Project 3: Ghost trails

by rcameron @ 3:39 am 6 March 2010

OSX executable (~5MB)

I began playing with modifying the camera feed using openFrameworks and went through a bunch of effects.  I eventually decided to create a ghost trail similar to something envisioned in Mark Weiser’s ‘The Computer for the 21st Century’. The frame is captured when movement is detected through background subtraction. The new frame is then alpha blended with the original frame. The ghost images fade out over time through the alpha blending.

I also played around with color averaging in an attempt to generate a rotoscoped effect, which started out like this.

I also implemented Sobel edge detection on top of it and ended up with a Shepard Fairey-ish Obama poster effect.

1 Comment

  1. Hi Rich – here are the group comments from the crit.

    Regarding the idea of leaving trails — see the Sub_Trakt project by Anne Niemetz and Holger Forterer; and also see a project made last year by our own Gabi Uribe.
    Seems like you could spend more time carefully selecting a specific place to run this. What’s the IDEAL location?
    These are relatively tentative, small results, but I want to emphasize that I do see positive experience here with live camera signals as a new medium for you. I’m glad you got to experiment with real image buffers. -GL

    This would’ve been really cool if you had been able to run your program during Zebra Lounge’s peek hours! (You should’ve messaged me or something, I could’ve brought my CS friends over from the cluster and walked up and down the stairs for you! We were up that late…hehe). I really like how you experimented with the videos–it’s obvious that you learned a lot as you worked on this project. The “ghost” idea reminds me of the shadows they find in “Ghost Hunters” or “Paranormal State”…maybe you could send screen captures of this video to them and convince them to check out ghosts at CMU…and then we could all mess with their heads while they’re here…hehe.
    But, in all serious-ness…I do like how you considered where you would put your piece…it would be really cool if you could install this in an area and have the ghosts walk back and forth at random times *with* people who are moving past your camera in real time. 🙂 Nice work for the time you had!
    I agree! -Jordan; I also really liked the first video you showed. It had this distorted cartoony feel.

    It would be cool if you really recalled some human image even in an empty space 3am in the morning……

    I’d like to see this taking video of the Cut between classes. The people should stand out really well against the snow. <-- Good point! -Amanda I do like that the videos were taken in the semi-darkness (kind of a happy accident?) because I think it adds to the mysterious, ghostly feel. Can't really tell right now but maybe the "ghosts" can fade out my gradually instead of incrementally. Would have liked to see more deliberateness in the effects you chose to play with...I'm all for tinkering, but it's welll worth tinkering with some higher-level goals and themes in mind - that's when you'll get a better feel for what tool is good for what goal. That said, good tinkering. 🙂 -SB

    Comment by golan — 6 March 2010 @ 6:55 pm

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