Experimenting with Colour

For my interactive piece, I would like to incorporate Brightness Thresholding into the video capture. I have decided to experiment with different colours I could use, here are some outcomes:


I feel that the ones with the white background would work best as it would be harder to see the falling objects on a coloured background. Although I feel the coloured figures look good, I think it would make the objects stand out less and I would have to be more cautious as to what colour object to use. Therefore, I think that the white background and black figure (top left) would work best for my idea. I could then use any colour for the objects and it would clearly stand out and there will be no contradicting colours. These colour experiments reminded me off Andy Warhol’s pieces, here is an example of his ‘Marilyn Diptych’ piece that is displayed at the Tate Museum:

Marilyn Diptych 1962 by Andy Warhol 1928-1987
Similarly to my idea, the figure is positioned on a clear background. I plan to incorporate colour into the falling objects rather than the video capture. I feel that some of the target audience may not like being on camera and therefore hopefully the black and white silhouette-like effect that I plan to use will help encourage users to interact with my piece. The black and white piece on the left looks similar to what I plan for mine to be like. Andy Warhols art work also features various objects (Campbells soup, Coco Cola etc), and for my piece I need to experiment with what objects to use. This relates to the theory module I studied (Media and History) and highlights how past art/design movements are still important. Pop Art came around in the 1950s, yet it is still widely recognised and used in contemporary. Next, I will go on to experiment with different objects I could use in my piece as well as developing the code.

Tate, 2014. Andy Warhol [online]. Available from: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/warhol-marilyn-diptych-t03093 [Accessed 16 December 2014].

Processing Video Examples

For my interactive piece, I have analysed some examples that can be relevant towards the creation of my piece. It is important that I understand the programming language used, and that am capable of re-working it myself. There are those that program from scratch and those which hack examples together. Hacking examples together is a programming technique that some use, the advantages of this is that it is quicker and allows ideas to be more complex for those which are not that advanced in programming. However, the disadvantages are that if you don’t understand it, then mistakes can easily be made and it may be hard to resolve if the programming language is not fully understood. The advantages of programming from scratch is that it means your programming knowledge is more developed, meaning you can create complex ideas of which you can resolve errors more easily. However, the disadvantages are that it can take a lot longer as you will be writing out code that sometimes is already easily accessible to use. Therefore, if I do choose to use one of the following examples, it is important that I fully understand the code, which I will evident through the various sketches I have programmed and presented on my blog. If I decide to use one of the examples, it would just form a bit of my piece as I then need to use object orientated programming to create an array of gravitating objects, showing I have the ability to both hack and program. I will go on to analyse each example, understand and edit the code and experiment with trial and error.

Brightness Thresholdingbrightness thresholding v2

This is my favourite example, and I may incorporate it into my piece. Initially, the threshold was lower and therefore the figure isn’t that clear, however by changing the thresholding and positioning of the camera I was able to capture a black silhouette on a white background. Next, I need to go on to add objects the piece, and program it so when they reach a black pixel they move up and when they reach a white pixel they descend.

Motion Detection

motion detection v2

This example detects motion and produces a black outline around a moving figure. It works well, and I like the figure effect. However, it will be harder to program the objects as the black pixels are not as bold and clear as the example above.

Brightness Mirror

brightness mirror v2I like the effect of the grid of squares and think this looks very good and unique. Originally, the size was smaller which I don’t think worked as well, so I adjusted the size of the squares. When adding falling objects to this example, it could come across as being quite confusing and distorted but I think that this is a good back-up example that I could use.

Next, I will go on to experiment further with object orientated programming and will add an array of descending objects to the brightness thresholding example. I will experiment with different objects: shapes, figures, words or graphics, to see which works and looks best.

Shiffman, D, 2008. Learning Processing: Examples [online]. Available from: http://www.learningprocessing.com/examples/ [Accessed 13 December 2014].

Silhouette Photography

A silhouette is…

“a two-dimensional representation of the outline of an object, as cutout or configurational drawing, uniformly filled in with black…” (Dictionary.com, 2014)

For my idea, I would like to capture people as silhouettes rather than in full detail. I feel this would help to encourage people to interact, as some won’t like being on camera. If the public space is busy, I feel that people may be embarrassed to interact with the piece so due to it not capturing full details of the person this could resolve this problem. I decided to briefly have a look at some silhouette photography and here are some that stood out to me…



I think that in each of the photos, the silhouette really stands out, being very bold and clear, of which I aim for mine to be like. I especially like the bottom photo as it relates to the concept of surrealism. In the photo, the people have puzzle pieces as faces, this blurs the boundaries between reality and the imagination. They are hand-cut paper silhouettes, being held as if they are positioned on top of buildings and the pieces of the puzzle fit together, imitating people kissing. For my piece, I plan to have a white background, video capturing black silhouettes interacting with various brightly coloured falling objects. Next, I will go on to develop my idea by further experimenting with processing to develop my code.

1stWebDesigner, 2012. 60 Beautiful & Stunning Examples of Silhouette Photography [online]. Available from: http://www.1stwebdesigner.com/silhouette-photography/ [Accessed 13 December 2014].

Dictionary.com, 2014. Dictionary [online]. Available from: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/silhouette [Accessed 13 December 2014].

TrendHunter, 2012. Surreal Silhouette Papercrafts [online]. Available from: http://www.trendhunter.com/trends/dreampapercut-by-dmytro-and-iuliia [Accessed 13 December 2014].

Userbility Testing

In a recent s1419225895usability_testingeminar we learnt about usability testing and thought of possible questions to test the usability of an interactive piece example. Usability testing is when you test/evaluate a product with its aimed audience. It is important that I usability text my piece with the target audience as it will allow me to see its suitability and fitness for purpose. As well as allowing me to find out how users behave with the piece and what they experience from it (UX). Kuniavsky (2003, p.18) claims that

‘A good user experience doesn’t guarantee success, but a bad one is nearly always a quick route to failure.’

This shows the importance of carrying out usability tests, as without a satisfied audience my piece would be unsuccessful. He also suggests:

‘What makes a good experience varies from person to person, product to product, and task to task, but a good general definition is to define something as “usable” if it’s functional, efficient, and desirable to its intended audience.’

Carrying out usability tests will allow me to collect both quantitative and qualitative data to determine whether my piece is desirable to its intended audience. Quantitative data is that which deals with numbers, it can be measured and easily analysed and made into graphs/chart. An example of a quantitative question could be ‘Did you understand how to use the piece?’, the responses from this would simply be yes/no, hence allowing you to easily measure/analyse user responses. Qualitative data is that which is more descriptive, giving you individuals own personal opinions and views on the piece. An example of a qualitative question could be ‘Discuss what you like about the piece?’, hence giving you more detailed, quality answers. Quantitative questions are normally used when testing a big group of people as they could be good in order to find out who to target, however the responses aren’t usually very accurate and aren’t detailed enough for you to gain ideas on how to improve the piece and hence follow an iterative design process. Therefore, for my piece it would be best to use qualitative question when carrying out usability tests as it will allow me get more descriptive, useful answers as well as gain more feedback and improvements that I could possibly make. I need to ensure that I word the questions in the correct way in order to get qualitative responses from users as sometimes they can give yes/no responses which wouldn’t be as useful, therefore to do this I could use ‘discuss’/’explain’ in the question which encourages them to give a longer answer. From this, I have learnt a lot more about usability testing and quantitative/qualitative data. It will benefit my piece and means I will follow an iterative design process. Next, I will go on to create a prototype for my piece and test it with the aimed audiences.

Kuniavsky, M, 2003. Observing the User Experience : A Practitioner’s Guide to User Research [online]. Burlington, MA, USA: Morgan Kaufmann.

Brightness Thresholding Images

I analysed Daniel Shiffmans brightness threshold example and edited the code to create a piece inspired by the surreal photography I have been looking at. Here is the code…Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 19.24.28

I feel confident in being able to re-work this code as it uses all previous knowledge I have learnt in processing workshops with the addition of threshold. It require the size setup, loading of an image and its pixels, for loop and a conditional statement so that if it is greater than the threshold it is white and black if less than. Here is the edited result:

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 19.43.12
I really like the brightness threshold effect and I may incorporate it into my interactive piece. Inspired by Cerise Doucède’s photography, I added floating tennis balls to the piece. Next, I will explore some video effect examples and further develop my idea.

Surreal Photography

I have explored the concept of surrealism further by researching some surreal photography pieces. Here are some pieces that stood out most to me, I will analyse what I like about each one and relate them to my idea for my interactive piece.

photo surrealThis piece is by Ronen Goldman, it features a man obstructing apples that are flying towards him with an open umbrella. Goldman turns fantasies into works of art – ‘photo-dreams’. This piece was in fact inspired by Magrittes’ paintings, after Goldman went and visited the Magritte Museum in Belgium. I like the simplicity of this idea, and it has highlighted to me how simple ideas can be just as effective. It has quite a humorous effect and is very eye catching. The surreal element of the addition of the flying apples really helps to make viewers look deeper into the image, in order to understand what it being represented.


This piece is by Slinkachu, it stood out to me as it is very unique and unusual. It features miniature people having a ‘Tug Of War’ with a £10 note. The use of tiny people in his photography really helps to blur the boundaries between the real and the imaginary, hence show surrealism. This idea is again quite simple, but it has a strong effect, of which engages viewers deeper into his street photography. Slinachu uses everyday objects that are found in the streets and incorporates tiny people to create imagined scenes/stories, for example, skating on orange peel, shooting a bee etc.

EgarementsThis piece is by Cerise Doucède, her photography features flying objects that relate to the scene.Cerise says in her photography, ‘The imagination takes precedence over reality, the invisible becomes visible.’ In this piece, the couple are having breakfast in bed and there are various flying plates, mugs, cutlery and foods. I really like her photography as again it is very unique and interesting. It relates really well to my piece as likewise, I plan to have flying objects. The surreal element of the flying objects undoubtedly make the piece more intriguing and engaging.

From looking at surreal photography, it has really helped to inspire me for my piece. It has given me more ideas as to the objects that I could include in my piece. From looking at Ronen Goldman’s photography, I could incorporate animals or foods as the gravitating object in my piece. From looking at Slinkachu, I could include tiny people in my piece, which also relates back to Margrittes surreal artwork. I could have the people carrying out different activities, whether it be different sports or different activities relating to the media school (on laptop/filming/radio presenting). Finally, by looking at Cerise Doucède, I could relate the falling objects to the public space and have objects such as phones, laptops, cameras etc, or could relate the objects specifically to Digital Media Design and have objects the relate to the course, such as mac and adobe icons. By exploring surreal photography, it has made me realise more about how I could use surrealism in my piece. I have learnt that the piece doesn’t need to be highly complex as these pieces all show how simple ideas/concepts can be very interesting and engaging. Each piece is very unusual and unique, of which I want my piece to be. This will hopefully help it to stand out in the public space and encourage users to explore deeper into the piece and interact with it.


Goldman, R, 2014. Ronen Goldman [online]. Available from: http://www.ronengoldman.com/?gallery=surrealistic-pillow-project-gallery [Accessed 9 Dec].

Slinkachu, 2014. Slinkachu [online]. Available from: http://slinkachu.com/home [Accessed 9 Dec].

Doucède, C, 2013. Cerise D [online]. Available from: http://cerisedoucede.fr/portfolio/egarements-4/ [Accessed 9 Dec].

Processing Workshop – Video

In todays workshop, we learnt how to set up basic video capturing. This is useful to me as I need to understand this for my piece. The video capture setup is quite basic but you can add additional code to set it so that if the camera doesn’t work, an image will load instead, which could be useful for my piece. In the workshop, I set up the video capture and set it so if its bright, the sketch goes white and if it is dim the sketch goes black. Here is the code:

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 14.36.24

Overall, learning the basics of video capturing in this workshop was useful to me and from this, I will go on to advance my knowledge to learn more about motion and brightness thresholding, of which I will be using for my interactive piece.