Dusk – Construction (Part 2)

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Mapping the 3D shape of a rock in Blender

We’re now at the stage of trying to bring all the elements of the Dusk project together. Physical objects and software systems need to start playing nicely with each other to make this project work well, and so a lot of testing is needed. The tree and rock objects are now all but finished, allowing us to focus more on the interactive systems of Dusk.

Having a projector rigged above the work provided me with a means of tracing the contours of the rock objects into a 3D shape in Blender (pictured above). Similarly to a topographic map, I placed vertices upon the object in several rings, to try and create a simple representation in the computer. At this stage, there is no point in attempting an overly realistic representation in Blender, as it will only serve to gobble up computing power when the shapes are lit in Quartz Composer and Max/MSP.

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Eli, tree hugging

In combination with the projections on the floor, our tree structure (pictured above) will be lit from the inside with several small flood lights. Also controlled by the Max/MSP patch on my laptop, this tree will light up when the fireflies move ‘into’ the object.

Lukasz made the call on painting the floor white to bring the projection image out more brightly. Unfortunately, parts of the floor are covered in a thick grease (the warehouse used to be a mechanic shop) and we’ve run into problems with how to best attack the surface and make the paint stick. In spite of the oily floor, Lukasz took to the paint roller and we all crossed our fingers…

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Lukasz paints...

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...and paints

With half a painted surface, it’s easy to see how much better the projections appear, as shown in the video below. Eli spent some time being a guinea pig, whilst Lukasz adjusted the way his infrared camera tracks movement…

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Another couple of nights of testing lay ahead of us, with a completed paint job and the addition of sound and vision mixing still to come.

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