The prototype that led to Upgrade Soul

Comics, Experiments, Opertoon

To celebrate the launch of Upgrade Soul, here’s a screen shot of an eleven year old prototype I made that sets artwork from Will Eisner’s “The Treasure of Avenue ‘C’” (a story from New York: The Big City) in two dynamically resizable panels. At the time I was deep in production on Chroma, but my head was also ringing with inspiration from Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics, and emboldened by a generous conversation with the man himself (who had been recently asked to comment by a New York Times reporter on whether Chroma was a graphic novel. The verdict? No, and rightly so).

It struck me that it would be pretty cool to make a comic with panels that could be resized, so I scanned in Eisner’s work and put this test together (complete with little window resizing icons in the lower-right corners to grab on to). Digital comics have been a passion for me ever since.



Flex for visual prototyping

Digital Humanities, Experiments, Flash, Flex, Interactive Design

This is one reason why I’m really digging Flex right now. I’m in the design phase with Sharon Daniel on a follow-up project to Public Secrets and we’re talking about dynamically generating a large number of curved forms as part of the design. All well and good, but how do I mock up the curves without drawing a million squiggly lines by hand? Easy—build a little Flex app that lets me set the parameters of the curve and generate as many as I want, then take screenshots and bring them into Photoshop. This is my first app using this many controls, and it only took a couple hours to put together. There’s a lot of ways in which Flex makes building this kind of thing feel as easy as it really should.

The curve is drawn using a cardinal spline algorithm (Update: c-spline source code) I first ported to Lingo back when I was working on Chroma, and then to ActionScript a couple years ago for Mobile Figures. I like it because it’ll run a smooth curve through any number of values without you needing to specify separate control points.

Check out the app: Curve Designer

Curve Designer application


Wiimote type animation: “Swing”

Animation, Experiments, Flash, Wii

Greetings, programs. I’m launching with a first foray into Wiimote-enabled work—a type animation experiment called “Swing.” Swing lets you use the Wiimote to waggle your way through syllables of text. When the syllables are written by Kurt Elling and you put on “Tanya Jean” (Elling’s brilliant riff on Dexter Gordon) in the background, you get…

Swing is made possible by the wonder of WiiFlash, which enables Flash to receive data from up to four Wiimotes simultaneously under Windows.  Unfortunately, getting your PC set up to do this is not as straightforward as one would hope.  If you’re feeling adventurous, though, visit the Swing page for more info (and a mouse-enabled version of the piece for the Wiimote-challenged).

Enterprising folks may be able to find other interesting uses for Swing.  Let me know what you discover—feature requests are welcome.


Page 1 of 1 pages