Capstone Announcement 2013 heaThe 2013 New Media Night opens tonight from 6-8pm at the University of Maine to celebrate the unveiling of a new center for whiz-bang art and innovation.

Funded by a $3.9M bond in 2009, IMRC (pronounced “immerse”) is chock full of cutting-edge toys, from 3d printers and laser engravers to 360-degree projections and moveable walls.

This opening show is the 8th annual New Media Night, where our best students exhibit their visions of the future. This year’s crop ranges from walk-in immersive videogames to autonomous shadows to social networks for gardeners and boulder climbers.

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Art History Textbook no PicturesAs reported in numerous outlets today, publishers at the Ontario College of Art and Design realized their art history book would have cost $800 if they secured the rights to every image. So they chose the nuclear option, replacing each illustration with a white square and instructions to look the photos up online.

Not to worry! This approach should work fine for artworks like Kasimir Malevich’s White On White, or Robert Rauschenberg’s White Paintings or Erased De Kooning Drawing.

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3d Printed gunA rundown of stuff you can now make with 3d printers includes eagle’s beaks (there’s an eagle wearing one now), Escher buildings, the world’s fastest shoe, iPhone cases, and yes, pistols.

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Luxo LogoThe world’s most innovative animation and game companies have just put their video software in your hands.

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Recruit Talent illNow that one of the world’s foremost authorities on economic development declares capitalism “superseded by creativity and the ability to innovate,” it’s a good time for designers to find work. Here are some recommendations for getting seen and getting paid.

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India taj MahalCall centers? Check. Custom software? Check. Music videos? Yes, now creative work can be outsourced to Bangalore.

Does this threaten the livelihood of North American artists, or just give them more options to choose from?

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Whiteonwhite 2 smaBored of the same old movies and TV shows? Flicks programmed by computers are making a debut at prestigious venues like the Sundance film festival, while TV watchers and video artists are turning to unusual processes for making decisions. Can creative formulas make video less, well, formulaic?

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Based on an assignment for a class in variable media. Rory McGuire’s to blame for inspiring me to waste 30 perfectly good minutes of my life.

If you have no idea what this is, try these links entries on the pepper spray and Han Shot First memes.

Hollywood’s resort to draconian tactics like SOPA may have cost them the moral high ground.

Venture capitalist Paul Graham is already looking to fund Hollywood’s successors.

Hollywood appears to have peaked. If it were an ordinary industry (film cameras, say, or typewriters), it could look forward to a couple decades of peaceful decline. But this is not an ordinary industry. The people who run it are so mean and so politically connected that they could do a lot of damage to civil liberties and the world economy on the way down. It would therefore be a good thing if competitors hastened their demise.

That’s one reason we want to fund startups that will compete with movies and TV….

http://ycombinator.com/rfs9.html

Fortunately those successors can take advantage of technical infrastructure like the Cloud, as the chief creative officer of a small digital arts company attests.

After turning to Amazon’s Elastic Cloud Computing service for the first time to finish animation under tight deadline, [John McNeil] was impressed by how it would let him compete with bigger studios. He said, ‘Cloud computing is the first truly democratic, accessible technology that potentially gives everyone a supercomputer…it’s a game changer. I could never compete or be able to deliver something at the level of a Pixar or a Disney, given what I have at my disposal inside the walls of the studio,’ McNeil said. ‘But if I factor in the cloud, all of a sudden I can go there. And then the limitations of whether or not I can deliver something great will be on my own talent and the talent of the people that are part of the studio.’”

Meanwhile, an admission from the horse’s mouth: the movie industry’s real worry is not piracy but the loss of control.

“Miramax CEO Mike Lang has admitted to what we all suspected. The biggest worry is a distribution monopoly, not piracy. They saw what happened to the music industry with iTunes, and vowed to not lose control and be at the mercy of Apple or whoever becomes the dominant distributor. From the article: ‘Lang, whose company today debuts the Blu-Ray version of the cult classic Pulp Fiction, emphasized that people don’t necessarily want to pirate, as long as they get what they want. “Innovate or die,” should be the motive of entertainment industry companies, where it’s key to listen to customers.’”

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/10/07/0032233/Movie-Industry-Loss-of-Control-Worse-Than-Piracy.

Gabe Newell, chief of the company that brought you Half Life and Portal (and former classmate of mine, hi Gabe!), finds a comparable misunderstanding in gaming:

“In general, we [at Valve] think there is a fundamental misconception about piracy. Piracy is almost always a service problem and not a pricing problem. For example, if a pirate offers a product anywhere in the world, 24 x 7, purchasable from the convenience of your personal computer, and the legal provider says the product is region-locked, will come to your country 3 months after the U.S. release, and can only be purchased at a brick and mortar store, then the pirate’s service is more valuable. Most DRM solutions diminish the value of the product by either directly restricting a customers use or by creating uncertainty.”

http://games.slashdot.org/story/11/11/25/2217247/valves-gabe-newell-on-piracy-its-not-a-pricing-problem

One game company is taking control of this…loss of control?

“Indie game company tinyBuild Games, who released a platformer called No Time To Explain recently, uploaded their own game to the Pirate Bay. However, there’s a key difference between the game they uploaded and the version you can purchase: the game characters wear pirate hats, and everything else has a pirate theme. One of the company’s founders, Alex Nichiporchik, said, ‘[S]ome people are going to torrent it either way, we might as well make something funny out of it. … You can’t really stop piracy, all you can do is make it work for you and/or provide something that people actually want to pay for. For us this is humor, we like making people laugh.’”

http://games.slashdot.org/story/11/09/14/0517245/Indie-Devs-Upload-Their-Own-Game-To-The-Pirate-Bay

Windstalk 825x 525New Media alumnus Rob Hussey points to this story about a proposal to tap the wind’s energy with “windstalks” rather than windmills. The idea is to harness the ability of a column made of piezoelectric material to convert the stress of bending with the wind into fossil-free electricity. Unlike a battery of conventional wind turbines, this artificial prairie would produce no friction and minimal noise. And look a mite prettier than a giant metal turbine.

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Have you recorded a podcast, or written songs? These internships may be for you.

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20111230-223938.jpgOnce upon a time, sculpting in a 3d modeling program felt more like playing with an Etch-a-Sketch or Playdoh Fun Factory than modeling real clay. Now Chameleon and its haptic arm put let you get a grip on your virtual object.

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Snap a photo of that Andy Warhol print, and your phone tells you what similar artworks lie in your price range. Tech startup Art.sy is hoping their recommendation system will make the art market more accessible to normal mortals–or at least make them a bunch of money in commissioned sales.

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Wired showcases some stop-motion shorts that break the rules, including Filmmaker Tomas Mankovsky’s “Sorry I’m Late,” which plays with uses a camera on the ceiling pointed at the floor to weave objects near and far into a rambunctious narrative.

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Lay down some trippy tunes with a $1 Moog while the offer lasts. Plus, Sim City meets music looper in the addictive Isle of Tune.

This vintage-looking virtual instrument resembles Zoran Djuranovic’s New Media capstone from last year.

The Animoog takes the familiar, spaced-out sound profile Moog is famous for and warps it, using the iPad’s multi-touch interface and some very cool animated visualizations to create a unique instrument. It’s simple enough for anyone to play, but also deep enough to encourage extended experimentation. On top of that accomplishment, the Animoog is just about the trippiest sound-thing available for the iPad.

The app debuts in the App Store this week for an introductory price of $1. After a short while, it will go up to $30. If you’re at all interested in making music on your iPad, you should download this and start playing with it….

The musical instruments company, founded by electronics pioneer Bob Moog in the 1950s, makes keyboards that sell for thousands of dollars and are used in studios and on stages by the biggest names in rock and pop. Radiohead, Rush, Air, Stevie Wonder — they’re all Moog devotees.

http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/sRCqMKQKiYE/

Back in the 1990s there was a grid-based looper called Absolut DJ. Musicians like DJ Spooky would add arrows and other symbols to the matrix, steering the music around like virtual traffic cops. That site is long gone, but this sounds like a worthy successor.

We haven’t seen anything remotely like Isle of Tune for iPad, which was released Friday, with the exception of the web-based Isle of Tune, which impressed us late last year with its utterly unique approach to songsmithery.

Both apps let you draw roads, populate them with houses and trees to indicate beats and notes, and then activate the whole thing with cars that drive down the streets in predictable patterns, “playing” each thing they drive past.

http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/0aCzKJ7PAcg/

And speaking of New Media capstones, this throwable camera is reminiscent of Jesse Melanson’s Club Ball capstone.

Jonas Pfeil, a student from the Technical University of Berlin, has created a rugged, grapefruit-sized ball that has 36 fixed-focus, 2-megapixel digital camera sensors built in. The user simply throws the ball into the air and photos are simultaneously taken with all 36 cameras to create a full, spherical panorama of the surrounding scene. The ball itself is made with a 3D printer, and the innards (which includes 36 STM VS6724 CMOS camera sensors, an accelerometer, and two microcontrollers to control the cameras) are adequately padded, so presumably it doesn’t matter if you’re bad at throwing and catching.

http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/11/10/14/1840224/throwable-36-camera-ball-takes-spherical-panoramas

Pocos Blue medRichard Rinehart, co-author with Still Water’s Jon Ippolito of the forthcoming MIT book New Media and Social Memory, presents conclusions from the book at the POCOS/HATII symposium on Software Art in Glasgow on 11 October.

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Demonstrating the power of many-to-many image- and sound-making, artist Aaron Koblin and his collaborators stitch compelling interfaces from huge data sets. Watch Koblin transform airline flight data into global travel patterns, frame-by-frame drawings into an animated tribute to Johnny Cash, and Google Street View into an Arcade Fire video personalized for each listener.


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The Bieber Shaver is only one of the works by the artist-hackers of F.A.T. Lab, which also include a fake Google Street Views car and the QR Stenciler mentioned previously on NMDnet.

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Just because your phone captures video doesn’t make you Steven Spielberg. Wired offers a few pointers on how to shoot videos that don’t suck.

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A bunch of anarchist hackers, the Graffiti Research Lab, and an entrepreneur named Mick Ebeling hack together an eye-tracking device that enables a paralyzed former graffiti artist to draw on the parking lot outside his hospital window.

The nerve disease ALS left graffiti artist TEMPT paralyzed from head to toe, forced to communicate blink by blink. In a remarkable talk at TEDActive, entrepreneur Mick Ebeling shares how he and a team of collaborators built an open-source invention that gave the artist — and gives others in his circumstance — the means to make art again.

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