New Fugio Editor Features

Screenshot 2016-02-06 07.39.27

Several new features have been added to Fugio in the past week while enjoying a bit of Californian winter sunshine!

  • Editor zooming – and general trackpad navigation improvements
  • Node grouping – group nodes into nested groups making it much easier to understand the structure of complicated patches
  • Snippets – save a re-usable sub-set of nodes to a ‘snippet’ that can be drag and dropped into new patches
  • Rewrote the audio input node so it’s working well now with FFT analysis, etc
  • Finished off split/join framework where a pin that contains data such as a colour can be right clicked on and a menu of nodes appears to split the colour into RGBA or HSLA etc values

With these additions, I think I’m pretty happy with the level of functionality of the editor so next step is to go through the whole code base and get it ready for its public release.

Lua scripting support added to Fugio

Lua scripting inside Fugio

I’ve long been a fan of the Lua scripting language due its incredible speed and relative ease that it can be interfaced with a host application. In this screenshot we can see the new LuaNode that is reading a random number from an input pin, modifying that value and setting an output pin.

While this is a relatively pointless example considering the amazing range of things that could be achieved, it works very well and very quickly!

Scripting is an important feature of Fugio as not all stages of code translates well into nodes. For instance, performing simple maths on one or more values would result in having to use lots of nodes, to store values and apply each operation. With scripting we can pass values in, concisely manipulate these values, and output the values, all in one node.

I’ve implemented a basic but extensible way to pass other types of information to and from Lua, such as colours, vec3’s, etc, so there will be no need to split/join these datatypes into their basic components before passing them into/from the LuaNode.

Painting With Light – Winter Sale 40% off

6823616065_1988615d67_b

The winter nights are dark and long – perfect for doing some video mapping!

To help spread a little light, we’re having a weekend sale of the easy to use, yet powerful video mapping software Painting With Light.

From Friday, 15th January until Sunday, 17th January, PWL is available with a massive 40% discount at just £29.99

If you’ve been wanting to give video mapping a try, now is the time!

Photo by Modestas Jonauskas

Machine Learning

After a long ten weeks, I’ve finished the Stanford University online Machine Learning course! It’s been a solid, if mostly science/engineering orientated, introduction to designing and implementing the basic algorithms. While it usefully touched on several image processing applications (road driving, OCR, pedestrian/face recognition), in all cases there was (by necessity) a clear result that each application was trying to achieve.

See my shiny Machine Learning Coursera certificate

To apply ML in an art context, past the ‘deep dreaming‘ quirkiness (that successfully communicated something tangible about how such algorithms operate, although I wasn’t able to fully comprehend what it was doing until I’d learnt how to code such processes) is probably going to take me much longer to conceive as one must skirt the ‘what is the purpose of art’ type questions, which is probably not the kind of thing that can be usefully defined in the way that a ML algorithm could be devised for.

For instance, I’ve seen various projects that take visual styles from one artist (Van Gogh seems to be a favourite) and attempt to derive or apply them to new or other works by different artists. This kind of thing is certainly fun, but is shallow (aesthetically, if not technically) and quickly becomes repetitive.

However, I do think there is scope for application in highly personalised interactive artworks that will either provide a deeply transformative human experience, or possibly nothing at all, which might be the most one (as an artist) can hope to achieve anyway!

If anyone is interested in exploring/discussing ideas along these lines, then do drop me a message, or please share to people you know who might be involved in such things…

2015

2016 will shortly start rolling around the globe, so I wanted to quickly get in a last minute summation of what’s happened in 2015 and an update on what’s to look forward to on this site in the new year.

Firstly, I want to thank all of you for reading and subscribing to this site, and for using and buying my software over the years.  I very much appreciate the support and feedback, which encourages me to find new ways to create useful tools and features that open up new creative possibilities.

Painting With Light has had quite a few new features added to it over the year, including audio playback support, a built-in video sequencer, new layer blending modes, more advanced mapping controls, and layer masking.

Over the year, I used Painting With Light to create art installations, including a live video mapping performance at the inauguration of Serre Numérique in Valenciennes, France, and running workshops.

Fugio was announced, which is a project I’ve been working on for a couple of years that provides a high-level visual programming interface to low-level coding, including Oculus Rift support, DMX, OSC, and a powerful timeline system.

I’ve been using Fugio to create art installations, including a permanent interactive artwork at Eden Project in Cornwall, and a Virtual Reality experience at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London,

I initiated a Fugio beta testing program to get some feedback on the software before I attempt a public release.

What’s next?

Early 2016 is already shaping up to be rather busy, including workshops and talks on the west and east coasts of America, as well as many UK activities being finalised.

I’ve recently added (but not yet released) HAP video support to both Painting With Light and Fugio, allowing for playback of more HD video streams simultaneously, with synchronised audio.

There is also native support for high DPI screens in both applications, such as Retina displays on OS X.

There are also plans for a new mesh tool in Painting With Light to address situations that aren’t currently addressed with the existing tools.

I’ve got Fugio compiled and running on Raspberry Pi (although the OpenGL rendering is still giving me a few headaches), with the aim to be able to create live digital artworks that can be physically installed without leaving valuable computers around.

So, with so much talk about Fugio, the question that is most asked is regarding when it will be released.  To answer this clearly, we need a bit of context.

Hard Fail

I started Fugio as a timeline project to control PWL, and synchronise lighting and audio for a theatre performance back in 2014.  As the project developed I started to see great new creative opportunities with being able to finely control the timing of media playback coupled with live interaction.

Close to its initial release, I tore the whole thing apart and rebuilt it as a node based visual programming system so that I could reconfigure the components as needed.  This system now forms the core of my art projects.

Once I had amassed a certain level of functionality, I decided it was time to get some more eyes on the project and ran an open call for beta testers.  The feedback came in slowly and was pretty crushing.  As well as the expected level of early bugs, no one could see how to use it, it wasn’t clear to anyone what it was for, or what everything did.

In hindsight this was all very valuable, though I’ll admit after working on the project for over a year at that point, I felt like I’d just ploughed a lot of time and effort into a stupid failure.

It’s taken me a few months to recover and regroup from that experience.  I had a good amount of travelling to do in that time, and fortunately had the opportunity to sit on the hot sands of Laguna beach in California, stare out to the Pacific, and do some soul searching.

Guru Meditation

Where I got to, and the reason I can relate all this publicly, is that my priority and passion is making art.  Sometimes, when I get all caught up in the excitement of coding, I seem to forget this and seemingly form aspirations of running a company selling software.

As I mentioned earlier, I’m very thankful for the money that comes in via sales of Painting With Light and my plugins.  It really helps justify spending more time adding features and fixing bugs.  But turning it into a larger commercial organisation just isn’t where my heart lies.

With this new found clarity, I began to re-evaluate my original aims for Fugio and what I want from it.

While a full discussion of this subject would at least double the size of this already weighty post, the core decision came down to one of ‘when’, not ‘if’ to open source the project.

Open Source

I talked to a whole bunch of people about this including a kindly Mitch Altman who talked with me about it and ended with saying “go for it”.

I feel a heady mix of fear and excitement at the prospect of being on show that much, of releasing almost two years work into the public realm, of giving up the money I might have made by selling it, of no-one caring, of no-one understanding…

I choose to do this because I want to make the best art that I can make – the software is, and will always be, secondary to that.

So, this is how I greet 2016: with blood pumping from adrenaline, riding fast into the night with the headlights only illuminating the road a short way in front of me.

When, then?

I have one main feature to add, which is the ability to group nodes into components that will make organising, reusing, and handling large patches infinitely better, I’m aiming for a February/March release on GitHub.

I wish you all a very happy new year!

Painting With Light 1.5.1160 BETA

Painting-With-Light-1.5.1160

Following feedback from the Toy Hack Digital Metropolis workshop over the weekend, I’ve addressed a few requests and bugs:

  • NEW: Supports animated GIF’s!
  • FIX: Fixed video output bugs
  • FIX: Line Width wasn’t being enabled correctly
  • FIX: Issues where shape handles were difficult to grab have been fixed
  • FIX: Sometimes textures would appear in 3×3 mapping

Download Painting With Light 1.5.1160 for Windows

Download Painting With Light 1.5.1160 for OSX

If you have any suggestions, comments, or bug reports, either send them directly to me via the Contact Page or post them on the Facebook Page.

New Painting With Light installations

This weekend I set up a new Painting With Light audio/visual installation at Watermans Arts Centre in London using the new audio playback features in the 1.5 beta.

I also ran a workshop with Exploring Senses through a Brighton Digital Festival Education Award for thirty 13-19 year olds who hacked toys, built a cardboard city for them, created animations about them, and finally used Painting With Light to bring everything together into a digital metropolis!  And all in just 7 hours!

And finally, I was featured on BBC News 24 and BBC Global World News talking about the My Robot Companion art project that I’ve been working on in collaboration with Anna Dumitriu as part of my ongoing artist residency at the University of Hertfordshire.

Alex-May-BBC-News

Painting With Light 1.5.1145 BETA

PaintingWithLight.2015-09-16.10-27-41

What’s new in this version:

  • NEW: border_red.mp4 loop!
  • CHANGE: Sequencer always jumps to another clip on random (never loops)
  • CHANGE: Layer blending only occurs when there is some data in the new layer
  • CHANGE: New Image asks for confirmation if changes not saved
  • FIX: Slow video playback when using more than four textures
  • FIX: New Picture/Load wasn’t properly clearing Sequencer textures
  • FIX: Various minor Sequencer fixes

Download Painting With Light 1.5.1145 for Windows

Download Painting With Light 1.5.1145 for OSX

If you have any suggestions, comments, or bug reports, either send them directly to me via the Contact Page or post them on the Facebook Page.

Painting With Light 1.5.1128 BETA

Painting-With-Light-1.5.1128-OSX

What’s new in this version:

  • NEW: OSX version now up to date with all 1.5 beta changes
  • CHANGE: Layer blending is now compatible with OpenGL 2.1 (was 3.0 in 1.5.1110)
  • FIX: Textures don’t show fringing at edges now
  • FIX: Fixed recent mapping issues on all line tools
  • FIX: Fixed a crash in 1.5 when some videos looped
  • FIX: Fixed a crash on exit

Download Painting With Light 1.5.1128 for Windows

Download Painting With Light 1.5.1128 for OSX

If you have any suggestions, comments, or bug reports, either send them directly to me via the Contact Page or post them on the Facebook Page.

Painting With Light 1.5.1110 BETA – AUDIO!!!

Painting-With-Light-Audio-Plugin

The second 1.5 beta is now available for testing.  Only for Windows at the moment as I’ve just moved house and I forgot where I put the power lead for the Mac monitor…

This update features some very exciting new features and improvements to the editing environment:

  • NEW: Audio playback!
  • NEW: Layer mask editor!
  • NEW: Reworked layer blending with 24 new modes!
  • NEW: Drag textures and brushes onto shapes in the work area
  • NEW: Duplicate selected shape by pressing Ctrl+D
  • NEW: Delete selected shape by pressing Delete
  • NEW: Switch to and from edit mode by pressing Space
  • CHANGE: Spout 2.004
  • FIX: Fixed several media loading bugs

Download Painting With Light 1.5.1110 for Windows

If you have any suggestions, comments, or bug reports, either send them directly to me via the Contact Page or post them on the Facebook Page.