Friday, February 01, 2008

I can't believe I worked a 16 hour day yesterday. I left home at 8am and met Max Kazemzadeh, the renowned new media artist, down in Fort Worth to prepare an exhibit for an art show.

My wife came down too, and helped Max unload his truck.

Inside the space we set up our interactive animation piece entitled "Max is a Pushover" in among the pottery, painting, clothing, and sculpture. One other Art professor and her student were preparing an interactive piece where you use a computer to figure out your carbon footprint and compute how many Earths we'd need if everybody used that much, then rip down the appropriate number of blow-up globes from the wall, blow them up, and put them in a heap. Interesting. We'll see how that one works out.

First we had to bring in all the stuff and construct the physical part of the installation, the computer, the video camera, and the projector.

Meanwhile I did some intense coding. The code consisted of some of the code from the Zach demo that you'll find earlier on this blog, with some different behaviours and some new images. Max videotaped himself yesterday and post-processed this into a series of sprites for me... this morning right after we unloaded his truck. He said he'd have them 24 hours in advance for me, but no pressure.

Max continues to cut wood...

Around 3pm the piece starts to come together physically. However, we're having trouble getting the DirectX and DirectShow User Runtimes installed on Max's computer, not to mention the drivers for the video camera. You see, his computers have been set up by the College of Visual Art and Design's technicians, and place serious limits on user access, even when they supposedly have "administrator" privileges on the machine.

Around 5pm we give up and plan to show the demo using my development laptop. I still haven't written the code. About this time the virtual Max will fall down in response to keystrokes, but there's no sign of camera input.

About this time I discover an obscure multithreading bug with DirectX and DirectShow and manage to exorcize it. Serious hair-tearing time for a while with the demo crashing faster than a 1960s Lada with very little debug information.

Eventually, around 10pm everything started to come together. After removing the last bug - using a video-space variable instead of a screen-space one - I'm able to put the finishing touches on the software and Max can clean up the hardware.

After a few "official" photos and videos by Max, we're able to hit the road after 11pm. Max drops me home at midnight. Day officially seized.

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