So you want to be a graffiti artist..

Growing up, it was instilled early on in my childhood that you shouldn’t draw on walls, and that it wasn’t a good thing.  As with most things in life, as you grow up you learn the world isn’t always black and white.  I’ve always had a fascination with graffiti where I would marvel with wonder at how somebody could be so artistic and talented to be able create such cool art pieces, and even beyond that, there’s the aspect that whoever was doing it had to do so stealthily and not get caught doing it.

As such, I’ve admired it as an art form from arms length as a passive observer, but never thought it would be something I would ever do in real life.    With the release of Kingspray which lets you freely spray paint walls in a virtual environment,  my interest was rekindled and Kingspray provides an easy way to try out your chops on a wall without worrying about getting dirty, making mistakes or getting arrested (which is definitely a good thing).

I thought it would be a neat and interesting experience to try and earnestly learn how to do graffiti and if that went well, to go out and try it out on a real wall.   I started from the absolute beginning by searching on Google and found this useful article:

http://www.graffitiknowhow.com/how-to-draw-graffiti-letters-for-beginners/

I thought the article was really good because it stuck to covering the basic fundamentals with additional ideas on how to start making things more creative.   There were a number of other Graffiti tutorial YouTube videos which I watched which help give more context and detail.

The article also had a link to Legal Walls which provides information on local areas in towns and cities where artists can paint freely with permission.  I found out that there is a wall right in my city, so everything looked good to go.

I decided it would be good to try something with pen and paper first to get some ideas and a rough outline to start from.

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I then started up Kingspray and went through the introduction tutorial.  I learned my first piece of education on what a NY fat cap was.  I had saw the term mentioned in some of the videos before, but didn’t understand what the implication was.   What it refers to is a specific type of nozzle that is used on the top of the spray can, and with different caps you get different physical characterizations of how it sprays on the wall.  The NY fat cap allows you to spray with an even circle pattern which allows to you do cleaner lines.  Interesting.

I then went to work to try and recreate what I had sketched out and here are the results:

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I would say the overall results were ‘okay’ at best.  It certainly looked a lot better in my head at the point where I was sketching it out on paper than it turned out in real life.  I didn’t go farther to try and add more embellishments as I wanted to stop and take a step back to reflect on my efforts on this first try:

  • I tried drawing out an overall outline using black spray paint first, and realized:
    • You need to keep the can pretty close to the wall or else your lines are too thick
    • It was a little challenging to get the proportions of all the letters right when trying to draw an image that’s wall-sized versus drawing on paper
    • I made the overall size too big.  I think if I tried to do this in real life, I would have needed a ton of paint.  I also had to grab a garbage can nearby to stand on it in order to be able to reach the top.
  • I spent a lot of time fixing and redoing parts of the image.  I would spray the outline, fill it in, but it wouldn’t be clean or I would overspray, or try and fix up the aesthetics of the lettering and then I’d have to go back and clean it up again.  Rinse and repeat many times.   It’s a good thing in the virtual environment that the paint cleanly replaces the underlying color on the wall as I went over sections many times over.
  • I can tell my lettering is inconsistent and still not well proportioned and will definitely need to work on this
  • You need some good technique with hand-eye and body coordination to do this.  If you want to spray with even and consistent lines, you need to be able to breath and move your hands and body steadily.   Basically you need to have control of the spray can in 3D (horizontal, vertical, and distance from the wall) as you move it around.

For the next time, I think I want to focus first on doing some basic lettering and techniques before trying to do something fancier.  If I can get the fundamentals down, I think it will help me to get better in the long run.

Round 2:

I went in with the goal of just doing scripted letters, and wanted it look natural and somewhat cool (I hope).  I played around with dozens of variations on the lettering trying out different variations until I settled on a combination that I liked which you can see below.

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Because I had played around with so many variations and there was a lot of repetition in drawing the letters in different ways, at the end I could pretty consistently reproduce the tag at will.   Even though it’s not fancy, I like it and felt like I took a small step forward in being able to draw/paint consistently.

Round 3:

This time wanted to play around a little more creatively and started with the same basic lettering as last time. This time I started off with initially spraying down a base background color (orange) so I could build up upon it after I put the letters down. I’m starting to feel a bit more comfortable with how the spray paint cans behave as I use them more and it’s a freeing up room in my brain to explore things creatively instead of thinking about the logistics of it.  I still had to make tons of touch ups and had to redo lines multiple times because of inconsistency in my spraying, and not making clean lines.  However, it was much less rework than the first time around so I guess that’s progress.

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One cool feature in Kingspray is that you can take a 360 degree camera within the game so you can look around as if you were there too!  Try it out, it’s pretty cool.

I think the next time around, I want to work on making clean and consistent lines, especially edges.

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Using Brain-warp to get higher image perceived image resolution on HMDs

The following excerpt describes an interesting technique to enable higher resolution on the headset without using brute computing power to drive 4K@120fps per eye.  Although there are tradeoffs to using it, techniques like this will continue to improve and help drive HMD capabilities to the next level where resolution will eventually become a non-issue.

 

Referencehttp://www.roadtovr.com/hands-pimaxs-8k-headset-proves-high-fov-vr-coming/

All that aside, how exactly do Pimax expect people to drive two sets of 4k displays at higher enough refresh rates needed for good, low latency VR? Enter ‘Brain-warp’. Brain-warp is a technique where you render and display an image to one eye only, and then render and display for the other eye, in a sequence such that one eye is seeing an image and the other isn’t at any given moment in time. This way, they’re actually rendering a single 4K image at 120 times a second, but the user perceives it as a complete 8K image at 120Hz. How? Because that frequency is high enough that we don’t perceive that one eye is blind while the other isn’t, at least for a tiny fraction of a second. It’s like raising one hand to one eye, lowering that hand and raising your other hand to your other eye, and doing that very so fast that you simply don’t notice it. Active-shutter 3D glasses use the same concept, often at the same 120Hz refresh rate.

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Pimax’s ‘Brain-warp” rendering technique illustrated

Brain-warp is a neat trick then, but not without its downsides and clearly there’s still a huge amount of power needed to drive the displays in this headset. To output 4K at 120Hz, they say you’ll need at minimum an NVIDIA GTX 980 but that’s assuming Async Timewarp is also in play helping resolve dropped frames. Their actual recommended specification however is either dual GTX 1070s, or one GTX 1080.

Another caveat here is that brain-warp also requires “very accurate synchronous fine tuning” according to them, and results in a “ghosting” artifact that appears during motion. That artifact wasn’t very distracting to me in the demo, but it may be more distracting at higher brightness levels or other scenarios.

 

Hands-on: PiMAX’s 8K Headset Proves that High FOV VR is Coming

Frank He goes hands on with PiMAX’s ludicrously high-spec 8k, 200 degree FOV prototype at CES and find the company has some innovative solutions to some of the substantial challenges driving a headset like this poses.

While there were many perhaps questionable Chinese VR headsets shown off at CES this year, Pimax’s new 8K, 200 degree prototype actually stood out from the crowd. Moreover, Pimax perhaps even showed both some of the potential that high spec headsets might provide along with the challenges associated with getting the details right. Not only was I able to give the new headset a try, I was also able to learn more about how exactly they intend to address the significant challenges behind powering a headset that boasts a 3840 x 2160 per eye resolution.

http://www.roadtovr.com/hands-pimaxs-8k-headset-proves-high-fov-vr-coming/

Sending electrical signals to your ear to simulate the sense of motion

Using a safe technique that sends electrical signals to the vestibular system in the ear, Entrim 4D synchronizes the body’s balance system with the changing movements in the VR videos. Users thus feel as if they are a part of the on-screen action, and can even sense direction and speed of movement. “For more information, please see: https://news.samsung.com/global/samsu…

A-Blast: Save the World from the Cutest Creatures in the Universe!

WebVR is an experimental JavaScript API that provides access to Virtual Reality devices, such as the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Samsung Gear VR, or Google Cardboard, in your browser. The WebVR API is currently available in Firefox Nightly builds, in experimental builds of Chromium, and in the Samsung Internet Browser for Gear VR

WebVR allows distribution and display of VR in a headset agnostic manner which lets content creators build and distribute VR experiences directly to consumers, at scale, via a web browser.  It provides a standardized way to deliver content which builds on top of HTML.

With A-Blast a project was made to create one game focusing on adding smooth playability, quality assets, and a real example of the capabilities of A-Frame and browser performance.

The gameplay is straightforward: just grab your weapons, aim to the characters floating around, and pull the trigger. You can also dodge and shoot enemy bullets in order to keep your 5 lives intact. The more characters you blast, the more points you get, and then enter the (local) Hall of Fame.

We wanted to keep the gameplay time under 5 minutes to have a good turnover in demo stations at fairs and conventions. For a full game, we would have designed more elaborate levels. (Yep, we know is too short, but please keep in mind that this is a technical demo, not a whole game with hours of content).

Read more: https://blog.mozvr.com/a-blast/

Examples of how VR is making a positive impact on our world

OSSO VR, in collaboration with orthopedic surgeons are creating the next generation of surgical simulation

Art created in virtual reality is coming to the Royal Academy

3D-printed artwork created using the HTC Vive virtual reality headset is to go on display at the Royal Academy of Arts early next year.

Art created in virtual reality is coming to the Royal Academy

Using VR software – including Google’s painting app Tilt Brush – artists will create works of virtual art, before physical versions of some aspects are 3D-printed to appear as part of a display at the Academy, where visitors will be able to study the creations in both physical and virtual form for the project, called Virtually Real.

Read more: http://home.bt.com/tech-gadgets/tech-news/art-created-in-virtual-reality-is-coming-to-the-royal-academy-11364109669284

Virtual reality used in Sheffield Hallam prosthetic limb exhibition

Researchers at Sheffield Hallam University have developed the technology to help amputees learn to use new prosthetic limbs.

The Body and Mind exhibition enables visitors to visit a virtual kitchen to see how amputees use everyday objects.

The exhibition is part of a Virtual Reality Prosthetics team project, funded by the Wellcome Trust.

Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-south-yorkshire-37761022

Kevin Everson, a lower arm amputee

Hands on training for handling Active Shooter scenarios

Human Condition Safety, with thoughtful consulting from members of the FBI, Navy Seals, and NYPD, has created SurviVR, to train and enhance our responses to these deadly situations.  This VR program emulates scenarios where a user faces an active shooter.

Read more:  http://www.survivrtraining.com/

Virtual reality making construction sites safer

Virtual reality making construction sites safer

Bochum-based researchers are aiming to make construction sites safer with interactive virtual reality training courses. The team led by Prof Dr Markus König from the Institute for Computation in Engineering at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum is developing suitable technology to make it possible to experience sources of danger virtually.

Read more: https://phys.org/news/2016-10-virtual-reality-sites-safer.html

Sarasota Startup Turns Human Body Into Virtual Playground

BioLucid, a Sarasota based software startup recently announced the launch of YOU, an interactive suite of medical-visualization software that aims to change the way we learn about and interact with the human body.

It’s a cross device platform that is available on tablets and personal computers, while YOU VR offers a completely immersive environment through which you can explore the human body.

This video gives you a behind the scenes look at the cutting edge technology that is being built right here in Sarasota.

Virtual reality program in development to help chemists at NAU

Northern Arizona University students, interns and professors are working to develop a virtual reality program that will allow chemistry professors to make more engaging atomic models.

The program will allow users to create and build different elements with various elements at the atomic level. The aim is to eventually replace the traditional physical models used in many chemistry classes today.

Read more: http://www.12news.com/news/local/arizona/virtual-reality-program-in-development-to-help-chemists-at-nau/321733322

How Virtual Reality Could Transform Mental Health Treatment

It’s difficult to appreciate just how remarkable VR is until you’ve tried it. Although you know what you’re seeing isn’t real, your mind and body behave as if it were. It’s an extraordinary experience. But VR’s ability to “con” our brain means that it isn’t simply the next big thing in gaming: it may prove to be an extremely effective device for psychological therapy.

Read more: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/know-your-mind/201605/how-virtual-reality-could-transform-mental-health-treatment

 Daniel Freeman/OCAP University of Oxford

 

Virtual reality helping U of S students and surgeons analyze the brain like never before

It seems like something out of a sci-fi movie, being able to walk inside the brain and explore. But it’s reality for Dr. Ivar Mendez’s team at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) who have developed a virtual reality (VR) brain.

“We created this 3D brain where the surgeon can enter the brain, look at a brain tumor, can see the relationship of the brain tumor with other brain structures and potentially plan a surgical procedure,” Dr. Mendez, U of S surgery department head, said.

Read more: http://globalnews.ca/news/3175375/virtual-reality-helping-u-of-s-students-and-surgeons-analyze-the-brain-like-never-before/