3D-Con 2017

Last week I attended 3D-Con in Irvine. Besides the military grade conference badge holder (so many pockets!), registration loot included anaglyph and polarized glasses plus a pair of solar eclipse viewing glasses. I was pleased to learn how to make stereocards from David Kuntz and how to use PhotoStereo Maker from David Starkman, Steve Berezin and David Kuntz. There is a corresponding Android app called 3DSteroid. Lots of handy tools for creating and viewing 3D images. I also attended a workshop by Ted Whitten on converting 2D to 3D images as well as watched phantograms being made by Barry Rothstein.

There was a gallery that included an mural/installation by Debi Cable using chromadepth glasses. More about her work here. Also in the gallery space was a collection of stereographic & 3D history from Eric Kurland. He has been working to build 3-D SPACE: The Center for Stereoscopic Photography, Art, Cinema, and Education. Beyond his personal enthusiasm and work in 3-D, Kurland has inherited the entire collection from the now closed 3-D Center for Art and Photography in Portland.

There were many vendors presenting VR headsets, viewers and cameras. One that caught my eye was the Lucidcam, a relatively affordable stereo video camera. While 3D cameras and cellphone cameras ebb and flow, we are almost at a tipping point of average consumer adoption or VR. The iphone was released 10 years ago and many people thought they’d never want or need one. Smartphones are nearly ubiquitous in 2017. Especially with large companies like Facebook integrating VR into their platforms, I think VR has the same potential in becoming mainstream.

phantograms being made by Barry Rothstein

Phantograms being made by Barry Rothstein

Cromadepth installation by Debi Cable

Cromadepth installation by Debi Cable

Eric Kurland shows off an interactive 3D hologram prototype.

Eric Kurland shows off an interactive 3D hologram prototype.

 

Jumpstarting the Visual Resource Center

Pomelo tree on campus

In January I joined the Visual Resource Center of the Art History department at UC Riverside. I’ve been in the new gig for approximately two months. Its been a joy getting to know the campus community which functions very much like a small city. I was surprised to learn that UCR is the 5th oldest university in the UC system. It is home to the Citrus Experiment Station, the campus is surrounded by citrus groves and there are many public fruit trees on campus. I am about a foot too short to reach the remaining pomelos right now and I have given serious thought to investing in a fruit picker basket. The university is UCR is incredibly diverse and has an aggressive strategic plan to position itself as a premier research university. It is currently in a period of growth and expansion, this includes the Art History department which is in the midst of a search for an Islamacist. Visual Resources is at the crossroads of art, technology, teaching, and research. I feel very lucky that I get to learn something new everyday.

My first priority I’m working on is getting our DAM configuration settled and web galleries published so they are accessible to faculty and students. We have a general purpose digital image collection that is available to students and faculty but we’d really like to see active use of web galleries for private faculty collections as well as galleries created for specific classes. The DAM tool we are using (Portfolio 2016) does a pretty seamless job out of the box, but we’ve made a few tweaks to meet our workflow & metadata needs. It’s important to acknowledge all the work that goes into the creation and management of these assets, before the images get to publishing stage. First there is image capture via camera or scanner. Sometimes there is editing of images supplied by faculty, perhaps phone snapshots taken while researching in the field or in libraries/archives. There is art historical research involved in identifying and cataloging the object depicted, which then gets translated into metadata for search-ability and image metadata involved so that the right assets are discoverable at the right time.

Portfolio Web Gallery

One of the workflow tweaks I made was to match the cataloging fields with exact names in the cataloging tool so that the use is clear and so that import/export will be that much easier. Another was to lower the dependence on Smart Galleries as part of the workflow because too full/too many dynamic galleries drags the speed and performance of Portfolio. We now have one smart gallery driven by metadata, that tells us when archive images are ready to be processed into access files. This gallery also serves as a checksum to verify recently processed images. I foresee continual optimization of the workflow, but this seems to be working well for us and I couldn’t be happier. I’m also thrilled to report that our current workflow, metadata schema, and legacy documentation is now published to an internal wiki so it can be a resource for future training or upgrades.

Right now, we have a class gallery for a professor teaching Latin American art that is updated shortly after the end of class each week. Many of these images are protest art, a relevant topic for 2017, and are not found in the usual repositories. The content provided to the VRC by the professor via PDF’d powerpoint are then sourced for better quality images, object/image catalogued, and ingested into the DAM. Within a day or so, the students can then access a (responsive!) web gallery to study from. I am told that this gallery is much easier to navigate than the repository made available through the university’s online learning system. We were able to host video too which is very exciting! More work to be done in this area, but we are looking forward to supporting more video formats and other a/v materials. What other multimedia file formats might we support; VR, GIS, data vis, 3D models or architecture?

Wikipedia: Wikiproject Women Wikipedia Design

H.G. Wells predicted a “Permanent World Encyclopedia” in 1937:

As the core of such an institution would be a world synthesis of bibliography and documentation with the indexed archives of the world. A great number of workers would be engaged perpetually in perfecting this index of human knowledge and keeping it up to date.

It’s amazing to think about how this parallels the evolution of Wikipedia as a source of bibliographic records and summaries, created and maintained by the masses. However democratic and egalitarian this may sound, women editors are grossly underrepresented.

Wikipedia editors are predominantly male EN

via WIkipedian: Goran tek-en

Not only are women Wikipedians missing from the picture, but women architects/designers/artists are underrepresented as well. Today a Wikipedia #wikiD edit-a-thon took place at the Kappe SCI-Arc Library. Nina Briggs, archivist for AWA+D, and Becka Cooling, librarian at SCI-Arc, led a workshop in editing Wikipedia and why its important to participate in the formation of the internet encyclopedia. #WikiD is a worldwide project to enhance the representation for women architects and today’s efforts also fall under the project Art + Feminism who host another series of edit-a-thons to train people in editing Wikipedia.

There are three main learning curves to keep in mind when attending or facilitating a workshop in Wikipedia. First: there are Wikipedia rules, protocols, etiquette, and culture. Secondly: there is the basics of research, neutral writing, and proper citations. Then there is the technical component of navigating the site, working within the HTML editor and finding help files when style or format questions arise. All participants come with varying backgrounds and skill sets. These workshops allow for collaboration between members, a physical manifestation of Wikipedia itself.

I had a great time exploring the guidelines and editing tutorials and added a couple images to a recent #wikiD article on Rebecca L. Binder. Specifically I added the first three images of buildings that are accredited to her. You are allowed to use a copyrighted photo under the premise of fair use, though it is preferable to use public domain or Creative Commons licensed images. All three images I added today were found in Wikimedia Commons. The attribution was already determined and it was easy to embed these images into the article after they were sourced.

In Despina Stratigakos, ‘Unforgetting Women Architects’, Sue Gardner of Wikimedia says:

Wikipedia will only contain ‘the sum of all human knowledge’ if its editors are as diverse as the population itself: you can help make that happen. And I can’t think of anything more important to do, than that.

2016-artfeminism-wikipedia-editathon-56

Upcoming: The next #wikiD events in Los Angeles will be March 5 and April 30. Join us!

2016 Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon

March 5, 2016 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
SCI-Arc Kappe Library, 2nd Floor/North End
960 East 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013

Women in Architecture #wikiD Writing Workshop

April 30, 2016 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Woodbury Library
7500 N Glenoaks Blvd, Burbank, CA 91504

Stereoscope with smartphone

Stereoscoping with Google Cardboard

I’ve been playing around with Google Cardboard and enjoying the revival of the old school View-Master experience from when I was a kid. Google Cardboard goes beyond the 3-D views you might remember from View-Master and it’s collectible discs with views of the National Parks, Sesame Street, and Disneyland. With Google Cardboard the image is not only in 3-D, it’s panoramic as well. From the Google Developers website, “Cardboard aims at developing accessible virtual reality (VR) tools to allow everyone to enjoy VR in a simple, fun, and natural way.”

Google Cardboard Viewer

Google Cardboard Viewer (via Google)

To get started with VR and Google Cardboard, you’ll need both a viewer with lenses and a smartphone. For the images and video, there are several apps available to download onto your smartphone including Google Cardboard (for viewing) and Google Cardboard Camera (for creating.) Both apps are free and there are many more to explore. For a viewer, there are various models available for purchase for about $20. There is even one that pays homage to the classic View-Master. Also you can find DIY instructions for building your own out of whatever materials you choose.

Vintage View-Master

Vintage View-Master (via Junkyardsparkle)

Both viewing devices, the View-Master and Cardboard, use stereoscopic imaging to trick your eyes into seeing 3-D. This is done by showing two offset images separately to each eye. Amazingly, your brain combines these two images creating a single whole image but with an added third dimension of depth. This is not new technology and has been in use since the 1830s, via stereoscopes.

Stereoscope with smartphone

Stereoscope with smartphone (photo: Eric Rossi)

I’ve adapted a reproduction stereoscope to hold my smartphone for viewing VR. I’ve left a stereocard in place to serve as a backboard and added two rubber bands; one at the top and one at the bottom to hold the phone in place. This allows me to use one hand to hold the stereoscope and another to interact with the phone. This might not be necessary once I get the hang of the interface of the Google Cardboard app. For example, one can easily choose various images by titling your head to ‘scroll’ through the options. I may need to further modify the setup to include a switch or button to engage the ‘select’ function to keep fingers from interrupting the field of vision.

Below are a couple images I made that you can download and try in your own viewer. Create your own and share in the comments. Views where there is a variety of foreground and background layers work really well.

Griffith Park Helipad, Los Angeles

Griffith Park Helipad, Los Angeles

Commonwealth Canyon, Griffith Park, Los Angeles

Commonwealth Canyon, Griffith Park, Los Angeles

The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

An even more exciting discovery is viewing historical stereograph digital images on your smartphone with a viewer. Below are some open content images from The Getty Museum. Download them to your phone and they will show up in your selection of Google Cardboard images.

Before the Ball

Joseph John Elliott, [Before the Ball], about 1860, Hand-colored albumen silver
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

The Telescope Gallery

London Stereoscopic Company, The Telescope Gallery., about 1860.
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

The Sands of Time

Thomas Richard Williams, The Sands of Time, 1850 – 1852, Stereo-daguerreotype
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Self-portrait of Antoine François Jean Claudet and his son Henri Posed with His Invention, The Focimeter

Antoine Claudet, [Self-portrait of Antoine François Jean Claudet and his son Henri Posed with His Invention, The Focimeter], about 1856, Stereo-daguerreotype
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Bonus Round! Here are some Mars color stereographs. Pro tip: Most stereograph images you find will work with this setup. Just rename the file “filename.vr.jpg” and download to your phone. Your images will now show in the Google Cardboard Camera image gallery. A message popped up for me that says “This is not a VR photo” but you and I both know better. 😉

Rock Dimples

The little dimples in the rock indicate that it is volcanic basalt. (via University of Chicago)

Rover Tracks

Sol 58: Tracks of Spirit Rover moving around in circles. (via University of Chicago)