects was not pretty good for me,  it did produce some immersive feelings for me. We should consider the time and the background when it created, and try to make an association to our modern interactive projection design, probably basing on the concept, the atmosphere construction or the music.