Although, in my presentations, I mention companies, no one is paying me to have their product or service mentioned. I am thrilled to say that Novaby is helping me with Bubiko, and that I have spent a little quality time with Tranzient and Scandy (listed below), but other than that, I am just sharing info gathered online and at trade shows/events.
Stephen Black is a consultant/creative director/ bestselling writer/director/producer (Fox, Cartoon Network, CNN, Fuji TV) who’s spoken about AR at MIT,Hong Kong PolyU, TechCrunch Shenzhen, PARIS (Paris Augmented Reality Influencers Show) and the Open Augmented Reality Cloud Symposium (Munich). Beach Road, his VR (360 video) movie was featured at VR festivals in Singapore, Las Vegas and Brisbane.
Also an established visual artist, he has exhibited at art spaces worldwide, including the Singapore Biennale (with Michael Lee), Image Forum Experimental Film and Video Festival (Tokyo), and numerous venues in the legendary art scene of the Rivington School/Lower East Side of New York City.
Stephen is available for creating AR/VR/traditional video content as well as consulting, creative direction and public speaking opportunities. His latest book, Bubiko Foodtour’s Ununusual Guide to Augmented Reality (reviewed here) is available on Amazon.
PRO TIPS/NEWS STORIES
Geopose. As URL is to the internet, geopose is to AR. Interested? This blog post is a must.
Geopose and GPS virtual sculpture (1st location: Paris) now in production by Vincent Trastour (Flamingo Studios/PARIS event) and Stephen Black.
Would you like to support THE GREATEST AR TOUR IN HISTORY? Do you want to learn the latest news from AWE, Austin, Japan, Detroit, Turin, Munich, Shenzhen and Japan!?
Stephen Black and Bubiko Foodtour are about to go global: learning, educating and networking at some of the biggest AR events in the world. We just need a little financial fuel...we are movin’ and groovin, but our app isn’t out yet! Startup blues!
BONNETS! (My Powerpoint looks extremely low tech. As much as I like this look, I have to say I had no choice. I was using my Chromebook , and used the baked in slide show creator. Next time, I might actually have the time to do some design work.)
DC Rainmaker does his usually outstanding job of reviewing a bicycle-related product.Jump into the video at about the 4 minute mark to see some exemplary AR techniques. Click here to see more examples and ideas related to AR+ Bicycles.
Cannondale, for the win! A great example of functional AR in an everyday situation, as opposed to a factory or medical facility.
From a presentation I did on AR and bike safety. All of those concepts need to be unified and rethought for the age of AR.
An example of an organization that has information that would be useful for AR in Detroit. Geographic Information Services… How much of what is under the road do they have records of? This info would be necessary for many AR services,
How do they make pointclouds-or do they even do this yet?
One of Magic Leap's views on how the total AR world might look like.
The layers presented include IoT (the Internet of Things, as well as AI. Photo courtesy of Tony at the Skarred Ghost, another person I suggest serious AR/VR people support and follow.
Another presentation from Magic Leap on how the total AR Cloud might look. They use the term "Magicverse".
A representation by the OARC on what the layers of the cloud would be. My suggested terms would be REAL1 (R1), REAL2 (R2) and REAL3 (R3). R1=the physical world. R2; the layer with few changes; buildings, landmarks, geography. R3 being the part of the AR cloud that changes the most, and has the most segmentation.
This system also lends itself to further classification. R2C22 , for example, could refer to a specific block in Chicago for example, and R2C22E could be the collective "channel" for all organizations utilizing traffic emergency communications for that area.
Microsoft Azure Spatial anchor systems. 'Anchor systems' refers to geoposing. There can be an endless number of clouds. Interoperability... Machines reading the world for humans... A browser...AI assisted browsers.
This is from the State of the Open AR Cloud 2019 report by the Open Augmented Reality Cloud group. Already some governing bodies are being formed.
Shenzhen's celebration used the entire city as a canvas. Something like this could be done in Detroit with AR, for much less cost, and with greater detail. AVs could travel on programmed routes... a new form of musical is born!
My report on the maker culture of Shenzhen is here.
The Fox Theatre is one of Detroit's cultural assets that could be utilized. This slide shows some of the layers of creation and co-operation that need to be considered.
Back to bROADWAY… and we have "discovered" that the Fox Theater is geofenced. Geofencing is a blocking of AR access. Military bases, sensitive areas...the interior of homes. The Fox Theatre is copyrighted, I believe. In this fictional example, Fox may have geofenced their theater to prevent unauthorized AR usage.
This is outdated. For my startup plans, write to me directly at bubikofoodtour at mark gmail.com. Please look for more recent posts. This, for example, is an overview of the first three months of AR activities in 2019. Thank you. SB
Schedule now being determined, planned stops include: Boston MA (ARIA /MIT), NYC, Washington D.C., Rochester NY, Toledo OH, Detroit, Ann Arbor MI, Chicago, Natchez MS, Denver CO, Boulder CO, New Orleans, Austin (SXSW), Los Angeles, San Francisco(GDC)
Graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology, director/writer/producer for Cartoon Network, Fox, Fuji TV and CNN, Stephen Black was involved with a $3.2M gaming startup, from 2002-7. He then became a writer/artist while waiting for mobile spatial computing(AR/VR) to mature.
Now is the time to produce AR content for industry, art and entertainment- and games.
I have been involved with games/spatial computing since 2002, and am now ready to launch an AR startup that involves games, filmmaking and video/content production. If you, or someone you know, is interested in investing, I hope we can talk.
I can share the successful pitch I used at TechCrunch Shenzhen a week ago. As positive as the response was, it never hurts to share a vision, especially if that vision includes a unicorn. onwARd, Stephen Black
PS The flyer below is a bit out of date; the startup idea mentioned below includes games.
This blog has many posts about AR and startup plans, all of which are outdated, but do provide insights.
Hello and welcome. My name is Stephen Black and I work with media, words and art.
Media: VR, computer-generated environments,video and photography.
Words: articles and books, including Bali Wave Ghost, I Ate Tiong Bahru (a national bestseller in Singapore), Tiong Bahru Mouth, Obama Search Words and a few others.
This post gives you some idea of my current projects.
Thank you for stopping by.
Ai Wewei, Yesim Agaoglu, Stephen Black, Eugene Soh collaboration in gallery.sg
Works created with ink
If one person can be said to symbolize the Tiong Bahru Market, it might be this guy in the hat...
THIS post was written before SPOKEN started. SPOKEN is a project I am doing with Eugene Soh, an experiment in which art, text, virtual reality and social media intersect. Learn about SPOKEN here.
To enter gallery.sg and experience SPOKEN, click here.
Here is the extremely short version: from 2002 until 2008 I was involved with a visionary virtual reality project that combined educational practices with gamemaking and multimedia. However, the spiritual captain of the project was part Disney, part Microsoft and part Sex Pistols. An unexpected death, treachery, incompetence, inexperience, bureaucratic boondoggles and more made my life "interesting"... I have pages of notes about the events and the spirit of the times. We were doing things like Youtube and Second Life before they started. The project was so close... and yet so far away. (Actually, now that mobile technology has settled down, I hope that the lessons and products of that experience can be revitalized. But that's yet another story.)
In 2006, as a way of showcasing our technology, I entered a gamemaking hackathon. A theme was given on a Thursday morning and the next day at five the results were judged.The theme was something about healthy eating, I think. Working with my programmer in Hong Kong, we made a game in which the viewer learned about the calorie count of certain foods. The player competed with an AI character. It was fun to do.
However, what I remember most was a team that made an incredible flash game. I don't remember if they won or not, but I do remember two guys on that team very well. George Parel and Eugene Soh were full of energy, knowledge and bursting with creative ideas.
They still are.
I've been lucky to work with George and Eugene on a few projects since then. In 2008 I finally had to put the educational gamemaking project on hold while I waited for a programmer and the mobile device situation to stabilize.I put more time into writing and art projects. George and Eugene (that dude from Singapore) however, have kept on doing remarkably creative things with IT, art, design and more.
Virtual reality may seem to be an artificial place, but the gallery Eugene has created fills me with memories and hope. I am honored and very thankful for I Ate Tiong Bahru to be on display in gallery.sg
This informal essay is my way of marking the end of a certain era in ebook history. It's part snapshot, part reference materials, part journal.At the end of this post are notes about me, my experiences and my books.
Thanks to Doug Rolph for his insights on economics, Eric Hellman for his input and my dad for having taken care of our family by selling books.
το πνεύμα του Ιανού
After I finish writing eight books, I will begin marketing. Until then, I'll probably study the ebook world less and hopefully do more writing, arting and engaging with Life. When it does comes time for me to contribute to the marketing conversation, I hope I have something to say. For now, I present the following notes, quotes and thoughts as a means of punctuating a phase in the development of ebooks as I have seen and experienced it.
This is an exciting time. The ebook delivery platforms are finally stable, self-publishing has proven to have great value and a number of services have recently appeared that shorten the distances between readers and authors. It seems to me that indie ebooks and ebook marketing are about to enter a new era.
This blog post makes little mention of traditional publishing. This is simply because, as much as I would like to enjoy the benefits of being a Big 5/6 author, that fruit is not now within my reach. I am however, considering joining the Author's Guild.
Although I've done almost no marketing, I have studied the environments in which ebooks are created, presented, bought and sold. Some observations:
1. Except for uploading, nothing about ebooks is easy.
Writing is the anti-social social media, full of long, long hours of pressure-filled solitude. Assembling an error-free book is never simple. The social part, finding an audience, is an immense challenge. I respect all of the authors mentioned in this post for they have successfully met these challenges and more.
Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.Stephen King
Based on my experiences, the work breakdown of an 88,000 word novel looks something like this: 1000 words a day (88 days) or, more likely, 500 words a day (176 days). Call it 200 days to prepare something for a proofreader. Two months for corrections, art, and ebook conversion. So, a book takes about 300 working days to finalize. About...
And then there are the thousands of actions needed to connect with readers... The title of Guy Kawasaki's excellent book says it all: APE, meaning Author, Publisher, EntrepreneurThis document, by Mark Coker, the founder of Smashwords, is a data-based analysis of the ebook market. Highly recommended, it covers topics important for newbies and veterans. It touches upon issues like word count, pricing, marketing and more. For instance, his research shows that the average bestseller on Smashwords is 100,000 words, and the average romance is 112,195 words. (There are more links to resources at the end of this post.)
Very few traditionally published authors became bestsellers; the same is true for ebook publishing. My goal is not to become a bestseller, but to connect with the largest possible community of people who enjoy the art of reading.
2. A great writer or a great marketer.......or, the frustration of being caught between not doing enough writing and not doing enough marketing. A writer writes, a salesman sells.
Self-publishing does not equal self-marketing. Spending money wisely on promotion money means income and time to write. (See the links below)
Twitter, Goodreads, FB, LinkedIn and blogging? All have their advantages and disadvantages...3. There are no independent, hugely successful ebook-only self-publishers.Note: Two days after this post went up, I became aware of this great piece by Dana Beth Weinberg on Digital Book World. Thank you Jacqueline Church!
Amazon is huge, Apple is huge, Kobo and Smashwords are very big. Unless you are selling from your own website or the back of your car, you're not truly independent.
OK, A bit of an attention grabber there...but the author's need for a partnership with Amazon and ebook distributors is a dependence that cannot be overlooked. These "automatic partners" will always protect their interests first. They call the shots. Amazon is a business, not an author.
Amanda Hocking is a hugely successful author. At one point, the average daily sales figure of her self-published ebooks was 9000. Again: average DAILY book sales: nine thousand! Her success was based on hard work, technological first mover advantage and an indirect tie-in with Hollywood.
-the successful and pioneering integration of ebook readers into tablets and mobile as well as the launch of the Kindle (2007) and the iPad(2010)
-the large demographic of young women who bought readers and tablets
- the fact that, having written many books, Hocking could quickly provide a new and large market with a variety of new titles
- writing books about the paranormal when Hollywood is pushing the same cannot hurt. Twilight, the hugely successful series of movies about teen vampires began in 2008. Hocking's first book, My Blood Approves, began selling in 2010.
E.L. James' book phenomenon began in the fan fiction chat rooms for Twilight. The characters in Fifty Shades of Grey were originally the characters from Twilight. Could Master of the Universe, as her series was originally called, have achieved its success without an existing network of thousands of Twilight fans?
These two women made their mark upon society in two different ways. As shared, collective book-based experiences: WOW!
However, the writing is..."not terrible" or worse
I remember SF/F authors complaining (back in 2011) that their readers hadn’t switched to e-books yet, casting jealous eyes at the outsized romance audience. But as readers did move across, we saw people like David Dalglish and BV Larson breaking out, and the rest of “genre” fiction soon followed.
There are "indie success stories" about authors who "rode into town" on the backs of traditional publishing. Funded by Big 6 money these "indies" were advertised and publicized, sent on book tours and given things like business cards. Possibly, audiobooks were made. Hundreds, if not thousands, of their books were given away, many to reviewers.
As the 'first mover'possibilities of the ebook market became clear and realistic, these authors, knighted by the Big 6 and armed with credibility and connections, rode onto a battlefield with little opposition... Undoubtedly hard work was involved, but to label them as indies brings to mind the quip about George Bush: "...was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple."
There certainly are "ebook only" indies connecting with many readers and enjoying sales. I just don't know of any. (FOUND SOMEONE: LINDSAY BUROKER Please tell me about others! them! Somewhat related to this, are there any "ebook only" awards?
Here, authors talk about their sales experiences.
4. The ebook world evolves to reward the reader; the prepared author benefits from this.
Fan fiction. Goodreads. Ebook readers on mobile phones. The mashup between big data and metadata. Entrepreneurs with vision who see ways to connect authors and readers in a new ways.
It is an exciting time.
Ebooks: Born to Click, Part 2 of 3visit www.blacksteps.tv for parts 2 and 3 of this post, as well as information on art, books and ebooks
The day after it came out of its box, my iPhone was put to the test: courtside, at the Huntington Center, to shoot the Harlem Globetrotters.
To push it to the limit, the camera was on auto. All image processing was done with the built in apps.
I am pleased with the results, considering they were not made from RAW files. This shoot was a week ago, and I have been shooting with the iPhone every day, including video.
My review: the iPhone 11 Pro Max used on automatic/no apps is very impressive, but, for professionals, apps are needed to be fully in control at the time of exposure, as well as have RAW files and the ability to bring out the best of the camera's potential.
I really would like to write in depth about this shoot, but am swamped. If you have any questions, I will be happy to reply. Just leave a comment below.
Click here if you would like to see my "automatic" results with food, and here if you would like to see some portraiture and art. Glassblowing!
I am looking forward to shooting another sports event, with the apps. With indoor sports, the lighting is constant and the area is limited. The variables are positioning, timing and the magic on the court.
On the last day of the decade, I wandered around Toledo and discovered the hottest (and coolest) place in the city: Gathered Glassblowing Studio. I am very thankful that Adam was so open minded, and allowed me to shoot him in action.
I will rewrite this post very soon, and include the name of the other glass master, whose name I didn't get... I will also add more details about the process, the studio and Adam.
For now, here are the photos. I am looking forward to shooting the finished piece. (The first and second image are out of sequence, the others show the process in chronological order.)
From my TV and gamemaking days, I have some familiarity with compositing. Although it is almost certain that I will never become a compositor, I sat in on Hugo's seminar. I think I retained about .001% of the technical information that Hugo shared, but observing his workflow and troubleshooting tips was inspiring.
Conrad and Alexa presented like the professionals that they are. They completed each other's sentences. They kept the topics moving. Perhaps they rehearsed and planned for a long time, or maybe they just improvised so informatively because they knew their subject so well. They showed clips and explained the stories behind them. If there is an Addams Family Hall of Fame, Conrad and Alexa should be in it.
Animated movies have their own unique characteristics, but they also act as "containers" for other art forms, music being the most obvious example, drawing being another. However, successful animated characters are the result of combining drawing, sculpture, programming and... dreaming. Animated characters are often realistic, but they can ignore the laws of physics. Dreams and animation need no logic.
Having said that, the more a VFX operator/CG artist/animator studies reality, the better. Noticing the almost imperceptible muscles movements of the human body results in all kinds of possibilities, especially when one must make a character react to something unexpected. The following clip was shown by Theodore Tye, as part of his excellent presentation entitled Beyond Eye Darts: A Closer Look at Acting for Animation:
This masterclass, through the analysis of clips from animated and live- action films as well as acting theory, takes a fun, in-depth look at the study and execution of both comedy and dramatic acting for animation.
Following is one of the clips shown to exemplify a reaction worth studying.
I have just settled down after travelling for over two months. I am still processing all that I learned and experienced at VIEW and an other post is on its way.
Danny Dimian is a visual effects supervisor at Sony Pictures Imageworks, most recently supervising the Academy Award-winning SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE for Sony Pictures Animation.
His presentation was proof that daring art can happen in large institutions. Yes, it can be said that Sony wanted a new stylized look for the Spiderverse movie(s). However, many, many times this desire for a new look results in simply hiring a trendy director/VFX person who then spends the money on the flavor of the month gear/software. The result can look dated very quickly.
Danny's team went retro; they researched old comic books and found the techniques (and flaws) that make them so distinctive. Halftone dots and misaligned printing being two examples. They also collected the words, exclamation points and marks that add impact.
They then used these as the basis for experimentation and also brought in painters to create stylistic possibilities. In short, there was a lot trial and error involved with bringing the look of old printing into the age of 8K.
The Women in Animation panel was serious, yet insightful and lighthearted. Hopefully the unwanted challenges described will become nonexistent for the next generation of women, and the opportunities will increase.