Monday, March 8, 2010

The coding starts.

I've been searching for a partner to code with me or a while now (without any measurable success). In order to get things moving though i have started messing around with processing hoping to figure out some code even if it is not in the software that i will use in the end. AND (yay!) i have managed to do a decent job of getting the code to draw with the light. Basically i used a processing version of the blend mode in photoshop. Here's an image of a rather dubious tree i drew with it.

Monday, February 15, 2010

little girl and boy







I've been sketching out iterations for the objects that will be stencilled and eventually animated. Here's my attemp for fish.
(I added a little glow for effect :) )

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Break up of software functions

Since i can't code the program myself (i tried) i broke down the functions of the software so i could explain it to a developer. It was useful in as much it forced me to clarify what i had imagined for the software.
Most of the content is the same as before but it seems a lot more clear when you read it in this format.

Drawing with light:
The most basic functionality of the installation is the ability to draw with a single point source of light. The colour of the light source is default set to white.

Basic single-point light source:
As the user moves the light source the infrared light emitted is picked up by the camera. The video is then processed with the software, which tracks the movement of the light and then imposes a line of light on the path of movement.

This imposed image is fed into and projected by the projector aligned with the camera. The entire process happens such that the projected path of light happens simultaneously as the light source moves so that it appears to the user as though he/ she is drawing with light.
Depending on the diameter of the single point source a simple single path appears.

Some of the possible software’s that could be used are openFrameworks, Max/ MSP/ Jitter, Processing…

Choosing the colour:
The user uses the “paint box”, which is a table with a number of cavities. Each cavity is lit up with specific colours. When the light source is dipped in a cavity of a particular colour, it picks up that colour. The user can thus select the desired colour and start drawing.

Another solution:

The point sources are equipped with a dial that rotates. As the dial is rotated, the colour of the point source changes across a RGB spectrum. The user stops at the desired colour and starts drawing.
The camera records and sends what is drawn through the software. The software recognises the colour picked up by the camera and projects the path back in the same colour.

All the drawing that has been created will automatically fade away after a minute. However if something specific has to be erased it can be done so by covering the area with the provided eraser (which will be opaque and black piece similar to a duster). As the “eraser” is moved over the desired area, it is recognised by the software and the drawing under it disappears.

Other brushes/ sources of light:
Besides the basic point light, the user will be provided with a number of sources of light, which will create different kinds of strokes when drawn with.
When the user draws with these sources, the camera picks up the size, colour, shape and number of the lights emitted and the software imposes a path of light in the same dimensions as that of the source.

Effects with light: Painting behind an object:
This happens when light is painted behind a certain object or person. For this the software continues to project the path of light as it is created. However, when the object is in front light does not reach the camera and thus a silhouette is created.

Animation of light drawings:
Within the software, there will be a series of objects, which when draw, will be recognised and animated.
If for example, the image of a cloud drawn with light has been fed into the software, then when the user draws it the same way with the same source of light the software will recognise it and will automatically animate it to, let us say rain.

The user is provided with a number of stencils of certain objects. Light is flashed across the stencil so that the image is stencilled on the screen clearly. This helps standardize the image that is to be recognised by the software and subsequently animated.

Further Interaction:
When another interactive object is placed near the already animated object, the software recognizes this software as well and projects the new animation in accordance with the object drawn.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


I made a 3 minute video for the first concept presentation. It was called illuminate for the presentation though i dont think it's the name i'll use at the end.

User flow

Umm.. My first attempt at making the user flow...

Physical setup of equipment

These may not be what will actually be used but it is what i have in mind as of now.
With the camera and projector behind the screen:

With the camera and projector ceiling mounted in front of the screen:

Testing light painting

I did a round of light painting with a few people to see what people would do with the light. These are two drawings they made:


My initial idea was to make a toy to draw with light on the ceiling while lying on the bed at night before sleeping. However the idea did not work out because of the expense such an object would run into. The idea then expanded itself to become a large scale art installation that would allow users to draw with light.

Below is a short description of the concept and its interactions that i wrote for a presentation:

Illuminate is an interactive installation that allows you to play with light. Find out what happens when you draw with different sources of light and watch the drawings come alive and interact with each other!


* Creates magic by drawing with light.
* Different sources of light let you explore its differnt properties and create different effects.
* The drawings come alive and interact with each other encouraging story-telling and sparking imagination.
* The large scale allows free body movement and encourages activity.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


'Magic' was a term the kids we met during research often used to describe toys they found fascinating. A leaf with a waterproof surface became 'magic' as water quivered and whirled on it. An strong magnet was 'magic' when it was used to make sculptures out of metal balls or caused pins to swivel and dance on a lid.

Inspired by the 'magic' the kids had found, i decided to look for phenomena that i found magic. I decided to work on light painting, a form of photography i had previously worked with and found fascinating.

Initial research

Before we started the actual ideation we went through two weeks of field research. In essence, this means we spent two weeks observing, playing and generally spending time with kids.
It was a throughly enjoyable experience.

The Beginnings...

What IS this blog?
This blog is a documentation of my work in a 6 month long lab, The Interactive Toys lab, that i am part of. The goal of this lab is to create a toy, or rather, a play experience. Over here, "create" does not just refer to coming up with an idea, it involves the complete process of conceptualizing, producing and marketing our "toy". On this blog you can keep up with my attempt and progress at being a toy maker.
And with this introduction done, i am going to start at the very beginning..