Our latest experiments have been to draw with the Tagtool over some of our film footage.
Dima played loops of film through an Edirol V-4 video mixer while I supplied the drawn images. We still have a lot of work to do to get the movement of the film sequences to work with the speed of the drawing. Also finding the balance between the drawn and film image so that the two mesh together hasn’t always been successful but here are a few stills and the first video clip of this project.
When we got the projector hooked up I had a few sessions testing out all the various sliders and the operation of the game pad.
The colours at full saturation on the big screen are really eye-poppingly brilliant! I spent ages just making rainbow squiggles, stripes and circles, then pressing the release button, spinning them, altering the scale and bringing different parts of the drawing to the front or behind. But apart from all this intense colour, the subtlety of tonal variation that is possible using the plus white and plus black sliders is really amazing. I did some black and white drawings too, exploiting the full range of the line thickness tool which, combined with the pressure sensivity of the Wacom pen, allows you to do everything from covering the whole screen with a few really thick strokes to making the finest of lines. I took a few screenshots of these experiments to my memorystick using the release buttons on the game pad but these were rather distorted and I got much better results by taking digital photos from the projected images.
Here is a picture of my workstation set up for our live drawing projects. I’m mixed handed but usually draw with my left hand, so I operate the sliders of my tagtool with my right hand and draw with my left, on my (old, battered but much loved!) Wacom pad. I have the table positioned so that I can see what I’m drawing projected on the wall as well as on the laptop screen. It has taken some practice for me to be able to locate the sliders and move them to give the colour, line thickness, opacity etc that I want while at the same time keeping the drawing going and looking continuously between the computer screen and projected image. One slight problem that Dima has so far been unable to resolve (and is technically way beyond my comprehension) is the mismatch that occurs between the laptop screen and projected image aspect ratios. I haven’t found it too difficult to cope with the slight differences in colour (and of course in intensity, depending on the amount of light present from other sources) between laptop and projection. However, the distortion that occurs in the projected images if I base my drawing only on the laptop, or the ‘stretching’ of the drawn images on the laptop if I draw only with reference to the projection is less easy to cope with. If anyone reading reading this has met this problem to and knows how to resolve it, I would welcome some advice. In my next post I’ll put up some images from our recent sessions.
Recently we did a performance by videoing and simultaneously projecting my ‘live’ computer drawing directly from the monitor. This worked quite well but Tagtool with its animation potential looked like just the kind of thing that I had been looking for. I only do the drawing; Dima is the one with the technical know-how so, following the instructions from the website, he built ‘our’ Tagtool.
The sliders, arduino and gamepad he ordered online. The rest of the materials were salvaged from our big box of dead electronics in the basement. Here are some photos of the various stages in the building process. Dima assures me that, ‘it’s not difficult to build one of these’ – all the info is available from hhtp://www.tagtool.org
Wow! The very first squiggles! It all worked perfectly first time!