Artistic Editing 4.15.15
In the last few weeks, I have turned to more creative editing for my Wisdom Tree installation. I virtually planted the bonsai tree into the ammo box, both made through photogrammetry techniques. In addition, I deleted parts of the mesh making up the tree’s leaves. I eradicated most of the greens and some of the whites. The aesthetic is meant to be riddled with holes and tears with very little lively colors showing. This is to reflect the loss of the 2007 forest fire, as will the eventual red leaves to be added. Besides that, the only thing left to add would be short written letters at the base of the tree. I have a list of people I want to ask to write them.
Originally, I planned to geolocate the installation to the top of Cahuenga Peak where the Wisdom Tree stands. However, my database will not be ready by the end of the semester to do so. Instead, I’m going to create a business card with a marker tracked image that will summon the tree. I plan on the card being an off-white color with blue writing. The image on the front will be an unfinished sketch, most likely of an ammo box. The back will have my information.
Collecting Installation Pieces 3.18.15
This past week, I found my way down to Chinatown to find a bonsai tree. As explained in a previous post, I plan to use the trunk of a bonsai tree as the trunk of the tree in the Wisdom Tree installation. I walked down the main street and found many shops that sold them. Two of the trees pictured above were the ones I chose to turn into virtual objects.
The first one came out pretty accurate. I liked the trunk because it was clean and twisted, but the leaves were an issue. I wanted to be able to clean up the branches to the point of there being no leaves, but that seems impossible with this model.
The next tree is definitely the one I’ll use. It came out detailed, especially in the root area. I want to place it in the ammo box I made earlier in the semester and possibly manipulate some of the roots to spill out of it. In addition, the leaves at the top are isolated enough that editing them out in Maya won’t be a hassle. The way the branches rise up in a cluster also fits the look I want.
Exploration of Digital Aesthetic 2.18.15
Unfortunately, I have still not been contacted by DAQRI for confirmation of my student account. So, I could not do the AR Tracking by today. Instead, I’ve been working on miscellaneous clerical work and developing the aesthetic of my Wisdom Tree installation.
For general work, I’ve been doing a few different things. For one, I’ve been scanning and uploading receipts and release forms onto the VM420 Google Drive. In addition, I’ve been working on field reports for the first AR Viewing and the first Clinic that was conducted last week. Those should be in the Google Drive by Friday. In addition, I’m working on a blog post that will go up tonight about those experiences. Finally, I’ve been outlining the presentation to the Board of Trustees that will happen next Wednesday. I have conducted meetings with Oscar Ormaechea and Diane Lake about their experiences with the Distance Learning Center to build on the information we have.
In terms of my installation at the Wisdom Tree, I’ve been considering a few different options and experimenting with sketches and photogrametry. My newest idea for the contents of the ammo box doesn’t involve solely Maya modeling techniques as I originally planned. My new plan is to use photogrametry to create the trunk of a tree, clean it up, and then add modeling and artistic texturing to fill in the rest. I want to use a bonsai tree as the photogrametry subject because they have interesting trunks and roots that I could potentially play with in Maya.
While exploring the possibilities of the digital aesthetic, I’ve been playing with photogrametry on strange objects and surfaces. I found one of these objects when I visited The Grove shopping center over the weekend. The object was a clear orb with plant life growing inside. There were a number of them at the shop in different shapes and sizes. I thought they were interesting, and wanted to see if I could apply it to my project at all, so I took pictures for 123D Catch. I was unable to take pictures for about 90 degrees of the rotation, so I may try to go back and do it again by placing it on a table beforehand. The results this round were less than satisfactory for my project, but interesting regardless.
Once again, I was forced to think about the digital aesthetic and what it meant for the project. I put it into the context of my AR Tracking project as well. The picture at the header of this section was taken by a telephoto lensed camera in Maya. I adjusted it to show both my lost object and the wall in the background. The object itself is a representation of my lost “childhood” in a convoluted way that makes sense to only me. However, with that in mind, the image on the back wall really hit me when I saw it. The lost “childhood” aspect refers to an important time in my life. Simultaneously, it was a time where I was very alone and felt like I didn’t fit in. The image on the wall is from a caricature of me and my roommates. The three that made the image are currently my best friends. The juxtaposition of the badge and their image struck me because it showed a progression in my own life and values. The power of the digital aesthetic.
Personal Lost Object and Starting AR Tracking 2.11.15
Actually modeling the virtual statue in Maya took a backseat this week while I finalized design plans. I plan to have the majority of the work done by next week.
In the mean time, I have been working on my class assignment for our own personal lost objects. By doing this, I not only practice AR tracking, which I will use on my statue, but I also don’t fail the class! At this point, I am waiting for confirmation of my online registration with DAQRI. Until then, I can’t do the actual tracking, but I can create the virtual object.
The object I chose was a convention badge from Otakon in Baltimore. It held a lot of memories for me and reflects a number of my interests and hobbies. I thought it would be an interesting object to recreate virtually because of its flat shape and intricate clasp. The top is also clear and I wondered how that would come out. The space around it wasn’t as favorable as originally planned. I picked the hallway of my dorm because it was white and would help with distinction between object and background. This worked to a degree, but the sideview was effected. Because the badge was so thin, it appeared clear from the head-on side view, and slightly off for a few degrees after. In addition, there was a large light that obscured a particular angle greatly. I adjusted the angle when I came to this part, but the lighting differences definitely affected the model.
I took to set of photographs. One showed the entirety of the badge from where it hung on the ceiling to the plastic card. The other was tighter and focused on the plastic card and clasp. My goal was to capture the intricacy of the clasp. That didn’t happen.
The model wasn’t as clear as I originally hoped. The clasp came out missing chucks and so did the card, surprisingly. It appears that the reflective surface gave certain areas holes. The back has a “mountain range” along one side despite the actual objects flat surface. However, no background wall was generated at all, so the white did benefit me in that way.
Although the capture wasn’t perfect, I grew to like the deformed model and may just leave it the way it is. The model of the whole badge and the surrounding room has yet to process fully on the Autodesk website. I may have to start that one over.
First Field Expedition 2.4.15
Last Sunday, I hiked back up to the wisdom tree with Craig and my roommate Michelle. We spent a decent amount of time at the site, taking pictures and exploring the various notes left in ammo boxes.
Craig managed to interview a group of three climbers. He took pictures for a collective group avatar. You can see the the results here. Those avatars are currently placed at the top of Cahuenga peak with the Wisdom Tree. I need to go back up to document them soon, but first I want to add my own unique contribution to the site.
While there, I also gathered pictures for my virtual statue. I took two versions of ammo boxes at the site and processed them in 123D Catch. After cleaning them up in Maya, these were the results.
With one of these models, I will combine a crafted polygonal model in Maya. The result will be a virtual statue that commemorates the memory of the Wisdom Tree and the 2007 Hollywood Hills fire.
I’ll most likely use the Open Ammo Box with the surrounding base built in. A tree and letters will protrude from the open box. The letters will contain written testimonials from the participants of the project on the subject of lost things.
While pondering the benefit of an artistically crafted model in the installation, I thought back to the talk with Rebecca Allen and Scott Fisher at LACMA. Rebecca Allen had advocated for the exploration of a digital aesthetic in new media creations. Her own media had strayed from realistic representations of people. Instead, it focused more on the involvement of natural movement with a digital aesthetic applied to all real-world portrayals. Take for example, her work on the music video Musique Non Stop.
Further work into this segment of the project will seek to expand on this notion of a digital aesthetic by utilizing photogrammetry techniques in conjunction with Maya modeling. We’ll see how it goes.
Wisdom Tree Proposal 1.28.15
Over the past weekend, I visited the Wisdom Tree at the top of Cahuenga Peak. The tree is the lone survivor of the devastating 2007 Hollywood Hills Fire. The fire was set off by two teenagers with fireworks and destroyed approximately 817 acres of forest. The city of Los Angeles and organizations such as SaveGriffithPark.org have been working on a $50 million plan to stabilize the area. The tree itself is frequented by people, many of whom leave a note in the tin boxes left at its base. The hike is dangerous in areas but definitely worth the view.
I propose adding the Wisdom Tree to our catalog of lost places. My plan for the tree includes a few different aspects.
1. Identify someone related or knowledgable of the forest fire. Contact and set up an interview on location.
2. Create the basic avatar of participant and place at the peak.
3. Possibly interview others at the peak.
4. Create an augmented reality statue to place in the area
a. artistic creation to further commemorate event
b. ammo box, notes, and tree
c. plaque (include LACMA)
d. could do this for other locations as well
This coming weekend, a few of us will be taking another trip to the tree to take pictures and survey the area. The start of the trail is about a 15 min drive and the hike itself is about 45 min long. If you want to join, let me know! Just note that the trail is dangerous at points and may be difficult for some inexperienced hikers.