Critical Evaluation

‘Reality Augmented Reality’

Tracey Tutt

Masters Project – Critical Evaluation

MA Moving Image and Sound 2014

Introduction

For my final project I wanted to create an engaging experience utilising Augmented Reality to bring an extinct animal back to life in an interactive installation.

Through my research into immersive spaces both historical (trompe l’oeil, the phantasmagoria, peppers ghost) and contemporary (James May App @ the Science Museum, Digital Revolutions show at the Barbican, Google Glasses) it was clear that with each new emerging technology inventors and artists would seek different ways to utilise the newly discovered to make all-encompassing works.

Their aim was to delight in playing with the senses of those that came to see, to hold them captive by what they had produced, to amaze and wow the crowds with each new version of the spectacle.

Many of the Augmented Reality examples I have seen in my research, – my preferred software platform Aurasma has been used by Harrods, BBC, Disney and Universal – tend to be flippant games, or marketing frippery and every time I see them I’m disappointed that this fabulous way of personally interacting with people is so commercial.

My aim is to use all of my technical skills and that plethora of new digital technology that is available, to make a beautiful immersive piece of interactive art meaningful, basing it on the very real problem of extinction.

The Great Bustard is still the heaviest living bird that can fly, but they died out from the UK in the 1830’s. I saw the information label in the Norwich Castle Museum where they house an impressive case of these large animals, and when I saw it, I wanted to bring them out of the case and back to ‘life’ through the magic of today’s technology.

The Great Bustard Label from the Norwich Castle Museum

The Great Bustard Label from the Norwich Castle Museum

Although my virtual reintroduction of the bird to East Anglia only exists in this installation, there is an actual re-introduction of the Great Bustard on Salisbury Plain by a very small, but dedicated group.

www.greatbustard.org

Chapter 1 – Reality Augmented

In my previous self negotiated unit I had created a purely digital device-led experience using a 3D cgi version of a Great Bustard which I laboured over intensively, and although the feedback was really positive, I felt its’ focus was too narrow on its own. The intention had been as an accompaniment to a museum exhibit. As a digital artist I sometimes forget the very visceral stimuli of the real world. I also realised that if this was a live public project I would be collaborating with professional 3D artists (not struggling with it myself) as the object (the cgi) would not be the end result.

Being an avid museum fan myself, I am always fascinated by being able to gaze upon an original artefact, and I realised that the interest in seeing the actual objects as well as interacting with them was part of the direction that my final project should take.

I needed to include a physical object within my installation, and the obvious choice was a model of a great bustard. Having a life size sculpture of the Great Bustard in my installation was important to give the physical context of this enormous bird. All of your senses are instantly engaged with its very presence and there was no better way to convey this than with an accurate model.

Although my installation is underpinned by technology, putting a physical object in my space will give it more meaning. Digital screens are all pervasive and we are so used to the architectural furniture of the ‘flat black’ that I wanted to ensure I brought a spatial dynamic back in, and once more we would become inquisitive about this new shape that we have been presented with.

It will also draw the intrigued viewer closer and when they choose to interact, to step forward, they will move unwittingly onto my pressure mat, which once triggered, plays the animation of the Great Bustard taking off and flying across the wall space right in front of you. This gives the visitor a chance to be part of my virtual awakening and re-introduction.

Whilst looking around at what current practitioners are doing with art and technology I made sure I visited the Barbican exhibition, Digital Revolution.

“This immersive and interactive exhibition brings together for the first time a range of artists, filmmakers, architects, designers, musicians and game developers, all pushing the boundaries of their fields using digital media.” (Barbican press release 2014)

Mimaform petting Zoo at the Digital Revolution exhibition at the Barbican

Mimaform petting Zoo at the Digital Revolution exhibition at the Barbican

Many of the pieces in the exhibition lacked the interactivity that I had expected, and although beautiful or clever, with no interactivity apparent, the viewer would soon move onto the next piece. To illustrate this point, when I was at the Barbican, one of the pieces, the Minimaforms petting zoo with their fabulous digital pet snakes, was supposed to be interactive. I wanted to see this in action, but after 3 attempts and watching many visitors also try, the piece just didn’t respond to those wanting to play and I observed a lot of people’s disappointment. The same with the will.i.am piece, with beautifully machined pyramid-shaped mechanical instruments and cutting edge graphics, but no responsiveness to external stimuli, limiting its playfulness and appeal.

Making the sculpture interactive, actually responding to the people or person within the space is of paramount importance to the success of the piece, when you can feel that you impact upon a piece of art or sculpture you’re making a passive event into an experience.

An Oxford dictionary definition of ‘ to interact’ is described as “to act in such a way as to have an effect on each other”. Because I chose to leave my sculpture plain white so that the size is the foremost impression, I have also given myself a perfect surface to project my animation onto, again reinforcing the physical interaction and focus of the piece.

Reactions from those that have seen the sculpture thus far have been intrigue, interest and a genuine request for a bit more information, usually along the lines of, “is it life-size?” All of them seemed to agree it was a conversation starter and were fascinated to see it in situ with the animation running. This means I have a great starting point to talk about the very real subject of extinction and create digital art with meaning.

The animation itself came through a process of mark making and testing with different media and techniques. I wanted it to have texture and movement within the paper, I wanted it to be beautiful, not a stylized graphical illustration, which is my normal safe digital art practice. I wanted the art to feel as though it moved, to be bold and free, with high expressiveness of line capturing the movement of the physical action.

Showing the movement on one my animation frames

Showing the movement on one of my animation frames

To make the texture as exciting as possible I had discovered through more experimentation that using found feathers in the animation frames made such particular marks that I could not replicate, or better, by hand. It seemed fitting to be using them to animate flight.

To truly be augmented art.

“No one could fault the advances in technology on display, but the art that has emerged out of that technology? Well, on this showing, too much of it seems gimmicky, weak and overly concerned with spectacle rather than meaning, or making a comment on our culture.” (Sooke 2014)

I also wanted to envelop the viewer with sound and after researching their previous habitats in Norfolk  I came upon the impact of environmental issues, the Brecks used to be a vast heathland covering parts of Norfolk and Suffolk, but few truly wild pieces of this heathland remain. It’s very protected and access is limited, but the audio recordings are a lovely reminder of what a summers day can be, relaxing, peaceful and it puts the viewer exactly where the Great Bustard would have roamed wild.

Chapter 2 – Augmented Reality

I saw a group of museum innovators in Belgium (meSCH project) inserting a mobile device within a wooden loupe/magnifying glass which they gave to their visitors to view more in-depth information on any of the objects with the little loupe symbol on their labels.

Through their research they had discovered in their first iteration of using digital devices to show more information, where they had simply given an iPad unadorned and with all controls available to the user, volume, on/off etc, ended badly, as people were more confused about which button to press or not to press, on the devices they were given.

“Still, many visitors were reluctant to pick up an iPad. The installation did not have a clear interface and many people are not familiar with AR yet… when encountering a piece of technology they have used before outside of the museum space, visitors will try to use that technology like they have used it before “, (Van der Vaart 2014)

the Digital 'Loupe' prototype from the meSCH group

The Digital ‘Loupe’ prototype from the meSCH project

Their second ‘loupe’ approach helped overcome many of the obstacles that people perceive around digital devices. You held it in a natural way, and used it to look at things just as you would a real magnifying glass. I wanted to use this ‘soft’ approach to a digital device being in my space and because I was basing my project around the heaviest flying bird to live, a pair of binoculars seemed the natural choice.

I was lucky enough to get a short interview with David Waterhouse (Curator of the current ‘Wonder of Birds’ Exhibition at the Norwich Castle Museum) and I demoed my AR binoculars to him. He liked the intuitive form factor and could see a very real use for overlaying all sorts of information on exhibits with them, such as his future Mammoth project, to see what it would have looked like, and conversely to see the skeletal structure of existing taxidermy pieces.

David Waterhouse using my AR binoculars

David Waterhouse using my AR binoculars

He also found that their use of the technology in your pocket (ie, an iPhone) is appealing as it’s personal and you can use it to find out more, when you want to. This is exactly the point of using your own smartphone, to discover extra layers. This is the pleasure of exhibition technology that I am trying to communicate through my work.

“Those who run museums know that the people walking around their buildings are already spending an inordinate amount of time using their phones… So it only makes sense to find ways to turn phones into storytelling tools that can bring the inanimate to life. Or shift time. Or add layers of knowledge.” (Rieland, 2012)

Giving the visitors a variety of ‘artworks’ to look at through the binoculars presents an opportunity to show all of the different ways you could impart more knowledge or information, from simple overlaying of explanatory video, to interactive screens where you choose from a menu, and make your own decisions about what you would like to explore.

Chapter 3 – Reality Augmented Reality

Putting the physical and the virtual together into an interactive space to present a seamless experience has – at times – seemed a far too ambitious project for just one person.

However, much of the peripheral items that I have created, such as the sculpture, artwork and associated literature already exist in most heritage or educational establishments.

My aim was to show the world that you can overlay these existing items in a non-destructive way. It would have been ideal to bring in a stuffed Great Bustard, but as there are (at time of writing) only 14 living Great Bustards existing in the UK on the Salisbury re-introduction site they are too rare and special and are highly prized amongst collectors, should one come on the market.

I could also have exhibited a different set of drawings, but in this case – as in most exhibitions – the items on display should have a connection with each other.

With the audio soundscape, cohesive theme and relevant literature I hope to engage the viewer and pique their interest in the plight of the Great Bustards and the struggles that David Waters (Great Bustard Group founder) and his team have, but also inform them by overlaying information on every item through Augmented Reality.

I wanted to prove it could be done, to show museum professionals and academics that if I were to work alongside them for future projects, we could engage the viewer on many more levels, learning would become more of an experience. Overlaying the existing exhibit with more content using the device in their pocket and appropriate extra information would enlighten the viewer there and then directly in front of the item they want to learn more about.

Conclusion

I have taken a contemporary issue (extinction of species) and devised a complex and immersive strategy for making the viewer of the installation consider the physical , visual and sonic, and aesthetic loss that such extinction creates, filling the space where the bird should be with replacement sensory experiences.

This is the key to making my installation a success, encouraging people to take part, whether virtually, by accessing the extra layers of information in my printed items through Augmented Reality, or with their physical curiosity providing the reaction with my sculpture.

But the sculpture is not the outcome of my final piece, nor the animation, or the sound, or even the Augmented Reality art that people can take away, it’s the layering of them all together, one over the other, over the other, it’s proving that the interaction of these layers is where the future lies for storytelling in museums or art galleries or schools, not just through one medium, but through them all and the power of interaction.

If we were all one-dimensional how boring would that be?

Bibliography

Barbican Press Release, 2014, An immersive exhibition of art, design, film, music and videogames http://www.barbican.org.uk/digital-revolution/press/

Beck, J.  (2004) Animation Art: From Pencil to Pixel, the World of Cartoon, Anime, and CGI. London. Harper Design,

Colson, R., 2007. The Fundamentals of Digital Art. Switzerland. AVA publishing.

Dobson, T. (2006) The Film Work of Norman McLaren. Eastleigh. John Libbey Publishing

Esther, L. (2004). Hollywood Flatlands: animation, critical theory and the avant garde. London. Verso.

Geoffrey Mann. 2011. Flight Take-Off. cast glass. Held at Norwich Castle Museum (acquired in 2012)

Grau, O., 2007. Media Art Histories. MIT Press

Paul, C (2008) Digital Art. Thames and Hudson, world art series.

Rieland, Randy, 2012, Augmented Reality Livens up Museums, http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/augmented-reality-livens-up-museums-22323417/ accessed Jan 2014

Rodgers, P and  Smyth, M. (2010). Digital Blur: Creative Practice at the Boundaries of Architecture, Design and Art. Oxford. Libri Publishing

Rose, G. (2006) Visual Methodologies: An introduction to the interpretation of Visual Materials: An introduction to the interpretation of Visual Methods (2nd Ed.), London:Sage

Sooke, Alistair, Jun 2014, Digital Revolution, Barbican Centre, review: ‘gimmicky’ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/art-reviews/10935600/Digital-Revolution-Barbican-Centre-review-gimmicky.html Accessed June 2014.

Van der Vaart, Merel. April 23rd 2014.  Using Augmented Reality in the Museum http://mesch-project.eu/using-augmented-reality-in-the-museum/ Accessed June 3rd 2014

XU, W. (2012). Drawing in the Digital Age. Indiana. Wiley-Blackwell.

http://youtu.be/S1qD3gfk4QI . McLaren, Love on the wing, (1938) accessed 14/03/2014

http://youtu.be/1JkaoOzb-PY. Arctic Monkeys, I wanna be yours. (2013) accessed 14/03/2014

MAX msp and the pressure mat switch – the hard part #maxmsp #pressuremat

After successfully wiring up the pressure mat and feeling very pleased as I have never wired anything, ever…

It was over to MAX msp, I dutifully read through the tutorials and they are great, max comes with at least 20 or so basic tutorials and these all have working ‘patches’ or files that you can open, look at, play with and alter to get a feel for making your own and understand the syntax it uses for processes.

There seemed to be many people using MAX, for audio, video and interactive projects, the forums were active and lively and I felt confident to start with my own patch.

What I needed to program was the starting video to play and loop until the pressure mat switch was activated and a second video plays until it’s end and then returns to the original video which is still looping.

Doesn’t sound too difficult does it, but I have been testing and trying on and off from the beginning of July to try and get this to work…

I have looked and googled and tried as many different search terms as you like to try and see if anyone else has ever used a pressure mat directly into a computer and MAX msp, but there is no-one out there, or no-one has ever written about it being successful, and last night I’d almost decided that it wasn’t possible, I couldn’t get it to loop and return and the pressure mat thing wasn’t working or hadn’t been successfully recorded anywhere, my idea for simple activity was looking doomed.

I had been able to find a number of people using an arduino to interface with MAX, but at this point I didn’t want to start with another purchase and more software to learn!

I also had doubts about the pressure mat itself, it had come with 4 wires… which ones made the circuit? No paperwork came in the box, I guess you’re supposed to know what you’re doing…

And of course I had wired it to the plug before checking the live circuit.

I had to find an expert… fortunately Phil, one of the MRC technicians was one of the people who had said that MAX was good in the first place for interactivity, so with promises of coffee and or cake (Earl Grey black for future reference!) I managed to get an hour with Phil.

We started with the patch that my husband and I (I’d even roped him in too!) had been co-working on the night before – him more than me as I was about ready to give up at this point – and Phil was kind enough to say we were on the right lines, but needed to input the videos differently, using a bang, or a button rather than reading in the file to loop or play it. Then he tackled the returning to the original video as we had one switching to another on a click, just not by reading the end of the video to trigger the return to video 1.

We had looked at the delay function, but Phil suggested using the pipe command, we had calculated the length of the clip with ‘length’ but this was giving an odd number, that when worked into the pipe function returned to the original video, yay!..but before the end of the clip had actually played. Phil then set about trying to work out the fps and miliseconds needed as the 2720 ‘length’ number was obviously wrong, as he was looking through some of the reference material, I saw a ‘duration’ function which listed as returning ms, just what we wanted, and when he put into the patch, it worked!

This was amazing, I don’t think Phil will realise just how brilliant it was to see this working, for me…

With that working, he turned to the pressure mat, of course the first thing he did was to check which was the live loop out of the four wires… it wasn’t the ones I had hooked up!

So if you ever buy one of these pressure mats from maplin, the active wires that make the contact loop are the two on the inside of the mat, they actually came with a bit of the plastic casing missing, but no diagram, so here’s one I made earlier!

matwires

The red wires make the active loop.

I connected the right wires up to the extended wires and we plugged the now working jack back into the microphone socket.

He put the adc~ code into the patch, but it didn’t register anything, so we looked at the audio input options and here we found it wasn’t on and it wasn’t defaulting to the correct input, so after a bit of jiggery pokery with the audio in on the control panel of my laptop we got a signal.

Phil had put in what looked like a volt meter in MAX so we could read the base voltage and see what it changed to when the mat was stepped on, then he added a greater than value, which would activate the change in state, this worked well, but when you stepped off before the video finished it would return to the looping video, not good as I wanted the whole video to play, so Phil added a ‘gate’ which closed the activation whilst the video was playing.

To put it bluntly Phil is awesome and it all now works, bar the fullscreen which I will sort when it’s actually on the mac I will use for the show as that is different between macs and pcs (I’m working on a pc for these tests)

So just in case you ever fancy doing something like this yourself, here is a screenshot of the patch!

maxpatch

and here it is working!!!!

USB lighting for Digital space

I will be mounting two larger pieces of AR Art on the wall for the initial focus for the participant, but many more will be available in the form of postcards and business cards and a demo booklet that I am inviting people to buy for a very modest sum of £2.50, to take my art away with them and play at home!

To display the two larger Artworks though I need to source lighting for that side of my installation as it is split into two sides, the ‘reality augmented’ where my sculpture and projection mapping will take place and the ‘augmented reality’  corner where my binoculars will sit on a plinth with my printed documents and the two artworks will be sited.

I have gone down the route of LED lighting using USB power as I need the lights to be low heat output as they will be on for 7-8 hours and constantly powered rather than relying on batteries.

USB Plug In 5LED Light

I found a positionable neck 5 led light stick, but needed to extend the tiny usb lead as it’s primary use is with a computer or laptop. With USB leads you do have to make sure that they are under 5 metres long, or you get reduced power output and need a repeater cable, fortunately I only needed 2 metres so was pretty sure it would be okay.

I also wanted to source a dual usb plug to reduce sockets needed and it seemed sensible as usb lights are only low volatge and masterplug do a reliable version of their plugs with the added bonus of a through socket, so I could actually power all of my plinths power needs ( 2 USB sockets and an ordinary plug socket) through this one plug – I may still need that option!

masterplugusb

I wanted to test that this light source was bright enough and with everything plugged in there was no reduction in power actually in situ, so took all the cables into my space earlier…

wpid-dsc_0087.jpg

So, in this picture we have the two led stick lights plugged into their own two 3 metre usb male to female extensions, plugged into the dual usb power socket of the masterplug, in the exact situation in my installation space.

I then stuck a test image onto the wall with blu-tac and attached one of the lights to the wall, to test if the light was strong enough for my phone to trigger the Aurasma content in this low light situation.

and it was…

The low light in this corner also did not spill over into the other area of my installation where my projection will be.

wpid-dsc_0088.jpg

 

3D Binocular Augmented Reality Viewer… done #augmentedreality #AR #aurasma

 

 

 

wpid-dsc_0030.jpg

Remember these?

wpid-dsc_0033.jpg

The central divider which turned them into a 3D viewer was a sticking point for them to view Augmented Reality, so I had to try and find a way to remove it without breaking the rest of the plastic surround.

I was very disappointed to realise that the plastic that they had used was in fact very strong, so a craft knife wasn’t even going to make a dent in the rigid structure.

I went down into the 3D workshop to see what tools they might have that could be of use… I thought that a curved hacksaw blade might do the trick, but it just wouldn’t work as you would have no room with which to draw the blade back and forth  any useful distance…

I then asked if they had any heavyduty ‘snips’ I remember using tin snips in previous making ventures and them cutting tin well… Luckily Jim did have a pair of snips, although he didn’t think they would get through the thick plastic.

He gave it a go and they went through the plastic easier than he thought they would! Brilliant.. I sat down to do it and found it really wasn’t as easy as Jim made it look, my feeble little hands struggled making the snips cut any sort of distance, so I resorted to taking tiny little nibbles out of the middle divider.

This was still really hard and also meant of course it took 3 times as long, about a hour and a half to get down the full length of the binoculars – and the blisters on my fingers will attest to this!

wpid-dsc_0038.jpg

 

Eventually, I reached a point where you couldn’t see anything left of the divider when looking through the eyepieces, so then turned to a large handled rasp to file away all of the little ragged edges.
wpid-dsc_0039.jpgPop in your ipod and hey presto AR Binoculars!

These will be used in my installation to demo my Augmented Reality booklet content and postcards.

I will be preloading the ipod with my own Aurasma channel – tracey tutt – so that all of my printed materials come to life when viewed through the AR Binoculars.

The idea behind making them binoculars comes from a desire to introduce devices to view content in a soft way, ie rather than have an obvious iphone or android smart phone sat in front of you, which could confuse frighten or just irritate the viewer I wanted it to be simple, pick it up in a tactile form – binoculars – and simply do the natural thing with the object, look through the eyepieces.

 

 

Masters Project Artist/Research Statement

Tracey Tutt

MA Moving Image and Sound

Artist Statement:

I constantly research and experiment to push boundaries and find limits, I want to excite and stimulate the viewer, using my creativity to tell another story over the original, blending technology seamlessly with beauty by weaving different media together to bring new experiences.

Augmented Reality has been widely used for expensive marketing campaigns or in niche museums, or exhibitions, such as the Science Museum’s Virtual James May App or the recent ‘Digital Revolution’ at the Barbican, keeping it somewhat exclusive.

To give everyone a chance to see its potential and the wide variety of uses and applications I am augmenting all of the printed work that will accompany my installation so that the public can take my art away and interact with it.

This installation will draw together and implement all of my research and experimentation over the last two years and I am using a huge array of media and techniques from traditional plaster sculpting, projection mapping, spatial stereo sound, hand drawn animation using real feathers, coding, physical interactivity and Augmented Reality in a truly immersive transmedia experience to ‘virtually’ bring to life a Great Bustard in Norfolk after 180 years since it’s last sighting.

Aurasma Information icon for my show #aurasma

AR_iconFor my show I will have active Aurasma triggers within the space, so I needed to come up with a beautiful graphic to inform the viewer that here is not only a graphic, or photo, but an experience.

Using my line drawings and full colour Great Bustard illustrations and placing them so they appear to come out of the mobile devices screen in colour, gives the visual clue as to what you can hope to see.

 

Weeting visit for sound

wpid-dsc_0029.jpg

A visit to Weeting Heath was one of the last places I wanted to record sound from. As one of the remaining parts of the Brecks Heath this would have been the home of the Great Bustard .

wpid-dsc_0005.jpg

The chaps at the visitor centre although quizzical about what I was doing were quite happy to recommend the East Hide as no-one would visit there to see the infamous Stone Curlews as the grass is too long, so I had the hide to myself and could set up myu two sound recorders at either end, to really give a spatial sound result.

wpid-dsc_0003.jpg

I was using 2 H4 Zoom recorders at approximately 12 feet apart.

wpid-dsc_0004.jpg

Looking out over the Brecks Heath habitat..

Unfortunately it is next to a fast road, RAF Lakenheath and a steam rally but there are moments of pure tranquillity and I hope the reproduction will do it justice.

wpid-dsc_0021.jpg

A short walk away was a lovely forest trail with the hope of being further away from the road and rally, so I trekked up there and managed to record a couple of shorter sessions, using the same 12 feet apart set up, as I will be overlaying the different habitats from Weeting, Salisbury Plain and Santon Downham in the final mix.

wpid-dsc_0024.jpgI have already selected the best raw audio footage and am hoping to get in the sound studio next week for the final selection.

Great Bustard sculpture, looking good

Update on the ongoing sculpture, just the sanding to go and it’s making a real difference.

 

wpid-dsc_0312.jpg

wpid-dsc_0320.jpg

wpid-dsc_0319.jpg

wpid-dsc_0318.jpg

Before and after of the sides.

Sanding takes the lumps out beautifully.

wpid-dsc_0324.jpg

wpid-dsc_0323.jpg

wpid-dsc_0321.jpg

wpid-dsc_0314.jpg

Looking at the model on his legs and I am still thinking about whether to snip the long ‘h’ support bar down, or to dig into the sculpture underneath so that the support bar doesn’t show at all..

When viewed from my height it’s fine, but if you look underneath or are just a bit shorter you can see the metal prongs…

It’s balanced very well, is still light enough and looks great, I can’t wait to put it in situ and test some projection onto it.

MAX MSP essential to know and useful tutorials #MAXMSP

Starting to use MAX msp and feeling very out of my depth. For the past 5 days I have been struggling to get through the tutorials and having major problems with getting any sort of video to play back, even using the tutorial patchers didn’t work. I just kept getting the error message imovie countdown.mov: error opening file whatever I tried. I downloaded MAX onto another machine, just in case it was the machine. no. Then I scoured the internet for different tutorials, thinking maybe it had a bug in the tutorial… no… Finally this morning, typing in ‘imovie dozer.mov: error opening file’ MAX msp’  into google and I get a result

movie playback in 64 bit version of Max is limited for the time being.
the 32 bit version does not have these limitations, and is recommended for users interested in quicktime functionality.
http://cycling74.com/forums/topic/vizzie-playr-imovie-error-opening-file-jit-qt-movie-doesnt-understand/

64bt is not compatible with the video playback.. how frustrating why doesn’t it say that on the download page…

by the way before you download if you want to do video DON’T DOWNLOAD THE 64 BIT!

Uninstall, reinstall (on one machine anyway) and presto bingo, working as it should be…

Cycling74 Max/MSP/Jitter Tutorials: Play a Movie

 

The very basics

http://alhodgsonn.wordpress.com/2012/01/03/maxmsp/

Smooth operator #greatbustard #plaster #sculpture

Getting back In the workshop after a week meant that my sculpture has had long enough to really harden and gives me a chance to examine what my next step to finishing it might be.

Looking over the model, the modroc has done a fair job, but, there are still fibres and ridges present.

I have some options,

1, just to modroc again, this could of course leave me with exactly the same finish as I currently have, fibres and ridges due to the nature of the application…

2, modroc another layer and whilst still damp apply a thin skim of fine casting plaster, this could be quite messy and complex and the speed with which modroc goes off may not give me enough time to make a batch of fine plaster and apply it to good finish, plus if there are any fibres and it’s wet, they may well come up through the skim and give me problems when trying to sand as they will pull out to the modroc leaving a small hole in the model….

3, just use the fine casting plaster to do a skim over what I have, this may be the best option as long as it is able to adhere to the hardened modroc layer underneath.

I think the best result will be had from going with option 3, and fully wetting the area to which I will then skim on.

Jim shows me a test piece that he has experimented with, in order to look at the adhesion of fine plaster directly onto a polystyrene former, without using scrim underneath (which was my alternative method). It has worked quite well, but he shows me what happens when the polystyrene flexes and parts of the plaster pop off and cracks. So moving my sculpture is going to be the trickiest part, this is where any stress on the plaster will pull at the tension and cause cracks or fissures to appear.

So I dive in and get the right wing fully wet with warm water and quickly mix up some fine plaster, just to a fairly thin consistency and start to apply…

As I put it on I am shocked by how quickly it starts to dry, it really doesn’t give me as much time as I’d like, I’m guessing it must be the thinness of the plaster which is making it harden off before it normally would. But I grab a bowl of water to try and smooth as much as I can before it starts to harm the finish. I have a couple of places where it pulls up the skim I’ve just put on, let’s hope it holds on enough to get through the show.

wpid-dsc_0273.jpg

Although this technique is getting the finish closer to what I had envisaged I’m glad that I didn’t start with scrim and plaster, I think I would have put on too much plaster and the scrim would still have left the fibre problem, which I had on the base…

I turn the sculpture onto its side so I can more easily cover the whole right wing and almost decide to leave that to dry before doing anymore, but, this would take a ridiculous amount of wasted time in between sessions, so I turn the Bustard onto it’s stomach and start to cover the other side.

wpid-dsc_0274.jpg

I get the left side and tail done before lunch and leave the back and head until the afternoon.

wpid-dsc_0284.jpg

Because of the medium I am working so quickly I get the back, head and neck done in just two hours. The head shows a big improvement in quality of surface, from lumpy to smooth and I’m now looking forward to sanding this all over.

wpid-dsc_0285.jpg

wpid-dsc_0287.jpg

This should be the final surface, bar painting, and I will experiment with paint on some spare plaster pieces to see if a satin, gloss or natural sanded plaster will be the best hold for projecting onto.

wpid-dsc_0296.jpg

wpid-dsc_0298.jpg

Trying to make best use of the time left in the workshop I still need to sort out the gap that appears when the body is placed onto the base, so using up some of the modroc I increase the height on the ‘shorts’ of the bird.

wpid-dsc_0291.jpg

wpid-dsc_0293.jpg

When the model is dry I need to remark the metal bars on the body so it sits nicely, and check whether it can still manage the weight of the sculpture with all of the added plaster!

I am surprised by how little plaster I have had to add to smooth over the whole surface, each time I mixed up a new batch I always had to throw some away, even though I was only making up a small amount… Of course I ran out on the head, but think I just got away with that…

Next session will be sanding and hopefully testing projection thereafter.