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End of life… Polaroid February 14, 2008

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Polaroid GallerySo 1st quarter 2009 will be the end of an era in instant gratification photography (ala film)… Polaroid is discontinuing this remarkable little product and selling off the remaining inventory of film and cameras. Considering how bad their previous line of digital cameras are I am not sure why they thought it was a good idea to discontinue this niche product line completely and rely on digital cameras… However, consumers aren’t remaining silent – a Facebook group dubbed “Save the Polaroids” cropped up and it’s growing in number.

Hopefully someone will pick up the instant film license and reinvigorate this great film medium for future designers and photographers. Who hasn’t taken a shot and peeled back the film to transfer the image to something else!? With luck excess inventory might still be available from niche producers … similar to how Gocco was handed off after the parent company discontinued that series of personal screenprinters.

Fear not nostalgia buff… If you’re interested integrating Polaroid images in your digital world there is a host of flickr, wordpress and flash resources available. For a great example of open source flash Polaroid gallery (creative commons license) check out Polaroid Gallery v.1.0.1 from Norwegian designer Christopher Einarsrud.

PC World’s look at many of the great Polaroid commercials over the years.

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Vuvox, Flash presentations on-the-fly July 12, 2007

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Vuvox 02VUVOX is a step up from YouTube but not quite the same this semi-Web2.0, meida-rich, application service provides an alternative viewing experience to the standard image/photo gallery or animation/video amalgamation.

It is in semi-Beta and endeavors to be an easy-to-use, online and mobile media-creation service that enables consumers to capture, produce and instantly share their life experiences. VUVOX currently pulls in personal media from an online site, PC or camera phone and automatically streamlines production using contextual story suggestions.

Taking canned Flash presentation applets and slideshow applets Vuvox can integrate your images into a media showcase – without the 100’s of lines of actionscript code or hours of tween-tweaking. In addition to saving, storing, tagging and distributing your work you get simple html snippets to put your creations into your website/blog or integrated into your Facebook page.

Vuvox 01

Blend your photos from Facebook, Flickr, Picasa or any RSS feed into rich interactive presentations, creating feeds of life experiences that you and your friends can share, directly from your Facebook profile. Connect to Facebook photo albums and present them as rich presentations. Syndicate ‘Live’ feeds of media you can share on your profile and across your network of friends. Customize your own styles and personalize in endless configurations.

Vuvox has some standard visual Web2.0 elements. There are a few presentation formats that look very similar to the applets used at Flash Airtight Interactive (Flash Postcard Viewer), Bill Harvey Music and BBDO. Vuvox has essentially taken some of the more innovative Flash photo viewers on the market, replicated them, tied them to a giant database, integrated it into a social network and made them easily accesible to everyone… Some examples beyond the classic pan left/pan right photo gallery include 3D space zooms/rotations, image tree w/random growth and polaroidlike embedded image/videos.

Seadragon and Photosynth July 11, 2007

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A brief (pseudo) example was shown during Apple Worldwide Developers Conference of this method of viewing large datasets of images and content. Apple’s demo used images of DVD movies on a large wall (Finder/Cover Flow). This takes it to a whole other level with an extremely fast and jaw-dropping example of multimedia innovation this time from Microsoft. This system takes advantage of the collective work of users on the web, uploaded content and tagged information. We developed a similar concept using Flash actionscript and flickr for use in an online portfolio/image gallery applications and 3D spaces; however, it was nowhere near the speed of Photosynth.

TED Seadragon

Using photos of oft-snapped subjects (like Notre Dame) scraped from around the Web, Photosynth (based on Seadragon technology) creates breathtaking multidimensional spaces with zoom and navigation features that outstrip all expectations. Curious about that speck in corner? Dive into a freefall and watch as the speck becomes a gargoyle. With an unpleasant grimace. And an ant-sized chip in its lower left molar.

View the TED Photosynth Demo

Testdrive the Photosynth Technology
(Windows XP SP2 and Vista Only)

(Business Card) Flipbooks June 28, 2007

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Business Card Composer

While putting together a workshop for the World Children’s Festival we were looking for a good way to print out animated flipbooks. Must to our dismay we could only find a few solutions that would fit our needs.

There are a couple that work on the PC side, taking in bmps/jpgs or turning .avi files into flipbooks. Check out Flipbook Printer (via LifeHacker) for a good example.However we were looking for one that would work on the Mac platform… Moxie puts out a bit of software called FlipBook for Macintosh that could have fit however we didn’t want to work with a classic install of Mac OS 9.

We found a great solution in Business Card Composer… BusinessCard Composer allows any designer to create their own business cards. It taps into a folder of images, offers users a trial run (we wanted guests at the Festival to be able to easily replicate this at home) and prints to a variety of formats.iPhoto

Business Card Composer has a great feature that allows you to sync with an album in iPhoto and it will bring in all the photos in alphabetical/numerical order onto your printed sheet.

Just drag any image onto the business card stage and size it to the area you want. Make sure you have selected the image and choose the Image tab in the Inspector Palette (Under the Window dropdown, command+shift+i). At the very bottom of the Image Pallete is a checkbox “Merge Image”. Select this option and then select iPhoto… this should bring up iPhoto and allow you to choose which album you want to use. Just make sure you have a bunch of your images in that album. For our flipbooks we had our snapshot images from our animations numbered in sequential order and imported into the album in iPhoto. In Business Card Composer we put in a text field in the lower right that did an automatic count so if we were to mix up our Flipbook while printing and cutting it would be easy to put them back in order again.

iPhoto Merge

Check out our Flipbook example we printed up for people to look at the Festival – Sheep Flipbook, Flying Pigs Flipbook.

In short time, this software can do double duty for any freelance designer – business cards and Flipbooks. It shouldn’t be too difficult to queue up your favorite photos, output a stream of JPGs from a Quicktime animated short and create your own limited edition run of Flipbooks. If you want, you can even make your own set of Flickr MOO cards at home for your friends and family.

Other resources for Flipbooks:

27th Annual College Photography Contest September 25, 2006

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NikonSponsored by Nikon & Photographer’s Forum Magazine
$4,200 in Cash Grants
— Plus 2 Nikon D70s (or equivalent) Systems Awarded!

Winning Photos will be published in the May 2007 issue of Photographer’s Forum Magazine.  All contest finalists will be published in The Best of College Photography Annual 2007.

Early Entry Deadline: October 16, 2006
Final Entry Deadline: November 14, 2006
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For more information head over to Serbin’ Communications’ Forum.

Undergraduate Research Symposium August 3, 2006

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Thursday, August 3, 2006
McKimmon Center, Raleigh, NC

Processing ResearchStudents from the NSF funded DesignTech Research Team attended the 5th Annual NC State Undergraduate Research Summer Symposium. Along with 192 other undergraduate and graduate summer research students, DesignTech displayed their findings and interactive applications for final review and judging.DesignTech is headed by Pat FitzGerald (Art+Design) and Ben Watson (Computer Science) and the Summer 2006 participants included: Angela Levesque, Michelle Mohr, Michael Crenshaw, Larry Horne and Samantha Bens.

The Advanced Media Lab hosted their summer research which was centered around dynamic content available through RSS and XML feeds found on websites like Flickr, Craigslist.org, Friendster, MySpace, CNN, Amazon.com and Google. Using a software program called Processing, based on java, they were able to create virtual workspaces that ‘consumed’ the dynamic data and displaye the information in animated 3D and 2D layers.

Symposium pictures and information is available at the Division of Undergraduate Academic Programs website here…

O’Reilly Digital Media 2006 Photoshop Cook-Off July 11, 2006

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2006 Photoshop Cook-Off

The 2006 Photoshop Cook-Off ” contest is open all summer.

This contest is open to anyone and everyone in the United States who shoots photographs and manipulates them with Photoshop. Not only can you win Adobe Creative Suite 2, an Epson Stylus Photo printer, and other cool prizes, but you’ll also quickly expand your knowledge of Photoshop with easy-to-follow recipes from the O’Reilly Photoshop Cookbooks.

Bonus: NO ENTRY FEE. Entries will be judged by eighteen Photoshop experts, including Mikkel Aaland, Bert Monroy, Deke McClelland, and Katrin Eismann, among others.

The deadline for submissions is August 15, 2006. Winners will be nnounced at PhotoPlus Expo in New York on November 2, 2006.

More information can be found here:
http://digitalmedia.oreilly.com/contest/

PDF brochure can be downloaded here:
http://ug.oreilly.com/banners/creativemedia/cookoff_flyer.pdf

NC State Photo Contest June 21, 2006

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NC STATE IS BEING TRANSFORMEDNCSU Calendar Photo Contest

NC State is being transformed by more than three-quarters of a billion dollars in renovation, construction and beautification projects, including new housing, classrooms, labs and courtyards.

To feature the transformation, we’re inviting you to submit your photos of the campus. The 12 best photos will be used for a commemorative calendar that will be available in the Technician and Bulletin in September.

Who May Enter
Any amateur or professional photographers over the age of 16 may enter photographs.

More information here:
http://www.ncsu.edu/facilities/publications/photographs/

flickrleech (because paging sucks) May 10, 2006

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Pagination API ‘exploit’ to display and thumbnail flickr photos. This is not an Interestingness only tool. While Interestingness is one function of the Flickr API exploited by this tool, do not assume that searches on a username will pull up their Interesting photos – it pulls up ALL of that user’s photos. All other queries or searches will presently return the first 200 (and only the first 200) images. It will pull all 500 Interestingness images for a given date. It pulls PUBLIC photos from Flickr’s streams through calls to the Flickr API.
http://www.houserdesign.com/flickr/

Artist’s Obscurity August 11, 2004

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Artist’s Obscurit

My father recently dropped off an etching from Paris Etching Society that he picked up at an estate auction. He wanted to see if I could dig up more information about this etching online. I figured I could “google” the painter and get something – no luck at all… it appears this painter never did another painting/etching again and Paris Etching Society brings up too many random/old links. I’m still hunting though.Paris Etching Society

Anyways, It’s an interesting etching by Louis Raymond.
Titled: “The Pond”, Number 114, No date is given but from what I gather most of these were done in the late 30’s, Paris Etching Society NY, USA, Distributed by Turner (NY, Chicago, LA).

The Pond

The etching is pretty similar to others done by PES, it contains mostly hues of greens, browns and blues… a small dirt path, lined with trees on the right with a small pond to the lower right – just to the side of the trees. In the background is a nice backdrop of blue sky and white clouds and the roof of a house just over the hill. Just around the bend is a small picket fence.

It appears to be original work with original frame and backing. If you’re interested in a JPG snapshot drop me a line – if you have any more information on this etching or the painter send me a note…