Testing in Public Space – Resolving Problems

20150114_145209Today, I tested my piece in the public space and had to overcome various problems in order to get my interactive piece to successfully work. I initially had planned to display my piece on the public screen opposite Costa (see image on right). I set it up using my laptop webcam, however as expected the crowded background in Weymouth House meant my piece wouldn’t work correctly. The video capture picked up the posters and various other objects which caused the shapes to not work correctly. I experimented with altering the threshold level in the code, but to resolve the problem I needed to put up a white screen to blank out the cluttered background. Here are the different threshold experiments, ranging from threshold of 70 – 140:


Due to circumstances I was unable to put up a white screen as Costa did not approve as it meant some of their seating would become obstruct20150121_111653ed. Therefore, I was unable to use my chosen public screen. To resolve problems with the cluttered background, I set up my piece in the small tv studio, near the entrance of Weymouth House. The walls were plain white and there was more space for users to interact with my piece. I used a portable screen, of which I connected my laptop to, and video captured users from my laptop webcam. However, due to the lighting of the area, I had issues with capturing a silhouette-like figure. As the lighting was shinning directly down and I was wearing a short sleeve top, it meant my arms appeared as being mainly white. This made it quite hard to interact wiScreen Shot 2015-01-21 at 11.47.51th as obstructing the falling shapes was more difficult. Also, due to their being a bright light shinning directly onto the area, it meant a shadow appeared on the white wall behind the person. To resolve the problems, I altered the lighting and experimented with various different threshold levels to see what worked best in the area. I also found that the piece seemed to work best when users had long sleeves on as this meant they appeared as being more silhouette-like. I decided to rotate the portable tv screen around, allowing the users to see themselves on the laptop screen and others to view the piece on the tv screen. This meant that even if people didn’t wish to interact, they can still view the piece and decode their own meanings and messages. Here are pictures of the final set-up and users interacting with my piece:Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 14.57.15 20150121_120433

From this, I feel I should’ve possibly been a bit more organised and asked in advance about a white screen and permission from Costa. However, I feel that the area I used in the public space worked out to be more suitable, as it allows more room or individuals/multiple users to interact. Its also means that to preview the piece, you don’t have to physically interact with it as you can see others interacting on the public tv screen. I think that due to the area and set-up, when people see others interacting then it encourages them to go up and interact. Users can interact with friends and are able to have more fun playing around with the piece. Next, I will add videos of users interacting with my final piece and discuss comments that I recieved when displaying my piece.

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].

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.

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.