Friday, November 20, 2009

Charlotte symphony has visuals

My VCOM 362 class just finished a group project for the Charlotte NC. Symphony that generated mini-animations using keyboard input. One student "played" the animation generator (animatorator?) with the Symphony ensemble which was displayed on a large screen over the stage during the performance. There were many comments and congratulations on the work the students had done and the final visuals that were displayed. Thanks to Dr. Ron Parks for his invitation to produce something for his piece of music, "I thought I had better let you know".

This is not a new idea, I had just seen another version of it at SIGGRAPH 2009 (at least my 3rd) where a young man used 3D animations. His controls allowed for pan and tilt views of colored explosions as well as forward/back/left/right motion. The audience was somewhat skeptical of the final product that they were experiencing in part because of his lack of experience with the visuals and also because of the monotony of the repeated animations. There also seemed to be a disconnect between the selected 3D objects and the music (mainly jazz - it was in New Orleans).

We had the advantage of restricting the animatorator to one set of visuals that pertained to the lyrics of the song which happened to be a love letter. Illustrations that related to the song were also very specific. We had a short rehearsal before the final production which helped to set the tempo of the piece but could have been better had we had time to practice. You could see that with the same dedication to playing an instrument one could be an accomplished player.

Technically speaking we had set up the applet with a number of arrays to separate the various stanzas, giving us more flexibility to introduce more images, texts and animations, etc. We did not use the full keyboard in order to simplify the playing and we generated random 2D coordinate positions on the screen to give a more spontaneous feel to the visual. Once an object was placed on the screen you could populate around the origin of that object by repeating the keystroke. This gave the player more control over concentrations of the objects so that the overall composition of the screen had some focal point and balance. We assigned an 'erase' key so that objects could be removed from the stacking order and so we could minimize the amount of objects at quiet points in the music or we could populate the screen for more visual impact and create visual excitement at high points in the piece. Other controls included scale and orientation. We also set tonal value (white through black) to each object and no color was used.

I will post some screen captures in the coming days.

Progress on blogger feed snippets

I have been working on the snippet project to get a small portion of these posts included on my website. This really is for another client of mine who has a blog and a website and would like to combine the two without leaving one for the other. Within the blog you need to create an rss feed that broadcasts to the site that will display the snippet. Flash will take the xml code that is posted by blogger and parse it into the page. Using the Namespace class and connecting to the Atom directory within Blogger to link the blog to the flash page.

// myNamespace:Namespace = new Namespace("");

Now connect to the feed using the feeds/ link generated by the rss to populate text fields in the website. You can restrict the number of characters and the number of text fields (snippets) that are displayed on the site. Send me a note for more detailed information.