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23 OCTOBER 2014

AppSeed: interactive prototypes from pen and paper sketches

"AppSeed lets you take your sketches and make them into functioning prototypes, bridging the gap between pen/paper and digital, through computer vision. It allows you to sketch your designs as you normally would and then manipulate your sketches directly on your phone. Unlike similar products, the use of computer vision speeds up the process and understands your sketches. AppSeed can identify an enclosed space in your sketch, allowing you to make it into a button, input text, map, or another UI element. Making your sketch into a functioning prototype running on your phone."

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2013app • app prototyping • AppSeed (app) • design options • drawn shapes • functional prototype • Greg Goralski • hand-drawnideas start on paperinteractive elements • interactive paper prototype • interactive prototypes • interface designlook and feel • look and feel options • mock-up • Open Source Computer Vision • OpenCVpaper prototypingpattern recognitionproduct prototype • prototyping app • sketching ideastest prototypeTorontoUI design • UI element • UI elements • user interface designUXvisual screen design

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
25 SEPTEMBER 2013

Ladies Learning Code: promoting a diverse workforce

"Ladies Learning Code is a Toronto–based not–for–profit organization that runs workshops for women (and men) who want to learn beginner–friendly computer programming and other technical skills in a social and collaborative way. Today we have chapters across Canada, a thriving girls' program called Girls Learning Code and a permanent workshop space in Toronto. Oh, and we're just getting started."

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beginner-friendlyCanadacode clubcollaborative learningcomputer programmerscomputer programmingcomputer programming education • diverse teams • diverse workforce • gendered technology • Girls Learning Code (workshop) • girls programme • Heather Payne • Ladies Learning Code (workshop) • learn to codelearning softwarenot for profitsocial learningsoftware developerssoftware developmentsoftware literacySTEM subjects • technical skills • technology educationTorontowomenwomen and technologywomen in technologyworkshop for womenworkshops

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
22 OCTOBER 2011

A mixtape of animation and musical styles

"To celebrate the Red Bull Academy World Tour, the Academy produced a music film that encompasses musical styles from around the world.

Berlin: The soundtrack for this clip is inspired by one of Hansa's iconic album's Iggy Pop's Lust for Life. Like the creation of the music in the studio, the cityscape is built from the many organic, analogue musical artifacts used in the recording studio. Tape creatures climb across the concrete city jungle towards the Berlin Wall–a nod to the studio's physical location.

Paris: The visual inspiration for the Parisian leg of the tour is an collision between the flesh and blood textures of the African soul and funk that comprised the concert, and the architectural backdrop of Paris–the home of the Afrobeat Picks event. Musically, the rhythm builds and the acoustics echo and bounce off the city walls as we travel across the avenues.

Detroit: Inspired by the Detroit automotive industry, from the start the viewer is immersed inside the iconic TR 909 drummachine–a nod to the intersection of man and machine central to the city's musical innovation. As we travel through a CG circuit board city, the cyclical nature of the assembly line process is increasingly apparent transitioning us from the hey days of Motown R&B to the minimal stylings of techno. The theme of repetition was also carried through to the construction of the musical score.

Toronto: The animation style here is directly referenced from the iconic soundclash album Scientists meets the Space Invaders. The four superhero characters battle it out across the streets of Toronto–each one representative of one of the four soundclash crews competing in this event, Afrika Bambaataa's Zulu Nation, Mad Decent, LuckyMe and Toronto All Star. The beginning of the battle is marked by the sound of the airhorn, a nod to the dancehall musical score underpinning this piece.

Melbourne: The bright, visually rich palette of this section is inspired by the coastal location of Melbourne city. Like the experimental nature of the event itself, the narrative of this film explores the relationship between sound and space. The audio of the Melbourne tram chimes set off a wave of fluid illustrated animations that bounce around the screen, visually inspired by traditional aboriginal paintings.

New York: When hip–hop first emerged in the 70s it was the ghetto blaster that amplified the sound of New York streets to the world. To pay hommage, the setting of this film was built from the original tape deck devices. We see a Hudson River constructed of unwound mixtapes. The trains all disappear to one of the five boroughs, a nod to the albums and boroughs celebrated in this event.

Rome: Italy and the Cinecitta studios are credited for producing some of the most influential cinematic masterpieces ever. To celebrate this we created a film that paid tribute to the different genres, from comedy to spaghetti western, 70s cop films & blood–filled horror flicks to psychedelic animations, in one narrative mash–up. A Spaghetti Western inspired track provides the aural backdrop as we pan across the scene culminating in a classic Sergio Leone shot. Along the way we reveal a chaotic assortment of villains, ghouls and policeman all participating in one comedic battle conducted to the tunes of a dead Mexican mariachi band.

London: Inspired by the event theme, Revolutions in Sound, we wanted to create a dominating creature that visually embodies the innovative qualities of the event itself. As the camera cuts around the robot's CG body we see it is inspired by components of modern London architecture. His head is a pulsating subwoofer, an iconic musical artifact central to London's influential bass music scenes and inside his chest we see the magnificent London Eye, the heart of the event itself."

(Red Bull)

Fig.1 'Red Bull Academy World Tour' (2011). Passion Pictures

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TAGS

20112D3D • airhorn • animation • animation style • architectural backdrop assembly line • automotive industry • BerlinBerlin WallCGcircuit boardcitycityscapecoast • concrete jungle • cut-up • dancehall • Detroitdrum machine • ghetto blaster • hip-hophommageIggy PopItalyLondon • London Eye • low-fiMelbournemixtapeMotownmusic videomusical scoremusical stylesNew YorkParisPassion Picturespsychedelic • Red Bull • Red Bull Academy World Tour • repetition • Revolutions in Sound • robotRome • Sammy Bananas • Sergio LeoneSpace Invadersspaghetti westernstop motionsuperherotape deck • techno • Toronto • TR 909 • tram

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
08 MAY 2011

Dave Meslin: the antidote to apathy

"How often do we hear that people just don't care? How many times have you been told that real, substantial change isn't possible because most people are too selfish, too stupid or too lazy to try to make a difference in their community? I propose to you today that apathy as we think we know it doesn't actually exist, but rather, that people do care, but that we live in a world that actively discourages engagement by constantly putting obstacles and barriers in our way.

And I'll give you some examples of what I mean. Let's start with city hall. You ever see one of these before? This is a newspaper ad. It's a notice of a zoning application change for a new office building so the neighborhood knows what's happening. As you can see, it's impossible to read. You need to get halfway down to even find out which address they're talking about, and then farther down, in tiny 10–point font to find out how to actually get involved. Imagine if the private sector advertised in the same way –– if Nike wanted to sell a pair of shoes and put an ad in the paper like that. (Applause) Now that would never happen. You'll never see an ad like that, because Nike actually wants you to buy their shoes. Whereas the city of Toronto clearly doesn't want you involved with the planning process, otherwise their ads would look something like this –– with all the information basically laid out clearly. As long as the city's putting out notices like this to try to get people engaged, then, of course, people aren't going to be engaged. But that's not apathy; that's intentional exclusion.

Public space. (Applause) The manner in which we mistreat our public spaces is a huge obstacle towards any type of progressive political change. Because we've essentially put a price tag on freedom of expression. Whoever has the most money gets the loudest voice, dominating the visual and mental environment. The problem with this model is that there are some amazing messages that need to be said that aren't profitable to say. So you're never going to see them on a billboard.

The media plays an important role in developing our relationship with political change, mainly by ignoring politics and focusing on celebrities and scandals. But even when they do talk about important political issues, they do it in a way that I feel discourages engagement. And I'll give you an example: the Now magazine from last week –– progressive, downtown weekly in Toronto. This is the cover story. It's an article about a theater performance, and it starts with basic information about where it is, in case you actually want to go and see it after you've read the article –– where, the time, the website. Same with this –– it's a movie review, an art review, a book review –– where the reading is in case you want to go. A restaurant –– you might not want to just read about it, maybe you want to go to the restaurant. So they tell you where it is, what the prices are, the address, the phone number, etc.

Then you get to their political articles. Here's a great article about an important election race that's happening. It talks about the candidates –– written very well –– but no information, no follow–up, no websites for the campaigns, no information about when the debates are, where the campaign offices are. Here's another good article about a new campaign opposing privatization of transit without any contact information for the campaign. The message seems to be that the readers are most likely to want to eat, maybe read a book, maybe see a movie, but not be engaged in their community. And you might think this is a small thing, but I think it's important because it sets a tone and it reinforces the dangerous idea that politics is a spectator sport.

Heroes: How do we view leadership? Look at these 10 movies. What do they have in common? Anyone? They all have heroes who were chosen. Someone came up to them and said, "You're the chosen one. There's a prophesy. You have to save the world." And then someone goes off and saves the world because they've been told to, with a few people tagging along. This helps me understand why a lot of people have trouble seeing themselves as leaders. Because it sends all the wrong messages about what leadership is about. A heroic effort is a collective effort, number one. Number two, it's imperfect; it's not very glamorous; and it doesn't suddenly start and suddenly end. It's an ongoing process your whole life. But most importantly, it's voluntary. It's voluntary. As long as we're teaching our kids that heroism starts when someone scratches a mark on your forehead, or someone tells you that you're part of a prophecy, they're missing the most important characteristic of leadership, which is that it comes from within. It's about following your own dreams –– uninvited, uninvited –– and then working with others to make those dreams come true.

Political parties: oh boy. Political parties could and should be one of the basic entry points for people to get engaged in politics. Instead, they've become, sadly, uninspiring and uncreative organizations that rely so heavily on market research and polling and focus groups that they end up all saying the same thing, pretty much regurgitating back to us what we already want to hear at the expense of putting forward bold and creative ideas. And people can smell that, and it feeds cynicism. (Applause)

Charitable status: Groups who have charitable status in Canada aren't allowed to do advocacy. This is a huge problem and a huge obstacle to change, because it means that some of the most passionate and informed voices are completely silenced, especially during election time. Which leads us to the last one, which is our elections.

As you may have noticed, our elections in Canada are a complete joke. We use out–of–date systems that are unfair and create random results. Canada's currently led by a party that most Canadians didn't actually want. How can we honestly and genuinely encourage more people to vote when votes don't count in Canada? You add all this up together and of course people are apathetic. It's like trying to run into a brick wall.

Now I'm not trying to be negative by throwing all these obstacles out and explaining what's in our way. Quite the opposite: I actually think people are amazing and smart and that they do care. But that, as I said, we live in this environment where all these obstacles are being put in our way. As long as we believe that people, our own neighbors, are selfish, stupid or lazy, then there's no hope. But we can change all those things I mentioned. We can open up city hall. We can reform our electoral systems. We can democratize our public spaces.

My main message is, if we can redefine apathy, not as some kind of internal syndrome, but as a complex web of cultural barriers that reinforces disengagement, and if we can clearly define, we can clearly identify, what those obstacles are, and then if we can work together collectively to dismantle those obstacles, then anything is possible.

Thank you. (Applause)"

(Dave Meslin)

Fig.1 TEDxToronto 2010, filmed October 2011; posted April 2011

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TAGS

2010advocacyapathybarrier • bold ideas • campaignCanadacelebritychange • collective effort • community engagementcreative ideas • cultural barriers • cynicism • Dave Meslin • democracy • disengagement • electionsengagementexclusionfocus groupglamour • heroic effort • imperfectioninformationlazinessleadershipmedianeighbourhoodNike • obstacles • political change • political issuespolitical partiespoliticspollingprogressive political changeprogressive political perspectivepublic spacereform our electoral systemsscandalselfishness • spectator sport • stupidityTED TalksTorontotrivia • uncreative organisations • visual environment • voluntary

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
11 MAY 2010

I Met The Walrus: Animated John Lennon Interview

"n 1969, a 14–year–old Beatle fanatic named Jerry Levitan, armed with a reel–to–reel tape deck, snuck into John Lennon's hotel room in Toronto and convinced John to do an interview. This was in the midst of Lennon's "bed–in" phase, during which John and Yoko were staying in hotel beds in an effort to promote peace. 38 years later, Jerry has produced a film about it. Using the original interview recording as the soundtrack, director Josh Raskin has woven a visual narrative which tenderly romances Lennon's every word in a cascading flood of multipronged animation. Raskin marries traditional pen sketches by James Braithwaite with digital illustration by Alex Kurina, resulting in a spell–binding vessel for Lennon's boundless wit, and timeless message."

(Josh Raskin)

Fig.1 'I Met The Walrus' (2007). Josh Raskin – Animator, Josh Raskin – Director, Josh Raskin – Editor, Josh Raskin – Composer (Music Score), Alex Kurina – Cinematographer, James Braithwaite Computer Illustrations – Cinematographer, Jerry Levitan – Producer, Josh Raskin – Screenwriter, James Braithwaite – Illustrator, Alex Kurina – Illustrator [6 minutes].

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TAGS

14 year old • 19692D2D animation • Alex Kurina • animationdigital illustrationdrawingfilmhotel • I Met The Walrus • illustrationillustrative styleinterviewJames Braithwaite • Jerry Levitan • John Lennon • Josh Raskin • motion designmotion graphicspeacepen sketchesreel-to-reelsequence designtape deckThe BeatlesTorontovisual communicationvisual designvisual narrativevisualisationYoko Ono

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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