Technology

The Infinity Wall

Over the last few years, I have seen a ton of projection mapping projects for everything from commercial product launches to venue openings and trade show keynotes.  Most of the time they have glitzy over the top projects that have a very specific theme or story line. I think the reason I am so impressed with the example below is because it is a hypnotic blend of simplicity, monochrome hues, and mesmerizing shapes.

In an empty lot on the outskirts of the city of Doha a 54,000 square foot tent was erected for a private event. In front of the tent stands a 360 foot wide by 30 foot tall fabric-covered wall.  On to it digital projectors,  projection-mapped 3D animations onto the it, giving the illusion of a large-scale kinetic modern art installation floating in the desert.

With less than three weeks lead time Megavision Arts, and top Qatari event producer and designer Fahad Signature tasked produced the 3D projection-mapping effect in order to mystify, entertain and engage the 1200 guests as they arrived at the event site.

With support from BARTKRESA Design and Creative Technologies, Megavision Arts Creative Director David Corwin and producer Amber Bollinger quickly assembled a team of artists, designers, technicians, and programmers to complete the project. With only one face-to-face meeting between Corwin and Art Director Vincent Rogozyk, the entire team assembled in Doha five days before the event. A fully-equipped design and animation studio was temporarily configured in a meeting room at the St. Regis Hotel in Doha, and they managed to produce this spectacular piece.

Based on the clients’ request for a 3D projection mapping that would be “very modern, artistic and magical” Corwin and Rogozyk began playing with abstract concepts that were evocative of Fahad Signature’s designs for the event, which included elements such as curvilinear wood furniture and sculptural wooden columns. Polish artists and animators Maciej Bałauszko and Michał Czubak were added to the team and began expounding upon the sketches, turning the rough curvilinear biomorphic and geometric ideas into polished animations. Four basic scenes of abstract 3D kinetic animations were programmed to loop, morph and transition from one design to the next over the course of just under 3 minutes. The animations included Optical Waves, Piano Tiles, Ribbon Architecture and the Involuted Helix.

Eighteen double-stacked Panasonic DZ21K projectors converged and were blended using a Dataton Watchout media server to create one large seamless image. They illuminated the Infinity Wall with over 300,000 lumens of light. The animation files consisted of 14,148,000 pixels per frame, which equates to over 21 BILLION pixels per minute being pushed through the system.

As guests pulled off the highway onto a freshly graded and paved driveway, to their surprise and delight they encountered a fantastic undulating phantasm looming on the horizon. As they continued towards the projected mirage, a custom score with synchronized sound design elements enhanced the illusion even more.

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This Panda is Dancing

Remember life before your smartphone, tablet, and social media? Yeah I know, it’s kind of hard to imagine not being constantly connected anymore. The video below from Max Stossel & Sander van Dijk is a poetic send up about how we have all become addicted to that piece of tech sitting in your hand right now, or waiting to be retrieved from your pocket as soon as you put down whatever tech you are looking at now.

The video itself is great. A nice live action short with really well thought out graphics that have been motion tracked to specific source points in the frame. Solid editing and post work really help to polish this, but the real meat is in the message. A message with a direct call to action at the timewellspent.io website. The blurb before the video pretty much sums up what they are about.

Today apps and media compete in a race to grab our attention. Join a movement to:

  • Live better with more empowering settings for our media and devices.
  • Change incentives so media competes to improve our lives, not get eyeballs.
  • Invent new interfaces that help us to make room for what matters.

A poetic short film by Max Stossel & Sander van Dijk:

In the Attention Economy, technology and media are designed to maximize our screen-time. But what if they were designed to help us live by our values? timewellspent.io

What if news & media companies were creating content that enriched our lives, vs. catering to our most base instincts for clicks?
What if social platforms were designed to help us create our ideal social lives, instead of to maximize time-on site and “likes”?
What if dating apps measured their success in how well they helped us find what we’re looking for instead of in # of swipes?

As technology gets more and more engaging, and as AI and VR become more and more prevalent in our day-to-day lives we need to take a look at how we’re structuring our future.

Time Well Spent is a movement to align technology with our humanity: timewellspent.io

Director, Co-producer, & Visual Effects: Sander van Dijk: sandervandijk.tv

Writer, Co-producer & Lead Actor: Max Stossel: maxstossel.com

Production Company: Yacht Club Films

Director of Photography: Conor Murphy

Color: RCO

Music & Sound Design: Wesley Slover –

Steadicam Operator: Kyle Fasanella

Graphic Artist: Aaron Kemnitzer

CG Artist: Joseph Pistono

Visual Effects Assistant: Chelsea Galen

Roto Assistant: Regina Morgan-Munoz

Lead Actress: Crystal Lee

Buster the Boxer Likes To Bounce.

Every year British department store chain John Lewis goes all in on their holiday marketing campaign, and this year is no exception. From the TV commercial, “Buster’s Garden” to the extended length YouTube spot, the VR 360 companion video and the website, plus social media (they have a dedicated Snapchat filter you can get) they have pulled out all the stops. The video is a really nice blend of CG and live action with a story that ties it all together. The concept is built around the story of a little girl called Bridget who loves to bounce. When her mom and dad buy her a trampoline for Christmas, they soon discover that she isn’t the only one with a passion for jumping.

If you click through to YouTube and select the more information section you will see where John Lewis has partnered with the Wildlife Trusts to help protect and restore our nation’s wildlife and natural habitat for our children today and in the future. I addition there are options to sign up for additional videos that will be posting this holiday season and the usual hooks to social media as well. The microsite does a really solid job of integrating the extended content and encouraging visitors to do more than just shop. While shopping is encouraged and there are really strong ties to product related specifically to the advertising, there are additional calls to action with Bring Skills to Life which ties the campaign to real world activities children can engage with at home.

One of the things that I think is really interesting, and I wish I were going to the UK to see it in person, is the fact that John Lewis has created Buster’s Garden at a number of their stores allowing you to explore the space using Oculus Rift technology. Like the rest of the campaign, its a nice blend of technology and the physical store environments.

Plume, Solving Your WiFi Dead Zones.

I don’t live in a large house so WiFi connectivity and bandwidth really isn’t an issue for me. I know that it can be frustrating as all hell though for people in larger homes and with multiple users competing for a single signal coming off a router located in the most inconvenient spot in your home. A new solution coming to market in November wants to render this a non-issue.

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Plume is the a new Adaptive WiFi system, that takes a series of small, discrete hexagonal boxes and spreads WiFi throughout your domicile. According to the site, “Plume is the only WiFi solution powered by the cloud, which means it can adapt to real life in real-time—ensuring every room and every device has a reliably fast connection today, tomorrow, and years from now.” Sounds promising. The devices also maximize data flow on your WiFi network  by handling different types of traffic for a smooth, uninterrupted experience. Plume apparently knows the difference between different data types and allocates bandwidth according to need. And Plume doesn’t use a traditional mesh system to hop between source points which adds latency and slows data transfer. Plume uses a different channel or band for each hop, never slowing down your WiFi speed.

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Plume has a great look to it. Clean, minimal, small in scale. It is definitely designed to blend into a space and disappear. Modest in appearance, and petite in size each pod feels like a small piece of modern sculpture plugged into your power outlets. Plume can be preordered as individuals at 39 bucks a pop or sets of 6 which will set you back $234.00.

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WEF: Top Ten Emerging Technologies.

It’s Friday, watch something cool and learn while you are at it. I have to admit I had watch this a few times to get all the information because I kept looking at Felipe Vargas animation and illustrations and not paying attention to all of the text on screen. The video below was commissioned by The World Economic Forum to highlight the top 10 emerging technologies. Vargas, and Pablo Gonzalez directed the short which features illustration work by Vargas who was also the primary animator, along with small but very talented animation support team. It’s a great little short with a look that really reminds me of Charlie Harper ( not the character from Two and a Half Men ).

“A diverse range of breakthrough technologies, including batteries capable of providing power to whole villages, “socially aware” artificial intelligence and new generation solar panels, could soon be playing a role in tackling the world’s most pressing challenges.
The World Economic Forum requested a short Animation conveying this important message. A short deadline demanded simple, but attractive animations and graphics that could tell the story without a voiceover.”
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Directed by Pablo Gonzalez and Felipe Vargas at SMOG
Creative Direction by Pablo Gonzalez at SMOG
Design and Illustrations by Felipe Vargas.
Animation direction by Felipe Vargas.
Animations by: Felipe Vargas, Patricio Molina, Berni Bruner, Spiro Bunster and Francisco Castro.

AnyPixel from Google.

For sometime now, if you wanted to create an interactive wall, you had to have some pretty solid coding skills or know someone who did. There are a ton of open source frameworks to get the job done, but none of them are very easy to use. Thanks to Google that is changing. AnyPixel.js an an open source code and hardware library created so you can make interactive displays out of pretty much anything. The library contains a solid base of code, and schematics that can be modified for things like lights, screens and sensors. The video below shows it in action at the Google New York offices. Google used 5880 off-the-shelf arcade buttons as our pixels.

 

Get the code library here.

Lets all call Sweden and ask them something.

I’ve always wanted to go to Sweden, and since my passport just got renewed I might have to start planning a trip. So, what to do in Sweden? Where to go? What to see? What should I pack? Are they on the Euro? So many questions, and now I can get answers.  How? By calling Sweden and talking to a Swede.

This has got to be one of the better tourism ad campaigns to surface in quite some time. No cheesy landscape shots with beautiful people doing all sorts of touristy things. With this campaign you can really call Sweden, and speak to a real Swede and ask them anything you want about their country. I know what I’ll be doing this weekend. I’m going to call Sweden and ask them anything and everything I can think of. Wanna ask Sweden something yourself? You can do it right here at Sweden’s dedicated Swedish Number website.