Monthly Archives: August 2014

TouchTable PhotoCollage (Work in progress)

This is something I’ve been keen on for a while – having people who use the table actually build something.  Perhaps something they can take away physically or digitally.  Generally these ideas have been things like curate their own exhibition, create a customised newspaper or create a top ten of favourite people / things.

Touch tables are fantastic for not only viewing photos, but also for manipulating them.  So a natural fit is a collage application – although it’s taken me a while to get round to building on.

Here’s an early version of a collaborative collage application.  This isn’t a million miles away from Photo Collage apps available on iPad & Android but the combination of scale and unique content make this worth developing further.


It allows a group of people to handle and select photos from those presented.  These get dropped into the frame slots in the centre of the screen.  The images can then be zoomed and panned to focus on the desired section.  Next the a number of graphical effects can be applied to the individual photos (e.g. sepia, black & white, cartoonise etc).  It is planned that the final result could be uploaded directly to twitter.


I’m also experimenting with making it more game-like – well at least giving it some direction.  So that the ‘players’ are presented with key-words with which to inspire their collages.  Feel free to tweet me some ideas for these 🙂

Later versions will have alternative frame arrangements and perhaps allow users to customise some aspect – e.g. use twitter to upload a central photo or have the table take a photo of those around the table.

This prototype application may make a sneak preview this Friday 15th August at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.  We’ll be testing an updated version of the BrumPics Twitter App in the Birmingham Histories Gallery all day (and I might try to sneak in a little trial of the PhotoCollage application).

Category: My Projects

VanGoYourself (Revamped)

If you’ve not seen VanGoYourself before – stop reading right now and go check it out here.  Definitely a fine example of ‘the best ideas are the simplest ideas’.  The tagline is pretty much covers it: “recreate artwork with friends”.

It’s a website with classic (copyright free) works of art which you then use as inspiration to recreate yourselves. But… this doesn’t really do it justice.  How about “Collaborative engagement with art in a social context” but I didn’t use the buzzwords “deep, meaningful connection”.  Anyway it’s just a fantastic idea that legitimizes playing with art and produces masterpieces like this:


I was fortunate to see Jane Finnis speak about this as the keynote to HelloCulture and chat with her afterwards.  It really tied into a lot of ideas I’d been having about some kind of automated Selfie Cam (basically solving the Selfie problem of having too few friends to take a photo).  When a group of friends could pose for a photo in front of a camera (probably a Kinect 2 Sensor).  Ideally it would be in a prominent place where you’d have an amazing / interesting background.  It would take the photo, upload it to twitter and then share a QRcode or so you could access it immediately.  I imagine that there would be a more playful aspect – perhaps it significantly or subtlety altered the photo before the upload.  Or maybe it encouraged you to behave in a certain way.  Or maybe it was entirely fake and actually took photos of you when you weren’t expecting or even recorded a video.  Sounds like the kind of thing marketing agencies would have already done.

Anyway, since I have a Kinect 2 sensor and a couple of hours to kill I did a slightly higher-tech version of VanGoYourself.  It uses the Kinects ability to remove the background from the image without requiring a green-screen setup.  I just split up the image into a background and foreground layer.  And the results are something like this:


While it’s much quicker to create your own picture – overall the experience is actually less playful and expressive.  The results it would create would be much more restricted.  So that’s pretty much where the experiment ends.  But since the “Not enough friends for selfie” problem still exists, I’m sure this won’t be the last time I create an automated Selfie Cam.




Category: My Projects