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Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Nano Clay

I woke up this morning thinking about the haptic/tactile problem in user interface design.

Rather than developing a periphery device that responds to handling material in CGI using a haptic feedback glove, I began by thinking about material itself as a starting point.

I thought about clay and how humans have always moulded the material since digging it from the ground to form models that they had in their mind.

I'm sure we've all had the experience whereby we have made 'mud pies' in a field or coiled clay to make a pot...

Thousands of years ago, humans formed goddess figurines which can be found in every part of the globe.

And if you are lucky and have worked with animation, you would have formed small objects using animation clay to form all aspects of a world. Puppets and all manner of props and the set itself can be made from clay.

If you haven't seen any of Adam Elliot's work, I'd recommend you check his work out. Mary and Max is an epic stop motion animation.

If, like I have, you have experienced a disconnection when using CGI Modelling tools, you would have thought about the contrast between modelling models in CGI and modelling with clay. Maybe you've tried Z-Brush or 3Ds Max/Maya. You'd have thought about the bridge between physical materials and virtual representations on screen.

Well, when I thought about this in my research, I was looking at ways in which I could reconnect the disconnect.

I asked whether the tension one of...
  • Cultural values and beliefs
  • Material interaction
  • Periphery Device Design 
  • Interface Design
  • Something Else... 

Learning to code, and getting to grips with the 'stuff' of computer software is one way of continuing this experimental work.

However, when I woke up this morning I began to think about whether it would be possible to wrap nano particles around a particle of clay which could transfer locational information about where that particle of clay is in space.

When moulding the clay this would shift the XYZ position and the information could be represented on screen.

This could then be printed using a 3D printer or simply represented on screen.

It's just an idea I have no idea if its practical or not.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Day 1

Today is the very first day of MA Creative App Development, hosted by Falmouth University. Of course, it’s not day one of my research but it is an important step along the way.

My research is broadly located at the intersection between contemporary 3D Animation Practice and Interaction Design.

My journey so far includes...

  • Working as a commission based portrait artist. 

  • Training in Illustration and Stop Motion Animation 

  • Encountering CGI software as a craft based stop-motion animator. 

  • Deciding to apply CGI principles to craft practice instead of outright rejecting the tools.

  • Discovering for myself how I could projection map images on to 3D paper sculpture.

  • Exploring the way in which I interact with nature and physical materials and forces and how 

  • this contrasts to the way in which I interact with CGI Modelling Software.

  • Working in the stop-motion industry

  • Creating work as an artist - animator

  • Applying the basic principles of CGI processes to craft practice. 

  • Discovering how I engage with uncertainty and how this could be related to the mental modelling processes. 

  • Questioning when and how I, ‘construct small scale models of the world in my mind’, CRAIK.

  • Questioning how material thinking, user experience, interaction design, and periphery device design raises personal tension and ethical questions. 

  • Considering whether I understand the tension in my practice, a tension I have previously described as a, ‘Disconnection’.

  • Questioning if accessing the 'stuff' of software i.e coding, testing software and developing an  app could help to reconnect the disconnect. 

And so here I am today, going forward into new territory, but in actual fact beginning by recalling my very first encounter with animation... coding a ZX spectrum in the mid 1980’s.

Using the spectrum magazine, as a child of 10 years old, myself and my brother spent 3 days religiously copying code from the many pages of the magazine to create my very first computer animated graphic... a flashing border, followed by a bouncing ball.

In truth, I don't remember any of the coding part but I do remember growing trees!

While my brother went on to make computers, engage with the demoscene and tinker with software in the car industry; I went back outside to make things with my hands, observe nature, grow trees and eventually go on to work in a surveyors office.

I worked as a portrait artist and then officially became a 'late returner' to HE in my early thirties. Ten years on I am still upgrading my skillset and discovering more about the creative world.

Today, I am turning again, to the point in time in which I coded my first computer while crafting with my hands and engaged with the natural environment. I am starting from a fresh sheet or paper (in more ways than one).

I’m here to pick up practical skills to advance my commercial work, develop an app I have designed and explore interaction design methodology and basic principles.

This course is really about converging my existing skills and experience while acquiring the necessary skills and portfolio to work as an experience designer as I continue to develop my own personal experimental work. 

N.B The practical element of this course will now be posted on my commercial blog 

Sunday, 3 June 2018


You will have noticed a new pop-up when you entered this site. This relates to the way in which google collects information about you and how they use this to keep you safe and provide an optimal user experience.

This new pop-up was designed in response to GDPR which relates to the new European data protection policy. This requires that all websites have a privacy policy which protects the rights of visitors to any website.

My privacy policy can be viewed at the bottom of this blog. 

This is actually great timing. I’m just about to start a course in Creative App Development with Falmouth University and I want to take my work in a new direction. My primary focus is to create interactions that are effective, respectful as well as ethical. GDPR is the perfect vehicle with which to achieve this aim.

My commercial and personal experimental practice, and, will be published on separate domains soon... subject to a complete identity re-design and of course the right privacy and cookie policies in place.

In the meantime, I am going to dive into creative app development, interactive and experience design research with an eye on developing my practice in new and exciting arenas.