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November 11, 2014 AT 1:00 pm

This is how we disappear: a dance performance with projected graphics from Kinect #ArtTuesday

Via DorkbotPDX.

Effects for the first set of performances:

  • A forest of trees created from a drawings by David Stein.
  • Particle effects that mimiced the dancers movement.
  • Particle effects that just fly across the screen

In order to accomplish this, I wrote a piece of software that would do the animation and handle tracking the dancers. There were two versions, the first version was used to perform a few times. Notably Dance+ in 2012 and as part of Experimental Half Hour XXXVII. It consisted of the following pieces:

  • Cinder, used as a framework
  • Freenect, used to interface to the Microsoft Kinect.
  • Control, used to control the software from an iPad

This version worked ok. Before I started using Control, I had been triggering all of the sequences with keyboard commands. It worked fine, but I had to have a cheatsheet that told me what keys did what. Also, each command just mutated the state of the program, so if you triggered things in a different order you’d end up in different states. This made some rehersals hard, because it was difficult to return the graphics to a previous state. However, with Control, it became easier to use the software. bobbevy performed in Milwaukee without me and was able to use the software just fine! For Dance+ the Kinect refused to work in the studio, I think because the temperature in the room was so high. So I ended up “drawing” the dancers with a multi-touch interface in Control.

For the particle effects that followed the dancers, I ended up using blob tracking and distingugishing blobs based on distance away from the Kinect. I liked the stateless design because the dancers would move in and out of view of the Kinect and I feel that keeping track of them properly would have been a nightmare. This created some surprising benefits though. The swarms move between the dancer when their relationship to the Kinect changes and it created some really nice animations. Also, this piece has a lot of tension between the dancers and the particles ended up expressing some tension when the dancers were about the same distance away from the Kinect.

Read more.


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