Gif art IRL and emergent behaviour

I was asked to create some GIFs for a new gorilla art project called The Hard G Project. The organizers gave me a couple of tablets to display the gifs on and I got to decide when, where, and how the art was hung. The idea was that we’d leave the tablets up, with my art animating, and they stay up until they are stolen or the batteries die.

I hung one of my pieces on Clarion Alley and stuck around to watch a few people interact with it. When I came back 4 or 5 hours later, I was surprised at what I found… the iPad had been switched to camera mode and a bunch of people took selfies from this odd little iPad hanging in an Alley.

That feeling when people like taking selfies more than they like your art. Sigh…

Hard G Project

Hard G Project

 

Platograph App for iOS

Platographs are a style of photo that appear to have constantly moving parts. Inspired by cinemagraphs, which are created by taking a video and masking certain parts to remain static, Platagraphs use software to create the illusion of motion from a static photograph. I first heard about Platographs a few years back, but the subscription based service was over $300 a year without any trial versions. Recently, Platograph released a Platograph app for iOS at a much more reasonable price, so I thought I’d finally try it out.

The app is similar to many other photography apps, where you pick a photo and draw a mask on it, then you drop tiny arrows to indicate which direction you’d like parts of the photo to move. The masked area will remain static, while the rest of the image appears to move. Drawing these masks was the most frustrating part of the process. The mask shows up as a grey, which is often hard to see on images of skies or fog. It’s also really hard to really get in tight with your mask because the image doesn’t zoom in enough. I was hoping this app would allow you draw near an object, then the software would autodetect edges to speed up the process, hopefully this will come later. There is also no way to soften the edges of your mask, so there are often very clear areas where the static image hits the moving sets. For skies, trees, or fog, it sure would be fun to have those animations blend into the static parts of an image.

After you preview your image, there are several options for exporting your video to Twitter, Instagram, or whatever. Unfortunately, there are no gif export options. So I exported each of these as the “platograph” setting, which is the shortest video export, then emailed them to my laptop. I saved them to my desktop, converted them in Gif Brewery 3, then compressed them in Compressor.io. That’s a ton of work, but a 1.5mg video quickly becomes a 8mg gif, which can often get trimmed back down to 2mgs with a good compressor. I sure wish that whole process was a little more streamlined.

After seeing a bunch of Platographs online this past year, I already had a pretty good idea for what kind of photos would work best with the effect. Waves, fog, skylines, and clouds are all good candidates, but you still want to avoid images that might be hard to mask out. There were quite a few photos I expected to love, that never really looked right with the effect. There are a few photos, however, that really came alive with Platograph. As far as my own style goes, I really enjoyed using the app in subtle ways, like on a small wisp of clouds through the eye of an ice cave. The effect isn’t always organic, so the more subtle the better.

Enough talking, here’s a bunch of beautiful gifs, all shot on an iPhone then processed with the Platograph app. Which ones are your favorites?






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An impromptu interview with John Law high atop the Oakland Tribune Tower

John Law is an interesting dude with one of the most interesting office spaces in the Bay Area. Though known mainly for his work with The Cacophony Society, Burning Man, and SantaCon, John has had a long career as a neon sign technician. His sign work includes regular clients like the Ferry Building, Hill Bros Coffee, and The Tribune Tower.

I visited John’s office high atop the Tribune Tower and shot a short interview with him about his love of the Tribune Tower and how his neon sign work led to him getting an unusual office at the very top of the building.

 

Benny Gold’s Cracked iPhone Wallpaper

Benny Bent Phone

When Christine cracked her Android screen last year, I took some shots and turned them into a fantastic wallpaper (which you can download here free). So when my buddy Benny Gold showed me his cracked iPhone screen, I snapped some quick shots to do it all again. You can download the large version of this wallpaper here, and it should be usable for most mobile devices.

If there are any specific requests, leave them in the comments below and I’ll try to hook you up. Bonus points if you research the dimensions in advance, so I don’t have to. ie “iPhone 7+ (1080pxl x 1920pxl)

Benny's broken phone