Category Archives: Enormousness

A great digital imaging project honors the fallen

Photographer Peter Krogh (author of the excellent The DAM Book, the Rapid Fixer extension for Bridge, and more) recently completed an ambitious & enormous digital imaging project: photographing all 58,256 names listed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, enabling the creation of an interactive online version of the wall.  By stitching together some 1,494 digital images into a 400,000 pixel by 12,500 pixel monster, Peter & colleague Darren Higgins were able to help create a Flash-based presentation that enables you to search for names, read servicemen’s details, and add notes and photos to the wall.

The presentation site features some behind-the-scenes production info, but figuring there was more to the story, I asked Peter for details.  He kindly provided them in this article’s extended entry.  Read on for more.

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Gigapixel panos through Flash

GigaPan.org is "sort of a Flickr for zoomable panoramas," notes Photoshop engineer (and Photomerge creator) John Peterson. The site makes it possible to upload & browse gigapixel-sized images, then navigate through them via a Flash interface.  Here’s a shot of Adobe HQ, taken from nearby Caesar Chavez park* in downtown San José.  (Bustling, isn’t it? ;-))  The site is labeled "beta," and the viewer currently leaves much to be desired (quit squirming around, dammit!), but it’s a very cool project nonetheless. [Via]

For more in this vein, see previous: Colossal images through Photoshop & Flash; 13 gigapixels or bust; 3.8 Gigapixels of Half Dome.

* I’m sure I walk by it all the time, but until seeing this image I never noticed the deeply gross sign in the park.  Click the second of the two snapshots below the Adobe pano to read it.  I’ll never think of the fountain in quite the same way.

13 gigapixels or bust; sketchy photogs; more

  • In Spectacle, photographers David Rockwell & Bruce Mau "celebrate the phenomenon and history of communal, awe-inspiring public performance worldwide–from the stadium to the streets, from religious festivals to political marches."  Dig the really well-chosen type treatments as well. [Via]
  • For a different kind of spectacle, see Harlem in 13 Gigapixels. Photographer Gerard Maynard & software developer Alexandre Jenny have teamed up to create a massive image of the famous New York neighborhood.  With results spanning 279,689 x 46,901 pixels, the project’s raw numbers
    are pretty eye-popping:

    • 2,045 individual photos from a Nikon D2X
    • 21.49 GB of compressed raw data
    • 1 day for image placement and color correction
    • 46 hours of rendering on an 8-core Xeon system with 8GB of RAM
    • Results: A single 48.8 GB image stored in the Photoshop Large Document format (.PSB), converted via Zoomify & displayed through the Flash Player.
      [Via Maria Brenny]  (If this is up your alley, see previous.)
  • Ah, the 1950’s, when you had to be the lookout for "corn-fed belles" hanging out of trees along the road, ready to disrobe in your U-Haul trailer.  At least that’s the world conjured up by the (more than a little creepy) Glamour Photography magazine–one "designed to give the camera man a better understanding of the technical and philosophical aspects of photographing pretty girls."  Philosophy–yes, that’s it. [Via]
  • Elsewhere in history, here are 50 years of a woman’s life, as told by photos bought at a garage sale.  Note to self: Keep trying not to get old.
  • Clayton James Cubitt shares portraits of Hurricane Katrina survivors.  (I’m a big fan of Flash galleries in general, but in this case I think the jerky transitions distract from the subject matter.) [Via]

More gigantic typography

  • 6,272 Post-It notes form a giant, editable "TO DO" on windows in Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood.  Passersby are invited to jot their own to-do lists on the notes.  I love it.  (Consider this "Solve Gordian knot of ever-increasing power & complexity in Photoshop; also buy new shoelaces," written in absentia.)   More photos of the work are on Flickr.
  • In her Type the Sky project, Lisa Reinermann captures buildings that form letters against the sky, creating a photographic font.  [Via]
  • For more big letters, see previous type entries filed under Enormousness.

This font goes to 10,116pt.

  • The designers at Pentagram talk about how they created a giant NY Times logo (10,116-point Fraktur) for the publisher’s new headquarters.  Interestingly, each letter is comprised of numerous small, three-dimensional “beaks” that enhance the sign’s visibility from the street.  [Via]
  • How about lettering via “military-like technology for criminal mischief”?  We Make Money Not Art hosts an interview with the Institute for Applied Autonomy.  Their Streetwriter is a giant printer disguised as a cargo van, while GraffitiWriter offers radio-controlled pranking:

    “Studies have shown that in nearly 100% of the cases, a given agent of the public will willing participate in high profile acts of vandalism, given the opportunity to do so via mediated tele-robotic technology.”

  • From the Ministry of Silly Type Tricks: Flip text using Unicode. [Via]
  • Graffiti artist “Eine” has painted a set of very cool East End Shopfront Letters. They can be assembled into words via this little app. [Via]

[Update: In response to Ramón Castañeda’s comment below, Thomas Phinney replies, "Ramón is right. Fraktur typefaces usually have a forked top to the ascenders (h, k, etc.), more curves in the lowercase (less rigidly hexagonal shapes than Textura), and all (not just some) of the caps will have curvy or squiggly shapes replacing vertical lines.  This page even shows the NYT logo among the Textura samples, an unexpected bonus).  Not that I think this is a big deal, by the way. If the worst typographic errors we have to worry about were people confusing different styles of blackletter, we’d be in pretty good shape. :)"]

 

My screen can beat up your screen

The CineMassive MasterPlex 21T (<–double intercaps = double the power) offers flat-screen madness: a 21" LCD center with five 17" arrayed around the sides.  That works out to a cool 8,473,600 pixels for $3,299.  Is it just me, or does it seem like the 20" Apple Cinema Display was just introduced* for $3,999?  [Via John Agger]

I have a soft spot for this stuff, maybe, as I haul around my second 17" Mac portable. (I’m much happier now that I have a bag that doesn’t feel like it’s cutting my shoulder with piano wire.)  Of course, it’s always theoretically possible to carry around an even bigger screen… [Via]

Marginally related: I enjoyed CNET’s story "You call that high-def?," listing some of the more tenuous (okay, entirely unwarranted) ways the "HD" moniker is being slapped onto various endeavors.  And with that, I’m off to pet my GatoHD’s high-def coat.

* 1999–for real? I am getting old.

The 66" negative

AutoWeek has the interesting story of how photographer Rick Graves uses a modified, motorized camera back which feeds a continuous roll of film past the shutter while it’s open, creating a very wide negative (like this one; scroll it to the right):

"Each image Graves makes is from one exposure on an entire roll of film, not a composite of several different images.

"’A number of people have tried to build this type of camera,’ Graves said, likening it to the finish-line cameras used at horse races. ‘But the difference with my camera is that I have 66 inches of movement [of the film] in one second. The film is moving relative to the moving subject. I developed this camera as a better way to capture motion.’

"The secret to the system is not the camera itself—a standard 500 Series Hasselblad—but in the film back, which contains a small motor and various electronics adapted from the robotics industry. This setup gives Graves control of how fast the film moves when he opens the shutter. If he gets it right, the film is moving at the same speed as the cars, allowing for a photo with dozens of speeding cars, all razor sharp."

NASCAR sells prints that are 4 inches tall by 8 feet long.  Check out many more examples (not all automotive) in the DistaVision portfolio. One slight bummer is that because of the ubiquity of Photoshop-edited composites in the world, a lot of viewers may think these works are simply digital collages. [Via Joe Ault]

On a related note, I happened across an article on slit-scan photography that features a rather trippy photo produced using related methods. [Via]

Laser graffitti + chrome spheres

File under Enormousness:

  • You’ve gotta love any ingredient list that includes the phrase, "1 60mW Green Laser (super illegal in a lot of places and very dangerous)."  And you’ve really gotta love what the Graffiti Research Lab does with theirs, lighting up a Rotterdam building with all kinds of hand-drawn art.  Big style points for the dripping paint effect!
  • I’ve always really liked mosaics and particle systems, and I used to browbeat a friend in Illustrator engineering to convert their mosaic filter to create symbols (good for turning artwork into particles that could be animated, kind of like these fish).  That hasn’t happened, but in the meantime I can enjoy Danny Rozin’s shiny balls mirror (see video).  Comprised of "921 hexagonal black-anodized aluminum tube extrusions, 921 chrome-plated plastic balls, and 819 motors," the system reflects the viewer twice: once in each ball, and once in the entire piece. [Via].
    See also his earlier wooden mirror (video).  And lastly, his Time Scan Mirror reminds me of the Scanner Photography Project (the site for which is now down, unfortunately).

[Update: Speaking of mosaics, how about a cereal Seinfeld? [Via]]

65MPx Mother of All Touchscreens

The folks at Virginia Tech’s GigaPixel Project have been busy, creating a 50-monitor display prototype.  Comprised of 21" flat-panel touchscreen monitors (the perfect complement to this stuff?), and driven by a cluster of 25 small PCs, the setup promises a resolution of at least 12,800×5120 (65,536,000 pixels).  To afford the sucker, you could do what David Pogue suggested for that 108" Sharp TV: build a new house with the display as one of the walls (waterproofing recommended).  They’ve also done what any good college students should, rigging up a 24-monitor display wall to play Quake.  [Via Jon Williams]

3.8 Gigapixels of Half Dome; Great Flash panoramas

The folks at FlashPanoramas.com sell a utility for displaying spherical panoramas via the Flash Player.  They’ve now updated their technology to take advantage of the new full-screen mode enabled in the latest rev of Player 9.  Check out some very cool examples, or get the tool for €39.95 from their site. [Via]

Elsewhere, Greg Downing & co. at xRez.com are working on Extreme Resolution panoramic image creation.  Check out this 3.8 gigapixel* spherical panorama of Half Dome, displayed via the Google Maps API. 
Although the subject is nearly a mile from the camera position, you can zoom in and see a climber on the face of Half Dome, as well as someone standing on the visor & and hikers along the Merced river in the valley below.
Wicked!  "By the way," Greg writes, "Photoshop large document format [PSB] was a lifesaver on this project!"

The xRez site shows off more examples and goes into plenty of technical geekery for those so inclined.  Greg’s own site offers other interesting bits on HDR panoramas, and this QuickTime slideshow nicely demonstrates how various elements of a scene can be displayed at different exposures.   (Aside: Is that thing a naval mine or an interrogation droid or…?)  A test render of 3D objects lit with an HDR lighting map shows the power of sampling this data from a scene, then feeding it into a 3D rendering package.

*According to Wikipedia, a single gigapixel contains 250 times the data captured by a 4MP sensor. (Of course, at any given moment Wikipedia might claim that I personally have invented over 350 uses for the peanut–but I think it can be trusted in this case.)