Augmented Reality

For Theory and Audience Analysis this week we explored augmented realities, their possible applications, and their likelihood of success. Our assignment was to attempt to create our own based on a tutorial. Here’s a screen shot of the tutorial itself working. 

From here we were given the task of changing the 3D model. After tinkering with adding the Golden Gate Bridge unsuccessfully a classmate and myself found another tutorial online. Through a process of trial and error we realized we could easily change the image placed on a 3D sphere to alter it in the rendering. I choose to make a rotating moon by finding a flat texture map of the moon. Below is the video of the AR working, the challenge that I am still having is uploading the flash file to the internet to allow others to use it.

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Interactive Game

For our second project in Producing Interactive Media we had to create an interactive game using what we have learned so far in the semester. I started with the idea of recreating the classic Snake, but met a lot of challenges in the coding for the game. So I decided that  I should instead focus on something I could execute successfully with good, clean design. I settled on the idea of an iSpy game. Currently the game only has two levels, which use the same background image. Ideally with more time and objects I could add a seemingly unlimited amount of levels using multiple images. The other thing I think I should employ was a classmates critique, that there are no instructions so there isn’t a real way to get across to the user that their are “lives” with the guesses. I think by adding that visually it would help with the gameplay. Also adding instructions might help significantly. So for now you can see the final (well not so much) product here.

Interactive Infographic Part Two

As a group project we had to create an interactive infographic in our Visual Aesthetics class. Our group was given the category of economic figures to choose from. We settled on a comparison of the Great Depression to the current Recession in the categories of unemployment  stock market collapses, and housing values. Our design goal was to create a contrast of new to old with the comparison of the data on each page. Check out the final version here.

I think the success of this project was the overall professional look of the work and the visualization of the unemployment rates in particular. I think there are a few design inconsistencies in the piece like color schemes matching and I also think that the housing page could use a bit more development. On the whole I think it shows progress and is successful at visualizing the data.

Visualization as an artform

I think there are a lot of takeaways from the video “Journalism in the Age of Data.” The biggest I found was that data visualization often allows users to find new trends and connections in both complicated and simple data because they are using their visual sense in a new and different way. I definitely found resonance in this statement because often it is hard to find meaning in numbers. Even those who understand the numbers and know they are powerful struggle getting that across. It seems that visualization allows the data to tell its story. Something I almost missed in the video was text on a slide in the background of one scene, “Visuals are cognitively efficient.” I think this is definitely the best summary of the the data visualization field. Looking at raw data takes a lot of human processing power, but when it is boiled down into a visualization it requires a lesser amount of processing. I think this also speaks to another point of the video in that visualizations successfulness is measured in two ways, their aesthetics and their ease of understanding or using the above terminology, their cognitive efficiency. The key to these two seems to be found in both pulling in the user/audience and engaging them.

This all being said, it is also clear that making this happen effectively is an artform in itself. Making the visualization aesthetically appealing, easy to understand, and narratively rich is the task, but giving equal execution to each is the challenge and where the artform is created. All of the designers in the video seemed to stress these three points and also that the current multimedia landscape is allowing the three to marry better, most notably through motion graphics rather than static visualizations. It will be interesting to watch and see where this industry goes and how data visualizations will be used in news stories and elsewhere around the web to effectively tell the story and create open understanding.

Lessig

There is a lot to be learned from Lessig’s perspective on the internet, how it should be controlled and how it can be harnessed. I think that Lessig brings up some great points about control in “Code” and what it might be able to do for freedom on the web, but in the same sense I think these controls really only impact freedom on the web itself, I would argue against Lessig in saying that controls would increase access. For those that already have an internet connection, yes this might be the case, but increasing these controls won’t increase the acces concretely, unless perhaps these controls also started regulating the companies that offer this service. Lessig is not really touching on this in his writing, but I think it is an important thing to talk about, what easier way to control the internet than to control the companies who provide its services. And in this way you might be able to increase equal access across the board.

In “Remix” Lessig is more so discussing economies and how the internet can affect them and perhaps create rich partnerships through hybrid economies, those in which a company profits, but does so utilizing a community; the key being collaborating with the community, not abusing them. I think his thoughts here are very interesting and if they can be accomplished successfully actually create rich economies because there is buy in across the board. In the same sense, these hybrids can also turn ugly, in reference to digital sharecropping. I think the key here is striking the balance between a companies self interests and profits and the community that they are working with. Also, if more companies could understand that often more profit comes with employing these techniques then perhaps we wouldn’t have such a cut throat economy as it is.

As I mentioned in class, someone that I think is doing this correctly is Imogen Heap. Her fourth album is built upon the foundations Lessig is talking about. Each song has had different ways for the community to be involved, but all have been successful at drawing in the community and making them feel a part of the process and in turn I think her fans are the most excited they have been about this album over any other. It is still to be seen the actual impact this process will have on her overall success as the album is not yet complete.

Framing Code

In the first pages of Code, Lessig writes, “Or again, code ‘determines which people can access which digital object.'” My question for Lessig would be is there more controlling access to the internet then “code”, what about the digital divide?