Archive for April, 2010

wall scrolling for paper hangers

Posted in paper-based, tools on April 18, 2010 by visualraccoon

Folks, I was doing the paper thing long before I ever touched a computer.

I love the smell of grape watermarkers and the feel of butcherpaper under my fingers and being able to turn and see the whole group, and simply the raw size and physicality of big paper.

In fact, back in the day, raccoon did a series of tool designs for paper-based visual performing media.

The first system was developed by using the phrase “Group Graphics” as guiding light and problem definition. It was observed that groups of designers often wrote and drew together as part of thinking about a problem. Big pads of paper on a table could not be seen by everyone in a group, flip charts on a wall were too small, and black boards did not support color, high resolution or saving of images. The solution was the “Wall Scroll,” a large sheet paper dispensing system for use by groups.


Here we see the Wall Scroll in use by David Sibbet at a meeting of the CORO fellows, San Francisco, California, September 21, 1971.

(hey, David, I’d like that prototype returned to me if you’re no longer using it 8-)


More details and description of other systems on the wall scroll page.


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can dogs program?

Posted in animals do the web, cartoons on April 17, 2010 by visualraccoon



Content on Visual Raccoon is licensed under a Creative Commons by-nc-sa 3.0 United States License unless otherwise indicated. Comments are property of the commenters.

visual programming languages

Posted in animals do the web, cartoons, visual languages on April 17, 2010 by visualraccoon






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Visual Darwinism: survival of the fittest graphical tools

Posted in iPad, performing graphics on April 10, 2010 by visualraccoon

Look, folks, the iPad ain’t the digital graphic recording tool of your dreams. So get over it. As Jonny Goldstein said in a comment on a previous post, the iPad’s got price and portability. Which means there will be tons and tons of ’em out there, and tons of people trying to use them to do live visual meeting support. Which will mean in turn that:

First, it’s going to bring public awareness to the visual practice of graphic recording like never before.

Second, it’s going to put the burden of proof on established practitioners with fancy tools to show they can do better than some kid with an iPad.


It will be great for all concerned, practitioners and clients alike.

Visual Darwinism, you gotta love it. Competition improves the breed, etc.

In the early Seventies motorcycle road racing was dominated by two very talented factory riders on incredibly expensive machines made by MV Agusta in Italy and Honda in Japan. Then along came Yamaha with revolutionary and far cheaper equipment. Suddenly everything changed and once again “privateers” like Jarno Saarinen had a chance.

The new technology, along with incredible drive and talent, allowed Jarno to “… intimidate the factory riders on the GP circuit by clinching the 1972 championship as a privateer, and in the process broke lap-records practically everywhere he went. Jarno was also his own mechanic and helped modify and develop the bikes according to his style of riding.” (Peer Landa).

Prediction: for the great digital graphic recorders of the future, this last sentence will describe their ongoing relation with their rig (rig = hardware/software instrument for performing graphics).

No, Virgina, it’s not like a guitar — one size does not fit all.

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Postscript: since this post was originally made, a lot of great group graphics have been done on the iPad. See some of the images here.


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graphic recording on the iPad, not that bad

Posted in iPad, tools on April 8, 2010 by visualraccoon

(click here or on image to see full 1024×768 size, make sure browser is stretched wide)

Stark but usable. And, with tweaking, could be good. Further testing needed (note that I was in a hurry, and, frankly I’m just not that good a letterer (erer), even in leisure).

I think graphic recording on the iPad is over the threshhold. At this point in time, not far over, but clearly over. With further tuning of styli and software aimed at our particular needs, it could *really* take off.



Here is a log of my first test, results of which you see above.

5:15pm — Drove South and arrived at my local Apple reseller, Computer Works (who closes at 6:00pm).

5:28pm — Purchased “Pogo Sketch” stylus.

5:35pm — Using *my* iTunes account, purchased SBPro for $7.99 and installed on store’s demo iPad.

5:40pm — Started learning SBPro on iPad, but tutorial taking too long so punted rest of it.

5:45pm — Figured out opacity 1.0 with thinnest line, pencil brush, then started lettering. Hey, not bad, but took getting used to.

5:50pm — Erased first 3 tries, started “final” which you see. Two finger zoom to magnify, then letter, then shrink again worked fine. Seems like a good riff, *even when* a group is watching you work live (or maybe especially when — there’s a lot of showmanship possibilities I think).

5:55pm — Finished, saved pict to SBPro Gallery.

5:58pm — Matt Wilson, sales manager at the store, was kind enough to use his gmail account to send the pict you see (from iPhoto, which can access the Gallery).



THOTS

0. Oops! 4/16/10: apparently VGA out support is on a per-application basis, not simply screen sharing of whatever you see! And apparently SBPro mobile doesn’t have it (yet). I posted the question to the appropriate Autodesk forum. Stay tuned.

1. SBPro save to Gallery to iPhoto to email is clumsy, but worked right out of the box (not how well the elephant does the tango, but that it can at all). Means I could have been in a meeting, whole group seeing graphics via projector, and then the images are available very quickly on the net. I bet with a little scripting and you could have a robot email reader post jpgs automatically to a web page as you sent them …

2. The most disconcerting thing was that the tip hides the line as it “comes out of the pen,” i.e. when first appears on screen. After I learned to trust that the line was there and simply letter by feel, things got better. Trimming the fuzzy tip might help, but presumably it’s as small as possible and still work right now. What would be nice is a transparent capacitive tip — why not?

3. Apparently there is no way of doing text input for SBPro via keyboard, either on this “mobile” version or the desktop one.

4. Don’t get the “Pogo Stylus” I recommended previously. It’s only 3.5″ long, not enuff for the back end to rest in the crook between your thumb and forefinger, which makes a big difference in the feel of the thing as a drawing tool. Instead, get the “Pogo Sketch,” which at 4.25″ is long enuff.

5. Buying SBPro to install on the iPad at the store was cool; once purchased I can then download again at no additional cost and install on my iPad when I get it (said Matt at the store and I believe him). Update 4/16/10 It works. Logged into iTunes on my comuter at home and clicked to buy the app and got the msg “This update is free because you own a previous version of this item.” Note this is *not* like music from iTunes! Pretty un-DRM-like for Apple.

6. With more time, other SBPro features like, I dunno, color and varying line width and airbrushing etc (etc, etc) could be brought to bear.

7. Yes, the amount of information, text plus graphics, that can be fit into one 1024×768 screen is less than optimal. But SBPro seems to support speedy creation of new screens, and agile navigation among existing screens, which somewhat offsets the size limitation of a single screen.

8. For $7.99 plus cost of Pogo Sketch stylus (varies, $10 on Amazon), any of you can run this experiment yourself. Remember, you only have to buy SBPro once (so cool). Requires friendly store staff. Dunno if most Apple stores are that friendly. Mail me results and I’ll try to post them, omnivore at visualraccoon dot com .



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http://www.amazon.com/Ten-Design-Stylus-iPhone-Silver/dp/B00174N3R0/

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sketchbook-pro/id364253478



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graphic recording on the iPad?

Posted in iPad on April 4, 2010 by visualraccoon

iPad + Sketchbook Pro + stylus => bingo?!



iPad $500

+ Sketchbook Pro for iPad $7.99

+ iPad stylus $10.76

This could very well change the landscape of graphic recording.

Of course, the scheme depends on the agility and *input* resolution of SBPro with iPad stylus. The latter point is crucial. According to one developer, the input resolution on the iPad does allow you to select individual pixels. Whether this enables a performer to do fast small hand lettering remains to be seen. My local Apple reseller reports signing his name using a stylus in the default drawing app that comes with the iPad. And another user reports that AutoDesk has been creative with zooming for fine grain input in the SBPro iPad app. Both good signs for the usability of SBPro for graphic recording!

So, all you early adopters out there — adopt, adapt, and then let me know.


Oh yeah, one more thing: how does the group itself see your graphic recording?

Oops! 4/16/10: apparently VGA out support is on a per-application basis, not simply screen sharing of whatever you see! And apparently SBPro mobile doesn’t have it (yet). I posted the question to the appropriate Autodesk forum. Stay tuned.

Well, first, there is the VGA Adapter for the iPad ($29) which “lets you connect your iPad to a TV, monitor, projector, or LCD display.” That’s when you and all your viewers are in the same room.

But what about when you’re not all in the same room? — i.e. graphic recording for remote groups? Well, looks like that will happen too …

Any remote viewing capability depends on some provider like Gotomeeting or Webex supporting a content broadcast application for the iPad.

Right now both Gotomeeting and Webex have meeting *attendee* (content receving) iPad clients, but not meeting *organizer* (content broadcast) clients.

However, I think it’s only a matter of time.

Webex says this:

Can I schedule or start a WebEx meeting and invite people to my meeting from Apple iPad?

This is not supported on Apple iPad with this release.

Gotomeeting has no comment, but if their main competitor is working on it …


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http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/shop_ipad/family/ipad

http://store.apple.com/us/product/MC552ZM/A

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sketchbook-pro/id364253478

http://www.amazon.com/Ten-Design-T1-AP25-102-Sketch-Stylus/dp/B001QHY2V4/

http://webex.com/apple/ipadfaq.html

capturing the dynamics of paper graphic recording

Posted in paper-based, performing graphics, tools on April 1, 2010 by visualraccoon

Capturing a graphic recording session for re-presentation to folks who weren’t there is a perennial problem. The final frame in one big image loses the dynamics of development, whereas video is too much information, takes too long to watch, and is too big for convenient distribution.

But taking a sequence of static pictures of the “key frames” — as determined by the graphic recorder herself* — creates a very useful representation of the dynamics. These frames can then be merged into a time-lapse animation showing the developmental flow of the text and graphics.

It is important that the person doing the graphic interpretation of the event should also pick the key frames, because that allows her as interpreter to choreograph the unfolding of the display in the significant steps as she sees (and is drawing) them. The recorder can take the pictures herself through use of a remote control for the camera. Or she can signal an accomplice when to take a picture via previously agreed upon unobtrusive hand gesture. And then using Photoshop the frames can be stitched together into a movie.

Here’s one frame from the (click here to see) time lapse movie of Sunni Brown working the images at this year’s SXSW (vimeo link should play on any computer, pretty low resolution).

(thanks to cw for both photography and PhotoShop-to-movie conversion)




And click here to see full 1280×720 mp4 version, in which most of the text is quite readable (link will play in Quicktime, high resolution). And easy enough to make very readable — this was an experiment shot from the audience, no tripod, and in a dim auditorium with ISO pushed to 3200. If the camera was straight-on to the paper, a little closer, on a tripod in a normally lit room, and higher-up (notice the guy’s head?), then the time lapse record would be totally clear in every frame (even down to smallest text).

Some folks report problems with the mp4 version, so there is also a wmv version (link should play in Windows Media Player, medium resolution; and also, oddly, sometimes in the Safari browser).

In either case, it’s fun to manually move the slider in your movie player to step forward and backward through the frames.



*It should be noted that for this first experiment, Sunni did not pick the keyframes; in fact, the choices were left up to the photographer, who did an outstanding job of selection.


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