By on August 9th, 2012


SIGGRAPH 2012.  Yesterday was the last day — in it I…

  • •  Picked up a great MakerBot Replicator 3D print made from a 3D scan of my face.   Flamingo pink plastic.

sample 3D print from the MakerBot site

  • •  Took the 3D print and had a high quality scan made of it.  Third generation image.   (NextEngine)  Once I’m home and on my big computer I’ll post the series and at least a fourth generation image.
  • •  Tried to pick up a 3D print of the same file via another method and material but their equipment crashed.
  • •  Test-drove the Leonar3do system for 3D manipulation and VR (virtual reality).   They even had a Mac version, bless them.  3D glases, software, a mouse they call a bird — with reason.   A seductive experience.  Glasses on, you plunge the Bird into a plain 3D sphere and either punch a hole or draw material out into arms of all widths.  Surely it does more but that was my intro.  Tremendous to play with — we’ll all take the technology for granted in a few years.

Leonar3do‘s 3D controller, the Bird

  •          Leonar3do, a Hungarian company, offered me a nice deal but sober reflection insisted that my work will progress faster with another gizmo — that high-res scanner.
  •         The scanner people see their scanner as naturally paired with some form of 3D printer but I see it as a way to pull exciting new content into my art.  OBJ files are juicy — 3D scans of complex objects.  Photographs of solids.


SIGGRAPH has given me a new appreciation of the word emerging.  It’s here, in fast-forward development but still too rough for the consumer market.   Only jump in if you’re adventuresome.



Random LA notes:

—  Passed while driving to a new hotel, Cinema Makeup School.  Ah LA, I’m home at last.

—  Good food encountered here:

  • Soleto    Very good salad in an enclosed but open-air part of the restaurant.  Architectural embellishments are great fun.
  • Fleming’s    High priced but exceptionally good beef and accouterments.
  • The Roof at The Hotel Wilshire.   I can vouch for their subtle and lovely Watermelon Gazpacho.


— •  Still learning as a blogger — and neophyte conventioneer — how to shrink-wrap my experience when encountering masses of material.  Usually my brain’s inside my computer, making something in solitude, on my own time.  At SIGGRAPH events were scheduled, maybe 5 or 6 at a time.  Seven? More?  Getting scanned and printed goes on top of that.

And the blogging, there’s just so much to say and share.  And to do some more.  Now I’m within walking distance of LACMA, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art….

—  Personal insight .  At SIGGRAPH I felt absolutely at home, comfortable, well-fitted to the venue.  Now I’m where the stereotypical Angelinos hang out.  Blond, tan, perfectly put together, obligatory cool shades.  I broke my shades on the first day.  So me.  I always feel the awkward orangutan when surrounded by the beautiful.  For this I’m often grateful that I moved east and acquired some East Coast Edge.  But, flip side, I saw the sun going down in the west and knew in my bones that it was setting over the ocean — it felt so right, so safe and comforting.  Roots.





By on August 8th, 2012

So I was hoping to give you fulsome looks at the technologies I’m seeing but LA Conference Time is warp speed.  Here are some technologies to check out.  I vouch for nothing, this is your amusement park visit for the day — grab yourself a few rides.

People scans  (some motion-capture systems are designed to track only human hotspots and won’t work yet on, say, cows.)

  • •               I’ll have 3D scans of me to share.  They also do motion capture (4D)
  • •  Faceware                  (a 3D and 4D scan)
  • •  3DDynamics           got a a scan of me, knees to tiptop (3D)
  • •  PHASESPACE        (a 3D and 4D scan)   I’ll have 3d scans of my face to share.
Other scans
  • •    macro-scans a coin, a leaf, a butterfly in tiny bites then reconstructs them for an image you can zoom into for details.
  • •  artscans studio  speciality scanning and printing for flat artwork and digital artwork.  quality looks good, yet another offshoot of Nash Editions {think Crosby, Stills and Nash].
  • •  I say yet another because the Boston area has one, Singer Editions.  I’ve long admired the quality of their work and have enjoyed working with them in the past.  (This for my East Coast readers.)
3D Printing, aka Rapid Prototyping
  • •  mcor technologies    the Matrix300 printer    (uses paper)
  • •  MakerBot       I am waiting for my 3d print to be done as I write  (uses the same plastic as Legos)
  • •       open source.   hopeffully I’ll pick up a 3d print tomorrow.     (Uses subtractive methods to carve out a mold, casts a ceramic  mixture in the mold)
  • •  ShaderPrinter    haven’t
  •  seen samples yet but an intriguing channel for artists.
Digital Jewelry, Wearables, textiles
Opportunities for artistic/scientific collaboration
  • •  XSEDE      I haven’t investigated yet but this looks to be a powerful resource, funded by the United States National Science Foundation (NSF).

XSEDE is a single virtual system that scientists can use to interactively share computing resources, data and expertise. People around the world use these resources and services — things like supercomputers, collections of data and new tools — to improve our planet.


 This list is incomplete but gives you a taste of what I’m tasting here.  If you have any interest in combining your artform with new technologies then let something here lead you in a new direction.


look further:

By on August 6th, 2012

this is the 2nd post today

Very exciting day.  I’ve now had scans of my face/person by three new technologies — one of them just a week old, but already biggo sophisticated.  When I’ve got all three examples on disk I’ll pull them into my artmaking and share.

Such a non-LA crowd at SIGGRAPH, not only the myriad languages spoken around you but the total non-focus on coolth and hipness.  I grew up here.  Yesterday and today, real people genuinely interested in each other, scientists, code-writers, artists.

My attendance at the Virtual Textures course resulted in me fighting off drowsiness, oh hypnotic drowsiness, while we were walked through Powerpoint points.  All about visuals, but the talk was about the coding underneath.  Oh my, a complex task.  I woke up when we were talked through sample screenshots.  The topic was the game RAGE.  One scene showed a mass of cliffs, a road running in front of it, foreground details.  What I learned was that a game-coder’s job inludes this:

  •  •  Those cliffs need to be convincing from a distance (meaning that tiling a texture wouldn’t work because the human eye would pick out the repetition).
  • •  But the game players might navigate themselves closer and closer to those cliffs and the texture maps had to swap in and out for more and more close-up versimilitude.  A nesting nightmare.  Without new coding techniques (as were presented today) the computer overload wasn’t scalable.  Scalability is another hot topic here.
  • •  Ergo, these new techniques have to rethink how they define various textures (the cliffy-ness of cliffs, the clothy-ness of garments), and make these more and more convincing realities perform as they must in games.

But at some point I snuck out.  Not for me.

What does seem made to order is the SIGGRAPH presence of folks who interact with humans (not code) where I can test out technologies and ask questions of the very brains who are developing those technologies.  My first SIGGRAPH, I’m learning.  But oh my God, these encounters are energizing, nourishing, and soul-satisfying.

Now time to regroup for tomorrow, another big day…







By on August 6th, 2012


I just emailed a friend that SIGGRAPH is an amusement park for the brain.  So much to soak up, see, hear — and then I have to get those files ready to take to the 3d printer demos for free samples.

My 3d printing options are a system that prints plastic, one that prints ceramics (that you can take elsewhere, get glazed and fired), and one that “prints” by cutting and fusing layers of cheap copy paper.  Rapid prototyping, one of the hot phrases here.  Though at this point rapid is relative — 40 minutes, or hours, days.  But this is the beginning of those science fiction kitchens with Actualizers that will take away the need for shopping at stores.  (But won’t we miss haggling over tomatoes?  Thumbing the velvet?)

There’s an Emerging Technologies hall where systems at many levels of doneness are being demoed.  There are plants (vegetal kind) that you can touch and produce moving graphics on a screen.  I note that these plants tend to the sturdy tropical variety, no gentle little herbs.  There was a display where you were invited to interact with a teddybear, except it was a teddybear that wouldn’t.  Their remote was held together with electrical tape.  A Texas college is staging Merchant of Venice with actors dressed in LED-studded black for Avatar-like motion capture.  There’san exhibit where, if you’re lucky, you can get dressed in a virtual reality helmet, vest, and glove and interact with a robot positioned behind you.

I’ve just heard the keynote address by Jane McGonigal — who creates games and researches their effect on users.  Definitely an evangelist.  She talked about the virtual in virtual reality, that the word can mean latency — as in the oak tree is incipient in the acorn.  So that a virtual world is a possibility that hasn’t yet been actualized — but may yet be.  She designs games with the idea in mind that they’ll teach gamers skills that they can actualize in the real world.  Skilled speaker, no written-speech mumbler, dressed in gold glitter platform heels.

Because some of us can’t get online at our hotel I’ll post this now — while waiting for a talk on Virtual Texturing.   Nice perk of SIGGRAPH — free wifi all over the convention center.