Untitled Work In Progress

Untitled Work In Progress 2008-09-27+ View the drawing on Flickr

After a much-deserved kick in the ass from Allison, I picked up an old unfinished piece today. A long time ago (like 5 years, I think), my friend Nick stained a bunch of cardboard, cut it up, and handed it to all his friends. He wanted everyone to do a piece.

Of course, I started, but never finished.

5 years later, I’m working on it again. I’m just going to see where it goes. All I know is that it’s really gratifying watching volume emerge from hatching. This might spawn a series. Not that I’ve ever done a series.

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Shape Iteration 003

Shape Iteration 003 Output Capture+ Check out the evolving Flickr set

Continuing from yesterday, I tried to reel in the exploration a little bit and focus on form. I was still feeling interested in this original sample output from visp, so I put more constraints on this piece and started to get what I wanted.

It’s time to start playing more with the shapes and colors and perhaps adding some blur to impose some depth of field.

Shape Iteration 003 Output Capture+ Check out the evolving Flickr set

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Shape Iteration 002

Shape Iteration 002 Output Capture+ Check out the larger version

After yesterday’s little exercise, I decided to push things a little further and add some more control. Still playing with Perlin noise in Flash. Controlling the form of things a little bit more so as to add interest. And significantly increasing the total number of shapes to impose a couple different viewing distances.

I only played with one base shape this time — actually two shapes that are badly shape-tweened in Flash. It’s a little too noisy, so I’ll probably try something with a little more structure in it and add a couple additional shapes to help with compositions. Click any of the images to view their larger counterparts in Flickr.

Shape Iteration 002 Output Capture+ Check out the larger version

Shape Iteration 002 Output Capture+ Check out the larger version

Shape Iteration 002 Output Capture+ Check out the larger version

Shape Iteration 002 Output Capture+ Check out the larger version

Shape Iteration 002 Output Capture+ Check out the larger version

Shape Iteration 002 Output Capture+ Check out the larger version

Shape Iteration 002 Output Capture+ Check out the larger version

Shape Iteration 002 Output Capture+ Check out the larger version

Shape Iteration 002 Output Capture+ Check out the larger version

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Shape Iteration 001

Shape Iteration 001 - 01

Today I decided to try to use mxmlc as my compiler for Flash stuff. But, having recently acquired an FDT Enterprise license, I wanted to use that instead of Flex Builder. Found a great tutorial at for how to compile an AS3 Project with FDT. Also found an excellent ActionScript 3 library for managing library assets (both loaded at runtime and at compile time) over at Tink’s site.

So, in this post you can see some captures from the output of the experiment. And you can check out the actual thing here:

Shape Iteration 001

As you can see, I’m playing with noise and form multiplicity. Again.

Shape Iteration 001 - 02

Shape Iteration 001 - 03

Shape Iteration 001 - 04

Shape Iteration 001 - 05

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Noisy Lines

Noisy Lines+ check out the Processing sketch

So lame that I haven’t posted since December. Seriously.

Above, we’ve got a variation on a Processing sketch I made at work last week when I realized I needed a new desktop. That sketch was used to create the desktop pictured below (with some help from Photoshop for gradients and drop shadows):

Desktop 2008-04-25

Okay, so back to the actual Processing sketch. Is it just me, or is it completely unsettling that the sketch looks like it’s dancing? Maybe it’s just getting late.

Note: Just take those lines out of the sketch that refer to QuickGrab or Grab if you’re confused about them. They’re there so I can grab screen captures of the Processing output and dump them straight to file. Thanks to Ryan Alexander for the QuickGrab library.

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Lifestream in Flash 9

mikecreighton.com Lifestream v1+ view the live lifestream at mikecreighton.com

Back in June I ran across a blog post chronicling the implementation of a “lifestream” online (read Streaming My Life Away). The idea has been something I’ve wanted to execute for some time, but only earlier this week did I get up enough gusto to try it out.

Instead of using a PHP script to cobble together multiple RSS feeds that are part of my life, I decided to use Yahoo! Pipes since it’s free, it aggregates feeds without my having to write code, and it sorts the individual feed items according to their publish date. You can take a look at the final pipe if you’re interested. Very simple stuff. The feed sources are coming from my Flickr page (seeing), my Last.fm page (hearing), my del.icio.us page (reading), my Twitter page (doing), and this blog (making).

Lastly, I’m taking that pipe (RSS feed) and using a visualization of it as my personal website. Take a look at mikecreighton.com/lifestream. I’m using Flash CS3 / Flash Player 9 and ActionScript 3 to make it all go. I haven’t done a ton with AS3 in Flash CS3, so I’m also using this as an exercise to get my feet wet. This current incarnation should be considered a functional wireframe at this point.

Oh, one more thing. If you want to do anything with Yahoo! Pipes within Flash, be aware that there’s no crossdomain.xml at the yahoo.com domain. You’ll need to change the domain of the URL of the pipe from yahoo.com to yahooapis.com. That’ll make it work with your web-facing Flash piece.

UPDATE: Corrected the links that point to the example. They’re now at http://mikecreighton.com/lifestream.

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Form Iteration Output 001

Form Iteration Output 001+ view other sizes on Flickr

I’ve decided to spend some time again with Processing after all this work with Flash, Flex, and ActionScript 3. Much of tonight dealt with exploring the Processing 3D-related syntax and making tools for working in the environment. Took me a very long time to correctly position a spotlight. But, now I’ve got some code for shifting things like that around with keys at runtime.

This sketch is the first of what will be many iterations, I’m sure. The next step is hooking this visual up to some audio — specifically an audio map — and affect values of position / height based on that map. I want to create a concrete image of the entire snapshot of a song or a specific chunk of it. I like the idea of making a “tangible” object out of something that so clearly lives in temporal space. Hopefully this will bring some new meaning to audio artifact.

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visp Officially Released

visp Release Logo

It definitely took some time. But it’s finally out. And just when I thought I had all my bases covered, Adobe has just released a new public beta of AIR along with a new public beta of Flex 3. This renders two very crucial tutorials that I put together obsolete. I’ll be working this week to update those two tutorials.

For now, if you’re willing to brave it, here are the links a few folks have been waiting for:

I do want to say that visp has definitely been created with programmers in mind. You build your custom media from the ground up. I’ve tried to simply encapsulate things into the flash.display.Sprite class as a base (for custom media) and provide an easy API for handling both software UI input along with MIDI input.

If you’ve got questions, problems, bugs, or simply need some help, please head over to the Mailing List. I won’t be answering anything in the comments of this post. On the list, I’ll do my best to answer in a timely manner. And if you’ve got feature requests, they’ll be duly noted. But remember, this is opensource software, so you’re more than welcome to build the features yourself.

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visp Release Update

visp v1 Interface Screenshot+ view actual pixel screenshot image

I’ve got a long list of excuses and a short list of completed milestones. However, visp is still moving forward (believe it or not). Here’s what I’ve done since the first preview post:

  • Revised functionality (by taking a lot of the more complicated and not-100%-solid features out)
  • Revised interface size so that it’ll work with 1024×768 screens (since that’s likely to be the minimum resolution for most laptop VJs)
  • Created a consistent API for creating media modules, filter modules, and transition modules
  • Set up the proper destination site and domain along with the Subversion respository
  • Combed through source code to keep formatting and variable naming consistent
  • Fixed some bugs
  • Updated codebase to use the latest public release of Apollo (beta 1) and Flex Builder 3 (beta 1)
  • Rewrote the MIDI proxy to be usable with all MIDI devices and not dependent on Processing (to reduce memory and processing overhead).
  • Rewrote the input interface so that media can be controlled via on-screen UI elements (sliders and buttons)

I’ve still got some more items to go. I want to make sure folks have proper documentation and tutorials for creating their own media, filters, and transitions. I also want to make sure that simply getting the projects set up in Flex Builder 3 is very straight forward (i.e. step-by-step instructions). There will be a 1.0 release in mid-September; I have an Adobe Edge Newsletter article being published on visp, so it has to be done.

Thanks for your continued patience, everyone.

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