Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Festival of the Arts at the Narrows

We're still throwing things at the wall here at Aerial Vr, just to see what will stick. It's one way to start a business. It's not that scientific but it's a lot of fun and a lot smarter than it sounds at first reading. Think about it. It means cooking up a variety of ideas like different forms of pasta and seeing what seems to work by observing first hand how people respond. It means getting in there with one's sleeves rolled up. It means cooking. It means throwing pasta at the wall which is always fun. Then there's the last step, talk the people and observe their reaction.

We combined Chris' growing fascination with and mastery of a group of Adobe Photoshop plug-ins and my contacts in the local arts community into a fun weekend recently throwing pasta and generally having a good time. First ... the plug-ins. Plug-ins are software add-ons created by one company and meant to work within another company's software package. In this case, a company created a group of plug-ins for use within the well known Adobe Photoshop. How well known is Adobe Photoshop? It's so well known that "photoshopping" has become a verb meaning "to alter a photographic image digitally using computer software." You know you've really arrived when you become a verb.

So what sort of photoshopping has Chris been up to? He starts with one of our panoramas. The Panoramas are the result of stitching together 8 standard images in another software program. They are long strange looking rectangular arrays of pixels which look like this:

They contain imagery of virtually everything that can be seen from a given point in space ... the point where we placed our camera. They remind me of those funny looking world maps that we all looked at in grade school. They looked so funny because .... well, think of an orange. You can't peel the skin off an orange and flatten it out, at least not exactly. If you make a few clever cuts in it you can almost flatten it out. You can also stretch it using the mathematics of mapping. That's how we arrived at the image above, not by doing mathematics, we're not that clever. We used a stitching program. The people who designed the stitching program did the math.

But back to Chris and his photoshopping. He's been using tools that remap every pixel in our rectangular arrays to a new location. We call "little planet view", "tunnel view". They're quite similar but think "inny" and "outy." That is to say that in the little planet view the sky ends up wrapped around the outside and the ground and the buildings on it end up on looking like a ball or little planet on the inside. In the tunnel view the sky ends up in a ball on the inside and the ground or floor ends up wrapped around the outside. They're strange. They're Alice and Wonderland meets Pink Floyd. They're a lot of fun to look at as well.

So we went looking for people to look at them. We found them at the Festival of the Arts that the Narrows Center of Fall River puts on every year. I set up on Anawan Street with 30 or so other artists and craftsmen. We'd printed out 10 of our favorites and hung them on easels. I sat and spoke to people as they strolled by. We drew a lot of comments. We drew a lot of interest. I handed out close to 100 business cards. We didn't sell a single photograph but it didn't seem to matter. The pasta was sticking.

An example: a graduate of Durfee High came by and inquired about the possibility of getting a large quantity of prints of that building perched precariously on its little planet for his upcoming class reunion. He went through High School in the 60's. He may still think Durfee High looks like that. I don't know but he loved the image and he thought a lot of his classmates might also like them. Another young fellow took the little planet concept and ran with it ... to a line of clothing. He saw his teenaged pals wearing t-shirts with strange distorted insects on them, things like scorpions with large drops of poison hanging from their tails ... and in the poison .... a little planet. My imagination doesn't run to scorpions but I can work with T-shirt. We may stay in touch.

Another fellow referred to our photographs as "fine art." I'm not sure how fine it is but the point is that the pasta appears to be sticking and we'll try our luck at "Arts Around the Block," which takes place September 20th, from 12-4pm on Purchase St. in Fall River. Maybe we'll see you there.

Fair Journey,

Brian Shriver

Aerial Vr - "Your location in high definition virtual reality."
email us with your comments and ideas at btshriver@aerialvr.com & cblake@aerialvr.com
For more about our services see our website at www.aerialvr.com

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This is the blog of Aerial Vr (www.aerialvr.com). We create virtual reality photographs for viewing on the web. We also send our cameras into the sky on a variety of kites and blimps to see the world from a bird's eye view. We're blogging about our experiences as this exciting new technology and the market around it develops. We're also dedicated to developing a resource for visitors to the Narragansett Bay & Southcoast areas so that they can explore in virtual reality before they come. Try the links above to see all of the content we present in this blog, especially the "Vr Map" link which presents information with a Google map as starting point. "Home" will bring up several recent posts. Or page downwards and try the "Labels" or "Blog Archives" to bring up blog posts and panoramas from our expanding portfolio that fall within a given category. Fair Winds!

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