This project is DUE at the beginning of class, Tuesday, February 14.


Using expanded capture techniques, acquire an impression of a person, and develop a portrait from this impression which reveals something hidden or immaterial about the person.


Acceptable sorts of media objects are:

  • a real-time software executable (created, for example, in Unity3D, openFrameworks, Processing, p5.js, or three.js, etc.) (Interactivity is optional).
  • a time-based video, computer-generated animation, or animated GIF, etc.
  • a static image, computer-generated 3D model, 3D print, 2D rendering, etc.

Regardless of any subsequent digital transformations you might apply, you must “capture” a real person, potentially over time, as the initial basis for your manifestation.


1. You have been randomly paired with another member of the class. Find them.

  • blue, fatik
  • DMGordon, caro
  • Geep, Bernie
  • ngdon, a
  • Bierro, iciaiot
  • supercgeek, fourth
  • hizlik, Quan
  • cdslls, gloeilamp
  • Mikob, sayers
  • weija, Kyin

2. You will meet in pairs and spend at least 15 minutes interviewing each other. (Take notes!) Here are some questions you can use to get started.

  • What’s your unexpected unique skill?
  • What’s a bad habit that you have?
  • What’s an object you own that exhibits signs of extensive use?
  • How would you describe yourself to someone that doesn’t know you?

3. Review your notes and develop a personalized pipeline, or experimental apparatus, for acquiring or extracting a sample of your partner’s quiddity.

4. Develop and document a media object to present your subject. See the “Deliverables” section, below for details.

Note: You may develop separate acquisition and presentation systems, or you may collaborate.

Starting Points

Some frameworks for considering your subject could be:

  • a person, considered as a still thing
  • a person-in-time, “doing something” or in the act of “being”
  • a person, as their personhood is expressed in or through social media
  • a person, as understood from a collection of acquired or surveilled data

For some ideas about the forms your portrait could take, please review these references (shown in class). Below are some additional jumping-off points. (This is not an exclusive list.):

  • Show what’s “inside” of the person.
  • Place a real person in a relevant imaginary space.
  • The viewer of the portrait can interactively influence its perspective or presentation.
  • The portrait is synthesized from entirely found images that you did not take yourself.
  • The portrait’s final form is not an image, but rather a physical object.

We have an wide range of motion capture technologies at our disposal, including an OptiTrack motion capture studio, Kinect (v1 and v2) depth sensors, Leap sensors, EyeTribe eye trackers, face tracking software, WiiMote, Wacom Cintiq, Arduino data logging shield, GPS shield, 9 DOF movement/orientation sensor, and more.

For this assignment, one possible way to develop your project could be to amalgamate synchronous recordings from two simultaneous data sources, such as video plus some parallel data stream. Possible examples (among many others) could include:

  • Video plus GPS location (using an Arduino GPS shield)
  • Video plus eye-tracking information (using the EyeTribe)
  • Video plus hand joint data (from a Leap controller)
  • Video plus body skeleton data (from a Kinect or OptiTrack)
  • Video plus breathing or pulse data (from an Arduino with sensors)
  • RGBD point clouds plus thermal imaging
  • Heartbeat (pulse) plus full-body motion capture
  • Audio plus body skeleton data (from a Kinect)

You may also use time-lapse and/or slow-motion approaches…..


  • Be mindful of form and content connection. How does your chosen capture technique or display medium help acquire or illustrate something unique about your subject, beyond what a normal photograph could? The environment, effects or geometry should be considered in relation to the subject’s nature.
  • Consider other ways to incorporate your subject into the process or the result; interviews, collaboration etc.
  • Please collaborate with and earn the trust of your subject. Make a good faith effort to show them their portrait when it is complete.
  • Keep in mind that allowing you to represent a person is often an act of generosity.


Please be sure to complete all of the requirements below.

  • Create a blog post on this WordPress site, whereat you will document your project.
  • Title your blog post: authorsNickname-portrait. For example, my blog post would be entitled, golan-portrait.
  • Categorize your blog post with the WordPress category, Portrait. This helps make it easy to find your project later.
  • In your blog post, write approximately 300 words (about a page) discussing your process and results. Be sure to address the questions below.
    • Kindly be sure to refer to your portrait subject by their course nickname, so as to preserve their anonymity.
    • What were your inspirations?
    • How did you develop your project? Describe your workflow or pipeline in detail, including diagrams if necessary. What was more complex than you thought? What was easier?
    • In what ways is your portrait (and the process by which you made it) specific to your subject? Why did you choose those tools/processes for this portrait?
    • Evaluate your project. In what ways did you succeed, or fail? What opportunities remain?
  • Embed an image of your portrait in the blog post. This might be a screenshot, rendering, etc. Include a scan or photo of any relevant notebook sketches, if possible.
  • If your portrait is time-based, create a video of your project. Upload this video to YouTube or Vimeo. (If you or your subject would prefer that this video were uploaded to an online account that preserves your anonymity, please speak to the Professor.) Embed this video in your blog post.
  • If your portrait is time-based, create a brief animated GIF of your project, no larger than 800 pixels wide, and ideally under 5MB. Make sure your GIF is set to loop infinitely. Embed this animated GIF at original resolution (a WordPress option) in your blog post. Be sure to preview your blog post to make sure that your GIF plays correctly.

Additional Considerations

If your project might require a trigger warning  — this is art school, after all — then some additional considerations must be made regarding privacy, courtesy, and good sense. While I would never censor your freedom of expression, I ask you to employ good judgement with respect to uploading materials that might be misunderstood outside the context of this class. (It may be best to upload a different version of your project to this web site, for example.) There are two firm rules: (1) Nude photography of persons under 18 years of age is prohibited in this course, and (2) No surprises: please secure consent from your subject as to how you will use, display and store any potentially compromising or embarrassing media.

Please feel free to contact the professor if you have any questions. It may also be helpful to consult our course policies on Code of ConductFreedom of Expression, and CMU’s Reasonable Person Principle.