Anaglyphic 3D Rendering in FIVe3D

 So since Mathieu Badimon, creator of FIVe3D, sits right behind me at work and we’ve been working on a project together, I figured I should give his 3D engine a try. In case you aren’t familiar with it, FIVe3D is a light, simple, 3D emulator for Flash. However, don’t confuse it with PaperVision. If you want full modled polygons with textures, lighting, shadows – basically full 3D, then that is where PaperVision is your tool. But if you need simple 3D rendering, and you don’t want to import a million classes and compromise performance, then that’s where FIVe3D comes in to play. Mathieu does a pretty good job at showing off it’s uses on his LAB site.

So back to what I’ve been up to. I’ve always been interested in doing niffty 3D stuff with Flash, so getting into this was right up my ally. One of the first things I did was extend the engine to render stereographically, as where you would be wearing those old time 3D glasses with the two different color lenses. With the FIVe3D classes, I’ve extended the Scene3D class, so instead of Scene3D you use AnaglyphScene3D and it will display the result for use with 3D glasses. So anything done with FIVe3D can be dropped into it and it should work perfectly. It’s set up so the user can change the offset of the two perspectives, as well as show the original rendering. I still have to tweak the way it applies all three together as right now it blows out the original image’s colors. Keep in mind too that in order to get the stereographic effect, you need to render the scene twice, so if you’re showing the original image as well then you’re rendering 3 times, and that can make the performance take quite a hit.

Anyways, here are two examples of what I’ve done with it. This first test just shows a bunch of cubes in space, but it runs pretty smoothly, even on my old G4 PowerBook. This next test can be pretty heavy, so be prepared for a browser crash if your computer is weak of heart. This depth demo takes a grayscale image and converts it into points with a z-depth based off of the brightness value. I’ll do some more with it, and will probably post some more test within the next few weeks.



Working at Firstborn in NYC


It’s been some time since I’ve made a post. Back at the end of June I moved to Brooklyn and started work at Firstborn Multimedia as a Flash Developer. So far it’s been great, living in the city and working there. I have about an hour commute to work, but it’s really nothing. And Firstborn is a great company with some really cool people. You might know of Zeh Fernando of Tweener fame, he freelances for Firstborn but will be moving up here sometime next year I guess. Right now I’m working on a project with a bunch of people, one of them is Mathieu Badimon, the creator of FIVe3D. That project should be finished by the end of the month and I’ll definalty make a post when it’s live. Other than that, life is good. I live a block away from the best pizzeria in Brookyln, Di Fara Pizza, and believe me it’s worth the wait and the price. I also get to see a nice view of the financial district everyday from the subway when it goes over the bridge, including the Statue of Libery when it’s clear. I also noticed for the first time yesterday (after working there for over a month) that I can see the Empire State Building from the office.

Indiana Jones 4 And The Viral Marketing?


I was watching the trailer for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull a week or two ago and was scrubbing though the video and noticed something peculiar. There’s a part where someone’s glasses get magnetized and snap to a piece of metal, it happens really quickly. If you pause it, you’ll notice it says Roswell, New Mexico  1947 – which is the year of the Roswell incident. So what does this mean for the movie? Is the Roswell crash not a UFO but somehow tied to another event in the movie, or does Indy really have a Close Encounter of the Third Kind?

What I think is interesting is why this is in the trailer. Obviously, you have to pause it to see it, since all you see when it is playing is the glasses. That scene in itself isn’t very interesting, so the intention was probably for people to find the Roswell thing by chance. And once they find it, they’ll do just this: blob about it, thus adding viral hype about the movie. For all we know, maybe Roswell plays a very minor part, but the temptaion of Indiana Jones and Aliens will be too good to pass up, so until the release date, I bet it will become a more popular subject.

If you want to check this out on your own, I recomend checking out the trailer on Apple Trailers since QuickTime is easy to scrub though.

Homemade Wine


So I’ve been making my own wine over the last few months, starting sometime in January. It’s finally done. I had started with two 3-gallon cardboys, but one got infected and thus spoiled. However, from the one jug I got 15 bottles of concord-cranberry wine. I had to sweeten it significantly as concord is a very sour grape, but it taste pretty decend for someone who had no to very little idea of what they were doing. Coincidly, I made some fruit wines for fun, so I also have 4 bottles of white raspberry grape wine and 3 bottles of pineapple-orange coconut, as well as one bottle of peach left over from a few months ago. So my basement now has like 23 bottles of wine sitting in it. Amazing, once I move to NYC I won’t have the space for the large 3 gallon cardboys, but I’ll probably still ferment with the one gallon jugs.

wines.jpg wines3.jpg

FITC 2008: Flash 10 and AS4

 fitcbanner.jpgA little while ago I went to FITC Toronto 08 festival. FITC is an annual ‘design and technology festival.’ It used to stand for Flash in the Can[ada] but since Adobe has acquired Macromedia the festival has been broadened to include other technologies such as motion graphics, 3D, experimental (processing), installations, etc. It’s run on it’s own by Adobe is a big sponsor.

There were a lot of great presentations this year. Mario Klingman  had a great presentationa again, this time focusing on a.viary on which he is working on the Pattern Generator. Eric Natzke showed some of his recent visual Flash work, and Robert Hodgin showed what he’s been doing with Processing lately with music, flocking, and pigeons. Keith Peters gave a talk about fractals and some crazy math as well as an Air app he made to demonstrate both. Dr. Whoo Hoo talked about some crazy stuff with Illustrator and Flash communicting, such as having a swf run actions in an open .ai file. I have some ideas I want to try with that when I get some time. (Illustrator games anyone?) North Kingdom gave a great presentation of what they’ve been doing and what life is like in Skellefteå in Sweden. I picked up a print by Scott Hanson after his presentation and still need to finish the frame for it. There were other great ones too, as well as some great insight to the future of Flash. (I also can’t forget the 2nd night party that had the Junior Boys, a band that I love)

Mentioned at the keynote presentation was some cool features for Flash 10. One is better timeline control, which will act more like after effects. When MovieClips are tweened, there are now bevier paths on the stage that allow for easily easin, curving, and changing. There will also be build in IK for puppeting that will also export for runtime. Another long awaited feature is Z-depth and simple 3D, so now you can have planes in space. I looks a lot more basic than PaperVision, but the key thing is that it is native to Flash and the IDE.

In the future also look for AS4. Don’t get all worked up, this is more similar to the AS1 to AS2 migration than the AS2 to AS3 overhaull.  ECMAScript, which JavaScript and thus ActionScript is based off of, will be updated by the end of 2008. There are very basic changes, but the one that makes me the most excited it the union datatype, which allows you to datatype  a variable as more than one type. So, if you have a String or Number being passed into a parameter, you can datatype it as both.

JSFL scripts

JSFL scripts have been around in Flash for a while now, I think since MX 2004. Incase you haven’t run into them yet, jsfl scripts are used to extend Flash. RIT New Media Design students might be familiar with a file that Adam Smith wrote that prepared your Flash file’s library for use with preloaders. Over the summer I wrote a few extremely simple scripts that are now impossible for me to live without. However, today my laptop crashed and I lost these files, and upon searching the internet, I realized that there is not a lot out there easy to find on these files. So I rewrote what I had, and I figure I’d share them since they are so immensly helpful.

All three of these scripts will go though your library and modify the images/bitmaps. One will turn allow smoothing on, the other two will compress all as jpeg/photo or png/lossless. These are usefull when using the Photoshop importer to bring in png sequences, this way you do not need to open every single image and turn smoothing on or change the compression back to jpeg.

(You’ll want to right-click and save to desktop for these)

Drop these files into the Configurations folder, found here:

boot driveDocuments and SettingsuserLocal SettingsApplication DataAdobe Flash CS3languageConfiguration
Macintosh HD/Users/userName/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Flash CS3/language/Configuration/

Guitar Genetics: Case Study

Guitar Genetics is the project I’ve been working on for the last six weeks or so combining an electric guitar and Processing. I feed an electric guitar though a headphone amplifier and into the line in on my laptop. (I also split it before the headphone amp to a read amp so as you play you can hear it). Using the Fast Fourier Transform from the Sonia class, I made a visualization that resembles DNA patterns. The color of each plot depends on which string on the guitar is plucked, and the vertical position is based on the fret. Since I am using pseudo-note detection, the program reads extra notes most of the time which produce more interesting visuals. To create a print, all the note information from a recording session is saved to a XML file, which is then run though my render engine I built, so I can produce high resolution prints. I have a more detailed case study below, or you can download it as a PDF.


There are more images on flickr.

Continue reading “Guitar Genetics: Case Study”

Stepping away from the computer for a bit to blow some glass…

I took an elective though the glass program this quarter, and got to spend 10 weeks working in a flame shop and hot shop. The flame shop is where people use torches to make little things, like dolphins and marbles. Hot shop is where people do glass blowing with furnaces. I have to say that the hot shop was my pretty cool. It’s amazing – the furnaces that house the melted glass run at something like 2,100º and once they are turned on are never turned off. They have to be hooked up to a generator if the power fails. If they do turn off and the glass cools, it contracts and literally makes the whole furnace implode. So you can imagine getting right up to that furnace is pretty intense. Now I’m not the best at glass blowing, but the whole experience was great, so if you ever have the change to take a class in glass blowing or are in Corning where you can take a class at one of the glass shops there, do it.

paperweight.jpg grass2.jpg ugly_bottle.jpg

(left to right: lopsided paperweight with ‘party mix’ colored frit, glass grass sculpture made in flame shop, ugly bottle made of golden glass)

Microsoft Imagine Cup Silverlight Challenge

So Microsoft has this Imagine Cup contest going on right now. And as a part of it, they have a sub contest that is only accessible to five select universities, RIT being one of them. (I think Pratt might be one, maybe RISD too). Anyways, today was the deadline for our first submission. The theme is the enviroment and technology helping sustain it and making people aware and whatnot. The assignment it to make a unique user interface that teaches people about the enviroment one way or another. The catch is that you have to use Microsoft Silverlight. Silverlight is basically Microsoft’s version of Flash, but still in beta. But we don’t even have to go there yet, luckily, since I can see absolutely no reason at all to switch from Flash, which I have about five years of experience with, to Silverlight. All we had to do was submit more or less a design document. What a nightmare.

File Name:
Upload #:

The submission site is so confusing, there’s actually no mention of the Silverlight challenge on it, it’s like a secret bonus mode that you see once you submit your file. But in order to do that, you need to complete a checklist. There are various requirement on it, one of them being sign up for a Live ID account (no reason why, just because I guess). But that’s all the info on the check list. Some of the items are hyperlinks, but not for this. So I was left wondering how I take the Live account I just made (I had to Google it to find it) and make it so the competition knows I made one. Well luckily there is a little ? icon that you can rollover for help – which is just an image with an alt tag that doesn’t even work, or when it does elsewhere on the site just says the exact same thing as the text item it is next to. A lot of help that is. Finally, by accident, I found where to sign in. It was off to the left in what looks exactly like an advertisement panel. Other people had the exact same problem and thought the exact same thing, so it’s not like I’m just a moron (unless we’re all morons maybe). So once I log in and link my account, I get a nice message saying: “Round 1 has ended. Check back on 02/22 for the official results. You can submit or update an entry for an Achievement Award, like the U.S. Microsoft Silverlight Challenge (U.S. teams only).” So that scared me since the first thing I saw was ‘Round 1 has ended’, and then I was confused by the countdown timer below which stated we had 16 hours, 43 minutes, and so many seconds left to submit. Luckily, since the Silverlight Challenge is in a different category, even though it is in the Interface Design category, has it’s own rules so we could still submit. But overall, the whole thing was very unclear and a pain to navigate though. If the top prize was not $10,000, and for the fact that only four other schools could submit and there are only 25 finalist (so if you’re picked you have a 1/25 chance once you submit your final piece), this would not be worth the effort. Also, Adam Smith really was pushing this and he was one the one that helped set it up so we could enter it, so I owe it to him to at least try.

But if anyone is wondering “Why should I use Silverlight” my answer is this: “Only because you can win $10k.”
But to be fair, if you are interested in Silverlight, one of the New Media Team Project teams is exploring Silverlight and making a web application in it, so defiantly check out their blog: They’ve been doing a great job so far, and they’ll be paving the path for future development of it.

Genetic Panoramic Test

 After talking with colleagues, I’ve decided that I want a print to be the final result of my project involving using an electric guitar as an input device. I like the idea of something resembling sheet music, but also showing how the music is made up. So I looked at DNA pattern images, and based it off of that.

I just finished building a prototype, and the next step is hooking it up to the guitar part. Makes me kind of nervous, because I fear it might run too slow once integrated with the sonia library. This image is just based off of the mouse, but for the final one there will be six colors, one for each string, and the vertical placement will be determined by fret.