What Stage Am I At? (The Boring Part)

What has happened so far.

I’ve analysed a concept

What I want to portray with my digital environment piece is the concept of motion; not focusing sourly on humans being the main thing which creates movement in the world. I want to bring to people’s attention that, lets say when you move your arm (you can clearly see your arm moving) there is a reaction around the space the motion is taking place. There is a reaction to everything that happens, even if you can’t see it, it still exists. 

I came to this culture because of the recent essay I have written on ‘Participatory Culture’ where fans of a franchise take the franchise into their own hands and create a piece of work in their own image. The culture creates an action in response of something which already exist, but may not be seen. This added to life experiences of everything you do having a reaction, whether it’s not replying to a text or calling the wrong person there is always a response somewhere those causes.

I’ve analysed the space

Using the Foyer in Weymouth House we have been offered one of the screens to install our systems, this is located in an eye catching spot so people will notice the system and also the camera will be facing where most of the action happens (where people walk through). Already knowing that we have been given access to this location I conducted some research with the use of the “Independent Dorset” brief, allowing me to get an insight to the duration people come into the foyer and leading to me having a wider knowledge of how I will present my digital environment.

I’ve analysed Particle Systems

Using something which already exists “Particle Systems” I did some research into some Systems which have already been written and how they look, the use of this gave me some ideas stretching from an environment which is 100% made out of particles and when motion is detected the particles respond with movement. With further research and advise from Liam my seminar tutor the complexity of writing a Particle System was explained as it may be quite over whelming and not work, but I really wanted to stick to the idea. This came back to the concept I have and the fact that I want this piece of work to be seen as art. 

I analysed the possibilities of Particle Systems

Using research and my note book I went into how I could take this possible particle system and create something on my own, doing sketches and looking into Examples which Processing supply like ‘OpenCV’ and ‘Punktiert’ I analysed how the imagery in particles is portrayed. The results of this was looking how the particles where presented, something being small and big and others being shown with the way they move rather than the dimensions of them, but all where really quite beautiful. Some people even found ways of getting the particles to move in such away they created images, just with how to particles moved around the page. Moving forward this took me to the point of wanting the camera to notice people rather than the entire space just being turned into Particles, this is quite a tricky thing to succeed in as the code is incredibly complex and I didn’t know how to write it, but I did recall that using a Kinect webcam already has the programming installed to recognise people from structure and with the library called ‘SimpleOpenNI’ I could manipulate this. 

The problems I confronted

I thought the possibility of this going wrong where quite minor, but when it came to it the code which had been written was specific for a kinetic camera, rather than the Logitech HD system I had rented, this was not a massive problem I could just rent out a Kinect. Before trying this I tried to manipulate the code I already had so that the output would either be my webcam on the Mac or the webcam I had rented, me copying and pasting basic camera processing into the file I already had I had got to the point where the camera would turn on, but then deactivate itself. Leading to 100% having to use the Kinect. The Kinect did NOT work because of the model number being to recent therefore having to abandon all the ideas I had. 

How I have solved the problem

I did not have enough time to write a particle system with to Kinect camera, putting me into a position where I decided I’m going to create something called “An Almost Particle System” this being a piece of work which is inspired and symbolises what a particle system looks like, but is in-fact not one. Using inspiration from a work called ‘AsciiVideo’ I will create a piece which uses motion, colour and possibly light density to portray action inside the space. Enough said.  

Now what?

The next blog posts are going to be the design process of my system.




I Found Something

Doing my sketches and scrolling through examples I have come across something.


Jan 24, 2015 15:02I’ve hit a stroke of luck here, this piece being one of the examples of Processing it has all the aspects I am looking for;

Colour, Motion and Light

Here the colours are being replaced with ‘letters’ and they are hitting against each other to show constant reaction, this is the effect I want to try and portray (showing constant motion). From what I understand (what I see without looking at the code) the letters have slight tints dependents on the lighting in the room, but it’s not a big feature, the biggest feature here is the letters acting as the image. Very similar to the way particles would act.

I am going to develop on these letters and see where it could go. The reason for this being it’s structured way of portraying what the camera can see; it’s showing another way of seeing life and to me it looks quite like a particle system relating back to what I want my Concept to be. I could try and adapt these letters in other formats, replacing them with little dots may give the best portrayal of particles.




S*** already hit the FAN, or the Mac

As mentioned before I was aware that I MAY need a Kinetic Camera to work some of the code I wanted to experiment with, but it does turn out you ACTUALLY do need a Kinetic Camera to work this code. Below is not the entire of the imported Library, but just a bit of it so you get an idea of what I am looking at;

import SimpleOpenNI.*;

SimpleOpenNI context;
float zoomF =0.3f;
float rotX = radians(180); // by default rotate the hole scene 180deg around the x-axis,
// the data from openni comes upside down
float rotY = radians(0);
PShape pointCloud;
int steps = 2;

void setup()

//context = new SimpleOpenNI(this,SimpleOpenNI.RUN_MODE_MULTI_THREADED);
context = new SimpleOpenNI(this);
if(context.isInit() == false)
println("Can't init SimpleOpenNI, maybe the camera is not connected!");

// disable mirror

// enable depthMap generation


// align depth data to image data



This is the response I receive when I activate the the file;

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 17.24.53

“You know what that is…**** *******!”

That is a whole lot of red and not pretty at all, with me I never expected it to be easy, but when the code is already created and you just want to see what it looks like you would think that it would work pretty simply.

In the true Lorimer style I am going ignore all the red and look at the white, the key statement here being;

“Can’t init SimpleOpenNI, maybe the camera is not connected!”

The camera is clearly connected!! A Mac Book Air worth almost a thousand pounds comes with an inboard webcam, it might as well come with a kettle and Twinnings breakfast tea for that price and it’s telling me the camera isn’t connected…I need to find out the problem. Be right back.

Later on….

So it’s as I thought, I 100% need a Kinetic Camera.

comics-extralife-kinect-xbox-one-716039The Kinetic camera already has the preferences installed to work the files, hence it being created for Microsoft it’s code is already created to notice people in the room so they can interact with games. Even this being so I tried to channel the source to the webcam I rented from the University and also the Mac cam. Speaking to a couple of people on my course I thought this would be quite simple;

Adding the my void Draw sections;

cam = newCapture(this,320,240,"FaceTime HD Camera", 30);

I thought this would work, but another error appeared explaining that there is no such thing as “cam”. Reading this now you may be thinking to yourself that it’s incredibly obvious that I cannot fix this problem, which I do know now, but I kept on trying to find another way around it.

Looking at the “GettingStartedCapture” CV offer as a basic to learn how a Webcam works on Processing, code below

import processing.video.*;

Capture cam;

void setup() {
size(640, 480);

String[] cameras = Capture.list();

if (cameras == null) {
println("Failed to retrieve the list of available cameras, will try the default...");
cam = new Capture(this, 640, 480);
} if (cameras.length == 0) {
println("There are no cameras available for capture.");
} else {
println("Available cameras:");
for (int i = 0; i < cameras.length; i++) {

// The camera can be initialized directly using an element
// from the array returned by list():
cam = new Capture(this, cameras[0]);
// Or, the settings can be defined based on the text in the list
//cam = new Capture(this, 640, 480, "Built-in iSight", 30);

// Start capturing the images from the camera

void draw() {
if (cam.available() == true) {
image(cam, 0, 0);
// The following does the same as the above image() line, but
// is faster when just drawing the image without any additional
// resizing, transformations, or tint.
//set(0, 0, cam);

I thought by copying a pasting this code into my first file and deleting the repetitive factors it would solve the problem and again I was wrong, but the camera would activate for a split second and then deactivate. This was starting to get annoying….So I went for a chat with a couple of my course mates, it was mentioned that I could try and do this without the Kinetic Camera, but it would involve telling the code to ignore density and go straight for motion, I could imagine how I would do this.

Just for experimenting I was wasting too much time on this particular code, so time to get on to other things.

Going with the Flow

Back to my days of college it was 100% coursework produced in a sketch book and I always used to start each brief with a flow chart, so here we go, a blast from the past.

My main objective here is to think of every angle which needs to be covered in the Analyse stage of this project.

Particle Systems; where did they come from?

Focusing more on why the idea of Particle Systems came to me rather than where the actually thing originated from, you can search that on Google

Why Particle Systems?

When the sun is shining through a window through a specific beam you can see the dust particles in the air, this is something I have been bought up with at my parents place and I never really noticed the beauty of it. Until my friend Lawrence was explained his thoughts on it, him showing me that the slightest movement from any part of the room caused a reaction in the dust particles. This related back to the echo I believe is cause by every motion of man and women in the world. Leading me to want to investigate into Particle systems.

Where could this go?

More to ‘Where do I want this to go?’, there are of course many options here and the possibilities are endless. To get me started I’m going to draw up some concept ideas and go from there.


These next steps require individual Analysis 

What inspires me?

Particle Systems of course, but this is where it has all come from –v–

Identify some problems I could encounter?

Something other than Particle Systems?


Flow Chart of Thought Track  ^