All posts by Daniel Cvetkovski

I enjoy a little bit of a creative spark - lets hope this blog lets me express my views

A 3-in-1 Special: Augmented Reality in Interior Design

So I went to work on this but completely went AWOL on the blog posts. Choice? no.

Regardless of the matter – you are lucky enough to be reading a 3-in-1 special blog post, so count yourself lucky whoever you are out there!

So why did I start my project and how did I get the idea? well…

 

It All Started With A Job Application:

I’ve recently moved into a new role in my career and it’s safe to say I am COMPLETELY IN LOVE with the role! I have noticed a bunch of elements in the digital space of the business that I am challenging myself to take on and update, resolve or completely replace. This particular part of the business is a rather important element which allows users to “try before they buy”, and this is all to gain a strong understanding that a consumer is engaged and has a motive to install our product. To cut to the chase and not head into complete specifics, (sensitive business content) this part of the website attracts almost 20,000+ visitors and 17,000+ of these visitors are unique, (meaning they have come across this part of the website for the first time) which are some pretty amazing numbers.

However, conversion rates of this area are quite distorted, not accounting for any sales or follow through with a customer.

The system is quite expensive to produce and is almost well behind trend and technology – so the aim is to produce something of a higher quality, which can be easily accessible by any smart device in the most innovative and intuitive way I can possibly think of.

Now…

 

Visualise your newly furnished home through Augmented Reality:

Imagine holding your own smart device so flippantly in front of you, pursuing to use it as a gateway into another realm, modifying & altering anything and everything!

Behind the screen you are consistently playing the game of “God”, a creator of a world – almost The Sims-like, where you are able to rotate, build and place any object or “virtually physical” in the space within the screen

My journey into the realm of Augmented Reality has been one of many obstacles including:

  • Using the many iOS apps available on the market
  • Clearly identifying their similar traits
  • Understanding which apps represent Augmented Reality better than others
  • Understanding how they work & what they need in-order to function
  • Understanding the many barriers in planning to develop an app like this

I have come up with a range of various apps that work, similarly to the way I desire the Visualiser app to operate.

1. Villeroy & Boch & Ikea Augmented Reality: Both equally amazing apps which uses the simple, “marker hologram/feature content market” placed on a flat surface, to allow the smart device to summon the visual object in a 3D Augmented Reality. The application takes product visualisation to new heights, allowing the smart device to view the object up close, from afar, various angles almost urging the user to begin washing their hands in sink within the screen.

However, as we all understand, applications will always have a limited ability, and don’t always allow what we want them to do – Adrian Mackenzie classes this as ‘margin of inter-determinacy’, where technology neither belongs solely to human life nor belongs to some intrinsic dynamism of technology – Chesher relates this to the constraints in the domains of possibility. The keyboard only offers a limited number of characters, but this still leaves open an enormous set of things that may be typed – however an application is much more complex than a keyboard, it opens a world of imagination; a world where BETA testing, continuous updates and wandering minds who WANT MORE are prevalent.

This is is where Villeroy & Boch & Ikea’s application “semi-fail” – the user is bound to the screen, and not able to do anything beyond their means in order to modify or alter the application in anyway they seem fit. Rather the application itself has been under review and stress from users, that the application developers tend to iron out all the kinks gradually, and always strive to be further ahead of the users intuitive and challenging mind.

Ikea 2016 Catalogue: Augemented Reality

 

The Ultimate Interior Design Application:

Homestyler Interior Designer by Autodesk: Allowing users to take photos of their own spaces and modify them accordingly. You are able to remove your current furniture with the app, and set it as a blank room with blank walls. The application allows you to set the height of your room, and automatically determines the depth and width, based on the markers you place within the app. This allows any additional furniture you place into the room to be placed, sized and rotated in a 1:1 scale. The massive downside to this application is it only works on a Single Capture Image, and not a video or Live Augmented Reality – therefore, the Augmented Reality is surface layer and does not delve deeper into the user playing in a “God” like manner – moving, altering & modifying the space in real-time.

 

 

The aim of my app development is to create the guidelines that surround combining all three applications into one, creating the Ultimate Interior Design Application, allowing the user to ‘modifying, design, and alter their own homes in real-time through augmented reality’. The task seems fairly straightforward from a surface – simply use these existing systems, only altering their code and abilities to work with one another. However, it is a large challenge.

The aim for my major task is to create a Digital Artefact, which will be a Developers Guidelines of the Visualiser Application. The Developers Guidelines will include the Graphical User Interface, key functions, UX Design, & basic knowledge how the application should work from a logistical sense, rather than a coded knowledge.

Really hoping to finish off the final section of the Developers Guidelines within the week, however it is continually becoming a lot more difficult to take a visual, logistic common sense approach to the applications functions, and then relating to a coded knowledge for the developer. Will have to iron out these issues and speak with a developer to overcome any barriers I may have.

Overall this experience has been enlightening, and I am really hoping we can get an amazing prototype to function within the next couple of months.

Stay tuned!

  • Dan

 

Sources:

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Music: The Fire of the Party?

So as you can see the trend of my project is leaning towards the Audio tangent.                     The direction I want to take is still to be confirmed… I’m almost there!

Little background story – For the past 5 years I have been a DJ – in a Cybercultures world, I would be called a number of things: Just another DJ, Fuqboi, The Guy who presses Play, and a person who hears the most common question phrase and question of all – “Can I request a song?”

“If I had a dollar for everyti…    nevermind.”

Seriously, being a DJ is not easy by any means. It is not as simple as,  “you are being paid, to do your job, which is being a DJ – How hard is that?” There are varying factors to being a DJ and being a great DJ – a DJ plays what is known on the radio, plays music that everyone would expect and mixes from track to track like an iTunes Playlist on Shuffle mode. A great DJ on the other hand,  builds from track to track.

Analogy Breakdown: Picture a scene, with your mates out camping, where you decide its probably a good time to start a fire because its freezing outside. The fire starts with a small amount of starters and some kindling; from here the fire starts to radiate, and you decide to place larger sticks over the pit to increase the intensity a little more. From here you are building on a fire which blazes very quickly in the beginning, but now it is your job to maintain that fire and heat throughout the night.

Therefore, if you can start a fire you have just completed “How to be a DJ 101.”

The reasoning behind the fire analogy is based on my recent finding of an application that allows anybody at a party, event or gathering to be the life of the party with just an iPhone, Spotify and this wonderful app called Serato Pyro.

It is the answer to all my questions in most cases because:

  1. I can now DJ with just my iPhone and a set of really good Hi-Fi Speakers
  2. I don’t have to be the awkward guy in the corner
  3. I can socialise, dance and let Serato Pyro do the work for me
  4. I don’t have to set-up or pack-up anything

I’d like to unpack this app, as a result of technology being completely efficient to our lives in any way, shape or form.

I’d still like to relate some of it to music and how we engage with music in different environments – but of course it’s still yet to be confirmed.

– Dan

Audio: The True Hero In All Video Games?

The effect of video, images and all kinds of visual landscapes on our minds, are very vivid, and we commonly highlight the concept that a picture tells 1000 words – Indeed! But, why don’t we add the dimensional layer of Audio, that not only allows you to vividly visualise something with your eyes, but also being effected in an audible way to which heightens our senses, makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, creates tension and abruptly affects our reactions.

Video Games have endured a long journey from its early developments in the 8-bit Era (Third-generation consoles) 1972–1988 where simple, retro, chiptune electronic sounds from consoles such as Famicom/Nintendo (NES), Sega & Atari would be created for popular games like Pong! & Space Invaders in their super early developments with                        “one pulse sounds” and no background sounds. Its not until 1985 with games such as Super Mario Bros. when rhythmic strings of sounds and musical compositions would be created to provide aural clues in relation to the gameplay, where most commonly the music would gradually rise in tempo to induce a reaction in the user that time is essentially running out!

Throughout the 16, 32 & Early 64-bit Eras, musical compositions which were relative to the current setting of the gameplay would be created originally for those video games only. Where electronic music producers would create an album of soundtracks for entire games as they allowed for a larger amount of storage on Compact Disc (CDs).

It’s not until the 6th Generation gaming and onwards where sound design and audio within Video Games have become a collection and creative recipe of all variants of it’s predecessors. If you can, picture (aurally), soundscapes and sound design which create an urge in the user to feel emotion or react to sound in a way that effects their gameplay. The Metal Gear Solid Series is an excellent example of this,  where the gameplay soundtrack seamlessly mix into high-tense environments and then to more calming scenes where the user is safe in their current environment. Along with all Foley, Background, found sound design, the entire experience covers a range of depth, with viciously noticeable sounds in the foreground and the more subtle elements which create the atmosphere but aren’t necessarily always noticeable.

Without these complimentary aural senses the user is almost playing the entire video game blind. As their reactions to the challenges within the game assist to solve the obstacles the video game possesses. Essentially, sound design is the true reality behind what you see with your eyes, must also be seen with your ears.

The aim and “end game” for my research is to highlight how video games use audio in a creative and most interesting way to induce a reaction from the gamer – (And I’m not talking about Dance Dance Revolution, or Guitar Hero variants) The search for “clever use” of audio in video games is very limited, which I believe will be a challenge in itself. However, exploring tangents of this idea of “Audio Effect/Driven Video Games” will be something I have to explore further and then hopefully narrow down from there.

The Search continues – any ideas will be kindly appreciated

– Dan