Final Project: Written Portrait

For my final project, I chose to make an interactive piece were the participant can write something into the project, and progressively reveal the image captured through the text.  I knew I wanted to utilize the camera in some way, and I wanted to have my final project incorporate text, so I thought the best way to go about doing this would be to create essentially a blank doc that could be written on to reveal an image. 

My basic inspiration for this project was old style text-based games, were the player would just be looking at a screen covered in letters and simply have to imagine the world they were playing in. In this way, I wanted the expereince to be primarily text-based.

To begin, I used code for making videos we had used on the Text Rain assignment, and then I incorporated posterizing effects that we were asked to make during the last exam.


After implementing this, by using an array and a for() loop, I created a large display that I enabled the writer to push new key letters onto. Using the posterize code, I made the letters change color depending on the greyscale average of the region being written over.


This was my basic outline going into the creation of my final product, and was what led me to my project as you see it today.  I wanted the individual to write about themselves, and as they constructed a more detailed bio of themselves, they would also build up a more detailed portrait of them as people. In this way, my project was designed to truly incorporate the individual into an experience.

Final from John Sprong on Vimeo.

The program proved too graphically demanding to upload to WordPress, so I uploaded it to Autolab and used this video to better illustrate the projects capabilities. To give the writer more control, I included the ability to delete text, and press enter to skip a line. I did this also to compensate for the fact that it takes a little while to actually fill the screen with letters. This is probably what most frustrates me about the project: that it is so hard to fill the screen with text. This is something I would want to tackle if I revisit this work. Also, the project seems to run much smoother on Firefox than on Internet Explorer… All in all, this project was an immense amount of fun, and I loved the freedom it provided me in creating something really representative of my interests!

Looking Outwards 11

Two projects intimately inspirational in regards to my final project are Depression Quest by Zoe Quinn, and My Father’s Long, Long Legs by Michael Lutz. These two projects, both released in 2013, are text-based video games designed to create a powerful player experience, where both the nature of the writing that makes up player interfacing, and the strength of the atmosphere correlate into a powerful sense of involvement with the projects themselves.

This style of design is intimately tied to how I want to construct my text game, and has been immensely important in showing me what works well within the confines of interactive text-based games. However, I feel that both games are somewhat cyclical in their inclusion of player based decision making.  Depression Quest does this better than My Father’s Long, Long Legs, but both games don’t make as effective use of their player as they could.  This is something I would love to dive into further in my game, and hopefully something I will be able to effectively implement.

Final Project Proposal

My proposal for my final project will be a text based interactive video game. I have always been immensely fascinated by storytelling, and I love the idea of incorporating that love into a text based player guided game, where the atmosphere is built through interesting visual minimalism, an emotive score, and well written narrative progression. this project would incorporate my love of writing, and video games, using my functional coding knowledge to create visually interesting graphics that play with how participants in the game perceive the information being presented to them through the story.

At the same time, this will allow me to experiment with interesting graphical displays of wording and typography, while also making my game interactive and a player driven experience: an aspect of art that I am immensely fascinated by. I would draw inspiration from previously made text based adventure games, though I would probably limit my scale to a more contained story so that I could guarantee the quality of my work. Ultimately, I think this project will be the most interesting meshing of my interests, and will serve as a unique way to tell an interesting story.

Looking Outwards 10

The female artist I chose was Heather Kelley, and the project I chose that she took part in was Fabulous/Fabuleux. This project is fascinating to me because it finds a dynamic way to incorporate the audience into the piece of work, while also telling a story through a form of game play. As I have such an interest in video game storytelling, this project strikes a powerful chord with me, as it is a dynamic addition to this form of relaying narrative.

Heather Kelley is a veteran game designer, digital artist, and media curator. She has an extensive career in both game design, as she has been intimately involved in the development of AAA-games and indie games, and also new age digital art.  Her works often explore aesthetic experiences and sensory interactions, including game play, and the inclusion of senses.  Her work on Fabulous/Fabuleux is in her groundbreaking work on the “Squisher” sensor used to format the entire project.

Project 10: Interactive Creatures

So for this Project I chose to make a little ghost buddy named Craig. Craig just wants to be loved. I programmed Craig to smile when he reaches the mouse location, and frown when he is farther away than a particular threshold. It ultimately took my too long to finish 10-A than I had initially planned, so I didn’t have the opportunity to implement springs into this assignment like I wanted to. I must admit that this was really disappointing to me.

Despite this, I am still really fond of Craig and my project for this week, because I tried to experiment with linking together shapes while simultaneously altering their size, so as to give the impression of a fluid object (which proved to be a fun challenge). To accomplish this, I built upon the “Follow3” example made by Keith Peters and presented on the p5js examples page. All in all, though this weeks project wasn’t entirely what I had hoped it would be, I still had a lot of fun experimenting and trying something new.


Project 09 Turtles

This project was exciting to me because it gave me a lot of freedom to create. I decided to, having total freedom, create a project based around being chased by a swarm of predators. Take what you will from that. I created a bunch of independent Turtles, all of whom I set to chase an ellipse I had placed at the mouse location. To make things extra interesting, I set up a for loop that created red twitching turtles that increased in number as the predators draw nearer to the mouse. This way, there is a feeling of panic as the predators close in on you.

I ran out of time to add a feature where the screen resets if the swarm catches the mouse, and this bothers me, so I expect I will continue to fiddle with this project. Another issue I ran into that I simply didn’t have adequate time to fix was that sometimes, when the mouse moves quickly to the side, individuals in the swarm will get stuck and just spin uncontrollably in a small circle. I also plan to go back later and fix that. However, though I did run into these issues, I really enjoyed this project, and I loved the freedom it provided to me!


Looking Outwards 08

Cycles from COCOLAB on Vimeo.

A project that immeasurably fascinates me is Cycles, which I first learned about by reading Vanessa Kim’s 5th Looking Outwards post.  Designed by COCOLAB (a Mexican design firm) in 2014, Cycles is a beautiful manipulation of light and sound that comes the closest of anything I have ever seen to visually representing what music sounds like.  Through its use of choreographed lasers, flashing light, and syncopated sound, Cycles creates stunning visual compositions that draws upon the space around it and enraptures the audience.

Vanessa says little about the impacts of this project beyond explaining its technical aspects, and while I believe the technical components of this project to be very important, I think the real significance of this piece comes in its ability to revolutionize a viewer’s ability to mentally interface with a musical experience.  Even deaf people would have the ability to take something emotional or experimental away from seeing this project, and it could radically alter how people go about giving concerts or interacting with an audience.  More immediately, Cycles could radically alter how we as people experience music.

Project 08: Computational Portraits

This project was a total blast for me, because it was entirely engaging, and gave me a lot of room to be inventive with how I wanted to portray images. I was looking online for inspiration, and I came across a lot of faces generated with circles, so I knew I wanted try something different. At the same time, I loved the idea of making people draw the faces and uncover the buried image. So using the example given by Golan, I established my images to be drawn through a chain of triangles. To add some interesting variation, I put in code that made the triangles you draw grow larger the faster you move the mouse inside the canvas.


In addition, I knew that I wanted to include pictures of my immediate family too, so after I requested some photos from my parents and siblings (and was thoroughly overwhelmed by the total number of images I got in my email), I used components from the eye assignment from this week to input a method to click through different pre-loaded images. All in all, this weeks assignment was a really cool way to implement skills that I was struggling with, and resulted in a really cool project that got my whole family involved.




Looking Outwards – 07

Nick Hardeman

Nick Hardeman is a new media artist, designer, and experimenter. Nick enjoys drawing, painting and combining traditional mediums with emerging technologies. He utilizes technology to create immersive environments that bring wonderment and provoke discovery through exploration. Nick’s work includes fine art, interactive installations, mobile and online applications that investigate new modes of creative expression. He joined Design I/O after its founding in 2007, and has been a key figure in all the group’s works since. He is currently the Minister of Interactive Art at Design I/O (a title he created himself).

Nick Hardeman’s work focuses predominantly on interactive art, as his title implies, and it is for this reason that I find him so admirable.  I love art that engages the observer, and Nick Hardeman operates with the sole intent of finding a way to call the observer into his works and move them beyond just passively watching his art; instead, making the observer and active agent in the progression and impact of his piece.  This draws upon his desire to make art interactive and incorporate the people who see his work into the bodily compendium of each piece: making it an entirely different experience for each person who interacts with the work.  With this in mind, I am most impressed and admiring of his most recent work with his Design I/O team: Connected Worlds.  Its capacity to tell independent stories that truly integrate the observer fascinates me, and is something that I hope to be able to accomplish with my work someday.

As for how Nick Hardeman presents his work, he addresses it rather factually, not embellishing the workload, nor underselling the work that went into the final product.  He is quick to joke about the process and his contributions, but this never takes away from the listeners understanding of the work involved.  This is something that I believe would be helpful if I ever came to present my work, as it is important to relay the information about how the piece was birthed and then built, but it is equally as important to engage the observer and not lull them to sleep with abstractions and a plethora of facts.  Sometimes its important to make them laugh.

Eyeo 2015 – Theo Watson and Nick Hardeman from Eyeo Festival // INSTINT on Vimeo.

His websites:


This project was a real struggle for me because I struggled with the notion of objects. I definitely think that my understanding of Objects has improved with this process, but it was still a challenge. I knew that I wanted to do something with an atmospheric landscape, so I settled on the ocean at night. I tried to make the water look like it was both wavy and also moving, and to do this I incorporated a noise wave to build each layer of water depth. While the waves are there, the variant waves aren’t quite synced up enough to make it look as if it were scrolling along, which I tried to fix but didn’t quite accomplish successfully. I think my clouds help, but it didn’t solve all the issues. I definitely learned a lot, and while the final product isn’t everything I hoped for, I am really proud of what I managed to accomplish!