Category Archives: Artists

Bubiko in Lawnspace screen test

Bubiko's guide to AR is now available on Amazon!

Bubiko: what is a stage?

The goal is to prepare for the possibilities of AR cinema.

This post documents a simple test. The Bubiko model used for the Tech in the Tenderloin event was used. Two locations: a garage and an open piece of land. The objective: to gain an understanding of what a “stage” can be in AR. AR is a new medium; to use the established techniques of theatre, television and movie is to fail to grasp the uniqueness of AR. Performance art and dance provide clues.

Notes: Spark used

  • Occlusion not a concern at this time
  • Ambient light a constant
  • Size and scaling of Bubiko purposely varied

Bubiko was created by Stephen Black and Sayuri Okayama

  • iPad used; no manual controls nor color correction
This is Bubiko Foodtour, still with the balloons and banner she used for her debut in San Francisco, at Tech in the Tenderloin’s 2019 TNT Tech Fest,  Bubiko is a work in progress, this is not her final version.
Bubiko is a 3D model made by Novaby, based on ideas by Stephen Black and Sayuri Okayama.
These images are a screen test of sorts, a way of documenting the possibilities and challenges of AR cinematography.
AR cinematography is one of my AR goals, especially making content for autonomous vehicles.
In these images. Bubiko was positioned near the white log. Only the camera (an iPad) moved. The software used was Spark. It was stable, except when used at long distances, in which case Bubiko appeared some distance away from the post.
The camera automatically controlled exposure. The light was even, the time being late afternoon/early twilight.
Occlusion was not important in this test, but I would love to use a software like 6D for testing.
Again, Bubiko did not move, but her size was changed in camera. AR cinema reminds me of machinima. There is another test of Bubiko HERE.
The format of the screen size is both an opportunity and a challenge.
Bubiko Foodtour models for some AR camera tests.
Interesting that the same model can have the size of a mouse, or a giant, or anything in between. Size in AR was the topic of this blog post. Thanks again to Fabian Winkler.
Bubiko is actually closer to the stump than this image suggests.
Sparks had some difficulty as I moved away from Bubiko's position. For this experiment it was simply an interesting development. If this were actually part of an movie shoot, I would reposition her, or do testing. It should be noted that wifi was not needed to create these images.

Stephen Black’s AR/VR/spatial computing experiences

SB with Bubiko Foodtour

Stephen Black: This post is a breakdown of my experiences with AR/VR/Spatial Computing. It starts with 2002, though I received a BFA in Photographic Illustration from the Rochester Institute of Technology  well before that.

Before 2002, I lived in Tokyo, Manhattan, Paris and Hong Kong, and worked in network TV, fine arts, photography and music. A fuller biography can be found here. But AR is the topic of this post...

2002-2007. In Singapore I worked as a creative director for a 3D game making company that was also doing something like Youtube,-- but three years before Youtube. Although I was not a developer, I learned a great deal about spatial computing, and taught 3D gamemaking in Singapore, including classes at the Singapore Science Center. It was during this time, that David Severn and I developed the Secret Donut World characters.

Vance

2007- 2014 Singapore/Bali: wrote novels, including a bestseller, was involved with 3how and researched VR and AR.

2014 SPOKEN, with Eugene Soh; a curation of a wide range of artists.

SPOKEN, a virtual gallery

2014 The Oculus signaled the emergence of VR, and I began notes for a book about VR cinematography.

2015 In Singapore, a chance meeting with Ender Jiang, the founder of Hiverlab, resulted in the opportunity to make my first 360 film.  Ender provided me with technical support and creative freedom and I am extremely grateful for that opportunity. The resulting film, Beach Road, featured a soundtrack by Bani Haykal and Chen Yi Qi, and was selected as a demo VR film in the Hybrid Arcade session of the Brisbane Asia Pacific Film Festival in November 2015, and was nominated as the Best Experimental VR Film in the VR Fest Las Vegas 2016. It was also fetured in a VR film festival at the Singapore national Museum. Beach Road was receiving a healthy number of views and comments before a technical change in Google Play took it off. At the time of this writing, Beach Road is on Veer and has received almost 5000 views.

360 films
Stephen Black, in the film he co-produced with Hiverlab

2016 The year began with discussing a VR startup idea with VCs in Singapore. Though the discussions went well, the lack of a prototype slowed things down. Shortly after, the release of ARCore and ARKit resulted in a halt to VR the possibilities of AR were assessed.

By April, AR had become the focus and the decision was made to become the "Pixar of AR": original characters, stories and software. With Sayuri Okayama, Bubiko Foodtour was originated.

Sayuri Okayama with a prototype of Bubiko

2017 Ipoh: demonstrations of AR, including what is probably the world’s first photo exhibition in AR. The photos also appeared in an ebook by Bubiko Foodtour.

Augmented Reality in Asia
article about Stephen Black/Sayuri Okayama/Bubiko Foodtour in Ipoh

2018 A presentation about AR was given at Sasin School of Business in Bangkok, later followed by two presentations and two workshops at Hong Kong PolyU, all at 80% capacity or higher.

Augmented Reality Stephen Black in Thailand
poster for Stephen Black's presentation about AR at Sasin School of Business
Presentations and workshops by Stephen Black
Stephen Black holding a Qoocam 360VR camera, as part of his presentation at the 2018 Maker Faire at HK PolyU.

2018 Lotus Mountain, a 360 film was shot and post production began including VR art contributions from Scobot and a soundtrack by Rei Shimizu. The film is at least 80% done and finishing funds are now being searched for. Lotus Mountain was supported by Kando, and 8K Obsidians were used for most of the shooting. Noted Chinese VR filmmaker Leo Wei co-directed and produced.

Chinese city landmarks
Shenzhen Civic Center at night, primary location for Lotus Mountain.
from Lotus Mountain

Bubiko at the Rise festival in HK

Hong Kong Comicon

2018 Cross-promotional and development partnership with Six Cats Studios (HK), focusing on their original IPs, Ollie and Charlie.

AR in musical education
The Dundercats, by Six Cat Studios.

2018 Presentations in Shenzhen, including Le Wagon and Tech Crunch Shenzhen.

Hummingbirdsday
Screen capture from an AR game by Dominique Wu.

2018 In a partnership with Hummingbirdsday Studios, Bubiko appears in an AR game demo with Green Bean Boy.

2019 Presentation at ARIA, MIT, resulting in, among others, working relationship with Novaby and UARexperience

2019 Toledo, Ohio. Presentations, including coffee shops, libraries and a collaboration with sculptor Jack Wilson for the Old West End Festival.

2019 SXSW during the 10 day event attended seminars and developed personal connections with AR and VR practitioners.

W
With WWE championship belt

2019 AR presentation as part of GOBA-the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure. Premier of the AR and Bicycle Safety ebook.

bicycle safety
Bubiko Foodtour looks up while thinking about what to order

2019 As part of  Novaby’s presentation in the Tech in the Tenderloin Festival, the 3D version Bubiko will be making her public debut. The Black Hawk Jazz Club AR project by Novaby will also be presented-not to be missed!

We are now looking for funding for the Bubiko app... Stay tuned!

Old West End Festival Parade (part 1)

Photographs by Stephen Black of the 2019 Old West End Parade.

A collaboration between the sculptor Jack Wilson and Stephen Black can be found here. The project is an augmented reality artwork.

419ness is a collection of blog posts of photographs of Toledo.

abstract mobile artwork
Lake Erie Water Safety
large white house on a green lawn

Part 2 is here!
Stephen Black does a lot of things. His books are here.

Old West End

Hello to all.

The following image, when viewed with the free Artivive app, reveals "another dimension", a collaboration with the sculptor Jack Wilson.

The title: Falling Leaves in Spring.

Are you a resident of the Old West End?

Question: would you support a book about the Old West Side?

As you know, the Old West Side is a historical community full of distinctive architecture. Well... I have written a bestselling book about another historical community full of distinctive architecture.

That book is entitled i ate tiong bahru. It is one of my eight books. You can learn more about those books, and i ate tiong bahru, here. I should also mention Bus Stopping, a book of photographs.

Those books were written and self-published, mainly while I was living in Bali. To write about the Old West End would require time, and that means money. Do you think there could enough support for crowdfunding or other forms of support?

Also, any ideas on unusual exhibition spaces? I have a series of prints combine photography with text, and would like to present them to the public.

Thank you for your time and suggestions.

This is a collection of posts about Toledo: 419ness.

Happy to talk to anyone about video, photography, writing and AR.

onwARd,

Stephen Black

about me

A Victorian house in Toledo's Old West End

419ness

A collection of blog posts about Toledo, Ohio

The Maumee River

About Stephen Black

Stephen Black's books

Music Documentation in Singapore

The image used to illustrate this post is from Lee Wen's band, Anyhow Blue's Project.

I was fortunate to interact with these people who make music, and I hope to continue to do so. I am now finally starting to work on Driving to Singapore, a movie project. If you are a Singaporean musician, get in touch if you have something that might work as a soundtrack.

This post is rushed; I will add more comments later today. All of these posts are full of stories, and the musicians involved all have other projects I want to highlight.(I am challenging myself to do one post a day for a week.)

Amith and I were in 3how; this is is first band's album. I did the creative direction for this one and their second. Both highly recommended.

This is a fraction of my involvement. Typewriter, and a great blues jam in the back of the Substation. A job: Tanya Chua. Lee Wen's video. Wilson Goh singing at dawn at Suntech and at the International Electronic Arts Event. ... more projects I should document online, like this.

Huaqiangbei electronics market: street photography

Celebration of flowers, the color red and childhood.
A yellow robot
a package going to Peru
Futuristic Shenzhen
image of two men loading boxes
white round objects, black sweater
food scene in Huaqianbei
street life in China
working at night
individuals
red reflections, two men in motion
looking
a vibrant night in China
the design of love

A story about Huaqianbei is here.

Photographic documentation of an international drone competition in Shenzhen.

The Day I Heard the Moths

Moths In the Attic: the interview in the Toledo City Paper was the start. The demos on the MITA website clinched it. This band is something! They were scheduled to play in Grand Rapids, making me even more excited because Grand Rapids is near Singapore. But MITA was scheduled for Grand Rapids, Ohio not Grand Rapids, Michigan and the Singapore idea is another story for another day, so I will just stop rambling and share the photographs from the day I heard the Moths.

a rectangular shape of light on a dark wooden floor, the chair of a leg like a plant


Toledo Ohio, Sylvania Avenue. A field, a barrier and the evening sky.
a woman getting into a car, face not seen, a red swing the background., she holds a key in her hand.
a TV screen showing a pitcher and a batter, the baseball betwen them
Moths playing

West Toledo at twilight. Houses on Overland Parkway.
American seeds Wildflower blend sunny area seed package
Colorful balloons tied to a tree near a street
Moths in the Attic. Kevin Jorrey, Zack Fletcher, Mike Williams
Red tulip in the shade of a large tree on a sunny day.
cherry blossoms and hair
A clock  that is a Mickey Mouse watch, a lamp , abed
Two daisies and their shadow
Moths in the Attic at the Art and Performing arts Center of West Toledo
......
large tree in front of a house at twilight
listen


.................................30................................................

Post about Music at SXSW 2019

Stephen Black video interview about the 3how music/theatre/project

SXSW Overview by Bubiko Foodtour

Wild, informative and fun, SXSW 2019 was ten days of chaos of the best possible kind. Bubiko was there!

Austin Chronicle, Bubiko Foodtour
Big yellow sign, little Bubiko

Gaming and VR blog post

Overall Impressions Photo Essay

Bubiko's Adventures at SXSW!

Music

radiocassette player art
Art by Slep

Stephen Black at SXSW

Food at SXSW coming soon!

Bubiko's Instagram has a few posts about SXSW and Austin, like this one.

Bubiko's adventures at MIT and beyond

Who is Stephen Black?

man with VR headset and AR on his tee shirt

3how Riverwalk Session

NOVABY!

Stephen Black at SXSW 2019


I'm telling myself that this is a self-portraiture/conceptual art/writing exercise. I do not stand next to celebrities very often; almost never am I photographed with them. SXSW was incredibly brilliant (Cliche police! Arrest that man!), but it was also "very interesting" financially. If this post brings people to my blog and I can sell some books or connect with some funds for my AR startup and/or VR movies (here and here), then I guess this is OK. And if any galleries poke around this blog, that might be good.

OK?

OK.

I am listening to this. I discovered them because of Orions Belte. I knew nothing about OB before they walked onto the stage. The thrill of unexpectedly discovering a great live performance is extremely rare, at least for me. This is a very nice recording of Joe Frazier, but very different from what I experienced that night in Austin.... imagine being dragged to a karaoke night and discovering

Orions Belte with Stephen Black at SXSW 2019. Photo by Bubiko Foodtour.
OB on Bubiko's Instagram account

PS. FWIW: One afternoon at SXSW, I found myself in a nearly empty room with a business partner of Roger McNamee, who wrote a book about Facebook.

I gave McNamee's business partner one of the small goofy pieces of paper I was passing out during SXSW, said "Low tech, high art" and walked away. So there ya go.

Book Merah!
Carlos Trujillo
We met on the train, talked, went to his show that was part of a Columbian music showcase. Lucky, lucky. (His version of a Paul McCartney/Kraftwerk song!) More photos of Pablo and more on this SXSW music blog post.


Guy Kawasaki, hosting an event at the Mercedes Media Lounge. Complete surprise: the decision to attend SXSW was extremely last minute and the first day we had a basic schedule, but discovered many events by chance, like this one. Guy was also releasing a book, Wise Guy.
I thanked him for his work on his APE book, APE meaning Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur, which I highly recommend to all independent writers.

Not only was SXSW life-changing, almost across from the Convention Center was the O. Henry Museum!
O. Henry is one of my favorite writers. One example: A Municipal Report.
Another favorite is about a painter who creates portraits that can reveal the soul of the sitter; he sees people in their "true light". I cannot find the name of the story at the moment.
That goofy paper again, this time held by David Mims. David bought a one way ticket: Detroit to Austin. Respect.
An interview in Japanese and in English can be found here.
Yes, I wore the same style Teeshirt all the time. Thanks to Jupmode and Philipp Aldrup and Stuart Rankin/Sixcat Studios! Number 5 on my list of things to do is get some of of these AR Ones tee shirts ready to sell. Message me if you'd like one. Oh yeah... this is Ollie (on the left).


Spontaneity/unpredictability/destiny/Southby synchronicity.. whatever you want to call it... The first night, we're exhausted. But still I am passing out the goofy pieces of paper. I see a guy using a phone on a stick; probably talking to a friend or it's a business call or something. I wait until he's done, then slip him the goofy piece of paper. EXCEPT that he is still talking to someone. I am embarrassed, pull away. Instead he waves me into the camera and asks me to say hi. Suddenly I am talking to two people in Korea-- two students who are studying VR filmmaking! I make VR films!
We talk about screen writing, and I mention my experiences with Robert McKee... and one of the students holds up the book on his desk: Story, by Robert McKee.
I say wow, everyone else says the Korean equivalent of wow. The man next to me,
Chui Shin is involved with a Korean VR festival.He gives me some bread as he is talking to the students and says "wow" a lot. He says I'm an angel; I say no but the students say yes. Anyway, I head toward the bathroom but come back one minute later... with an angel.

So, then, five minutes after the VR/angel incident...who comes by but Leonard Maltin, whom I do not know. But he's in a great mood and there is a friendly little crowd and we end up getting our photos taken with him. Only later did I learn who he is.

MUKASHI MUKASHI NIHON NI SUNDEMASHITA!


W
W + Bubiko

So... for quite a few years, I have wanted to write about the cover of the Soldier album, by Iggy Pop. It is a gem, a stick of dynamite made of stencils and spray paint. He's wearing wild eyeliner and a tee shirt. Every time I searched for information related to that studio shot, the trail led to a video of Dogfood on Youtube. I write about photography; and that cover, shot in 1979, is spectacular on many levels: technique, the times and everything else. I wanted to research and do a blog post about it. I'd research this topic every few years.

So... we're standing on the corner on a beautiful Sunday morning, our plan being to go to the Samsung exhibition again. Mari Goround stops and points to a sign. It is a talk about "screens"(video here), with a collection of VR projects upstairs. The venue is the beautiful hotel right in front of us. We go in. It starts in five minutes. Open bar. We mingle. The speakers are all experts and I am excited that we have discovered this. It starts. One of the speakers, right off the bat, says his name and that he did the art direction for the Soldier album by Iggy Pop. His name is Alex McDowell. A very big deal in Hollywood (Minority Report, Fight Club +++) he is now BUILDING WORLDS. But yeah...Soldier.

Quiet and small in public, a huge force in my life: Sayuri Okayama

Stephen Black with Barry Black, Chief Scientist at Black Ranger Software.
We connected immediately, even before we discovered we share the same last name. Barry told me that he'd traced the history of the Blacks, and got as far back as Belgium. I looked at a basic genealogy map once, and saw that there are/were Blacks on both sides of the Irish Sea.
Regardless of my past, I am very thankful for the present, and excited about the future.

Stephen Black projects.

Recent Bubiko projects, including the MIT talk

I discovered the photographer who shot the cover of Soldier.