Archive for the 'Flash' Category

Fractal’10 AR Ident

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This application was built to showcase the Fracal’10 conference in Colombia which I will be speaking at later this month.

The strapline of the event is “Reinventing the world through Fiction, Art, Science and Technology”. I wanted to incorporate these themes in an original and playful manner that would suit my talk – “Telling stories with Augmented Reality”.

I’ve created a fragmented Anamorphic distortion which invites the user to traverse the themes of the event. The fabulously talented Juliet Lall created a series of illustrations which are fractured and scattered in 3D space. The user must rotate the marker to reveal these images before moving onto the next.

Click here to interact with it. You can download the marker here.

I will be releasing the source code for this application closer to the event.

LearnAR – eLearning with Augmented Reality

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LearnAR is a new learning tool that brings investigative, interactive and independent learning to life using Augmented Reality. It is a pack of ten curriculum resources for teachers and students to explore by combining the real world with virtual content using a web cam. The resource pack consists of interactive learning activities across English, maths, science, RE, physical education and languages that bring a wow-factor to the curriculum.

This is the biggest project that Augmatic has been involved with, and certainly one of the most rewarding to date. It’s great to work on a project that will be put to such good use rather than the usual aesthetics based marketing tools.

If you would like to purchase LearnAR for your school or would just like more information visit the SSAT LearnAR page.

If you would like to demo one of the application (The Biology organs app) visit the LearnAR Demo page.

Damashek AR Xmas Card

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This is one of Augmatic’s latest AR applications. The guys at Damashek Consulting are well known for their interactive Christmas card applications. For Christmas 2009 they wanted to build upon their success and include an Augmented Reality element in the form of a secret ending which the user must ‘unlock’.

The card is set in a beautifully illustrated steam punk themed toy shop. The user is invited to explore and interact with the objects in the store to reveal the stunning animations. Once they find the portal, they are taken to the Augmented Reality application. A metal orb appears on the marker. Interacting with it will result in a variety of effects such as a snow storm, a 3D electric node garden and a holiday message.

You can interact with it here.

**** SPOILER ALERT ****
You can get to the AR application by dragging the battery from the table into the zeppelin.

Wallpaper Augmented Reality Issue

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I was approached a short while ago to produce some AR applications for the prestigious design magazine Wallpaper, for their first AR issue. I couldn’t do this through Augmatic so I passed it on to Skive (day job) and worked on the project there. This was a collaborative effort between Skive, Blinkart (Direction) and Glassworks (3D modelling).

Most of the applications were built at Skive but you might recognise a couple of them from my personal collection.

If you would like to interact with these apps, buy the magazine and go here (or you could probably just sneakily download and print a few of the markers from the page).

Augmented Ribbons

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Here I’ve combined 2 reoccurring themes that run throughout my work – Augmented Reality and ribbons. It is an evolution of the particle trails code from AR Particle Beam. Initially I wanted to create a flocking effect for the ribbons, but didn’t quite get that far and ended up cheating. This will be the next step.

Check back soon to interact with the application. And I should also be releasing the source for this at some stage in the near future.

Adobe MAX ’09: An insider’s story

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adobe_max

After the success of my Augmented Reality business card application I was fortunate enough to be invited to Adobe MAX 2009 in LA by the O’Reilly guys, to talk about my experiences with AR. Here are my impressions of the conference.

The keynote kicked the conference off with a real bang. These initial talks are renowned for being fairly dull affairs but Adobe pulled out all the stops to make this one something to behold. It started with an incredible dance performance by one of Adobe’s charitable endeavours, the Peapod academy. A discussion on the developments of the Flash platform followed. This included discussions of the new features built into AIR, a sneak look into the the latest developments in the openscreen project and a discussion of ColdFusion and LiveCycle with a look at some extraordinary enterprise projects. The climax was the announcement (after a hilarious Apple slanging Myth-Busters take off) that Apple was now accepting Flash applications into the App store. Now this isn’t exactly Flash in the iPhone browser but it’s certainly a positive step forward.

iPhone_in_flash

But by far the most awe-inspiring spectacle was the extended screener of James Cameron’s Avatar. A pair of 3D glasses, a 6th row seat and a massive 50ft screen heightened the experience to the point where I literally shivered in my seat. The producer John Landau passionately introduced each scene and discussed the extent to which Adobe software was used in the making of the movie.

Although there was a vast amount of sessions, as an interactive artist and non-Flex using Actionscript developer, I initially struggled to fill my schedule. There was a whole host of top flight Flash developers such as Ralph Hauwert and Andre Michell (regulars on the Flash conference circuit) missing from the list. However, the day before the conference started, I learned that Influxis had flown a bunch of them over to talk at the FITC Unconference sessions. For me, this development filled several gaps and led to my schedule being significantly reshuffled.

My main highlights included:

Joshua Davis was as inspirational and entertaining as ever in his Space talk. His latest experiments and influences were explained with a great deal of energy and enthusiasm, impressive for a 9am slot. I enjoyed watching the developments of each project from initial idea through to the finished product. His investigation into bezier curves was fantastic, as was his installation and iPhone work. This will be Joshua’s last speaking engagement for 2 years as he plans to have a well deserved rest.

Joshua Davis

Being an Augmented Reality monkey, I was inevitably going to end up attending Tomohiko Koyama AKA Saqoosha and Yoshihiro Shindo’s talk on FLARToolkit and the Japanese open source Flash community the Spark Project. It was great to hear about the history of the project and the inner workings of the AR library from the guy who wrote it. Almost as impressive was the huge tea-cosy like bear hat that he wore throughout the talk and for the rest of the day. I had a chat with Saqoosha afterwards and gushed like a schoolgirl whist droning on about how much I loved using his code library. He didn’t seem to mind. Nice guy.

Seb-Lee Delisle

A few great FITC Unconference sessions followed. Seb-Lee Delisle wowed us all with his playful work. Highlights of the talk included a look at his 5kb 3D Lunar Lander game, a walk through his fantastic 3D Big and Small website and participating in a 3D version of Pong with the rest of the audience. Ralph Hauwert was up next. Ralph is one of, if not the top 3D Flash developer on the planet. By the end we were all stunned by his experiments with fluidic, dynamically lit, interactive geometric shapes. And all this in Flash, and at a very high frame rate. Koen de Weggheleirefollowed with a talk on some of the latest features in Flash Player 10. He deserves a special mention for dancing around like a crazed baboon to cheesy house music whilst demonstrating the TriangleMesh feature. Sheer entertainment.

The Adobe MAX awards ceremony followed with special guest Mark Hamill. An inspired choice considering the crowd, Hamill was highly entertaining throughout. We left before the sneak peaks to get ready for the evening but I was later reliably informed that one of the Adobe guys did some live coding dressed in a Chewbacca costume. Wild.

The MAX Bash followed and was an impressive affair. Adobe had taken over almost every establishment in the L.A. Live park. In addition to a Star Wars themed area, complete with Chubacca and Darth Vadar exhibits, Mark Hamill joined the party and was predictably mobbed the moment he arrived. Later that night we met up with some great guys from Sapient and had a ball at the Latin club.

The following morning was my talk, Augmented Reality in the Flash Player with Jesse Freeman. Both halves went very well and there were plenty of questions and positive feedback afterwards. Jesse introduced the FLARToolkit library and discussed some of his own work with limitations and the future of FLAR. My half was a discussion of my experiences with FLAR and a discussion of promotion in the field My advice for anyone planning a presentation – make sure you have lots of comical images in your slide show. There’s nothing like a few cheap gags to get the audience on your side. A bit of research is also useful.

I’m pleased to say that we had an above average rating for the talk and had a great write up on digitalarts.co.uk.

Breathing a huge sigh of relief after, I ventured out to see a few of the other MAX talks. The best of the day was A Deep Dive into 10 Innovative Projects for Flash by Thibault Imbert and Michaël Chaize. Some of the better projects were Tomek Augustyn’s face tracking library, HiSlope, due for release soon, and the WiiFlash server which allows Flash developers to use WiiMotes, Nunchuks and Wii Boards as input devices. Another great talk included Kevin Hoyt’s Integrating Flash and Hardware. In a nutshell this session explained how to use a variety of different sensors in Flash using electronics equipment. A must for any aspiring installation artist.

Although initially it was a struggle to find relevant sessions, I was consistently impressed with the scale and quality of the event, the welcoming and informative staff and (in the end) the range of talks on Flash. My fiance Juliet Lall accompanied me, and found the talks on After Effects and Illustrator to be very helpful. I would definitely recommend Adobe MAX to the typical user of Adobe’s range of software. And if Influxis continue to invite the top Flash guys I would recommend it to the atypical rest.

****EDIT****

You can see the AR presentation I did with Jesse here.

The presentation slideshow is available here. It uses Jesse’s Bum engine. It may take a while to load as it was made to run locally. Press F to fullscreen it.

AR E Sting submission

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The UK TV channel e4 is holding a competition to create E Stings. I suspect most of you don’t know what an E Sting is – I was one of you a few months ago. They are the short animated clips that appear between programs and adverts.

A team of us came together and this is what we have created.

It was Lee Daley who suggested we make an AR entry. He also did the 3D work. Since then my fiance Juliet Lall has graced the project with some illustrations and Rakesh Mistry has taken control of the video production. I did all the Flash development and took the role of project leader.

15 E Stings will make it on-air and there have been over 750 entries. Let’s hope the lure of a free AR application will improve my chances!

Ironic business card becomes accidental viral

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AR Business Card

Well, it’s been an interesting week to say the least. Although I have physically handed my new business card to only a handful of people it has reached enough to fill Wembly Stadium almost three times over.

About 7 weeks ago, in my spare time I created an Augmented Reality business card and posted it on my blog and Vimeo. I had a small initial rush of a couple of thousand views and then it quietened down. Standard story.

Then just a week ago things went absolutely mental. In the last 7 days I’ve had 45,000 hits on my blog and a quarter of a million views of my Video. I’ve being Tweeted something silly and blogged by such giants as Engadget, Popular Science, Gizmodo, Notcot and many others.

As a result, I’ve been approached by lots of companies and individuals expressing an interest in working with me on Augmented Reality projects. I’ve had parties approach me for interviews, articles, tutorials and to be involved in books and conferences. I’m passing the big projects onto my digital agency Skive and keeping the smaller ones for myself. I’m currently in the process of setting up a limited company so I can deal with all these projects on a professional basis.

It was fascinating to see how interest in this piece of work evolved over several days. There was an absolute digital ripple effect. It seems that Twitter played a huge part in driving the success throughout. It’s great to see, first hand, social media acting as a vehicle for non-commercial work to gain such a huge audience in a small space of time. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who Tweeted, blogged, emailed, commented and generally passed my work on to others.

So where to from here? I will be continuing to experiment using AR but in addition to investigating it at home I will be doing some more R&D at work. My aim is to set up a new ‘experiential’ department or possibly even a sister company focussing on AR, Multitouch and installation work at Skive.

So who wants an AR application? Form an orderly queue…










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