Cool Maker Projects images

A few nice Maker Projects images I found:

Life Cast Projection Test
Maker Projects
Image by fabola
My friend Jean Bolte (a.k.a. Dr. Figurine) would like to bring characters to life by projecting videos of human faces onto her ‘life casts’ of David Bowie, Sean Connery and John Cleese.

On a quiet sunday afternoon, we gathered in my studio to experiment with this idea, with the help of our friend Mark Petrakis (a.k.a. Dr. Zboon). For our first test, we used a video of my interview with Jean’s daughter Natalina (a.k.a. Dr. Canard), and projected it onto the David Bowie and Sean Connery life casts, as well as on a plain mannequin head. We also shot original video footage of Mark and projected it on the same life casts, along with some facial expressions.

The results of this first test were very encouraging, as you can see in these photos:…

… and in this companion video:

We would like to apply this projection mapping technique to our Time Machine art project. One idea is to project the faces of historical figures onto these ‘life casts.’ They could be set in a dark box behind of the Time Machine’s porthole. Opening the porthole would reveal an animated face from the past, which would speak to you for a moment, across time and space. We could even add an old phone in front of that box, which would ring when a new historical figure is ready to talk.

If this experiment goes well, we may also feature one of these characters in our Dada Exhibit this fall, as part of the puppet show and Magic Theater project we are working on separately.

Here are some of our observations:
• this technique works well to bring characters to life
• it creates the illusion that you are seeing a real person
• aligning the faces from the videos with the life casts can be tricky
• we may need to hold the actor’s heads to keep them aligned while we shoot
• getting the eyes, nose and mouth to match may require adjusting the video as well
• some interesting expressions come out when the faces are not perfectly aligned
• people can be made to look older or younger, depending which cast you use
• when the face looks straight at the camera, you really feel that it is talking to you
• some facial expressions work really well, like shifting eyes left and right
• some interesting effects can be created by speeding up the footage, as in Max Headroom

In our next experiments, we will play with different ways to align the projected image and the life cast, and make it all work in a small space. We will also face a trade-off between realism and diversity: we could focus on just a single character to perfect the alignment for that figure; or we could aim to project a range of different characters against a more generic life cast where the alignment might be less precise.

I can’t wait for our next experiments with this promising direction.

Fire in the hole!

View more photos of our Time Machine project:

Learn more about Pataphysical Studios:

City of the Future: First Class
Maker Projects
Image by fabola
We had a great first class for our City of the Future project with our Maker Art students at the Lycée Français in Sausalito.

In this new ‘maker art’ course, students will create a City of the Future together, using arts and electronics to make a model of what our world could be like in 100 years. They will build a futuristic home with a cardboard ‘wonderbox’ and animated characters, bringing them to life with lights, sounds and motion.

We discussed these questions together in our first planning session:
• What will life be like in 100 years?
• What city will we build?
• Who will live there?
• How will our lives change?

The children had lots of great ideas on all these points, and came up with an overall plan. They would like to build a floating city that is partly underwater, partly above water, with a tropical beach. They think of it as a vacation resort for rich people, with cruises and entertainment that would cost a lot of money.

Inhabitants would include old rich snobs with extra body parts, mutant shark people, human clones, robot maids, green aliens and magic dolphins that used to be extinct. The city would have underwater taxis and rocket wheelchairs as well as a school for all ages. There would also be a space elevator for going to the moon, Mars or beyond. We discussed building tubes that could lead to a Moon Hotel at the top of the exhibit.

Students started designing their own boxes and characters right away, as shown in this photo set (note that photos of children are kept private until we get permission from their parents to make them public).

Next week, they will start building futuristic homes with cardboard wonderboxes. Through this course, students will develop a range of skills, from creative expression to science and engineering (STEAM). And they will learn to create their own interactive art with simple electronics, in a playful way that makes learning more fun.

Learn more about our City of the Future course:

Learn more about our Maker Art courses:

We would love to hear from you.



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