Jeanne Kelly

Posts Tagged ‘process’

A Recent Show I Entered

In Thesis Research on February 13, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Digital art defines the contemporary. The Los Angeles Center For Digital Art is dedicated to the propagation of all forms of digital art, new media, digital video art, net art, digital sculpture, interactive multimedia, and the vast panorama of hybrid forms of art and technology that constitute our moment in culture. We are committed to supporting local, international, emerging and established artists through exposure in our gallery.”


Edward Robinson, L.A. County Museum of Art (LACMA)
Rex Bruce,
L.A. Center for Digital Art

All styles of artwork and photography where digital processes of any kind were integral to the creation of the images are acceptable. The competition is international, open to all geographical locations.

The winner of this competition will be the inaugural exhibit for the new 4,000 square foot gallery at 102 West Fifth, directly across from our current location! The selected winner receives 10 prints up to 44×60 inches on canvas or museum quality paper (approximately a $2,500-$3,000 value) to be shown in a solo exhibition in the main gallery from March 10-April 2, 2011. The show will be widely promoted and will include a reception for the artist.

Second place prizes: Ten second place winners will receive one print of their work up to 24×36 inches ($150-$200 in value) to be included in upcoming group exhibits. Second place winners will be scheduled into a group shows within twelve months of announcement of winners. Consideration is given to placing these works in shows appropriate to their style, genre and/or content. These shows will be widely promoted and will include a reception for the artists.

Artist’s Reception: March 10, 7-9pm. The artist’s reception will be the opening gala at our new expanded location in conjunction with the Downtown Art Walk which is attended by up to 20,000 gallery goers.

Deadline for entries: February 15, 2011
Winners Announced: February 21, 2011
Exhibit Dates: March 10-April 2, 2011

I entered The Rope Walker and Our Child Murderer:


Kickstarter Video

In Spring 2010, Thesis Research on January 29, 2011 at 6:48 pm

I wanted to make a video for the project home page on Kickstarter. There is so much to read on there already that it was suggested something a little more dynamic would be nice. And sometimes it’s just nice to be told a story while you look at pictures.  🙂 So I finally got it completed, up and running. click on the image below to watch the video.


Submedia | Zoetropes

In Spring 2010 on January 27, 2011 at 9:14 pm

For the warm up to really understanding how the Zoetropes work I’m making one or more.  I started with a simple copypaper prototype fashioned after Josh Spodek’s simple plastic one. Not so successful because the material was too flimsy and there was no smooth way to spin it quickly.  The breakdown of space and time however did work, so now it’s just a mater of better material and better images.

I was thinking about how similar zoetropes are to some animated gifs.  The example Josh showed us and the one I created after that one both had 12 images and 12 slits between them. I knew that a few of my favorite gifs have only 12 frames. I decided to rotoscope one, print it and use it as test images for the next zoetrope construction.  Most of you will recognize it. If not, then go to I Am Not An Artist and look at a few other great little animated gifs. You’ll find the original there.

Next up …

Muybridge’s Galloping Horse

Submedia | The First Zoetropes

In Spring 2010 on January 27, 2011 at 9:14 pm

To truly understand how zoetropes work you have to just make one or two.   (or twenty 🙂

I started with a simple copypaper prototype fashioned after Josh Spodek’s small plastic example. Not so successfully though; the material was too flimsy and there was no smooth way to spin it quickly.  The breakdown of space and time however did work. The slots, although being slightly various in width, seem to work well. Ideally I think they should be completely uniform. So, by the end of class it seemed to be just a matter of better materials and better images.

On my subway ride home I began to think about how analogous zoetropes are to animated gifs, each containing very few frames and usually viewed in the loop.  Although the two mediums are vastly different, the images and optical effects they create are very similar.

The example Josh showed us, and the one I created in class after that (the first image above/with new and improved dots),  both had 12 images and 12 slits between them. I knew that a few of my favorite gifs also have only 12 frames. I decided to rotoscope one, print the images and use them to test the next zoetrope construction.  Some of you will recognize it. If not, then go to I Am Not An Artist to check out a few other little gems along with the original of the one above.

I have to say that usually when I’m learning a new technology, medium or skill I try to focus on learning just that. Creativity, for me  at least, can sometimes get in the way of  learning the left brain stuff. So I try to stick with something simple in concept, that way I’m less likely to get distracted by being creative. I find this method works best for me. Once I know and understand the technology then I can go crazy in the creative department, no holds barred.

Next up, Muybridge’s Galloping Horse.

I chose this series of stills to also test the zoetrope.  It’s a reference I’m familiar with and I know that it works as an animation in several formats. So my reasoning goes: if these images don’t work then it will mean that it is the fault of the mechanism more than likely, not due to poor rotoscoping or poor animation on my part. This makes a good measure against the machine.

Using the lazy susan that serves as my spice rack from my kitchen cabinet as the spinning mechanism, I could concentrate on the aspects of the outside cylinder: deciding on the slats, how many I would need, and how wide each opening needed to be. I use  black foam core I had on hand to construct the outer cylinder.

Because foamcore can’t be bent into a smooth circle I instead

cut “planks” and evenly spaced them around a circumference of the lazy susan.  I had to create a way to keep the “planks” together at the top however; they had a tendency to spread open as soon as the lazy susan was spun. Again I used materials I found on hand, straightening out paperclips and punching them through the slats to attach to an inner ring at the top.

This solution caused its own problems,  blocking out most of the light needed to see the animation.  I attempted different forms of lighting to compensate for this “ceiling” as you can see in the video below but nothing was quite successful enough in my opinion.

Another thing I discovered in constructing this first zoetrope was the slats had to be closed when the images were. Meaning no light should be allowed to breakthrough between the images. As you can see in the video, what your eye is most drawn to is the flash of light coming through the back of the zoetrope.  this is easily fixed by wrapping the outside in a sheet of black paper. For my next construction I will simply only cut the slots halfway down.

2D Composite Facial Reconstructions

In Fall 2010, Spring 2010 on January 18, 2011 at 3:27 am

The Rope Walker Gets a Makeover

After working so closely with the vintage photography these past months I started to think of them as another possible way to complete the reconstructions while working on the problems with the digital 3d reconstructions.

There is a forensic technique of creating a facial composite of an individual using a database of photographs.  This is a very general collection, meant to represent universal adverages and genaric features that can be refind and refine by making choices in a branching method until a reasonable likeness is achieved.  For instance, you would be asked by the compositor or compositing system if the person had a big nose or a small nose, high, low, narrow, wide, straight, crooked, and so on until all options have been exhausted and the image you are left with should be the best representation of the nose you have in mind.

To the right you can see a facial composite of Saint Paul created by experts of the Landeskriminalamt of North Rhine-Westphalia using historical sources as proposed by Düsseldorf historian Michael Hesemann.  The facial composite of the Apostle Paul helps to make this historical figure more accessible and real; something I want to achieve with the Hyrtl subjects.

To test this case I again turned to Mr. Zini our Rope Walker.  In his case the I decided that the most appropreate features and image would be those of his relatives, his time, and his culture.  I started my search by looking at images found through a search using his last name to determine hair and eye-color and dominant features.  I have an idea of build from his age, occupation and historical context. I looked for central and eastern european photographs of men taken from 1830 to 1870.  This would have been range of  time he my have died within. For Mr.Zini I decided to use the photograph below to create a two dimensional composite of his likeness from his skull.

I then began by importing the 3d rendering from Maya into photoshop.  There where gaps in the bone that had to be reconstructed before markers could be positioned onto the skull. I accomplished this by I first drawing over the skull to get the contours and plans mapped out.  I then painted the bone into place, only filling in where it was nessicary. As you can see I did not reconstruct his teeth. He will not be smiling so it would have been a wasted effort. I did however remove the hardware that was captured in the CT scan; it just doesn’t belong there.

Once I had Mr. Zini’s skull structurally clean I divided the features as seen below from the source image. and slowly began to sculpt them in photoshop using a wide range of tools, primarily transform warp and liquify.  It was necessary for some parts to be completely redrawn, such as the side of the head.

As always I found some of the process shots to be just as important and strong as the finished piece.  It seem inevitable that I get wrapped up in these in-between states. The glimpse beneath, the history of a thing is always distracted to me in an inspiring way.  Not to mention I think they just turned out looking kind of cool.

These are onionskins of the photo-composite technique.  So, meet Mr. Zini, The Rope Walker.  On the next 2D, which will be hand drawn, I think I’m going to go back to less but more “tailored” facial hair. Keeping the center of the left eye (his right 😉 consistent to the original you can see how the features changed in the finished reconstruction.

I “adjusted” the rest of the image to fit Mr.Zini’s figure.  He seems to be a bit of a tallish fellow as compared to his “ancestor”.  I’m very happy with this first prototype. I’ve received very favorable responses and a few request for copies. Which makes me hopeful that with a little more work these will be successful incentives on Kickstarter.

I’ve had  this 30″ x 40″ poster of  Mr. Zini hanging in my living room now for about a month and it still distracts me.  If it can have the same effect on others, then I’ll feel like I’ve accomplished a lot so far.

Sketching the Cabinet

In Fall 2010, Thesis Research on January 17, 2011 at 8:43 pm

I thought I post some of the sketches and ideas for the cabinet that will house the diorama, camera, lights, and all the guts of the simulacrum.

These are not complete, but just sketches.  I’m not a arcitect or draftsman, I’m not sure how to draw them as blueprints.  Luckily I know of a few folks who have been kind enough to help out in this department. I’ve also briefly discussed this with with Jim Rogers, the master cabinet maker (and my brother-in-law 😉 who’s going to be building this for me if I’m able to come up with the funding.  He’s not asking for much and in return I’m willing to give him some space to add his own creative touch.

I’ve played around with the idea of using a planetary gear on the bottom of the diorama table.  I think this is going to be the most stable.  And from the testing I can see right away that the sketches below don’t leave enough room between the camera and the closest focal point within the scenes. That has to be redesigned to accommodate about a foot of clearance. I’ll update when I have something substacial to post.  Until then, I’m sure you can get a good idea the direction I’m head from the previous posts, the Thesis page (^tab at the top) and these drawings.

Think steampunk, that should help.  😉

Prototyping the Mechanism

In Fall 2010, Thesis Research on January 16, 2011 at 11:06 pm

Geometry and Gears

I had not used this particular set of tools in a long time and it felt good to get them out and work with geometry again. I got this set during my second year in college and it has more then past the test of time, that extension are is perfect for this job.

The first few prototypes for the turntable’s gearing where pretty unsuccessful.  My biggest problem is simply making something sturdy enough. I was given a great book for beginners in gears and simple analog mechanical movements.  This helped with understanding the basics and getting started with figuring out the ratio.  I also had to start thinking about the placement and accessibility of the handle and how each user is going to experience the function.

Coat-hangers, cardboard and foam-core don’t seem to cut it, they’re all too flimsy to last longer then a few turns and even those struggle to move the diorama.  Nothing I’ve put together so far moves very smoothly, but that’s the point of prototyping, right?  I like the 1:1 ration for rith now, it’s more intuitive to “scroll” through the scenes at this 1:1 movement.

I also decided to allow the gears to work in both directions.  This allows the viewer to “rewind” the narrative.  They can return to what they have already seen or actually view the entire thing in revere. This is one less restriction to the narrative.

There is no question that I’m going to need the construction to be much more substantial.  Not only to support the weight of the diorama itself, but to support the force required to also turn the thing smoothly and effortlessly.  In the second or third iteration of the gears I replace all the cardboard shafts with wooden ones.  This improved the stability and tremendously, but it also added to the weigh.

My next step here is to laser cut the gears in MDF or black plexiglass.  The weight of these will be supported by the wooden cabinet that will eventually contain all the guts of the simulacrum.

Prototyping the Diorama

In Fall 2010, Thesis Research on January 15, 2011 at 9:44 pm

2D Construction

I haven’t posted anything on the diorama construction since the 11/16 update (a few post below). So lets catch up. I’ve been constructing the 2d diorama by altering period photography, drawings, paintings.  I decided to concentrate on the 2d for testing until the problems with the maya mesh can be worked out.

I’ve cut out most all of the images and details that I need to get started on the completion of Zini’s scenes and possible one each of his connections. I also started to “modify” the images to reflect the narrative.

These are most of Veronica’s pieces, our child murder. Below you can see pieces form Zini’s and also a few images that will be used for the Wounded Heart, visually he’s become the Boy with the Charlie Brown Heart.

After some camera tests with the original images I decided the scale had to be greatly reduced. This opens up working with the images in photoshop and printing the smaller size as I need, increasing detail while reducing size. I can also print on card stock for a bit more rigidity. I decided to use these wooden skewers to hold each piece of the diorama in place. Because the mock up is made of foam core it this has made it easy to move the different pieces around and yet keep them stable and in place each time.  Granted this is leave a few extra holes in the bottom of the platform, but that’s fine for this prototype.  It’s all about the placement and the interpretation now, the details of the visuals will be refines as I go.

I started with the scene where we learn about the relationship between Gerilarmo and Veronica.  This is a particularly difficult scene because it encompasses so much time.

I don’t want to “explain” what exactly is happening and what every detail means. As in real life, what you see is not always what you believe and stories are always up for interpretation.  I goal is to  create a mood and enough signs and symbols for the curious to interpret the circumstances of each character.  Their mind will begin to fill in the blanks, building the narrative like a rumor.

I’m treating the college pieces a bit theatrically.  I need them to hold a ton of quickly readable info and this piece is a small theater, so i worked in strong exaggerated expressions on the secondary characters.

The Charlie Brown Heart was a pleasant accident.  I was trying out different ways to show a broken heart and this one really appealed to me.  Charlie Brown is such a classically downtrodden and pathetic character, but he never gives up and we love him for it.  I liked the thought of Julius Farkus as Charlie Brown all grown up, and finally giving up.

Zini in Osirix and Maya

In Fall 2010, Thesis Research on December 26, 2010 at 4:21 pm

So I finally got a good working render from OsiriX and opened it in Maya, and just as I’d thought, it was a mesh mess to an extreme degree.

Maya can’t seem to automatically fix the Nonmanifold Geometry.  Nonmanifold Geometry is, simply put, a mesh that could not exist in the real world. Maya refuses to convert to subdivisions, booleans won’t work and smooth operations can lead to strange results.

There are three different types of nonmanifold Geometry (actually four since lamina faces are technically also nonmanifold):

• Three or more faces share the same edge on an object
• Two or more faces share the same vertex, yet they share no edge
• Two or more adjacent faces have opposite normal directions

I can’t clean they geometry up myself in the state it’s in. Opposite normal directions can’t be seen because I can’t even seen all the faces.
I’m not sure at this point if it can be any other way.  I need to fix the geometry completely if I ever want to print these.  As of right now however, I need to just concentrate on the reconstructions, even if that means creating a 2 dimensionally likeness first for each of the eight subjects in the narrative.  I just have to get the ball rolling.Click on the image below to take you to a link that will then take you to a video of a fly through I put together in OsiriX. There has got to be work around for posting videos to wordpress without having to click, click, click to actually see it.  I’ll work in this friends.

Here are a few screen captures of the OsiriX interface.  It’s pretty intuitive if you’ve ever used a 3D program before, but it does take some processing power. I’ll have to get it onto a computer at Parsons to save myself some headaches.

The visuals of the build are interesting as well. Click on the image below to take you to a link that will then take you to a video to watch OsiriX in action stitching the layer back together.

3D Magic With DICOM Data

In Fall 2010, Thesis Research on November 19, 2010 at 10:35 pm


I received the first four CT scan sets from the University of Philadelphia’s Anthropology Department today.  Tom Schoenemann, the gentleman working on getting me those scans, recommended OsiriX as a good program for viewing and processing DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine) data created from the CT scans.  DICOM is a comprehensive set of standards for handling, storing and transmitting information in medical imaging.  These images can come from not only CT scans but other medical imaging modalities such as MRI, PET scans, etc.

OsiriX is a freeware program available to the public on the Apple Inc. Website. It is seamlessly tied into the Mac OS X platform.  Biomedical Visualizers can use this software to visualize anatomical data sets and extract visual information for reference.

OsiriX software has a “C-STORE SCP” capability, and is therefore capable of storing incoming DICOM images into a local database.  I’ll use the DICOM data from the CT scans of the Hyrtl skulls to create 3D volume renderings using the Osirix program to emulate a PACS system (Picture Archival and Communication System) on my local drive.

The 3D renderings will then be imported into image editing programs such as Maya, Mudbox and Photoshop.  From these renderings forensic facial reconstructions will be made for the different Hyrtl subjects.  The first subject of the narrative will have their skull printed 3 dimensionally as well to create a traditional 3D forensic facial reconstruction.  Printouts will be made of one of the subject’s skulls so a 2D forensic reconstruction can be made.  But all of the characters will have digital facial reconstructions made and printed.

These reconstructions will be the basis for the figures in the dioramas.  They will beminiature versions of how the Hyrtl subjects looked in real life.  Facial expressions will be changed in Maya and Mudbox to reflect the different emotions experienced by the characters.  These different face will be printed on one of Parsons’ 3D printers and used throughout the scenes.

On “NewTek” discussion forums a usergoing by “mrxd” was having similar issues and offered some images that I’ll share with you until the Hyrtl skulls are done.  All of the images on this post are from his attemps to use the DICOM data in CT scans imported it into Lightwave to make a model.