Everything old is new again, again. You see, those pocket-able supercomputer phones with the very-decent optics and imaging can bring back a love of photography, and photography can bring back a love of cel animation. Thank the smartphone’s portability and convenience, perfectly-suited to repetitive tasks like capturing impromptu cels on the go. And that can open itself to a sort of creativity that returns people to some of the simple pleasures of animating.

Hombre McSteez does some wonderful stuff with this in the film at top. (Follow him on Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter.) The iPhone becomes a sort of animation sketchbook, capturing ideas in the real world as cels and photos mix. These are to me first sketches rather than fully-developed ideas, but the ability to improvise with animation is something special. Seems someone will do an app for animating directly on the screen, too.

In the meanwhile, I was reminded of this Sesame Street clip from when I was growing up. (Teeny Little Super Guy seemed fitting both for the phone and the animation likely to inspire would-be iPhone users.) Thanks to my generation, of course, this humble short has its own Wikipedia article. Continue reading »

The lighthouse’s white beam of light seems a perfect fit for a Carsten Nicolai (Alva Noto to music fans) makeover.

α (alpha) pulse is a new audiovisual creation from Nicolai, commissioned by Art Basel for Hong Kong. And in a megapolis that does scale in a big way, the minimalist content gets a grand implementation in Hong Kong Harbor.

The entire facade of the giant International Commerce Centre (ICC) – all 490 meters (1600 ft) of it – is illuminated. For fifty minutes, synchronized pulses of light and sound will beam across the harbor, connected and synchronized to mobile apps. The apps, for Android and iOS, make the sound and respond to the light.


From the press release: Continue reading »


Who says a projector has to be the output?

For decades now, average musicians have easily controlled instruments via MIDI, from drum machines to pianos. Now, software makes it easier than ever for users to do the same with color and lights. The latest entry is the excellent visual timeline app Vezér. As of 1.3, it adds some very powerful new tricks:

  • Control lights over Ethernet. Via Art-Net, you can connect to DMX-compatible lights. What you need to know: that includes robot lamps, moving heads, and LED strips. See below.
  • Light control. To make that support work, Vezér now includes a DMX Monitor, Master Fader, and other dedicated Art-Net facilities.
  • Send colors over OSC. A new color track sends colors in various formats to other apps – see the image, top. Plus, you can –
  • Import color swatches from Adobe.
  • Import MIDI files.

What about color? As it happens, color is part of the OSC spec, and has been since 1.0. Read about it in the spec. VDMX supports it, and … well, nothing that we could find, but you can easily support it yourself! (Devs, anyone else out there want to chime in? Or get on this?)

Working with LEDs is a new skill, so Friends of Vezér are playing with the possibilities in a new workshop series. Behold the results – and this makes a good indication of what you can do.

The V from Reka Harsanyi on Vimeo.

More details and demo videos, plus a full changelog, on the official site:



“Interactive architecture” has long been a phrase, a future echo – something coming – but it’s been tough to say what it would look like when it arrived. In the collaboration of Janet Echelman and Aaron Koblin this month, we see one form it might take.

Koblin and Echelman joined forces to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the TED Conference in Vancouver, in a massive 300-foot literal web (and Web) hung high above the water. Koblin is the well-known digital artist, now at Google, but the material of the work is rooted partly in old-world technique. Echelman – here sponsored by Autodesk – uses West Coast net-making knowledge to produce her sculptures in textiles – some 860,000 hand and machine-made knots and 145 miles of braided fiber, the studio says.

Koblin’s contribution is in setting that textile canvas into motion, via light painting in kinetic projections made by onlookers with mobile phones. As their fingers trace brightly-colored pathways across the surface, there’s a resonance with his landmark visualization “Flight Patterns.” There, the pathways of unknown aircraft was anonymous, faceless – images of planes flying through the night with perhaps tragic associations this month.

“Unnumbered Sparks” is itself a reference to anonymity, even in public participation. But the ephemeral performances of visitors in light is anything but faceless. People are simply delighted by their ability to make splashes of color from their pocket phones, as if someone has just given them a building-sized paintbrush or let them design a fireworks show. And this is the presumed magic of interactive architecture: the visuals themselves not only disrupt the monotony of the everyday, but involve the public in large-scale re-imaginings of that environment.

Continue reading »


Sounds and images need not be synthesized from fancy gear. The snap of a bra strap or the rustling sound of silk can become musical materials.

That’s exactly what happens in Faces of N., an EP and series of music videos made from the sounds of clothing, micro-edited into visual/sonic sequences. The project is the work of Gabriel Shalom, an interdisciplinary artist whose work often treads across media, and who has fused visual and sonic content before, treating each as a single material to be manipulated.

The first video is out this week, with five more to follow – one for each separate outfit, accompanied by separate tracks. And somehow, all of this fits into his theory of hypercubism, melding perspectives in cinema – see our previous write-up on his aesthetic theories there. But for now, it’s fun just to watch and take it in. We’ll have to see how this is spun into a complete album over the coming weeks.

Let’s look: Continue reading »


Okay, After Effects fans –


Yo Dawg, I hear you like Syphon, so I put Syphon in Your After Effects. Or something to that effect.

Say what? Well, Syphon, for those of you who have, um, never read this site, is a technology for connecting textures between apps on the Mac. And that includes tools like the wildly-popular MadMapper. There’s not only one use case for having a Syphon plug-in in After Effects, but one clear use case would be making adjustments to an animation in After Effects, live, while you test projection mapping (or other display mappings) in MadMapper.

It’s labeled an “experiment,” but the implementation looks very cool. A free trial is available; US$20 payment unlocks more resolutions if you like it.


Time to launch the Superior Danish Engineering hashtag.

Light Installations Show Reel 2013-2014 from Licht.Pfad Studio on Vimeo.

Seeing the future of light in performance, installation, and clubs doesn’t necessarily mean waiting around for some fantastic, new kind of lighting instrument. That requires big manufacturers making mass-market products, and their priorities don’t always align with artists.

Instead, what we’re seeing is often traditional lighting technologies, choreographed in spectacular new ways. With elaborate computer control, the lights themselves form architectural patterns, dance, and come alive.

Licht.Pfad have actually been behind a number of projects covered on this site. Using the visual development tool TouchDesigner, they’ve built their own tool for shows and installations, transforming lighting into responsive architectures that sometimes almost seems to breathe.

You can get a feel for what expressive range that can have in their show reel. Below, they walk us through their different projects.

And yes, this is yet another studio that has set up shop in Berlin. I think the implication is clear: even though the clients are now increasingly global, artists combining tech and expression are keen to find a location close to collaborators. The development process is in the backyard, even if the venue is often elsewhere (you’ll notice the clients are around “Europe” in a broad sense, but not Berlin).

1606351_360806354059692_1542804169_o Continue reading »