Ticha Sethapakdi

16 Jan 2014

1. A project I admire profoundly – O (Omicron)

What can I say? Omicron is an amazing audiovisual projection that happens to be a permanent installation in Hala Stulecia, a large dome in Poland. Omicron was the result of a collaboration between about 6 people (I won’t list them here because they’re in the description of the Vimeo video), so it is a large-scale project that was created by a relatively small group of people. It was inspired by the 1910’s and “historical and artistic references were used to reveal the architecture of the space.”
The way lights and shadows are employed to create the illusion of smooth/rugged surfaces is fantastic and the music is very well integrated with the projection. The piece certainly has a futuristic feel to it (which was the intention of the artists), but I wonder how they can push the idea even further and immerse the viewers into the space. Perhaps instead of restricting the projection to the ceiling, they could also project on the floor to create an even more surreal atmosphere.

2. A project that surprised me – FaceRig

FaceRig is basically a real-time ‘face-changer’ that uses your webcam to map your face to a high-quality 3D character. While the concept is not a novel one, what surprised me about FaceRig was how smoothly the face-tracker seemed to work in the video. In my experience with working with face-tracking technology such as FaceOSC for Processing, the tools still have a fair share of limitations (such as not working well for people with facial hair, people with small eyes, or people with glasses) and a small portion of annoying bugs. Of course, since FaceOSC is a free library for Processing it may not be as refined as the other not-so-free face-trackers out there–so I’m looking forward to seeing how FaceRig will overcome some of the aforementioned limitations. Also if this project ends up being commercially available, it would really interesting to use it with Voice Over IP services such as Skype. :D

3. A project that could have been great – EYJAFJALLAJÖKULL

I’m someone who really enjoys augmented projections, so it’s no surprise that EYJAFJALLAJÖKULL (which apparently means ‘island mountain glacier’) caught my eye. Inspired by an unexpected volcano eruption that prevented him from flying to New York, Lemercier created a projection of mountains intended to trick the senses of the viewer by creating the illusion of depth on a flat surface. The optical illusion was achieved by generating fake shadows and light sources as well as depicting the mountains with grids to explicitly define the surface planes. However, while the result was clearly beautiful I could not help but feel like there was something missing and that it needed some extra *magic*. For example, a nice touch I thought he made was the group of ‘falling stars’ that landed on random areas around the mountains–however, it would have been nice if the animation was refined further, possibly by making the stars ‘splash’ when they hit a surface. Still, changes like this are more like minute enhancements and my critique is not so much on an ‘okay’ project could have ‘great’, but rather on a ‘great’ project that could have been ‘amazing’.