Video: Yesterday someone sent me this video by Haythem Zakaria, so I decided to try something similar out using my Flash engine, I dropped the shapes animation into Final Cut and played around with them, using Krix as the audio baseline.
A long time ago I attempted to emulate in Flash a grid system developed by Burak Arikan who Ali Demirel collaborated with to produce the Minus Contakt visuals, I called it Minus Grid and made it into a screensaver. You can read the original blog post from back then.
During renders today I decided to upgrade the screensaver, as it needed some tweaking.
In the preview there is an extra bar full of controls that isn’t in the screensaver, and also in the screensaver the “lines” are always set to ON.
Don’t forget that once you install it, you can customize the grid size by clicking Options… in your System Prefs. Different grid sizes produce various interesting effects!
After posting this I started browsing through Burak’s site again after all this time, and I’ve found some new screenshots of his Meta Control visuals. “Gridnet” is the true name of what I’ve been trying to replicate. Check out his incredible work here. This is the stuff that blew my mind and became a huge source of inspiration for me when I first went to the Minus Contakt show a couple of years ago.
Also to be noted is that my Minus Grid is actually (if you haven’t noticed already) quite far off from his original (run his Applet here). With the last version I decided to randomize the weight of the lines, and also to randomize whether two dots connect or not.
Over the past couple of years I have developed a Flash-based engine that I can run at clubs to control and generate randomized visuals. I can basically just let it run all night without needing to control it, as it picks and chooses different generative animations (for example one of them is an alternate version of the header at the top of this page), always randomizing parameters such as time, scale, velocity, colour, etc. It’s built to run on its own, but I have also built in extra functions so that if needed I can interact using the keyboard.
I have a neighbour called Marc, he’s from Barcelona and he’s a photographer who has lived in London for most part of his adulthood. Like me he relocated to New York two months ago in the search of the new, and seems to be really getting into the swing of things here. We live two floors away from each other, so elevator trips to and from his and my place are becoming frequent, sometimes transporting goods such as sandwiches, wine and cakes to fuel our hard-working ethos.
He needed a new website, so I whipped out the old Flash and knocked this up: marcregas.com
As video is becoming more and more prominent in my portfolio, I can’t help but feel more and more detached from Flash. So having something like this in my portfolio makes me feel a bit better about betraying my geeky roots. I really hope to spend more time on Flash as it would be a shame to let it all go after how hard I pushed to study it years ago; but I fear that time is going to be difficult to find and that maybe outsourcing work to new talented kids would be a possibility if a company structure were put in place! This company is actually in the pipeline and logistics are being discussed during these weeks, so maybe I’ll have some news in the near future about this.
Back to Skunk Anansie, the website for the return of this 90s rock band has been all over my schedule for almost a year now, and finally having it out of the way is a relief to say the least! I worked remotely with Casper Franken from Shotopop to make it all happen. He too care of Art Direction and Design while I fiddled around with things that fall under Development and Interaction.
Once again I’m sitting around waiting for a video render to finish: I’m working on the second part of Damian Lazarus’ visuals, which will be played in full for the first time this thursday in Stockholm. I consider this to be the second beginning of his world tour, as so far he has only been performing half of his set.
Anyway, I’ve been staring at the render progress bar for far too long, so I decided to upload a little Flash toy I made to be used in Damian’s visuals, the “Random Shape Generator”.
During my incredibly busy times working on video-based projects for Damian Lazarus I managed to squeeze in a nice little web project for Skin, who I’ve got to know through Smokin Jo. While talks of a website for her Format 3 project are still being made, Skin also asked me to build a brand new website for the return of Skunk Anansie.
I remember telling a few people in LA about this fairly big news piece, but to my surprise they had never heard of the band. Is that just an LA thing? I found it quite intriguing.
Anyway, I don’t know how much I can say about what’s happening exactly with the band (apart from the fact that they’ll be playing at the Water Rats tonight and tomorrow), so I’ll just stick to explaining my side of things briefly: I brought in talented designer Casper Franken from Shotopop to art direct the whole project, and I’ll be taking care of the “creative development” (that is my job title, after all).
The holding page is up right now, and the full site should be live towards the beginning of May, so take a look: skunkanansie.net.
A few weeks ago I attended Contakt, a yearly event hosted by the people from Minus. I came out feeling completely blown away, and the memories of the event flashed obsessively through my head for many days after. But apart from the musical side of things I was most taken by the visuals, the work of Ali M. Demirel and Burak Arikan. In a similar way to Minus’ sound, these visuals were MINIMAL, but had a catastrophic impact that was jaw-dropping.
Here’s an interview that might give you an idea of how Ali plugs into the Minus team.
One of the setups they made was based on a grid of dots, each with their own small square-shaped boundaries, watch it in action here, made by Burak. This is one of many other ideas based on a single concept called Meta Control: “Collection of visual/kinetic performative artifacts. These software pieces have a single organizing principle: their control mechanisms are not hidden and often exposed.”
The grid idea in particular has been stuck in my mind since I first saw it, probably because it was one of the few that I managed to figure out, so yesterday I tried to re-build it in Flash.
Stupidly, before I started building it I didn’t look for a video to refresh my memory, in fact I’ve just realized by watching this video that he didn’t actually use any vertical/horizontal lines to connect the dots, which is how I built mine.
Anyway, you can check out my first version, which I’ve creatively named MinusGrid here. Maybe I’ll upgrade it one day.
Screensavers with style are extremely difficult to find: I wanted to find a nice slick one for my newly fixed computer, but after years of occasionally google-ing “slick screensaver mac” and finding myself in very scary websites, I didn’t even go near google. Instead I made my own, based on a clock.
There’s an interface that lets you choose which style to use. You can preview it by clicking on the image below, which will load one of the 4 styles randomly each time it’s opened.
Click here to download (Mac only). Just unzip the file, and open up “The Clock.saver”. It will automatically add The Clock to your list of screensavers.
I’m looking for name ideas, so any suggestions are very welcome. “The Clock” is a bit too Apple, I’d like it to sound as slick as [i think] it looks. Suggestions? “SLOCK”? “CLICK”? huh?
Back in the day when I use to work fulltime for an ad agency, banners used to come in by the dozen every month, often promoting the release of things like dvd boxsets of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or 24! Those of you who know me will totally understand why I might have a problem designing banners promoting these types of products. I seem to remember that a few of us hated them so much that eventually the design studio got divided into Banner Lovers and Banner Haters, which in turn caused the design team to split into departments. I sat proudly in the non-advertising department until I left few years later.
Those days are long gone and I’ve decidedly moved on, only working on advertising projects occasionally. So it was a bit strange for me when the other day James Priestley, who came to me through party contacts, asked me to make some banners to promote a secretsundaze event on Resident Advisor. Surprisingly though, I really enjoyed it! Mainly because the secretsundaze brand and corporate identity focuses on slick typography, but also because I believe in the product!! A party under some arches with Carl Craig? That’s my thing! Just like Buffy is the thing for Pam from Milton Keynes.