Speaking at OFFF Paris 2010


I probably should have mentioned this way earlier, but I’ll be speaking along with Mathieu Badimon at OFFF Paris on behalf of Firstborn. Our presentation will be on Friday, June 25th at 12:30. I have to say, this is quite an honor to speak at this conference. If you’re interested, there should be more information on the OFFF Paris 2010 website.

Speaking at FITC Toronto 2010

So I realize this is pretty last minute, but I’ll be speaking at FITC Toronto this Monday with Mathieu Badimon. We’ll be speaking on Firstborn’s behalf. Our presentation is titled “Tools & Prototypes: Crafting a Unique Digital Experience.” It’s basically focusing on how for each project we make, we usually need to make demos to test techniques or make tools to aid in development. It’s more of a creative presentation than a technical one, as we really won’t be talking about code directly. So if you’re up at FITC this weekend, we’ll be presenting Monday at 12:10.

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Time Displacement Experiment (part II)

I made some updates to my time displacement experiments. I lumped them all into one nice little app, as well as give some options to toggle the effect. I also added the option to choose video source, so it doesn’t have to be with a webcam anymore. I added the option to tint what area is being effected, as well as experimented with frame blending to try to lessen hard edges. Like the previous post, I’m still using Pixel Bender to apply the displacement.



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More Time Displacement Experiments: Now with Pixel Bender

I decided to try using Pixel Bender to do the time displacement in the recent experiments I’ve been doing, as I was hoping it would perform better. It actually seems to, but there still is a significant lag. However, I’m pretty sure this is because of having to make a huge sprite sheet first.

I basically make a huge sprite sheet of all the frames I have saved. Since Flash 10 lets you have bigger bitmaps (16,777,215 pixels total, max dimension at 8,191 src) I can create a large image that tiles all the frames I currently have saved. I can have a max of 12 frames across (at 640) and 4 frames down (at 480). So after I create/update this giant bitmap, I send it to a pixel bender filter that is currently applied to a gray scale image. The Pixel Bender filter then looks at each pixel, evaluates the brightness and interpolates it to what frame it needs to update from, then replaces the current pixel with the appropriate one from the selected frame.

These experiments are still a little rough, but I’ll post ’em anyways. No videos yet, I need to find some time to do screen recordings. The ticker is obviously by Mr. Doob. You’ll need a webcam for all of these, sorry.

  • brightness: Displacement based off of brightness of current frame.
  • movement: Displacement based off of movement (difference between frames)
  • painting: Displacement based off area pained by user, as in previous post (inspired by Smudge City).
  • noise: Displacement based off of perlin noise.
  • filmstrip: Displacement based off of titled blocks.

In any of these experiments, you can right-click to show the source that is controlling the displacement.

Video Time Painting Experiment

I started playing around with doing some experiments with video and time delay. When showing the previously mentioned JPEG video experiment to my coworker Roushey, he mentioned how just the effect of the time delay was interesting. I was thinking about neat things to do with, and the first idea I had was to offset each frame as one row or column of pixels. So in a 640 x 480 video, the left-most column of pixels would be from the current frame, and the last rightmost column would be from 639 frames ago. The experiment is live here, and there’s a video of it on YouTube.

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‘Encoding’ Video as JPEG real time in AS3

A few days ago I was thinking if there was a way to reproduce the effect of JPEG compression real time in flash. I figured the best way would be to literally encode the image with the native AS3 JPEGEncoder class. The problem there was that the returned ByteArray could not be interpreted as an image anymore. However, the Loader class does allow for loading a ByteArray and converting it to a Bitmap. And luckily, the loadBytes method let us load the ByteArray right from Flash (as opposed to having to save out a file and load it externally).

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Webcam Snapshot Tool

Every once and a while, I find that I need to just take a quick snapshot with my webcam at work. Since I’m on a PC, so I don’t have Apple’s pre-installed Photobooth app, or any other simple program (that I’m at least aware of). I also didn’t want to install any bulky 3rd party software that might come with the webcam that I’m using, since all I need in order for it to work is the driver, which more or less Windows installed all by itself. Photoshop has an option to capture from webcam, but the util is pretty limited as it only lets me capture a very small thumbnail size image.

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Damn, it’s been a long time since I’ve had a site a launch. But I’m happy to announce my latest project at Firstborn has gone live: SoBe.com.  I was the lead flash developer for this project. The current SoBe campaign also featured a facebook app with contest and a mobile version of the site as well (which were not developed by me, but Phil and Miller respectively).

There are two sides to the site. The product ‘flavors’ section features videos of real people stopped and interviewed on street about what they think of SoBe lifewater (which we, firstborn, filmed). We used streaming video from FMS provided by Akamai in order to provide responsive seekable video. This was actually a challenge, as streamed video has some slight programmatic behavior differences than progressive download. For instance, streamed video will not dispatch any Net Events for when it has reached the end of the stream. Another issue I ran into was that due to security restrictions, the  BitmapData.draw function is prohibited unless specifically enabled on the FMS side. The other side of the site, ‘world’, was pretty straight forward, except that since we will be doing updates for the rest of the year the site needed to be extremely dynamic. This section of the site also features actress Ashley Greene in the nude, painted in two skinsuits to promote SoBe lifewater’s two new flavors.

Video Processing Tests

Recently I did some playing around with video and thresholds, mostly just for fun. I first experimented with just changing the threshold of the video, essentially converting it to black and white. Then I tried comparing the current frame threshold and the previous frame threshold to get the difference. The result looks like an outline/edge effect. It’s an interesting way to visualize movement. Then, just for kicks, I decided to display the previous comparison and the current one, colorizing the current difference as red and the previous as cyan. The result is a very pseudo-3D outline effect. This fake 3D technique can also be applied to to straight up video, showing the previous frame as cyan and the current as red and screening the two. Since this all based on movement and the idea that objects closer to the camera appear to move greater distances due to their perspective, it’s very easy for it to display incorrectly.

Check out the first demo. You’ll need a webcam. Click on the video to change the mode, and the two scroll bars control the threshold level and amount of blur applied to the video before any image processing.

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Thoughts on Creating a Profanity Filter

Recently I’ve been working on making a front end profanity filter. It makes more sense to have a filter be on the server side and return an accepted or rejected response, but since my strength is in AS3 I’ve decided to do it this way. There’s two parts I want to explain, the first being the reason for a profanity filter, and the second being the actual code. You can check out the demo here.

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