What better time to geek out a little than when setting up for a social occasion filled with family and friends? For our 2015 company holiday party held in Royal Oak, Michigan, the motion graphics and human resources departments teamed up to create a custom photo booth experience for everyone to enjoy. Styles were discussed, props were collected, and development was started in Quartz Composer (a visual programming tool created by Apple).
Building a photo booth
Using an Eyefi mobiPRO card to wirelessly transmit photos as they’re taken, the system was designed to collect a batch of only the newest images, then load them one at a time at specific intervals. Once loaded from disk, the photo was processed and sent to an animation system using sample & hold patches. This gave us access to both the current and previous image, making transitions easy and efficient. Multiple animation options were created; we picked our favourites and then set them up to cycle periodically.
Sure, that part may be boring to a few, but the truly fun part is seeing everyone’s photos animating across the wall. The event was a huge success, and we all enjoyed the photo booth. In the spirit of the holidays, we’re posting our setup and the Quartz project so you can have as much fun as we did!
Fair warning: it helps if you’re already familiar with Quartz Composer.
Gear we used:
- Samsung NX500
- It offers both a flip up screen and highly customisable multi-shot timer, but any camera with similar options will do.
- Eyefi mobiPRO card
- Easy solution for transferring via local wifi network without having to connect computers and cameras manually each time the power cycles.
- Sturdy tripod
- People will bump into it. A lot.
- We used our studio lights, but anything with a bulb can work.
- Thrift shops are the perfect place to find picture frames, and party stores have plenty of hilarious dress-up options.
- Mac Pro with Quartz Composer installed
- Any Macbook Pro or iMac made in the past 5 years should work great.
- Rendered against a black background, the animations work well on a wall, but TVs and computer screens are perfectly fine too.
- Configure your Eyefi card, Wifi enabled camera, or similar solution. Even USB tethering will work if the images are automatically saved to a specific folder.
- Download Quartz Composer from the Apple Developers site. It’s free to sign up, and once you’re logged in just look for the latest “Graphics Tools for Xcode” download. Copy it to your Applications directory and you’re ready to go.
- Open the VectorformPhotoBooth.qtz file in Quartz Composer and customise the settings by pressing “command-i” in the viewer. It’ll give you options for source directory and various durations. The defaults should work perfectly for an Eyefi setup.
- If you have a lot of extra photos, you may want to specify a single sub-directory instead of the entire Eyefi folder.
- For best performance, close the editor window and make the viewer fullscreen.
Happy Holidays, and have fun!
John Einselen – July 24, 2013
Kaiser Permanente partnered with Vectorform to build a new tool for use in autism assessment, helping make the experience fun for kids and easier for clinicians. Structured around speech, occupation, and physical therapy mini-games, the Microsoft Kinect system was combined with therapist input to help track performance and improvement. As a key part of the experience we created a 3D animated character to act as guide, coach, and friend; Marty the Monkey.John Einselen – September 16, 2010
Earlier this year I was working on some interactive demos at Vectorform that needed stereoscopic delivery. With Avatar, Up, and many other stereo movies being released, requests for 3D imagery were proliferating quickly, and I needed to develop a pipeline that could quickly and reliably deliver stereoscopic imagery for home, mobile, and specialised device delivery. Realtime processing in Apple’s Quartz Composer made it easy to quickly mock up and revise my compositing techniques, setting up compositing rules that were later ported into After Effects and Photoshop tutorials, and in-house plugins for After Effects, Final Cut Pro, and Motion via FxFactory Pro.
Vectorform is always working on the latest tech, be it unreleased hardware or the most popular multitouch platforms from Microsoft, Apple, 3M, HP, and others. We work with some of the top players in the industry, and earlier this year we got to develop stereoscopic demos on the Microsoft Surface. In preparation for productions like this, I worked on pipeline solutions for developing, creating, and finishing stereo imagery.
There are of course multiple ways to deliver a stereoscopic experience; linear and circular polarised glasses paired with filtered projection (IMAX and Disney RealD), lenticular or masked parallax displays (such as Sharp 3D or the Nintendo 3Ds), and many more, including the easiest and oldest — anaglyphic. While I’ll discuss anaglyphic compositing in some upcoming articles, this tutorial covers some of the actual camera setups and rendering tricks needed to create stereoscopic imagery in the first place. Generating content for stereoscopy (left and right sides) is universal, regardless of delivery mechanism, so this tutorial should be suitable for any system you’re working with.
Two schools of thoughtJohn Einselen – December 14, 2009
While stop motion can be a fantastic medium, the process is too slow for many productions. Even for simple elements, like wrinkled paper, the time it takes to do things physically is often untenable; for the Microsoft PowerPivot online advertising campaign, Vectorform required lightening quick turnaround on visual elements and animation revisions, often on an hour by hour basis.
This is how the paper cutout effects were designed and generated dynamically using Adobe After Effects.
Using freely available tools, lipsyncing a character in Adobe After Effects doesn’t have to be a pain. Papagayo is an open source app for breaking a script down into phonemes and syncing the pieces to an audio track, while LipSync is an OS X dashboard widget that helps translate the resulting moho switch files into After Effects keyframes.
The workflow was developed at Vectorform as part of the production pipeline for Microsoft’s PowerPivot online advertising campaign (to see how the torn effects were created, check out Dynamic Paper Cutouts).
The members of Vectorform Labs newly minted Surface team are starting to get their hands dirty and make some really sweet stuff. Our assembled A-list includes Joe, Dan and Brad, the genius minds driving new technology and interactive development, and Florin, Clemens, Aaron and John, masters in user experience, interface design and motion graphics. Today, the guys are exploring the capabilities of the Microsoft Surface SDK, as well as the applications that came preloaded on our unit, including:
• Data Visualizer
• Controls Box
• Finger Fountain
• Grand Piano
• Scatter Puzzle
• Shopping Cart
• Virtual Concierge
And many more…