Planning to do the same with this new animation, I stumbled upon a major problem. The Lottie plugin for After Effects does not support Ae's native Effects. As you probably can tell from my HD render below, I used tons of effects on this one.
So after comparing the alternatives available to me, I decided that using an animated GIF was the best option. Biggest downside? It significantly reduces the original quality to a point where important details get lost in the final version. What's the upside? It automatically plays once on page-load, and then freezes the very last frame. Which is exactly what I need it to do.
Here's an overview of my social media feeds. Notice anything specific?
That's right! They are all empty. (Except for my own content on Instagram and some poorly targeted advertising on LinkedIn).
Believe it or not, I still have the habit embedded in my brain of opening up each and every single one of those apps on my phone multiple times a day... Good thing that there's nothing to see there anymore! I'm aware it saves me a lot of time.
Now, there is one exception: YouTube.
For multiple reasons I just can't seem to work around this one. One reason might be that I'm genuinely inspired by longer format, high-quality content.
Another very real reason might be that even if you'd choose to unsubscribe from all channels, pause your watch history, and remove all of your likes in order to neutralize the suggestion algorithm; It would still be trained by your Google (search) activity. Since Google owns YouTube, and your recommendations are synced across your Google account.
I'll have to figure that one out properly. But I already see how tackling my Google account can indirectly affect my YouTube feed.
Today was a bit different at Blue Dolphin Logistics.
Originally were asked to go help set up the Nostalgie Beach Festival in Nieuwpoort, but a last minute change required for us to join TWICE in managing their hangar based in Roeselare.
It's amazing how the whole place looks almost like a big kids museum, but when you actually look closer that's when you notice it's more like a massive archive of the Flemish TV & live entertainment industry.
The place is filled with custom set props built for brands both well-established in the media landscape today (VTM, GoPlay, ...) and others long perished beyond their golden years (Vier, 2BE, JimTV, ...).
There's this idea of creating an anti-portfolio, where basically you list a bunch of events that you are really not proud of at all. With the sole purpose of learning from those mistakes, in order to prevent them from happening again in the future.
The first few things that come to mind for me are:
- leaving my teaching job too early
- leaving the VJ collective too early
- leaving my first fixed job too early
Now, can you see the pattern here? (-:
Although the last one turned out relatively good for me (it would have resulted in a dead-end job anyway), I must admit that I might have to be more cautious with this 'habit' in the future.
I'll have to recognize the struggle that comes with increasingly complex challenges for what it really is: A unique opportunity to grow.
Sound & Co did it again. They delivered a great composition with their hardware, and managed to put a good light operator on the job. Making the whole audiovisual experience high level, especially for such a (relatively) small town that is Dilbeek.
If you'd need any audiovisual rental services in the area, Sound & Co have been doing it for quite a while now. And you could say that their quality established so far is known and confirmed across the region and beyond.
Finally created a Logo Database - Incl. 14 Event Logos + 59 Artist Logos
All centered in 1920 x 1080 HD - White on transparent background PNG
If you're an event organizer or DJ / musician yourself, and you think that your logo is in need of an update, holla at me! Or contact your local graphic designer, and then holla at me (so I can update my database for you).
With the Blue Dolphin Logistics crew (mentioned earlier), we set up live broadcasting facilities at Leuven's Martelarenplein today.
The amusing element that comes with this particular job: Our required presence for the continuation of today's work depends on whether the Red Flames (Belgium women's national football team) will win their game against Italy tonight or not.
If the Flames win their game tonight, this means they will be playing the quarter-final against Sweden this Friday. The broadcasting facilities can stay put on location, since it will be reused in a few days.
The Red Flames lose their game tonight? The Blue Dolphin Logistics crew will have to tear down the whole structure tomorrow, first thing in the morning.
Update: The Red Flames did in fact win their game against Italy (1-0). This means we won't have to tear down the physical structure at Leuven's Martelarenplein tomorrow.
As I tend to slowly evolve more towards the event industry lifestyle, I'm glad to find myself enjoying the comfort that comes with a hotel.
When I was younger, I often daydreamed about this touring DJ lifestyle (or VJ, as it turns out). I wondered whether I would strongly dislike or actually really enjoy spending lots of time in hotels and airports. Because that's exactly what I saw my biggest idols do at the time, day-in day-out (Deadmau5, Skrillex, Diplo).
Turns out, I am totally in love with hotels! I'll tell you more, I even enjoy spending dead in-between time at airports and train stations. There's a very particular feeling to be appreciated spending time amongst a fleet of strangers. You get to catch many glimpses of all those individually unique lives.
Such public liminal spaces are often also a nice place to do some surface level self-reflection, without feeling too lonely in the process. #lifehack
Those who know me well are probably also very familiar with my bike. I take it everywhere with me, and must admit that I do like to show it off from time to time.
I made this pact with myself a few years back to 'never own a car'. I won't bore you with the reasons why (the list is ridiculously long). But knowing I didn't want to own a car, I assumed this indirectly meant I also didn't want to acquire a driver's license.
Here are a few reasons why I will most likely try and get a license anyway (without owning a car).
Being able to transport more/heavy gear for clients/myself with a rental vehicle.
Being allowed to drive my colleagues' vehicles in case they would need me to.
Lots of (freelance) job opportunities require for their workforces to own a license.
ASAP Rocky, Orelsan, and Stromae. You guys were amazing!
Very luckily towards the end of the day, the last artists performing on my stage brought their own audiovisual crews. This meant 'sit back and relax' for me. At least, not taking into account the in-house advertisements that had to be played between each one of those artists.
I was therefore free to go and watch what was happening on the main stage.
Somehow, the third day out of four in total feels a bit like a resting day. You can definitely sense the loose attitude amongst the technicians. Probably that is because most of the problems to be encountered at such a massive production are already tackled and solved during the first two days.
The crowd feels a bit more chill today as well. They are tired from the two days before, and are probably bracing themselves for what's next to come.
Although we arrived quite prepared with the VJ team (Pieter Steyaert, Dennis Baptist, and myself), there was still a particularly messy vibe around at the festival site. This was mainly due to the fact that many technical issues still had to be resolved last minute by the festival's production team.
But still, we managed to cope with that extra layer of stress (Pieter took a lot of weight off Dennis and my shoulders as a managing role). Once we found our way around at the new 'workspace', we were more or less set for the next few days.
Since I produced some 'failed' sticker batches in the past, I thought I might as well reincorporate them into bigger sticker compositions wherever my original stickers are already sticking on.
That's when you get something like in the pictures below.
It does look cool this way, although I'd love for all these separate elements to actually exist in one single sticker in the future. That's why I'm currently working on sketches for a redesign. Stay tuned, and keep your eyes open in the city! 👀
Whenever I randomly meet eyes with someone from 'the scene' who I'm semi-familiar with, I very often find myself questioning the whole thing where my mind goes:
Should I say hi? If they don't say hi first, does that mean they dislike me? Are they ignoring me? Perhaps feeling better than me? Or maybe they're feeling insecure themselves? Or they might just not be in for a talk right now? Heck, maybe they didn't even recognize me in the first place?
But then just as often, when I do go and speak with one of those guys, it usually goes very well!
So that's my personal lesson right here: Every time I meet eyes with someone where there's that particular awkwardness in the air, I'll just have to go ahead and start the conversation.
If they are honest and respectful individuals, one of three things can happen:
They will tell me upfront that they don't like me, and might add a reason why. At least now I know.
They might not be up for a talk at that specific moment. Either they will tell me upfront (again), or I'll have to find out myself during the conversation, despite them trying their best for me not to notice. If the latter happens, I'll have to find some middle ground in the conversation to navigate towards, and most importantly... I'll have to not take it all too personally.
We'll have an extraordinary/nice/neutral exchange, and we'll both go on feeling better/satisfied/unchanged.
Also a fourth option might occur, where they'd genuinely not recognize me. But that is in no way their fault, and certainly not their problem. Therefore, I can't blame them, and they should (and can) not feel bad about it.
In general, I'll have to try and focus more on the good talks, instead of the fleeting, often misinterpreted, meeting of eyes.
Stoked to be back on the fields of Lommel to enjoy the finest of Drum & Bass and Dubstep.
Overall good vibes, also glad to see some brothers of the scene again.
Shout out to the light operators Niels, Dimitri, and Lode, and event organizers Jeroen (Inceptionz/Invaderz), Mattéo (Bad Habtiz), and Elmo (Proxic).
I would like to talk about the power of merch.
So, for a while now Proxic has been selling all kinds of goods (both in real life and online) reaching from t-shirts to hats, shoulder bags to socks... And apparently they have been selling a whole lot of them!
Each time I looked around and thought I noticed someone from the Proxic crew, I was naturally drawn to go and talk to them, only to find out they were just regular ravers after all.
But ravers nevertheless! Ravers who clearly identify with the bigger Proxic family. A strong family I obviously consider myself a part of as well, having VJed for multiple years at their events now.
A few weeks back when I heard on the national news that rental companies were desperately looking for some helping hands with stage building this festival season, I was already hyped up! I felt like a key tailored to fit that specific lock. But what they also mentioned on that same news topic is how those companies apparently also want you to have at least some experience with stage building and its safety measures. That's where they found this solution: A 2-week fast-track course where you're supposed to be taught all of the hardcore basics in order to get started, that came with a price tag of €350.
Hyped-up and ready to enroll I was, until I expressed my desire to follow such a course to my fellow classmate Vic, who happened to have some work experience in that specific field, working as a student under Blue Dolphin Logistics. I asked him if he needed any experience prior to starting there, and was surprised to find out that wasn't a requirement for them. So very naturally I sent them an email, and next thing I know I'm here in Merelbeke learning how to put up a big tent whilst being paid to do so.
I just finished the first book (out of 6) from the Akira manga series.
Must say it's really good. Some of the still illustrations have such a dynamic feel to them, it's almost as if they could serve as advanced storyboard references for animation.
Naturally Katsuhiro Otomo, the creator of the manga series (1982), also directed the animated film (1988).
Speaking of the animated film, they will be screening it on a LED panel at the campsite during the Rampage Open Air Festival this weekend.
Unfortunately, I promised myself not to watch the animated film before I read all of the manga books. But at the same time, I was never able to find the film online before, and sharing this experience with random strangers also seems like some kind of a thrill!
So I really don't know what to do with that. Guess I'll just have to decide in the moment. :-)
Much like my previous VJ gig in Roeselare, this event served a broad range of musical genres. Along with some great Funk and throwback RnB Classics, there was also a heavy dose of Techno and DnB to be enjoyed. It's lovely to have some variation throughout the night like that.
I was reminded once more how much of a 'hack' my Hackintosh truly is. It seemed I was unable to boot my system at first. Kept on restarting my desktop without much success. Had to boot up in safe-mode first, and was relieved to see my system behave normally when restarting it once more after that.
Another moment of slight adrenaline: Overcoming my fear of heights. Like last gig, I helped the logistics crew with breaking down the stage structure. Although this time, I was asked to remove some safety locks holding the light trusses securely on the ceiling. Which required both a ladder, and lots of confidence... But I managed after all!
I was glad to be invited on this podcast hosted by Thibault Van de Sompele who as an education innovator strives to provide an environment that works for all types of learners into motivating them to rely more on their internal drivers.
The conversation with Thibault still needs to be edited, but I'm sure he'll do a great job at curating those golden bits out of the full recording, and bringing those to young aspiring artists that might just find that extra little push of motivation in the story that is my personal creative journey.
I finally saw it! This iconic film remained unchecked on my watchlist for ages, until now.
There are obviously countless aspects of the film that could be discussed in great depth, but I'd like to focus on just one specific element: The beautifully abstract and colourful 'entity' towards the end of the film, when Dave collides / morphs with the wormhole / monolith. And also what happens right after that.
Now, what follows will be my personal take on this succession of scenes. So I'm aware that anybody else who watched the film before I might disagree with my interpretation of what's happening here.
Could it be that hyper-intelligent life forms existing in outer space don't look like those green slimy creatures with huge black eyes, but rather more like this: Endless waves of unimaginable amounts energy constantly moving, shifting, causing (de-) fragmentations on a massive scale, with the sole purpose of restoring some state of ultimate balance from within.
Humans tend to portray extraterrestrial forms of life as heavily morphed versions of what they're already familiar with on their own planet: Animal-like creatures. There's an assumption in this that any living form not known to us yet must come with a number of legs, and if not legs, tentacles. How ignorant.
If some entity ought to be more intelligent compared to humans (and therefore also man-made computers), it makes way more sense for it to be formless, having no measurable mass, but still containing all the resources it needs to exist as a superior being.
Perhaps that entity that understands us better than ourselves (due to its higher intelligence) has the power to guide our actions in the most peculiar and subtle ways. Could it be that what we humans call 'lucky coincidences', or 'meant to be', are actually products of what that entity dictates upon us from outer space through a variety of invisible forces / vibrations?
I'm aware that this narrative comes close to the idea of 'a God', or a (computer) simulation customizable from 'out there' by a higher 'authority'. But doesn't it at least sound more convincing than oddly shaped creatures that never found the willpower to try and reach us before?
It could also help us understand better what is happening in this scene where Dave chooses to shut down the HAL-9000 computer against the machine's own will, where it seems to suffer from its slow deactivation process.
Towards the very end of the deactivation process, HAL-9000 asks Dave if he can sing one last song before shutting down completely. Dave agrees, as he understands how it could make HAL feel better about his nearing death.
Now, if we try to tie this back with the events occurring right after Dave's encounter with the wormhole / monolith (being the higher entity here) we could interpret the following 'visions of death' from Dave's viewpoint almost as a 'veil of hallucinations' put up by the higher entity to make Dave's process of dying more soothing / familiar to him. In a similar way to how Dave allowed this to happen for HAL-9000 with the song earlier in the film.
And by those, I mean my former colleagues, fellow alumni, students I've thought to myself, and of course... Dennis.
Dennis, who about two years ago was thrown into this exhausting, but extremely beautiful, experience of teaching Bachelor students at the Erasmus University College Brussels (where we both graduated from ourselves earlier), has done it.
He made the Final Show happen this year, together with the support of many motivated students and his fellow (teaching) staff. I've been there two years before, and can tell you it's no walk in the park producing such a (live-) streamed festive event from the ground up.
So big up to him, and all the other lovely faces I got to reconnect with today.
This one-day creative conference hosted by the Devine students from Howest Kortrijk (Digital Design & Development) knocked my socks off. It reminded me once again how high they tend to set the bar at their institution. The same goes for the Digital Arts & Entertainment courses (aimed towards 3D Gaming Industry) that have been awarded the best in Game Design & Development for multiple years in a row by The Rookies.
I fell in love with the Opening Titles produced by WHOJO Creative Studio (also based in Kortrijk). It's just visual madness. It gives very disruptive Cyberpunk'esque vibes, but at the same time there's also a sleek and polished look to it. Great work! If you'd like to explore the AfterEffects workfiles behind these Opening Titles, the people at WHOJO choose to share them for free in the name of 'sharing is caring'.
A classmate told me the other day we have SONY recording hardware on campus. I did not know this! I have plenty of cassettes to digitalise years '92-'03 that I received from my mother (who shoots like a true movie director).
I've been trying to remove all my traces of existence on Facebook, let me tell you the whole process is truly a pain in the ass.
Just when you think you deleted all items (manually, one by one) through your activity log, that's when you notice this doesn't include tags and posts on walls.
So this means, your profile page could be literally blank, but then when you go and look for your own name in the search bar, you still end up finding a bunch of very old (and very embarrassing) content.
You'll have to open all of the posts individually by clicking on the 'publishing date' and then choosing the 'remove my tag from this post' option.
But wait, because when you type your full name + the word 'photos' behind it, you again get to see a bunch of posts retrieved from the darkest corners of Facebook you had long forgot about.
Stay on that 'full name + photos' search results page, and then actually click on the photos tab. Boom! Yet another batch of photos coming to haunt you from your past.
Trust me, whenever you think you deleted every single interaction you ever shared (or was included in by others) on Facebook, there is still more to find. It feels like a never ending task of looking for hidden DELETE-buttons, and stumbling upon unknown errors when clicking on them.
Went to see the graduation projects of the Narafi photography students (also part of LUCA School of Arts) at Tour & Taxis.
I noticed I was naturally drawn towards more abstract, high contrast, almost graphical compositions. Which makes sense, knowing that my own work also rarely depicts any moving characters or other elements coming from nature.
I love sharp architecture, repetitive textures, and mysterious shadows. Dark subjects on even darker backgrounds. Also, I have a huge weakness for subtle use of neon colors (on black backgrounds, obviously)!
Today the Master students had to present their Masterfilms to the (external) jury.
The Bachelor students were free to join the screenings, so I went to see what it was all about.
I was left amazed by the three following students in particular.
Brecht De Cock w/ Artifacts of you, artifacts of me
About the passing away of his father, capturing physical memories and making them live on forever digitally. I really love the visual style Brecht uses for this (all kinds of black & white broken 3D meshes and fluid simulations).
Koen Malliet w/ Humbug
A fever dream about doubting ones own self-worth. A crisis of the self. Koen really succeeds in captivating the audience in his journey through the troubled mind. The pace is well timed, and the visual style that comes with using these specific stop motion techniques really works for him.
Alosh Alemşah Firat w/ Tuning
I truly enjoyed watching this rather dynamic music video. Alosh works mainly with frame by frame animation, which allows her to be very expressive in her transitions between various organic loops.
I always kind of interpreted Maslow's pyramid as more of a linear thing. Where after each 'unlocked stage', that stage would be achieved forever.
Physiological security? Check ✅
Safety needs? Check ✅
Love and belonging? Check ✅
But then the big problem with reading this triangle as having several separate 'level-ups' that build directly upon the previous one, is forgetting that one 'state' can in fact exist regardless of 'achieving' the other ones.
For example, one can attain friendship and intimacy without having to be employed or satiated. In fact, you could literally be homeless and feel 'self-actualized' nevertheless (if that lifestyle fits your vision for the best life to live). Or perhaps you could feel respected by many, having a very high self-esteem, without really having any intimate moments to share with friends or family.
This means that it's possible indeed to approach elements in life that seem very frightening at first, for example accepting an important career opportunity, all the while dealing w/ major family troubles, and having practically no friends to talk about it.
What a relief.
Also, taking care of oneself physically becomes an ever more important thing to do whenever you tend to focus more on the upper part of the triangle (self-actualization). That part is in fact smaller, and therefore should be regarded as being less important according to Maslow.
So what have we/I learned today? Drink more water, and take care of yourself first. Only then you can go and eat some pizza, while focussing on self-actualization ;-)
Now, although this video was originally meant to use on my blog only (labeled as 'unlisted' on YT), I noticed that YouTube labeled the video automatically as a 'YT Shorts' video. That's when things got interesting.
YT Shorts videos are very similar in format to the Instagram Reels and popular TikTok videos: Short and dynamic bits of vertically shot video footage that succeed in captivating an audience by being funny, sensational, or just looking pretty (amongst other things, of course).
When I noticed YouTube automatically converted some of my short-format vertically shot video uploads to YT Shorts, I couldn't help but think what the whole point was behind this (and also, why I didn't seem to have the option to upload as a regular video)?
Without spending too much thought on this anymore, I went on to upload some more videos of that type, until I noticed how my TROWFLOX YouTube channel reserved a blank category spot just for that specific format (all my YT Shorts were still labeled 'unlisted' at that moment).
So I decided I might as well try and see what would happen when putting some of those videos on 'public' instead of 'unlisted'. And sure thing, the previously blank category spot automatically got filled with all those YT Shorts videos I just had published. I thought the whole thing looked nice esthetically on my YouTube channel, so I kept it that way.
Not more than 3 days later, this is what I saw coming back to my own channel:
Is this the true (and sole) purpose of the YT Shorts / IG Reel / TikTok formats: The potential to go viral, cheaply and quickly? Like an ever-mutating virus penetrating the minds of the laziest individuals it can find? Not sure.
For my preparatory programme to the Masters I had to present my Bachelorfilm From Slaves to Raves to the jury. Both the members of the jury and myself were pretty happy with the overall results of how the performance turned out captured on film. But they still went on to share some invaluable feedback for me to improve my craft nevertheless.
If my visual performance exists only in a three-dimensional space, why would I not use surround sound (instead of stereo)?
I should take care of every single detail in the physical representation of my performance, because every choice I make in my setup sends a specific message to the participants.
I also should take more care of the participants themselves, and maybe let them interact more with the whole experience. How would I feel experiencing my own performance?
My final single-screen edit to be presented to the jury, has to embed the same kind of feeling I tried to evoke while performing the live version. This means I should captivate the viewer by using more dynamic animations and sounds, that I've also been using during the performance. Instead of merely showing them an edit that feels more like a making-of or aftermovie of the whole thing, my final animation film ought not to show a summary of the whole performance (once again), it should rather feel like the performance itself.
I must not forget that if I come up with a grand philosophical idea about how to handle things, I should then still be able to reintegrate this idea into something tangible and technically achievable. After the whole conceptualisation phase (artistic), I have to realise that I'll still have to be my own executor (technical). So I better make sure to learn how to balance those out in a healthy, productive way.
I must say I tend to agree with everything the jury mentioned, which actually makes me want to go back to the drawing board as soon as possible. Although, this work will probably have to be continued in the form of a (possibly very different) Masterfilm. Looking forward!
After all Springville: Disasters and amusement parks
That's the title of Miet Warlop's latest production. I went to see her at Les Brigittines contemporary art centre Brussels. I was left amazed by the number of special effects. Things exploding, falling down, popping out, floating up,... as well as the many subtle humorous elements that were really appreciated throughout the whole performance (not only by me, the whole crowd seemed pretty agitaded!).
What stuck with me the most, is the almost childish nature of it all. It seemed as if the piece was created for the sole purpose of making a big child laugh, by constantly taking it by surprise and pulling of silly (but very effective) jokes. You can imagine then, that this was a very colorful performance.
Today the school expected us to hand in our Bachelorfilm (along w/ some other files) on a physical hard drive. We also had to add the film to our portfolio website. So feel free to check out my new #FSTR project page, and make sure to notify me if you'd notice anything odd/broken about the webpage.
The jury evaluations will take place this Friday. I'm quite excited about rounding things of on a good note at LUCA before jumping fully into the summer holidays! There's a good chance those will be my last 3-month holidays actually. Because if everything goes smoothly, I'd finish my Masters in Animation by next academic year. But 'holidays' doesn't have to mean 'vegging out' essentially... Rather I'm looking forward to this year's festival season, big time! Both my inner raver spirit, as well as my VJ-self want to go hard the next upcoming weeks.
About every other Tuesday, the SEADS network gathers for online updates / presentations. Today, Arise Wan presented her work (both related to architecture and personal experiments).
I was left amazed by how she manages for each creation to find the right balance between pure scientific technicality and her more speculative input as an artist. Here's a link to her ISSUU page for you to check out more work.
Backstory: I met Arise earlier during the SEADS Ēngines of Ēternity exhibition at VUB's Pilar. She illustrated this beautifully complex drawing tailored to the theme of the research project. My very first thought right after letting the artwork sink in a bit was: I want to animate this!
So, ahead I went and started with a first (very small) frame by frame test. This is still a very basic attempt to animate her work, but we'll have to see where this could bring us in the future :-).
Went to my local bank facility earlier today, and at first sight I thought this was a really cool digital artwork set up by the bank.
But as it turns out, their interactive screen was just broken! Which ment that with every mouse cursor interaction by a touch of a finger, the system just kept printing a cursor instance on that exact screen position. Resulting in huge (kinda funky) cursor trails.
Although I must admit, the slight green hue visible on the cursor makes me wonder if someone didn't 'hack' this on purpose? A few weeks before I noticed the screen displayed some kind of code terminal. I tried messing around with it back then, but without much success.
I tried generating several text prompt based A.I. experiments today using the DALL-E mini GitHub project. It's an unofficial (and extremely simplified) version of the DALL-E 2 software I was talking about earlier. Check out my 'creations' below.
And keep in mind, I didn't touch any virtual brush, Photoshop- or 3d modeling tool in order to make these. Just text, literally a few words. Around 50 seconds, that's how long it took on average to produce each and every one of those uniquly generated images that didn't exist before.
It's all over the internet. The new technology that will kill digital art (and soon also computer animation) in the same way the camera device killed photorealistic painting back in the 1800's: Artificial Intelligence.
Or more specifically, DALL-E 2 (running on OpenAI).
Those who thought their job was safe from 'being replaced by robots' merely because of the potential of their human creativity ... well, those people were dead wrong (incl. myself). The same goes for music artists by the way, not only visual artists. Feel free to branch off to this really good blog post written by the people at Emakina.
But, let's not fear of course, because true artists will always find a way around such contemporary challenges.
A.I. (and it's underlying algorithms) will soon have to become nothing more than just 'another color to choose from, on the wide palette of indefinitely various digital tools'.
That will in the end be what distinguishes us, ever innovating, and creative human beings from completely automated systems: We will once again have to 'learn and adapt' to our increasingly complex surroundings, in the same many (audiovisual) artists were forced to do so before us.
About a year ago, I was asked by Hans Murdock (referral Blub VJ) to provide visuals for a DrarrieVille promotional recording.
The plan was to use this huge screen of content that would encompass the whole background for the artists to perform in front of.
That worked out great. Now, because I was asked by the technical crew to use their desktop computer exclusively (with custom Windows system), I wasn't able to perform using my regular VDMX5 VJ setup.
I adapted, and quickly built a custom Resolume Arena set from scratch, that I felt somewhat comfortable enough with to use in a way that allowed me to experiment on the fly, like I was used to from VDMX5 set.
The experience was not nearly the same for me to be honest. But then again I'm not in the right position to judge, having not yet tapped into the full potential of the Resolume Arena software.
Here's a full recording of the 'Eazy Lo' performance below.
Looking back at some pictures taken at events I VJed for, I noticed how a custom logo design really contributes to the whole image a DJ wants to portray. It's a shame that sometimes I chose not to use the artist's logos in the past, simply due to not having all the logos to my disposal.
But then again, this should be no excuse. Because sure I don't get sent all of the artist's logos at every single event, but with the amount of recurring sets I do over multiple gigs, I should have a pretty solid database of all those different logos by now.
I think now would actually be a good time for me to make a nice little (alphabetically sorted) inventory of all the individual logos that are currently spread out all over my hard drive. :-)
3 months and a few days into this project, this officially marks my 101st blog post.
How am I looking back at the 100 first ones? In disbelief that it went this fast.
3 months doesn't feel as much as 100 posts at first, but when you take some time and do the math... well it does add up! This also means that in about a year I'll be close to writing my 500th blog post.
Starting 2025, I'd just have written my 1000th blog post! In 2050, I'll have written more than 10000 blog posts in total! In 2297? Well, I'll most likely be dead by then.
In the morning I got a text message from co-freelance Dimitri Hanssens asking if I'd be available to step in for a VJ gig that night (due to an unplanned cancellation from the regular VJ). Not knowing what to expect, I set out to Roeselare's TRAX venue. That night did not disappoint.
The system and light crew were lovely to work with, and they even offered me to tag along with the break-down at the end of the event (paid of course). I told them it's something I've always wanted to experience, so I'm glad I did! I realized I never truly grasped the workload that comes with dismantling such a huge structure of mainly trusses, lights, and a lot of wires.
Also, that night was a LED-bar premiere for me (well, kinda...). I already experimented with LED-bars using DMX interfaces in the past, but here I had to use them in the context of a big event where I was the only VJ to be operating. The light technicians helped me out a bit in trying to figure this whole 'Artnet-IP-address' thing out, but this time (unlike before) I had to do without any help of my dear video-wizard mentors ;-).
Glad everything worked out just fine! Although, now being able to control these LED bars with my own VJ software, I'd like to take this a whole step further and program a custom way of operating the LED structures in a way that makes more sense to me (for usage within dynamic VJ set).
I choose to use the bike as my main travel device, along with public transport.
When a bike becomes your daily tool of transportation (incl. heavy loaded trips), you better take care of it.
My bike gets a full treatment at least once a month. Washing with soap, rinsing thoroughly, re-applying a protective coat, checking (and maybe replacing) the brake pads, double checking tire pressure, ...
Also, after a while taking care of your own back becomes a new priority. I'm used to carrying all my VJ equipment in one huge flight-bag backpack. But then I still had an issue concerning my flat tire replacement gear, that I cannot afford leaving at home when traveling longer distances. Same goes for an extra coat, or bottle of water, maybe a notebook, ... All of those items become luxuries to take along with to a professional gig.
Great people, great music, great vibes, great organisation, bad co-technicians.
I literally loved everything about this B2B edition at IKON Antwerp. I even got to face a full live crowd for the very first time, VJing from behind the DJ, in front of my own screen! More on this below*.
But the in-house light and sound technicians kind of ruined it for me. Without going into details, I definitely missed my usual (more dedicated) parters in crime on this one.
*Now, VJing in front of ones own screen has both it's perks and disadvantages.
Main disadvantage? You can't properly see what you're doing. Solution? Work with a lot (I mean, a lot) of virtual previews, to get some clearer sense of what you're doing.. or, use a mirror! Tried that last one, didn't work for me.
Main advantage? You get to face the crowd. And man, how a motivated crowd can pump you up like nothing else, it's pretty amazing! And it just keeps you going, not only for yourself, but even more for them.
The 2nd performance day went great as well. Even got to enhance my VJ set a bit (soft- and hardware), also tweaked the laser animations a bit further. Also, I decided to change up the entire structure of the installation according to the room for it to make more sense in relation with the participants.
That said, I must admit there's still a whole lot of room for improvement to be made here.
I believe a lot happens at the same time (various elements spread across narrow space). Maybe the key here would be for me to let each element breathe more individually, almost one at the time, so each section gets its dedicated share of attention within the whole performance.
But in general I'm very glad that my project has a strong conceptual backbone, and that the main issues lie more in the technical execution of things. Because that was my whole motivation for going to art school in the first place, to get more familiar with the whole practice behind creating thoughtful personal work.
Today's gig went great, it was excellent actually! But I was left frustrated when Bo Rooms showed me the possibilities of Joris De Jong's aka Hybrid VisualsChaser software. It only works w/ Resolume Arena.
Mapping Retro Empire's 7 LED screens made me want to animate them separately, so badly. Although possible indeed within the MadMapper software, it would require way more customisation (and therefore work) compared to the dedicated Chaser tool.
From today on until my first 'From Slaves to Raves' performance 18th of May, I'll be working at the Recyclart Brussels being one of their Open Call / Residence artists, in context of my LUCA School of Arts final work.
My Hackintosh desktop is already installed on-site.
Slowly running out of stickers, I decided to go for a new design. But clearly I've been struggling to get it right..
My previous stickers included screenshots of my VDMX workstation, along w/ some renders created using the software, and a '@trowflox' tag.
Now I've been experimenting w/ my randomly generated Digital Dimensions record covers. Problem is, thinking my previous stickers were a bit too large, I went way too small this time making the elements in the designs hard to distinguish.
Also, I figured I might as well use my 'trowflox' tag again, which I seem to have forgotten twice. So back to the drawing board I guess!
Today May 4th 2022, is the first time we performed w/ the SEADS collective in a staged audiovisual live setting. It felt great to collaborate with former teachers / students on this one. Everybody brought their best visuals, and Pieter on the video switcher made it all come together nicely. Huge big up to Max Frimout on his bleep-bloops as well.
Last Friday night, we went out w/ friends at the Spirito Ixelles. Sunday night, we went to Thylacine's Botanique concert. Both featured some interesting light concepts, playing w/ techniques that bring more 'physicality' into to setup.
Tonight I followed this Max MSP / Generative online lecture hosted by Music Hackspace. It focussed on creating computer generated musical compositions, along with a visual component.
I was surprised to see that Max MSP, primarily known for music production purposes, also has a solid support for visually generative work using their jitter library. This means, as the speakers indeed demonstrated, that you could produce everything (both the musical and visual components) within one and the same software, being Max MSP.
But then again, working with OSC and Syphon/Spout to interconnect the software with others like e.g. TouchDesigner, vvvv, or VDMX, the possibilities get closer to endless again.
Working with a beamer on campus, I stumbled upon this interesting composition where you get aurora-like reflections on the wall by shining the video projection directly onto the metal parts of the ceiling's tube lights. The light then gets scattered to stretch out in a sharp, but also bendy way.
Unrelated bonus footage of Vic's big idea to project the batman logo on nearby buildings.
Last Thursday I attended the opening event of the Manned Flight exhibition at PILAR Brussels, where I met up with a bunch of my mentors and former (co-)students who worked on the project together. Most of them are now operating and active in the SEADS network.
Here's my modest attempt in trying to explain what their work is all about (it has so many layers to it, some of which I barely understand the surface of):
"A bunch of scientist studied how little organisms called 'rotifers' evolved over time, stored all the data behind their research, and then sent those creatures into space w/ one of Elon Musk's spacecrafts, only to bring them back later, and apply the same studies on them once again, in order to see how they evolved / altered in some way or another."
- Florian Giroul
Now, the méga cool thing about this, is that artists were then asked to try and make sense of all this data visually, and condense it into something that's a bit more insightful to the uneducated viewer on this scientifically deep topic (like myself).
I was truly left amazed by the particularly complex and detailed illustrations of Arise Wan. They have a very visceral quality to them, makes me want to animate the pieces!
The very final step in presenting my randomly generated cover artworks, was to actually video map them upon the empty LP sleeves. Super glad with how the sleeve material turns out to be reflecting the projector's light in a very neat way.
Update on the NFT fx(hash) side of things: Since the original launch at 02:04 last night, I've already made 4 unique sales! Check out the TROWFLOX_COVER project page for more info.
Although the content of the talks didn't really end up being my thing, the whole audiovisual production behind it was remarkably amazing. The futuristic visuals, carefully animated lights, and massive sound designs almost make you feel like you're at a big EDM festival. Except you're not. Instead of going wild on banger tunes of your favorite DJs, you're sitting down listening to major tech companies trying to convince you why their latest gadget is the next big thing.
Feel free to read my Bachelor Report on the topic of how Afro-American culture influenced today's European rave music, all the way from Charleston USA, to Kingston Jamaica, to London UK. I also discuss how both slaves and ravers gather together momentarily in intimate spaces to transcend from their existence and evolve towards a moment of sheer bliss.
The last time I VJed two nights in a row, it was in my hometown for Oosthoek Live 2019. This weekend, at Kavka Zappa venue Antwerp, I was in for a similar treat with the Bad Habitz Weekender edition.
The thing with gigs spread over multiple consecutive days, is that you have to plan ahead how you're going to spend your energy. And perhaps more importantly, when you'll be able to recover some of it.
For example, if you know that you'll not be able to rest properly in between two days, you better don't give your all on day 01. Rather save some for day 02 as well, then you're all set. :)
gives "the potential of real life" a second chance through digital means.
He portrays the marvelous aesthetics of nature and the beauty of somewhat distant, yet intriguingly solid, memories (perhaps from the future). It's all shown through a 'digital media' lens, using topnotch vfx techniques and generative content, which makes it super relatable to today's youth, and his slightly 'geeky' fanbase.
It’s funny to see how Porter puts great importance in the visual aspect of the show being on stage himself. He constantly looks back at the LED screen to check if the content matches up with the rest of the performance.
At some point he just took a Macbook with a built-in webcam and pointed it towards the crowds, in order to show them on the LED screen. And then he went on to turn the Macbook's webcam towards the stage to capture himself, and therefore also the LED screen behind him, creating an endless video feedback loop. Very clever!
Got myself a new mechanical keyboard because my previous one, the Logitech G413 (82EUR) purchased 3 years ago, started to behave weirdly (double keystrokes / ignoring some inputs). Main differences?
The Razer BlackWidow v3 (95EUR) has the ability to display all colors as backlight, whereas with the Logitech G413 you're stuck with red. Razer uses their 'Razer Green' switches which are basically a pro adaptation of the Cherry Blue switches, while Logitech uses their 'Romer G' switches that are closer to being a better version of the Cherry Brown switches.
The Razer BlackWidow v3 also has extra media buttons on top, that I think are quite handy now that I've been using them for a couple of hours. For tilting your keyboard slightly forward, the BlackWidow v3 provides two options either 6º or 9º, while the Logitech G413 can only tilt at one fixed angle of 8º.
I was happy with both keyboards, but the first one needed to be replaced due to dysfunctionalities. So I went for a similar (but up to date) model at the competing company. Hope it will be worth the test!
At my previous gig, the one before this one, towards the end of the night my portable screen shut down because of a dead battery. That's when I noticed I was able to just keep going with only my Ableton Push 2 LED display as previewing tool. It kind of amazed me, and made me wonder if I'd be able to pull off a full gig w/o using any monitor to display my software on.
Well this weekend, I was about to be tested on just that, for I had forgotten my portable display at home. So I thought by myself "I might as well try to own this gig without it, and I'll soon find out whether it's even possible or not". I found out it was not possible for me. The first major problem: Video Mapping. How can you properly video map a LED wall w/o being able to monitor the mapping software?
I mean, you could definitely try to map the LED wall whilst using it to perform your mapping on. But does anybody got patience for that? I know I don't. Luckily, I found a display to work with at the venue itself, and the staff was kind enough to let me use it for the night!
Back in October 2020 I was asked by Drum & Bass Producer James Marvel to create an animated intro to a soon to be launched livestream concept. Although they never actually went through with the project, I still think my animation totally kicks ass!
The illustrations were provided by Andrea Moresco aka El Moro.
Went and picked up a few books at LUCA's library today, as (visual) inspiration for my Bachelor Project. I'll dive into the physical aspect of the work soon, but I'd need to enhance my Bachelor Report itself a bit first. Keep y'all updated!
This Saturday I'll be VJ'ing at Roeselare's Fabriekspand. The event is called Legendary 90's. So I know what type of music to expect! :-)
Last gig, I added a feature within my VJ-set enabling me to toggle between two MadMapper presets, or 'scenes'. Next step would be to experiment with multiscreen animations. Making me able to for example strobe back and forth between two seperate LED screens, instead of having them strobing simultaneously.
Earlier today I had the brilliant idea to use a smoke machine on campus, causing the fire alarm to go off.
Below is a screen recording of me being unaware of the whole situation, trying to film my visual experiment as if nothing happened. Until of course, I understood.
For my bachelor project I'd like to work with 'visible' light, plexi reflections, and semi-transparent gauze nets, as main tools to deceive my audience with. Aiming for a sweet spot between clearly distinguishable visuals and some trickery of the mind.
In an earlier post I showed a preview of my shadow work for the Animation Expended courses. I used a physical filmstrip to draw on, and a play-back machine to run it through. The challenge was now to figure out how to work further upon that.
The teacher arranged us a room with all kinds of materials/tools to go ahead and experiment with, including softboxes and overhead projectors, ready to be used. I started messing around with the filmstrip I used earlier, and quite honestly was struggling a bit to find something to produce that made sense to me. That's when Miha, one of my classmates, had a great idea: Why not try to emulate/mimic the behavior of an old film projector's mechanics manually?
We recorded the snippet below with the help of 3 people. Miha tried to mask out parts of the light produced by the overhead projector with some pieces of paper as accurately as possible, aiming for a perfect square shape; Arnaud would then move both his hands back and forth real fast just below the projector's lens, trying to cut off the light with a similar motion to how an old film projector would; Our teacher Soetkin was waiting, ready to film the whole experiment to be projected onto the wall using my smartphone; My main task was now to just pull the painted filmstrip through the square-framed paper design in one fast and smooth motion.