May 29, 2009

Treasure Islands

Last week, I took part in the SenseStage workshop at the Hexagram BlackBox in Montreal. http://sensestage.hexagram.ca/workshop/introduction/. It was a workshop designed to bring together people from different disciplines (dance, theatre, sound, video, light) and cooperate in a collaborative environment with interactive technologies.

During the workshop, there were tons of sensors – light, floor pressure, accelerometers, humidity etc. – all connected to little microcontrollers which in turn were all wirelessly connected to a central computer that gathered all the data and sent it forward as OSC to any client conected to the network.

Basically, we had 5 days to complete an interactive performance sequence using the data gathered by the sensor nodes. This is what our group came up with.

We call it Treasure Islands and it’s a bit twisted interactive performance/game where a girl finds herself in a weird world where she is floating on a donut in the middle of the ocean with a mermaid talking in her head. She has to travel to all of the different Islands around her, and collect sounds from them in order to open a portal into this strange dream world for all her friends. Sounds like a good concept, doesn’t it? Check out the video and you’ll see that it actually makes sense.

There was a lot of sensor data available, but we ended up using just the pressure sensors on the floor and camera tracking. With a bit more time we could have evolved the world to be more responsive to the real world, but I’m pretty happy with the results we were able to achieve in such a short time. Our group worked really well together, which is not always the case in such collaborative projects.

Credits:

Sarah Albu – narrative, graphics, performance
Matt Waddell – sound, programming
Me – animation, programming

And I guess I need to include some more technical details for all the people who check my site for that kind of stuff (I know you’re out there).

We used camera tracking with tbeta to track Sarah and used that data to move the doughnut and to make the environment responsive to her movements. All of the real-time animation was done in Animata, which really is a perfect tool for something like this, because it allows me to animate things really fast without compromising in quality. Max was used as the middle man to convert the TUIO messages and the OSC from the sensor network into the kind of messages Animata needs to hear.

sense hat
We sewed some IR LEDs on the hat to help with tracking in a dark space.

Each island is an instrument that you can play with. Stepping on a certain area would trigger loops, add effects to your voice etc. Matt could explain the sound part better than me, but the video should make it pretty clear. it doesn’t reproduce the effect of the quadraphonic sound system we used though. Some visual clues were also triggered in the animation based on her movements on the sensors.

That’s pretty much it. If you have any questions, leave a comment and I’ll try to get back to you as soon as possible.

April 8, 2009

Product Placement

I tracked down some people who work or used to work in the advertising industry.

This is what they had to say about advertising today.

Watch in HD at Vimeo

Download the QuickTime movie (1280×720, 320MB)

The audio interviews were recorded by The Anti-Advertising Agency.
antiadvertisingagency.com/category/projects/portable-sound-units

My workflow in creating ths animation was pretty unorthodox. Almost all of the character animation was recorded real-time with a custom setup involving Max/MSP and Animata. I created a patch in Max to control animation in Animata with the sound of the interviews. I also had some sliders and buttons to trigger things like blinking and arm movements. I used After Effects for compositing and for some additional animation.

Check out my tutorial to see the basic setup for connecting Max or PD to Animata.

December 4, 2008

Yöjuna Rovaniemelle

Another nice music video. This time from Finland and a little different from the one below. Ella ja Aleksi – Yöjuna Rovaniemelle. Video by Anima Boutique

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Filed under: Stuff That I Like — Posted by: Månsteri @ 4:33

December 3, 2008

Le Le – Breakfast (Parra)

Damn, how come I haven’t seen this earlier. Parra’s band Le Le with the track Breakfast. I’ve always thought that Parra is doing the best illustrations and typography on this side of the galaxy and now it’s in motion!

If you aren’t feeling the YouTube quality, check out the Quicktime at bigactive.com

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Filed under: Stuff That I Like — Posted by: Månsteri @ 23:35

Cut-Ups

I have always liked the voice of William S. Burroughs and I’ve always wanted to do something with the Origin and Theory of the Tape Cut-Ups clip.

Now I have. It’s still missing some parts of it as I had to meet a class deadline for this. I will have to finish this later.

If I haven’t uploaded a new version with the missing parts in a couple of months, feel free to send me angry emails with the subject: Get Your Lazy Ass Up and Finish That Animation!

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Filed under: Animation,Video — Posted by: Månsteri @ 6:35

November 10, 2008

Mickey Mann

I’m really interested in stereoscopy, which you might have guessed, if you’ve ever seen me running around with my View-Master camera. In my opinion, View-Master is still a superior method for viewing stereoscopic images, but it’s only still images. That’s why I wanted to see if I could improve the design and make an interactive View-Master for animations.

This little hybrid between Mickey Mouse and Steve Mann enables you to control and view stereoscopic animations that are animated in real-time.

It’s an old View-Master viewer modified to have ChromaDepth lenses, some custom buttons, accelerometer, bluetooth radio and an Arduino to control it all. I thought about hiding the electronics with bigger ears, but decided not to, because I like the ghetto-cyborg look he’s got going on there.

So how does it work? You look through the viewer to the screen where you will see some 3-layer Månsteri-action in all of it’s stereoscopic glory. The great thing about ChromaDepth stereoscopy is that it works with basic colors. You don’t need two channels for the video to achieve a 3D-effect. On a dark background, everything that is blue will appear to be in the background and everything that is red will appear to be in the foreground. Colors in the spectrum between blue and red will appear to be somewhere in the middle. If you didn’t understand my explanation, look it up on the interwebs.

The accelerometer detects your motion and will move the character on the middle layer, giving the illusion that the character is trying to mimic your movement. You can control the content of the layers with the three buttons on the side of the viewer. Button three controls the background, button two the middle layer and button one controls the foreground. Check out the video and you’ll understand what I mean. If you have ChromaDepth glasses, put them on to see the 3d effect.

The Arduino sends the sensor data and the button states wirelessly via bluetooth to my computer. The information is parsed in Max/MSP, which in turn sends the data as OSC packets to Animata (my favourite software at the moment). Animata then animates everything in real-time and handles the hiding/revealing of different layers.

If you are interested, I have uploaded the Arduino and Max 5 source codes and also the Animata scene. It’s all very specific to my setup, but someone might find it useful. Download the source.

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Filed under: Electronics,Programming,Video — Posted by: Månsteri @ 3:31

June 28, 2007

Interactive Propaganda Generator

Here’s some documentation of a project we finished this spring at the university. It’s a project for a course in interface design.

Our group (Aku Meriläinen, Danilo Mascarenhas, Marjukka Parkkinen and Matti Niinimäki) decided to create a multi-user interface that would allow a group of people to work together or compete in creating some sort of a moving collage. At some point in the planning process the idea of communism and propaganda came to surface, so we decided to go with that idea. We experimented with different input devices and visual styles, but eventually this is what came out of it.

I’d like you to meet The Interactive Propaganda Generator. It’s designed to have two different sides or “teams” – the communists and the capitalists – that you can control with different input devices to produce a collage of the two sides shooting different items and symbols at each other. The scene consists of three layers: a changeable background, two characters (one for each side) and the propaganda-tubes. Here are the controls explained:

Control 1 – ReacTIVision fiducial tracking

  • The characters are selected and moved around on the screen by using paper dolls on a glass table
  • You can change the bodies and heads of the characters.
  • Included are all your favourite capitalist and communist icons from Ronald McDonald to Che Guevara
  • The paper dolls have fiducial symbols attached to their backside and the camera under the table tracks the ID and the position of the symbol
  • Tracking is done with ReacTIVision software

Control 2 – PlayStation2 Dance Pad

  • You can move the capitalist propaganda-tube around the screen with the dance pad
  • One button turns the tube on/off
  • Two buttons for changing the ammunition of the tube (missiles, bibles, money)
  • Two buttons for changing the background image
  • One button for activating the speech option for the capitalist character

Control 3 – PlayStation2 Dual Shock Controller

  • Some controls as the dance pad, but for the communist side

Control 4 – Audio Input

  • A microphone picks up the voices of the users and when the speech option is activated (from the dance pad or dual shock controller) the characters on screen will open and close their mouths based on the sound input

Here’s the hardware setup. Click the image for details.
All programming done with Quartz Composer. I could release the .qtz file but it’s not really useful to anyone because it depends on a very specific setup. Email me if you’re interested in details.

And finally some video. Unfortunately, we don’t have any better footage of the system in action but hopefully you’ll get some idea.

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Filed under: Programming,Video — Posted by: Månsteri @ 11:41

May 4, 2007

1st Draft of a New Animation


Here’s the start for a project that has been in my head for a long time. I’d like to make an animation series with many episodes. Here’s the beginning of the first episode. I’ll try to finish it during this month.

The first and last frames are like that because I did this as an assignment for one animation course. All the students decided before actually animating anything what their last frame is going to be like and that frame was given to some other student who used it as his/her first frame. That way all the individual animations would make one big animation.

I didn’t have the time to actually work on the sound so I used one track from DJ Bhakta. Really gifted guy. His tracks need a lot more exposure.


Bunny from Matti Niinimäki on Vimeo.

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Filed under: Video — Posted by: Månsteri @ 12:12

April 27, 2007

Black Gold of the Arctic

Arktikum, a museum and a science center in Rovaniemi ordered a small animation from me for their new permanent exhibition in the Arctic Center. My instructions were that I need to do an animation of a map that shows the transportation of oil from the Yamal peninsula to Europe and the animation should also contain four slideshows that show the different ways how the transportation affects the people and the enviroment. Especially how the oil industry affects the lives of the Nenets people living in the Yamal-Nenets autonomous district.

Here it is. Done on a pretty tight schedule because Arktikum sent me half of the pictures I needed for this only few days before the opening of the exhibition. So, I’m not 100% happy with the result (I never am with the stuff I do) but I’ll improve this a little bit once I have time. Namely the movement of the ship and I also need to add some ambience sound. The sound is not really that essential part of this because of the space where this is displayed but I will add the sound later on.


Black Gold from Matti Niinimäki on Vimeo.

I’ll post a picture later from the Arctic Center so that you’ll see how it’s being used in the exhibition.

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Filed under: Video — Posted by: Månsteri @ 13:09

April 7, 2007

Shit I’m Diggin’ #2

Some more inspiring stuff. In case you’re interested in what I like.

Lyapis Trubetskoy – Kapital

The YouTube version is pretty crappy so watch the quicktime from http://www.cosmosfilm.tv/

Run Wrake – Rabbit

http://www.runwrake.com/

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Filed under: Stuff That I Like — Posted by: Månsteri @ 10:13