Monthly Archives: July 2018

Funky automated light-painting machine

Who doesn’t like a good Rube Goldberg contraption? Of his Josh Sheldon writes,

I made this robot to make light painting animations.

Each of the animations I made took between 4 and 12 hours to shoot, one frame at a time. Each frame is 1-3 long exposure photographs of the machine performing the light painting.

Check it out (and if you’re impatient like me, jump ahead ~3 minutes to start seeing the generated artwork):


[YouTube] [Via Marc Pawliger]

“This beautiful art installation looks like Photoshop. It’s not”

 What if your color palettes came alive, giant size & in 3D space? FastCo writes,

The installation is almost like three-dimensional graffiti. Set in the ruins of Les Baux, which date back to antiquity, the piece has a light footprint: The artists simply used metal rods to hang pieces of semitransparent textile patches of different sizes along the square. The resulting gradients of color are reminiscent of digital color palettes like RGB or CMYK.

See it in action:


VR creators: Apply for Google’s Creator Lab in London

Sounds pretty cool:

Today we’re announcing that VR Creator Lab is coming to London. Participants will receive between $30,000 and $40,000 USD in funding towards their VR project, attend a three day “boot camp” September 18-20, 2018, and receive three months of training from leading VR instructors and filmmakers.

Applications are open through 5pm British Summer Time on August 6, 2018. YouTube creators with a minimum of 10,000 subscribers and independent filmmakers are eligible.



Behind the scenes: How Assistant gets delightful

Every day some friends of mine toil (in the loosest sense of the word) to invest Google Assistant with personality that provides real moments of delight. David Pogue met with the team to find out how it works: 

“We actually have a team of writers from around the world to vet as much as we can the cultural appropriateness of the material that we put out,” Germick says. “Germans, we find, don’t particularly appreciate wordplay, in the pun sense. So our German writers need to work a different angle.” [Awkward!! —J.]

Fortunately for the Personality team, a principle they call “Fun in, fun out” is at play here. If you prefer an assistant without a helping of humor, you’ll never encounter it. If all you ever say to Assistant is “Set a timer for 15 minutes” and “Who was the third President?”, you won’t run into much of Assistant’s personality.


Amazing 240fps footage of a hummingbird… shot on an iPhone

Days of miracles & wonder, man. Jump ahead 30 seconds for the eye-popping stuff:

Per PetaPixel,

“I soon realized that the wide angle lens gives the iPhone and incredibly close focus point, allowing me to capture hard-to-pull-off wide-angle macro photos and videos,” Torres tells PetaPixel. “I set my iPhone to 240fps on 1080p (which my Canon 1DX Mark II can’t even handle), put on the wide angle lens, set it next to a hummingbird feeder in the cloud forests of Sumaco, and pressed record.”



Photography: Railroad men, young & old

Man, I sure love being a dad. Our resident railfan & little old man Henry (age 9) loves to get us out biking to watch the evening parade of trains (Cal, Amtrak, ACE, freight), and tonight we brought my drone. I’m fond of this shot, with accompaniment kindly provided by Eels:

And what can I say: our in-house editor (age 10) insisted on the closing title. 😌

And just for yuks, here’s the scene in 360º pano form:


Match your body pose to Hollywood imagery via Kinemetagraph

Apropos of Google’s Move Mirror project (mentioned last week), here’s a similar idea:

Kinemetagraph reflects the bodily movement of the visitor in real time with a matching pose from the history of Hollywood cinema. To achieve this, it correlates live motion capture data using Kinect-based “skeleton tracking” to an open-source computer vision research dataset of 20,000 Hollywood film stills with included character pose metadata for each image.

The notable thing, I think, is that what required a dedicated hardware sensor a couple of years ago can now be done plug-in-free using just a browser and webcam. Progress!


[Via Paul Chang]

Demo: Nikon’s 🦇💩 crazy ultra-zoom

The P1000 is off the chain. “It starts a little wider than your typical smartphone camera lens,” says PopPhoto, “and can zoom far enough that you can focus on objects that are literally miles away.” Nikon says, 

“We could in theory design the same spec lens for a DSLR, but it would be nearly impossible to create… [A] 3000mm lens with a maximum aperture of f/8 built for a DSLR sensor would need to have a front lens element with a diameter of about 360mm (more than 14 inches)!”

Witness the madness:

No, seriously, take it all in:


[YouTube 1 & 2]