Exploration, Experimentation, Creativity

Both Photoshop and Illustrator are fine programs. We use them both here at b-l-a-c-k-o-p. And we know that many highly trained artists use them to create artwork. The problem with Photoshop and Illustrator is that, by and large, in order to do something creative with them, you must already know what you want to do (have an idea) and know how to realize that idea using the tools in the software.

Most people are not highly trained artists, and many creative projects begin without any ideas at all. DotMatrix was designed to facilitate the creative process from this point: from the blank slate. Not only in terms of creative ideas, but also in terms of skill. DotMatrix was designed to make it easier for the uninitiated to immediately begin to explore, experiment and create.

You might ask: "Why are there so many sliders in DotMatrix?" The answer follows from our usability goals. In experiementing with different UI (user interface models), we came to the conclusion that the UI element best suited for rapid experimentation/exploration of permutation was the slider. When it comes to mousing, the slider has the most natural mapping from the physical into the virtual. There is a one to one correspondance between the motion of your hand and the selection on the screen. All other forms of multi-selection, including popup lists, scrollable lists of items etc. require more than a simple click and drag for selection. From the color selection stripe to the shape selectors, we've implemented them all as sliders so you can rapidly, visually evaluate design possibilities without taking your eyes off the composition. We think there is a great value in that, especially when "messing around" with design ideas.

We also designed the Bookmarking and Snapshot features to dovetail with this user experience philosophy. It is cheap/easy to bookmark a new design in DotMatrix. It's just an instant Command+B. There is no prompting, no sounds, no save dialog, no gratuitous screen animation. Instead, while absorbed in evaluating different design choices and while browsing color schemes, anytime you find something that looks like it might be a candidate, or possibly the basis for future experiementation, you only need hit Command+B, and without being distracted from the task at hand, know that at some later time you can return to that design as a starting point, or revisit the bookmark to name it more appropriately.

By : Ms. Black Exploration, Experimentation, Creativity 0 comments

DotMatrix - A Fixed Function Image Synthesizer

There are a variety of video/image synthesis software programs available. This would include Pure Data (pd), Quartz Composer and Max/MSP/Jitter. Most of these image synthesizers have their roots in the original "Moog Modular" which was an analog music synthesizer developed in the 60s by Bob Moog. The advantages of modular synthesis are power and programmability. The disadvantages are that they are hard to program.

We developed DotMatrix using later forms of analog keyboards as a design foundation. For example, the Mini-Moog, which is also a programmable synthesizer, is more of a fixed-function device. Instead of having an unlimited arrangement of oscillators and generators, you have a fixed set of features which can be quickly and easily programmed. And parameters can be adjusted on the fly for performance needs. The Mini-Moog also includes an audio input with live filtering of source audio. In DotMatrix, this would be analagous to the camera input which runs through our video filter before being combined with shape generation and so forth.

By : Ms. Black DotMatrix - A Fixed Function Image Synthesizer 0 comments




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