caro-event

Inspiration

I was very inspired by the Cassandra C. Jones work that Golan showed in class, where she manually aligned different photos of sunsets to create one continuous sunset. I thought the concept of creating one event through hundreds of different people’s momentary experiences was very interesting, and I wanted to explore it in my project.

 

I was also inspired by the pixillation works we saw in class, particularly the One Frame of Fame music video, for the same reason.

 

Pregnant Women

Lots of pregnant women post the exact same selfie on Instagram. It’s this one:

I thought it would be fun to align these women from most to least pregnant. So I downloaded about 100 photos from Instagram, and I got to work manually aligning them in Photoshop.

Attempt #1

Most to Least Pregnant (my first gif, aligned manually)

 

I then turned this into a music visualizer (which you can still play with a draft of at https://caro.io/pregtunes):

Changing the Media Object

I did make the music visualizer, and it worked, but there were a few problems with it.

  1. I was choosing the woman’s size by the volume of the song, and volume doesn’t really map very intuitively onto sound
  2. It looked choppy enough without the random frames jumping around, and with this visualization method it looked even more incongruous.
  3. Conceptually, I don’t really know why I was doing this. It was straying from my original idea of turning all of these women’s experiences into one.

So, I scrapped the music visualizer, and went for another project.

Three Points Define a Circle

My new idea was collecting data from my images, and creating visualizations with the ladies I collected. If I could get three points on the stomach, I could define a circle that corresponds to the curvature of the pregnant lady’s belly. So, I built a tool to log this data for each of my pregnant ladies.

 

Using this data, I created a few visualizations.

 

Creating the Visualizations

I used python imaging library and various matrix transformations to align the images. Using principles that I learned in computational photography and computer graphics, I constructed transformations to achieve various effects.

(napkin math)

0. More and Less Pregnant

My manually aligned gif that I started with is honestly still my favorite one, and it’s the idea that sparked this whole project. Still, the computer generated ones are interesting, and it was fun to model women and babies as mathematical shapes.

 

1. Same Belly Button

  1. select a point to be the “new belly button” location
  2. get transformation values by subtracting the woman’s belly button coordinates from the new belly button coordinates
  3. construct a transformation matrix for each lady based on the transformation values

I originally tried it on the full color images with backgrounds, but came to the conclusion that it was too visually busy, so I reverted to the background-less images I made.

2. Spinning around the belly button

  1. Move the belly button to the new, approved belly button place
  2. For each lady, increment the angle of rotation a little bit
  3. Translate the lady’s belly button to (0, 0)
  4. Rotate the lady by theta
  5. Translate the lady’s belly button back to the correct belly button location

3. All Woman-Circles are the Same Size

  1. Translate the woman’s belly button to the new centralized belly button location
  2. Scale the image by the ratio of a standardized radius to the ratio of the woman-circle
  3. Translate the image again by a factor that eliminates the movement about the centralized location due to scaling

Reflection

I wound up taking a pretty experimental route with this, and got some interesting results. If I had more time, I would love to gather even more photos for this, and do it with a thousand photos rather than a hundred. The problem with that is that this only really wound up working for the images where I took out the background. I think it’d probably look a lot better if I had hundreds of images, and there was no variation in the clothes, i.e. if their stomachs were all bare.

Challenges I encountered:

  1. Switching my project after a while
  2. Matrices are hard
  3. Jitteriness in the resulting gifs

I did get some interesting media results out of this project, and tagging women’s stomachs with bubbles was fun.

 

One comment

  1. golan

    Anonymous comments from the group critique, 4/13/2017:

    Gets to the ridiculousness of being pregnant. Good choice finding a point of convergence. Other similar social media things? What comes out of this in the end? What do you come away with this project from?

    Just FYI, the sunset video by Cassandra C. Jones doesn’t last hours, but rather, it lasts the duration of a sunset, or about 20 minutes.

    Good explanation of inspirations and procedures.

    Fetus modeled as a circle.

    Jason Salavon’s work —
    http://salavon.com/work/SpecialMoments/image/178/

    Mathematical interpretation of birth

    Your work has a very humorous component to it

    Is this vindictive? Simply playful? Are we laughing at the subjects or sharing in the absurdity?

    How does aligning pictures by belly button, or a
    ligning them to a circle, relate to your original reasoning for collecting all these pictures?

    This is great! It’s like “you are under my control now!” as you spin them around and stuff.

    I still think the visualizer has potential- maybe a revisit for last project?

    Would love to see a series of these. What are other geometrical components of our body? +

    Love it. Can you apply different set of images (e.g. round bottle, etc.) I’d love to learn more about your future vision. How would you apply your tool in other areas?

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